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Check out our announcements!

Announcing the lineup for Caravan Campfires- Songs & S'mores! Every Wednesday Night from 7-10pm, June 1st-August 31, 2016.

Gather around the bonfire every Wednesday evening from 7-10pm to listen to fantastic local bands, make s'mores, BBQ on our grill and introduce our Caravan guests from around the world to our creative and inspiring Portland community. Each week, we feature well-loved local bands from different genres of the vibrant Portland music scene.

We'll provide a bonfire, fixins for s'mores(including Fair Trade chocolate and GF graham crackers!), a BBQ to grill on, and a performance by talented Portland musicians, all in the unique, funky courtyard of the first tiny house hotel in the world. Attendees can BYOB and BYOBBQ to grill on our BBQ. (*Please bring your own reusable cup & plate.) *This year, Radio Room will provide BBQ to purchase in there courtyard across the street. $10.

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Announcing Pacifica, Our Newest Tiny House

Pacifica joined Caravan in March of 2016. Pacifica was built in Olympia, Washington by nationally known and highly respected tiny house builder, Abel Zyl, of Zyl Vardos. http://www.zylvardos.com/


Pacifica has a very unusual design for a tiny house on wheels. It is built on a 10ft. wide single axle trailer and is designed to be universally accessible to accommodate those who use a wheelchair for mobility.

The billowing and undulating roofline and the concentric arcs of the cedar-shingled exterior reminds us of ocean waves. The name Pacifica, a nod to our west coast ocean, embodies all of these architectural characteristics.

See more pictures and book a night at http://tinyhousehotel.com/pacifica

Roly Poly is for Sale!

Caravan is saying goodbye to our adorable tiny house, Roly Poly, to make room for our brand new, super star tiny house, Pacifica!

Roly Poly arrived at Caravan-The Tiny House Hotel in late August, 2014. It is fun and whimsical – thematically roly and round. Roly Poly has a sheepherder's wagon rounded roof, and a cantilevered loft bed. It is 80 sq ft plus the sleeping lofts. Roly Poly has one queen bed, and one twin bed, and can sleep 1-3 people.

Specs:

  • Exterior dimensions are 12′ (l) x 6.66′ (w) x 12.5′ (h), and weighs roughly 5,000 lbs, electric, no gas or propane. It could run off of either 30amps or 50amps, flush toilet, a shower, a water heater, fridge.

See more pictures and read reviews of Roly Poly here

Tiny House Tours on May 1st and 22nd

Upcoming Sundays, May 1st and 22nd, we will open our gate to the public for one of our Tiny House Tours. People from across the city, county and country attend and learn about the tiny house movement, Caravan, building techniques, and legal aspects of tiny house living. Tell your friends and register here at: http://tinyhousehotel.com/Tiny-House-Tours

Season Two of Caravan Campfires Songs & Smores

Last summer, we kicked off an incredible music series at Caravan, which serves as a unique venue for showcasing great local music talent. It's a BYOB and BYOBBQ event. We're excited to announce our 2nd season. Shows are $10- tickets are available here. Here's the line-up:

The 2016 Summer Line-up

JUNE

June 1st:    OPENING NIGHT!

June 8th:    ALEXA WILEY & THE WILDERNESS

June 15th:  THE ROBIN JACKSON BAND

June 22nd:  THE SALOON ENSEMBLE

June 29th:   LEWI LONGMIRE & THE LEFT COAST ROASTERS

JULY

July 6th:     MOODY LITTLE SISTER

July 13th:   THE JIM PRESCOTT QUINTET

July 20th:   FERNANDO

July 27th:   LOVE GIGANTIC

AUGUST

August 3rd:   MAYA DORN, LIBBY KIRKPATRICK & JANS INGBER

August 10th:  SWAN SOVEREIGN

August 17th:  ERIC BOHNE & FRIENDS

August 24th:  TONY FURTADO

August 31s:   THE UKELADIES

Tear Drop Trailer Rental for Traveling Around the Region

Ever wanted to camp in style? Caravan's sweet tear drop trailer provides an awesome chance to experience the remote scenery and freedom that the Pacific Northwest has offer, from the comfort of a memory foam queen bed, with a surround sound system and a DVD player to boot!

