Tag Archives: build

January 2016!

A lot of building, learning and living happened in 2015.  Sarah and I got engaged (woo-hoo!), we toyed with the idea of committing to a beautiful eighty-three acre property in southwestern Oregon (not this time!), I did some theatre, Sarah got a promotion, we both met some really wonderful people and friends, we helped others build their tiny house, and through it all our little abode has continued to grow. It feels more and more like home with every nail 😉 

Oh, and one more thing, we have decided to move back to the Petaluma, California area, or the greater Bay Area in general – please do let us know if you know of a place for an off-grid, self-sufficient tiny house and two tiny-house-dwellers!

Our latest building accomplishments have been: insulating, which took longer than expected (we did loose-fill wool and some denim), installing the interior siding (excluding trim), and my dad came to help for a wonderful week of cedar-sanding and putting on the ceiling.  Pictures…. everybody wants pictures.  So, here are some that detail the progress.

‘It looks like a construction site in here!’
Not wanting our leftover denim from the floor to go to waste, we put it here…that was WAY faster than fluffing the wool and stuffing it gently in.
Wooly walls




Vapor Barrier up!
Ceiling was tedious.


Sarah stuffed some wool into the wheel wells proving once again that small hands are a real plus on a build!

White pine on the back wall UP!
Poco a poco

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discovered some of the wool insulation settled!
discovered some of the wool insulation had settled so we had to re-stuff in some places!
Dad came to help with some cedar-sanding and insulation on the ceiling! We couldn’t have done it without him in SO many ways.


Same cedar siding as the outside, just untreated for the ceiling!
Dad shows me how to un-warp` 17′ boards with a ‘reverso-clamp’ -I don’t know what else to call it)
Cedar up!
Laying back in the spacious loft to enjoy a job well done!


One step at a time, nail-by-nail, lesson-by-lesson, I get schooled and learn new humility and respect for the people that do this for a living.  Maybe, someday, these skills will translate into something that will benefit the world at large.

Have a happy and humble new year, one board at a time.

Josephant and Sarahpillar.


Art-Studio in the (tiny) HOUSE!

“Artists have the skills to make something out of nothing.  Use that skill!”

Five years ago I took a workshop in Brooklyn about financial literacy for artists.  It changed the way I think about money as an artist in an expensive city like NYC.  The workshop, given by Art Home stated that banks and credit cards work for YOU…NOT the other way around.  This was very formative for me and a provided a fresh take on the ‘starving artist’ paradigm and I have kept the notes I took from that day.

A year ago, a friend introduced Sarah and I  to Esther Robinson, the presenter of those workshops and she’s still at it.  Teamed up with Guy Buckles of ArtBuilding, (who is responsible for the designing and building of the Elizabeth Foundation– which is the largest subsidized workspace for artists in ny) they were looking to talk to artists who were building their own spaces, with a particular interest in tiny houses as artist-studio urban infill.  One thing lead to another and Sarah and I ended up writing a white paper on tiny-spaces, which covered topics from design, technology and site specific implementation for NYC.  Some of these chapters we’ve re-purposed here and here on SeedsWithWings .

After working full-time designing and building under the expert eye-of-Guy for the better part of a year, they did it!  Last week my friend Young and I and went out to Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, Queens to see the new Tiny Art Studio (which in NYC might just be redundant).

When did selfies become obligatory? Here’s Young and I
Anyone ever see Men In Black?
Anyone ever see Men In Black?
Iconic Unishpere
Iconic Unishpere
Arthur Ashe Stadium behind the 7 trains.

Even though I neither built nor conceived it, I felt very proud when I saw this little beauty sitting on the lawn in front of the Queens Museum.  wpid-20150701_160737.jpgThese are “small mobile workspaces that let artists, social-service providers and micro-businesses work in new ways and in new places.”  Art Built Mobile Studios has partnered with the Queens Museum, Corona Park and Patrick Rowe of Mobile Print Power to support the community around them.  They are finding out what the park needs by asking passersby to draw their ideas into various large sketchbooks with questions on the covers like, “What is the most difficult thing to find in the park?” or “What is your favorite part of the park?” then implement them through the designing and making of signs for the public.  The suggestions ranged from better signage to the bathrooms (we had a hard time finding them too), to putting the rainbow (which shows up every sunny day at the Unisphere from 4-6) on a daily events calendar.

Check out that Rainbow at the Unisphere!

