I was working the Boston Tumbleweed Tiny House Workshop this weekend and as always I found it encouraging to be in a room of 60+ people who are all interested in carefully crafting their lives. While I listened to the attendees talk about their plans and dreams, the normal tiny house aspirations came up: economic freedom, environmental sustainability, mobility, simplicity. But this time, I realized about halfway through that there’s something else that brings these people together.
I was in a room full of people who want to build their own houses.
Forget about the size of the house for a moment and think about that. In our modern age, I travel the country, host festivals, and give events full of people who want to build their own homes.
This used to be normal and I’m sure when it was the only option people dreamed about not having to build their own homes. But as our daily life has gotten more industrialized, we’ve stopped asking questions about where we live and why we live there. We don’t know who made our own home, where the materials came from, what’s happening inside our walls, and often we don’t even think about the fact that we don’t know any of this. Houses come pre-packaged, no questions asked.
Yet there is so much value in knowing the name of the person who raised the wall of your home, and even more in having raised the wall yourself. By understanding firsthand the effort that goes into constructing the house, including the time and materials, we use our homes more lovingly. We’re more invested, connected, respectful, sustainable, and self-aware.
Think about the difference of care between someone who rents a room and someone who owns a home. Now take that to the next step and think the amount you’d care about a home you built yourself.
Are there important considerations when non-skilled people start building structures? Absolutely, and those are things that any tiny house builder should take very carefully. But building your own house is both a possible and incredibly beautiful experience, whatever the size.