Any vehicle with a hitch is capable of towing Rosie, our 900 lbs teardrop trailer. Learn more at: http://tinyhousehotel.com/teardroptrailerrental

ADU Updates

The best place for ADU related updates is AccessoryDwellings.org. But, here's a few quick tidbits for those who care about ADUs or have been considering building one.

Portland City Council is considering extending the SDC waiver for ADUs. Please reach out Portland's City Council to show your support for an SDC waiver extension.

Kol Peterson, one of Caravan's owners, is writing a book about ADUs. It's going to be the authoritative work on the ADU development process for homeowners, and ADU policy for wonks. We'll be describing this effort more in upcoming posts, but just wanted to give you a heads up about it.

There won't be an ADU Tour this spring—but, we're planning to run another big city wide tour of ADUs in Portland in the spring of 2017.

Build Small Lecture Series- Starting this Wednesday

Portland Alternative Dwellings, a local company that does tiny house related education programs, is starting a new speaker series about building small. Caravan's owners, Deb and Kol, are speaking at two of the events. Here's PAD's announcement- Register for the series here.

Are you interested in tiny houses on wheels, Accessory Dwelling Units or creating a community in your own backyard? The Build Small Lecture Series is where you can learn how to create a home that works for your life and your budget. In four sessions, expert speakers will demystify the most popular types of small homes, tell you how to design, build and finance them, and explain the legal, zoning and code requirements you need to know.

The series will help you clarify your interests, navigate your options, and meet the people who can help you move your dream home forward. Each session features experts in the small home movement and some of the most creative and inspiring case studies out there – many of which are right here in the Portland area. Network with experts and like-minded friends, get practical information that applies to you, and discover the resources that will take you forward!

What Type of Small Is For You? on Wednesday, April 6, 2016 | 6:00-8:00 pm
Dee Williams, PAD Tiny Houses and Deb Delman, Caravan Tiny House Hotel

Intro to Tiny Houses on Wheels on Wednesday, May 11, 2016 | 6:00-8:00 pm
Dee Williams, PAD Tiny Houses and Derin Williams, Shelter Wise

Building an Accessory Dwelling Unit on Wednesday, May 25, 2016 | 6:00-8:00 pm
Kol Peterson, Accessory Dwelling Strategies and the Caravan Tiny House Hotel

Creating Community with Small Housing on Wednesday, June 8, 2016 | 6:00-8:00 pm
Mark Lakeman, Communitecture


Hi everyone. We hope that you’re having a great autumn.

There is a bunch of small housing events forthcoming in November that we are excited to announce. Some are referring to it as “Tinypalooza”, as there’s never been such a BIG convergence of small housing events like this before.

ADU Tour  on Saturday, November 7th 

Caravan- The Tiny House Hotel, with support from the City of Portland- Bureau of Planning and Sustainability, Metro, the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality, Earth Advantage, and Energy Trust of Oregon, is hosting Portland's city-wide tour of Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) on November 7th. Learn more and Register at http://accessorydwellings.org/adu_tour/

Build Small, Live Large Housing Summit. Friday, November 6th

This one-day housing summit preceding the ADU Tour, will gather leaders from the small house movement to share what's working and what's next. Learn about cottage clusters, elegant space efficient designs, and smart policy initiatives that build community.

Registration for this event is separate from the ADU Tour: buildsmall-livelarge.com


Saturday, November 7th, 10am-4pm

Attendees take a self-guided tour of 11 ADUs in Portland at their own pace. This fall tour will contain a new set of beautiful ADUs throughout Portland, never featured on the ADU Tour before. More information about the ADUs on this year's tour is be posted on AccessoryDwellings.org.

Tiny House Tour on November 8th

On Sunday, November 8th, we will open our gate to the public for one of our Tiny House Tours. People from across the city, county and country attend and learn about the tiny house movement, Caravan, building techniques, and legal aspects of tiny house living. Tell your friends and register here at: http://tinyhousehotel.com/Tiny-House-Tours

ADU Class on November 15th

The ADU Class on Sunday, November 15th intended for participants of the ADU Tour on November 7th, as we will reference a number of ADUs that are on the tour. Register here:
http://accessorydwellings.org/adu_tour/

ADU Education, Consulting, and Advocacy

Kol, one of Caravan’s owners, has taken the leap to being fully self-employed to do more work around accessory dwelling units in Portland and beyond. This has been Kol’s passion for several years. Kol runs the City wide ADU tour for Caravan, teaches classes for homeowners and realtors, consults, speaks, and blogs on AccessoryDwellings.org and pdxadu.blogspot.com.