Books-4_1280 Books-3_1280  Books-1_1280Books-2_1280

This Saturday, July 11th from 1-5 pm, they will be unveiling the new concepts for signs for the park that have been created at the People’s Design Laboratory.  Also, bring your own t-shirts, tote bags, and other things that you want to print on!  Here’s a link to the event which will also feature music and performances by Aztec dance group Danza Azteca Chichimeka and Ecuadorian dance group Ñukanchik Llakta Wawa Kunas-Wawas Sumags

Here are some more pictures:IMG_2328 IMG_2331


A little more background on the key players here.  There are two non-profits at work.  ArtHome.org (Esther Robinson) and ArtBuilding.org (Guy Buckles).

ArtHome’s mission is to help artists build assets and equity through financial literacy, homeownership, self-sufficiency and the responsible use of credit.”  They are “committed to building a vital new support system for artists: one that fosters both cultural vitality and economic stability.”

ArtBuilding is a dynamic non-profit business that harnesses the power of built spaces to create economic security, professional stability and financial assets for artists and creative professionals.”

The mobile art studios are a combination of the two and a unique solution for the rising cost of living and working as an artist in NY (and beyond) and they are being used to support dialogue within communities.  I think it’s a perfect use of the tiny house movement, embodying some key factors  like community, responsiveness (mobility) and sustainability.  These can be utilized as urban-infill mobile community centers that can go anywhere and provide services that are most needed to places that most need them.  Like creating signs for a park, social service centers, arts-education and beyond.

Do you have any ideas for these?  How can you see these working in the world?


Parting Shots:IMG_2675wpid-20150701_161056.jpg

You are not Illegal. Neither are 11 million.


Of course I HAD to know the power source!
Of course I HAD to know the power source!


November Update: Home Is Where the House Is

Where to even begin!

Our house is dry-in  (as far as we can tell)!  That means waterproof, that means the outside is pretty much done!

And the house moved to Oregon.  Wait…what?  You’re in Oregon now?  Yes, we’re in Oregon.  Our lease was up on the sheep ranch we were still building, so it was time to mosey on.   Good thing we’re building a house on wheels.  Now we’re living in a small community in southwestern Oregon near Ashland.  Trillium Farm is a stunningly beautiful place, and we are feeling very fortunate to living here alongside inspiring people, deep in the wilderness.

Here are some pictures of our little house, as we put the roof up and siding on.


wpid-20140511_174544.jpg wpid-20140601_104442.jpg wpid-20140601_104501.jpg wpid-20140601_125816.jpg


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And here it she sits, at Trillium, in Oregon.


If you blow up the picture below you can see small houses dotting the hillside, and if you look reeally close, you can spot Hoss, our big yellow truck.  If you don’t want to squint, just rest your eyes and know that we live just above that green valley down the middle.

A baby bear print.


Joseph is in New York now, planning another fun year of Christmas-tree-forest wonder on the  Lower East Side at St. Marks Church in the Bowery. #TreeRidersNYC 

Tree Throwing 1479532_683700191662631_658597298_n 534520_498643456834973_1323991187_n 1012828_692519527447364_293304875_n

Here is a picture of the tiny house he builds every year on the sidewalk of Manhattan… more pics and upgrades to come!

Year one, very little building skills required mostly nailed together then scrapped 😦


Year two, a little more skillful from year one.  We kept some of the pieces for re-use:


Year Three: after working on tiny house.  This one was built in panels that bolt onto a base then bolt together… much like our house!  And the only thing I will be replacing is the floor (which got kind of snow/water-logged last year).


Sarah has started a new job with SumOfUs.  SumOfUs is a worldwide movement for a better global economy, which fights for people over profits, and to limit corporate power.  Sarah serves as the Executive Program Coordinator where she… coordinates programs for the Executives 🙂  She works closely with the Executive Director and Chief of Staff, and also the Board and major donors.   The SumOfUs staff all works remotely so Sarah can carry out her duties while nestled in the mountains of Oregon… or cozied up in a Tree Shack in the East Village, NYC… or even while sipping coffee on a visit to sunny Petaluma!


Here is a photo from a recent SumOfUs action in Australia, from a campaign to stop Doritos from using palm oil sourced from rainforest deforestation.  More on the Doritos campaign here.  And all of SumOfUs’ campaigns here.


So, there the house rests in Oregon, and here we are, New York at the moment, and Oregon again soon.  Change swirling around us as we relax into movement as a way of being.  What the new year will bring?  Who knows.  All we know is that this linear time will keep coming and we’ll keep flexing and learning, board by board.

Next up:  Helpful practices we use to keep our heads straight while building.


Here’s Annie-Lamb-Boleyn just for good measure:wpid-20141015_161304.jpg