Head to Tiny House Boot Camp!

Tiny house, big heart. jenine a. in her tiny house in Healdsburg, California. Photo: Nicolás Boullosa/FlickrMy obsession with tiny houses knows no bounds, and I'm particularly in love with upcycled projects made from materials people find around them in their communities. Upcycling and recycling provide a fantastic way to keep construction supplies out of the waste stream while also cutting production costs, and you don't have to sacrifice your design dreams to fit the materials. Insead, upcycled materials can actually radically expand possibilities for you, if you're willing to play around with all the available options.

But building a whole house, even a tiny one, can be intimidating, especially if you're thinking of upcycling. What do you need to know about the building code? How can you find the best salvage material? Where are the best plans, or can you draw up your own? How do you put the darn thing together? How do plumbing and wiring work? These are all legitimate, and scary, questions.

Which is why you might just want to consider attending a tiny house boot camp! In a weekend, you can learn the basics of building tiny houses with salvaged materials, with a comprehensive overview of all kinds of building subjects under the supervision of skilled Austin contractors. And you're in luck -- if you sign up by 15 February for an upcoming class in Luling, Texas, you can do it for just $425, which is a pretty great deal.

Why attend a workshop? You get taken through the steps of creating designs, sifting through and preparing salvage material, and working on every stage of building a tiny house. This includes framing, laying floors, insulating, wall cladding, and other features. In addition, electricians and other professionals will help people with the details of finishing to make the tiny house habitable. Those skills you pick up in a workshop will allow you to build your own, and work with like-minded individuals around the world.

Not at all bad for a weekend's worth of work, and if you can't make it to Texas, consultation services and videos are still available. You can also check to see if tiny house construction classes are available in your area. Muster up enough interest, and you might be able to convince a tiny house expert to come to your community to lead a workshop which would leave you with a tiny house all your own, and the construction skills to build more.

Tiny houses definitely aren't for everyone, but they can make fantastic guest houses, studios, and workspaces for people who want to create separate environments. They can also go on the road, for those of you who enjoy the rambling lifestyle, and thanks to their mobility, such houses are often exempt from building codes, allowing you to cut through much of the red tape involved in the building process (but you should still check with county officials first to make sure you can go ahead).

If you've ever been curious about tiny house construction or whether one would be right for you, a construction class is a great way to learn more, and to meet people who share your interest in cutting down your lifestyle to the essentials. Alternatively, check out the Tiny House Hotel in Portland, Oregon, where you can get a temporary taste of tiny house living!

Katie Marks writes for Networx.com.

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