Caravan Campfires- Songs & S’mores

Wednesday Evenings, May-September

Join us on Wednesday evenings as we gather around the bonfire to make s'mores and listen to music by creative and talented Portland-based musicians. Each week, we’ll feature local musicians with an emphasis on highlighting both well-known Portland musicians and on introducing exciting new talents to the community.

slider-685x275The music will range from solo acoustic acts such as Johanna Warren and Kris Deelane (formerly of Adam & Kris), to duos and trios including local favorites Swan Sovereign and Three for Silver, to well-known bands such as The Robin Jackson Band, Love Gigantic and Alexa Wiley & The Wilderness. Nationally known acts will include Tony Furtado and Cyber Twins featuring members of the Shook Twins.

Opening night is Wednesday, May 6th, from 7-10pm and will feature The Robin Jackson Band. "Robin Jackson is one of the hidden gems of the inexhaustible mine of Portland indie-folk." Rockerilla Magazine. Caravan will provide an amazing atmosphere to listen to music under our beautiful canopy, at the first tiny house hotel in the world. Attendees encouraged to BYOB and BYOBBQ for the grill. (*Please bring reusable cup & plate)

Learn more at https://tinyhousehotel.com/live_music/

Small is Beautiful- tiny house documentary on Sunday, May 10th

Small is Beautiful – a brand new tiny house documentary, is a revealing look into the tiny house movement, a grass roots response to the housing affordability crisis that traps people from across the developed world. The documentary follows several tiny house dwellers in Portland, Oregon, as they make their decisions to live tiny.

Documentary film director Jeremy Beasley and lead character and Caravan staffer Ben Campbell, will be at the screening. We will have a Q+A session with them following the film. For those who are seriously considering downsizing to a tiny house, this evening is a great opportunity to learn about what characteristics and qualities come along with this lifestyle choice.

This event will last from 7-10pm. Rain date for Tuesday, May 12th. We'll email registrants on Sunday by 5pm if we need to postpone the airing due to inclement weather. Note that seating will be outside, so dress appropriately. Seating is limited to 80.

Register at https://tinyhousehotel.com/small-is-beautiful/

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City-wide ADU TOUR

The Second Annual Build Small, Live Large: Portland's Accessory Dwelling Unit Tour-  Friday, May 29th- Sunday, May 31st

Caravan- The Tiny House Hotel, with support from the City of Portland- Bureau of Planning and Sustainability, Metro, the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality, and Earth Advantage, is hosting Portland's 2nd city-wide tour of Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) from May 29th-31st. ADUs are secondary housing units on single-family lots. After last year's sold out one-day event where 850 attendees toured 12 ADUs, this year's event will be double the size with a two-day tour that includes 25 ADUs across Portland.

Build Small, Live Large: Portland's Accessory Dwelling Unit Tour, offers attendees the extremely rare chance to see the interiors of 25 finished ADUs in a variety of locations across the eastside of Portland. The self-guided tour gives attendees access to the homeowners, builders and designers of the ADUs, and to printed and online comprehensive, educational information about the building process for each ADU.  Additional materials and registration can be found at: http://accessorydwellings.org/adu_tour/

On Friday evening, May 29th, there will also be a 3-hour ADU Workshop called "Getting Started with Permitting, Financing, and Design"- presented by Kol Peterson and held at the Alberta Abbey. Saturday, attendees will tour 12 ADUs throughout NE Portland. Caravan- The Tiny House Hotel, the first tiny house hotel in the United States, will open the doors to its six tiny houses on wheels to tour attendees for the entire weekend. Saturday evening, there will be a party at Caravan, featuring live music from Alexa Wiley and the Wilderness, as well as s'mores and local beer. On Sunday, attendees can tour 13 ADUs in SE Portland.

Tickets are limited and they're selling fast. Learn more and register at http://accessorydwellings.org/adu_tour/

Tiny House Tours

On selected Sundays we open our gate to the public for our Tiny House Tours. Usually between 60-100 people from across the city, county and country attend and learn about the tiny house movement, Caravan, building techniques, and legal aspects of tiny house living. Upcoming tours are scheduled for May 17th and 24th. Tell your friends and register here.


