Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Old Log Cabins

I live in a part of the country where old log cabins still dot the hillsides. These cabins are weathered and worn, but there is a simple beauty to them. They remind us of simpler times, before internet and satellite TV, some before electricity or even running water. They are not status symbols or social gathering places. They were not built with master suites or lots of storage space. They were not built with resale in mind. They were built for very basic reasons- shelter and security.

I believe the small house movement is nothing new. It’s more of a reawakening to what’s really important in life and a longing for those simpler times.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Hippie Architecture

I was recently thinking back on my childhood and the place I grow up. It was not what most people would consider to be a “normal” childhood, but as a kid you’re not really concerned with what others would call “normal”. Isn’t “normal” just a setting on the dryer anyway?

I spent most of my childhood on a hippie commune in Tennessee, called The Farm. The Farm was started in the early 70’s by a small group of hippies originally from San Francisco, CA. When they arrived in Tennessee, out of necessity most of the buses they used to travel the country were now converted into makeshift houses.

When my family moved to The Farm we were assigned to a household called Dogwood Bottom (each house had a name rather than an address). Dogwood Bottom was really a house at all, it was an old military tent set up on a wood platform with one of the old school buses sticking out one side. There wasn’t actually enough room in the house for us. So, another bus was set up for my family to live in. All the seats had been removed and bunk beds where built along one side of the bus, a large bed in the back for my parents and a wood stove for heat.

Shortly after we moved to The Farm, my grandmother also moved there (not necessarily by choice). She moved into a VW micro bus with a small addition built into the side. This was a major adjustment for a Methodist pastor’s widow, but she kept the complaining down to a low rumble.

There were many other unique houses on The Farm, of all different sizes and shapes. Some built with what ever scraps of lumber that could be scrounged, others very creative and resourceful. This is where my interest in architecture and more specifically tiny house began.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Why start a business?

I recently asked myself this question, “Why start a new business?” I currently work for a small local architect firm and love what I do there. My boss is a great guy to work for. He’s they kind of guy that will close the office early just because it’s a nice day, he’ll buy lunch for the office staff to say, “Thanks for working so hard.”

So, if I work for such a great company why start my own? Is it because I want more freedom to do what I want? I’ve had my own custom residential design firm before coming to work for the firm I work for now. Freedom is an illusion in small business, especially when you are first starting out. I worked almost everyday of the week. I worked longer hours. I would lay awake at night thinking about the business and all the things I didn’t get done that day.
I had traded one boss for multiple bosses. Because now every client is my boss and to be successful I had to work hard and please everyone of them.
Freedom? No not for freedom.

Is it for the money? When you start a new business obviously making money is one of the goals. I’m not doing this just for the experience, but I think if it’s financial reasons your priorities are mixed up. If you really start figuring how much time you spend verses hour much money is coming in… it could become really disheartening, especially when you are first starting out.

Here is the conclusion I came to, yours may be a little different. It’s about a Dream. When you work for someone else, you are working toward fulfilling that persons dream. At the end of the day you can go home and leave the job at the office.
When you are working to fulfill your dream, you are willing to sacrifice, you are willing to work long hours, you are willing to give your all in order to achieve your dream.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

My First Blog

I’ve never considered myself to be any type of writer, but I’ve been encouraged by several people to blog about my new venture. I’ve recently started a new business designing and building “tiny homes”, called Ozarks Tiny Cabins.

This feels like a very natural progression. I’m a licensed architect and LEED AP in Southwest Missouri. I’ve worked in the architecture field for close to fifteen years with several years of construction experience prior to that. So, combining these two passions seems like the next logical step.

I became aware of what some call the tiny home movement several years ago. I was intrigued by the idea, the beauty of simplicity, the reprioritizing of life. When you’re used to designing large custom homes, condos, and commercial buildings, transitioning to tiny home designs takes a change in thinking. It’s no longer about, “How many car garage?” “How many extra rooms?” “Would you like a walk-in shower and jacuzzi tub?” Now it’s about what’s really important to your life.

And so… I will be blogging about this new venture. I am excited about what the future has to hold.