ADU TOUR

Announcing the Second Annual Build Small, Live Large: Portland's Accessory Dwelling Unit Tour-  Friday, May 29th- Sunday, May 31st

adubadge_2015

Caravan- The Tiny House Hotel, with support from the City of Portland- Bureau of Planning and Sustainability, Metro, the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality, and Earth Advantage, is hosting Portland's 2nd city-wide tour of Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) from May 29th-31st. ADUs are secondary housing units on single-family lots. After last year's sold out one-day event where 850 attendees toured 12 ADUs, this year's event will be double the size with a two-day tour that includes 25 ADUs across Portland.

Build Small, Live Large: Portland's Accessory Dwelling Unit Tour, offers attendees the extremely rare chance to see the interiors of 25 finished ADUs in a variety of locations across the eastside of Portland. The self-guided tour gives attendees access to the homeowners, builders and designers of the ADUs, and to printed and online comprehensive, educational information about the building process for each ADU.  Additional materials and registration can be found at: http://accessorydwellings.org/adu_tour/

On Friday evening, May 29th, there will also be a 3-hour ADU Workshop called "Getting Started with Permitting, Financing, and Design"- presented by Kol Peterson and held at the Alberta Abbey. Saturday, attendees will tour 12 ADUs throughout NE Portland. Caravan- The Tiny House Hotel, the first tiny house hotel in the United States, will open the doors to its six tiny houses on wheels to tour attendees for the entire weekend. Saturday evening, there will be a party at Caravan, featuring live music from Alexa Wiley and the Wilderness, as well as s'mores and local beer. On Sunday, attendees can tour 13 ADUs in SE Portland.

Tickets are limited and they're selling fast. Learn more and register at http://accessorydwellings.org/adu_tour/

Tiny House Tours

On selected Sundays we open our gate to the public for our Tiny House Tours. Usually between 60-100 people from across the city, county and country to attend and learn about the tiny house movement, Caravan, building techniques and legal aspects of tiny house living. Upcoming April tours are scheduled for April 12th and 26th. Tell your friends and register here.

Caravan Campfires- Songs & S’mores

Selected Wednesdays at Caravan from May- September

May 6th, 7-10pm- The Robin Jackson Band

Join us as we gather around the bonfire on Wednesday evenings to listen to incredible local music, make new friends, and introduce Caravan guests from around the world to our creative and inspiring Portland community. Each week we’ll feature local musicians from different genres- some weeks we'll have solo acoustic acts and others we'll feature full bands. Our aim is to highlight both well-known Portland musicians and to introduce exciting new talents to attendees.

We’ll provide fantastic local music by creative and talented Portland-based musicians, an amazing atmosphere at the first tiny house hotel in the world and all-you-can-eat s’mores:) Attendees can BYOB and BYOBBQ (*please bring your own reusable cup & plate.)

Gate opens at 7pm / Music from 8-9:30pm / Event ends at 10pm

$10/person

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PORTLANDIA!

We’re super excited to announce that Caravan will be featured on Portlandia on February 26th!

It will be aired on Thursday, February 26th.

We’ll be gathering to watch the show at the Radio Room, across the street from Caravan, and you’re invited to come watch with us. The show starts at 7pm so please arrive by 6:30 the latest to get a seat. Seating is limited to 50. Please come prepared to support Radio Room by ordering food and drinks.

Image from Vanity Fair from Portlandia shoot at Caravan

The Flying Squirrel

After the Portlandia viewing party, we’ll head to Caravan for a bonfire and S'mores to celebrate our newest addition- a unique, funky and one-of-a-kind rain tent/sun shade built by Guildworks. Beyond the beautiful aesthetic of the Flying Squirrel, the tent will keep guests dry in the rain and cool in the sun in Caravan's common space. We’ve been working on this complicated architectural design solution for a long time, and we’re really excited that it’s finally going up! Bonfire will last from 8-10pm- BYOB.

Tiny House Tours

The Tiny House Tours are scheduled for the following three Sundays: February 22nd, March 1st, and March 8th. Learn more and register here.

SAVE THE DATE—Portland's 2nd Annual Accessory Dwelling Unit Tour – Spring, 2015

Caravan will again be hosting a City-wide tour of Accessory Dwelling Units on May 29th-31st, 2015. Read more about the Build Small, Live Large: Portland's Accessory Dwelling Unit Tour – Spring, 2015 here.

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Last Minute Holiday Gift

Looking for an awesome, last minute, unique experience-based gift? Look no further.

We sell Caravan gift certificates for stays at Caravan and can email them to you right away

Phew!

That’s what you’re thinking right now, isn’t it, last minute shoppers?
Tiny House Tours

The Tiny House Tours will be back in late February, 2015. We’ll post the schedule on the website as soon as it’s set.

SAVE THE DATE—Portland's 2nd Annual Accessory Dwelling Unit Tour – Spring, 2015

Caravan will again be hosting a City-wide tours of Accessory Dwelling Units on May 29th-31st, 2015. Read more about the Build Small, Live Large: Portland's Accessory Dwelling Unit Tour – Spring, 2015 here.

Holiday Wishes

Lastly, the Caravan staff wants to wish you all a very happy holiday. 2014 was the best year since 2013 but 2015 is really going to rock.

We’ll be making a couple other fun announcements in February, so stay tuned.


Tiny House Tours

On selected Sundays, we’re now offering Tiny House Tours. At each tour, visitors can tour of some of our six custom-made tiny houses. We provide a local perspective on the tiny house movement and invite local tiny house builders and other key tiny houses advocates to give a short talk and answer questions. We provide some information about Caravan and provide updates on tiny house happenings in Portland.

This Sunday’s 4pm tour has already sold out, but there’s room in the 3pm tour. Register here.

Tiny House Tour_October 2014
Tiny House Tour_October 2014

Repost of Shareable.net article

A recent Shareable.net article succinctly addressed some of the motivations behind starting Caravan. We wanted to share the article with you here, and you can read it in its entirety on Shareable.net.

Interviewed: The World’s First Tiny House Hoteliers

The tiny house movement is booming. There are off-grid tiny housesAirbnb tiny housestiny house villages and now a tiny house hotel. The first of its kind (we believe), Caravan Tiny House Hotel, in Portland, Oregon, comprises six tiny houses in the Alberta Arts District.

While many tiny house projects intentionally stay under the radar, Caravan is commercially zoned, legally-permitted and connected to the city systems. The houses, which are custom built by local builders, have flush toilets, hot running water and electricity. Tiny hotel guests can rent one tiny house or rent the whole hotel which sleeps 20.

Deb Delman and her partner Kol Peterson, the creators of Caravan, are passionate about simplicity, sustainability, and tiny houses. They both have experience with tiny living too. Delman has lived in yurts, trailers, a garage she converted into a cabin and more. With a background in environmental planning and design, Peterson is a leading advocate for accessory dwelling units (ADUs) in Portland.

Shareable spoke with Delman and Peterson about their mutual appreciation of tiny dwellings, tiny homes as an urban housing solution, how Caravan came to be, and how knowing that you don't want to live in a tiny house is as important as knowing that you do.

Shareable: I understand you’ve lived in several tiny structures including yurts, trailers, cabins etc. What is it about tiny living that appeals to you?

Delman: What appeals to me is probably what appeals to a lot of people. It started when I was 13 and I moved into basement and turned it into my own little world. I subsequently lived in a lot of funky, off the beaten path kind of places. What appeals to me is a sense of ownership over the space and the design; a feeling that it's really mine. There's a sense of ease; you're not beholden to caring for a space that you don’t need. And the creative use of space; figuring out a way to make a small space work and be functional and be beautiful. It's just a fun challenge. I do all the furniture and design for the six tiny houses and it's a head and heart kind of combo.

The tiny house movement is booming right now. What is it about the tiny lifestyle that people find so interesting? Where do you see this tiny living movement heading?

Delman: In some ways there are some basic reasons that a lot of people are connecting. There's an appeal that's universal and I think that on some level, at least in this part of the world, there's this childhood draw to small spaces, like dollhouses and forts. There's something about this miniature world that as kids maybe we were drawn to.

On the practical side, a lot of it is economics. People on one end of the socioeconomic side of things that have very large homes and were drawn to that because they could afford it and it was a status symbol, now are really overwhelmed and burdened by that style. On the other end, there's a very serious situation with people living on the streets. I'm not sure that tiny houses on wheels are the solution to that, but a lot of people are looking into initiatives to create tiny house communities as a solution.

If you look at the continuum of people without homes and those with massive homes, it seems like what's happening, and why there's such mass appeal, is that it kind of meets right in the middle and I don’t know of too many movements that do that.

There are other aspects that are appealing to everybody: the freedom to live in a house on wheels, be mobile, be able to move around and live in different places. And a big part of the tiny house movement is people wanting to downsize. All over blogs and documentaries about tiny houses, people are saying the same thing: I'd rather have a life full of experiences than things. There's this turn away from consumerism toward more meaningful living. And a lot of people lost a lot of money over the last five or six years. Even if it's not a lifestyle choice, by necessity, people can't live as large as they've been living.

There's a movement to create off-grid tiny houses in rural places, but here you are, in the middle of an urban setting. What's your experience with tiny living in the city been? What are some of the benefits and biggest challenges?

Delman: We're a hotel and zoned as a hotel so it would be hard to say what living at Caravan would be like. We have very short term stays. We're the first commercially zoned application of tiny houses and as far as we know, the only legally-permitted tiny houses that are connected to the city systems. We have flush toilets, hot running water, electricity, we're totally tapped into the grid and permitted to do so. In terms of living off-grid or being in a rural area, we're kind of the opposite of that.

For our guests, Caravan is a fantastic introduction to tiny house living, which is a big part of why we exist. People want to come to Portland and they need a place to stay but they also get to experience tiny house living. If we had Caravan set up outside of town on some land, that would be awesome in some other ways, but we wouldn't probably have the same popularity. It's hard to compare.

How did the tiny hotel come about?

Delman: It's a convergence of my background and interests and Kol's background and interests but Caravan really came out of how we met. I was living in my garage cabin and on our first date Kol came to pick me up and was totally taken with my cabin. We joke that he fell in love with my cabin first. He and I quickly became a couple and ended up building an ADU on property he bought.

Caravan is really connected to the ADU movement. The city of Portland has been leading the systems development charges, really encouraging urban density and infill. As we built our ADU we documented it extensively on a blog and got a lot of traffic. Now every month Kol leads workshops on small housing. He's gotten involved on a policy level and is a leading ADU expert in Portland now.

I owned the house next door [to the lot Caravan is on]. We approached the owners of the lot and amazingly, they sold it to us at a very affordable price. We went to work convincing the city to let us do something really unusual and innovative. The beauty was that there was no precedent—it was the beauty and challenge of it. We were persistent; we were like mosquitos, we just would not leave them alone. We both have backgrounds in nonprofits and social service and we're just the type of people who like a challenge. We really believed that this was going to fly so we went through the permitting process, tore up the lot, looked for tiny houses and a year later, we're booked months in advance.

What kind of response has there been to it?

Delman: It's been overwhelmingly positive. It's been kind of a feel-good experience for all of us. We've had thousands of people in the last year come see Caravan. We had an open house where over 1,000 people showed up and 850 people signed up for an ADU tour we partnered with the city on. We're definitely well-positioned in this movement right now to continue to serve our purpose, which is to showcase tiny housing as an option.

The tiny houses are all extremely beautiful and well-built and very unique and unusual. We get to showcase some of the most beautiful spaces out there. I think that's why the response has been so positive because people get to experience tiny house living while being in this really fun, funky place that has a firepit and all you can eat s'mores and get room service from the restaurant across the street and the houses are right on Alberta Street so they can meet people.

Do you think the hotel helps build momentum around the tiny house movement? Do people test drive the experience at the hotel before they take the plunge into tiny living?

Delman: Definitely yes. And the reverse, which is just as important to us. Some people come to Caravan absolutely sure that they want to live in a tiny house but they've never been in one and certainly never slept in one. Plenty of people, by staying at Caravan, have realized that tiny house living is not for them, that it's not realistic.

Tiny housing offers an interesting alternative for city housing markets that are impacted and wildly expensive. What potential do you see for tiny houses and the tiny house movement to transform urban settings and create affordable housing options?

Peterson: As the regulations stand in every city that I know of, tiny houses on wheels will not be able to play a significant role in providing a viable affordable housing option. Residential occupancy isn’t currently allowed in tiny houses on wheels, except in RV parks. In Portland for example, there’s a pretty cut and dry Illegal Residential Occupancy code that restricts residential occupancy to permitted structures.

Tiny houses on wheels, and other non-permitted alternative dwellings (yurts, garages, studios, tents, buses, RVs) will still continue to play a significant role underground, but the Illegal Residential Occupancy code essentially blocks these non-conventional housing types from ever becoming a truly viable option at a larger scale. Without the code and legal backing of the city, institutions such as banks, lenders, insurers, and appraisers, can’t provide the same kinds of benefits that they provide to legally recognized housing forms such as multi-family, SFD, and ADUs.

Depending on a range of economic and cultural factors of a city, these less expensive, non-permitted dwellings may continue to play an increasingly significant underground role in cities everywhere, but because of their murky legal status, they may not be be able to provide a truly viable housing role in cities anywhere.

Micro-apartments and condos will continue to do well in cities, but many people like me don’t want to live in multifamily settings. So, what reasonably affordable options are there for living in detached dwellings in single family neighborhoods? ADUs are one viable, legal pathway to developing creative and small (detached) housing options. Unfortunately, very few places have policies that allow the development of ADUs, let alone encourage them.

Portland, Oregon is indeed on the cutting edge of ADUs. Other cities, including D.C., New York City, Los Angeles and San Francisco, that don’t have feasible development pathways for ADUs, have tens to hundreds of thousands of non-permitted ADUs, whether the planning officials like it or not. This is the market expressing its needs and it would behoove everyone if the rules were in place to capture the value of the ADUs being developed, and ensure that they were safe to be lived in.

From a design and environmental planning perspective, what are the benefits of tiny house living? What would you like to see in both Portland and other urban settings when it comes to supporting tiny house dwellers.

Peterson: The biggest benefit environmentally is that downsizing one’s residential footprint is the most significant and simplest way to minimize one’s energy footprint. Following this technique is moving to an area that is more walkable and bikeable.

In cities that need to create more dense development to meet their housing demand, they need to figure out how to embrace more ADU-friendly regulations. For tiny houses, I’d like to see a regulation that allowed for homeowners to legally have mobile dwellings parked in their driveway, in which people could legally live, and to which there could be a legal sewer connection. This dispersed form of housing in residential areas would have the ability to provide very low cost habitation, and provide an additional source of rental income for the homeowner. Mobile ADUs could be incredibly nimble and responsive to changing planning and design codes.

There would be NIMBY issues that could arise—there’s a old guy living in that RV next to my home—gasp! One design code to address this NIMBY concern would be to require 8 foot fences around the mobile dwelling, and the homeowners would have to seek a permit from the City to use their driveway for this use.

This type of regulation would provide truly affordable and flexible housing options in increasingly unaffordable cities, and open up a huge marketplace for creative housing choices to meet the changing housing needs of city’s changing demographics.

I understand that you are active in teaching people about ADUs. What do your classes focus on?

Peterson: This class is intended for homeowners interested in building an ADU on their property. For most homeowners, building an ADU is not simple or straightforward—it's essentially the job of being a land developer, a job that most people have ever done, or will likely ever do again. The class daylights the complex ADU development process. It results in a better project by helping owners and developers understand the ADU design, management, and building process.

We cover planning and zoning regulations, financing, contract management, small space design, rebates, and the chronological step-by-step design and build process, and a host of other topics. We also tour a couple ADUs in each class.

What role do you see ADUs playing in creating affordable housing and how does the tiny house movement intersect with ADU building and living?

Peterson: There’s an interesting and complicated answer to this question. ADUs don’t provide affordable housing, according to the conventional definition of this term. However, they do organically end up providing affordable housing in that a small but significant percentage of homeowners end up giving their ADUs to friends and relatives at a reduced cost or at no cost. In other words, the ADU homeowners are not being told that they must provide affordable housing through Section 8, but statistically, about 10 percent of them are basically giving away their ADU at low values.

At $20,000-$40,000 average cost, tiny houses have even more potential to provide low cost housing, but until there is a viable and legal marketplace for residential tiny house living through allowing for tiny houses on wheels to be legally dwelled in, and tapped into a sewer on a residential driveway, this market will not emerge fully. If a zoning rule like this one happens in a city with a very strong rental market such as D.C., San Francisco, Los Angeles etc., an incredible ecosystem of tiny house builders, suppliers, renters, and owners will start to take hold.


Tiny House Tours

Caravan was created to offer guests at our hotel a unique opportunity to experience tiny house living in the heart of the Alberta Arts District in Portland, Oregon.  As the first and only legally permitted, commercial application of tiny houses in the United States, we've had thousands of visitors from across the country and world come to Caravan to take tours of our tiny houses.

After a year of opening our gate to hundreds of people each week, we’ve decided to offer weekly Tiny House Tours to visitors.  Each Sunday, from 4- 5pm, our staff will give a presentation about Caravan and a tour of some of our six custom-made tiny houses. We’ll provide some background information about the tiny house movement and updates on tiny house happenings in Portland. Each week, we'll invite local tiny house builders and other key tiny houses advocates to give a short talk and answer questions.

Register for the September 14th event on the tiny house tour page. Registration is $10/person. Event will be capped at 100. If you can’t make this first tour, just check the schedule on our website for the next event.

Introducing Roly Poly

Roly Poly arrived at Caravan-The Tiny House Hotel in late August, 2014. Roly Poly is a visual spectacle inside and out. It is fun and whimsical – thematically roly and round. Roly Poly has a sheepherder's wagon rounded roof, and a cantilevered loft bed. It is 84 sq ft plus the sleeping lofts. The stools and upstairs daybed provide a hangout zone. Roly Poly has one king bed, and one twin bed, and can sleep 1-3 people.


Update 5/29/14: The tour is sold out, but you can add your name to the wait list at adutour.eventbrite.com in case spots open up. 

Updated 5/28/14: There's been a huge amount of interest in attending this tour, which is fantastic. To allow for ample access to the ADUs for attendees, we've decided to cap the ticket sales. Tickets will likely sell out by the end of the day , so we recommend buying a ticket now if you'd like to attend. 

Updated 5/23/14: Read the awesome coverage of the event on the Oregonian

5/7/2014: Tour will now also feature eight tiny houses on wheels-six at Caravan, and two at Shelter Wise. Tiny House pioneer and author, Dee Williams of PAD, will be a featured guest at the 4-6pm ADU Networking event. Read in-depth tour coverage in the Oregonian from last weekend. 

Release Date: April 16th, 2014  

Contact: Kol Peterson and Deb Delman, info@tinyhousehotel.com, (503) 395-4248

Build Small, Live Large- Portland's Accessory Dwelling Unit Tour- Sunday, June 1st, 2014

Caravan- The Tiny House Hotel, in partnership with the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality, the City of Portland, and Metro, is hosting Portland's first citywide tour of Accessory Dwelling Units on Sunday, June 1st, 2014 from 10am-6pm. ADUs are secondary living units on single-family lots.  Modeled after the City of Portland's Build It Green Tour, Build Small, Live Large: Portland's Accessory Dwelling Unit Tour offers attendees the rare opportunity to see the interiors of eleven ADUs in a variety of locations across the eastside of Portland. The self-guided tour gives attendees access to the homeowners, builders and designers of the ADUs, and to comprehensive, educational case studies about the building process of each ADU.  There will also be workshops throughout the day presented by local and national experts about a range of topics related to ADUs, from permitting and financing, to designing and building.

Portland has seen a six-fold rise in the number of ADUs built since 2010.  This dramatic increase is the result of a 2010 City of Portland waiver of System Development Charges, which reduced the cost of building permits for an ADU by up to $11,000.  Before the 2010 waiver, approximately 30 ADUs were built in Portland annually, but in 2013 alone, there were almost 200 ADU permits applications.  The waiver's popularity caused the Portland City Council to extend the waiver until July, 2016, spurring local ADU leaders to develop Portland's first ADU tour.

Throughout the day, attendees will also have the opportunity to tour four custom-built tiny houses on wheels at Caravan- The Tiny House Hotel. Caravan has received national media attention for being the first tiny house hotel in the United States. Caravan will host a late afternoon networking event from 4-6pm where attendees can meet local advocates, designers, builders and leaders of both the ADU and the tiny house movement. Real estate professionals can earn up to 6 CE credits. Attendees will have the opportunity to earn a special $25 discount to stay at Caravan, as well as enter a raffle for a free stay at Caravan.

Admission is $30. Learn more and register at http://accessorydwellings.org/adu_tour/

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