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84 Square Feet: Tiny House Star Kicks Off Book Tour at Boneyard Studios

by Lark Turner

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Dee Williams, far left, snaps a selfie during a book reading at Boneyard Studios.

A star of the tiny house movement stopped by DC’s Boneyard Studios on Tuesday only to discover what happens when it starts raining on an outdoor book reading. At the tiny houses in Stronghold, here’s what happens: you find out exactly how many people can cram into a very, very small house. (In Boneyard’s new workshop space, the answer is about 50.)

Author and tiny house advocate Dee Williams visited the city’s small house compound for the first stop on the tour to promote her new book, The Big Tiny: A Built-It-Myself Memoir. The book chronicles Williams’ journey from a 1,500 square foot, three-bedroom bungalow to an 84 square foot tiny house that’s now parked in a friend’s backyard, spurred by a diagnosis of cardiomyopathy ten years ago. Williams built the house herself and has spent the last decade promoting and sharing her experience as part of the tiny house movement, which at its core, advocates say, is about divesting from stuff, debt and of course, personal space, while spending more time living.

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Tiny house residents learn how to make decisions ranging from how to lay out a small space to what things they can live without to how to construct, wire and plumb a mobile home (most of the tiny homes are built on small trailers to work around laws concerning minimum square footage). Williams has drummed up a lot of interest in the growing movement, most recently with her book and an accompanying feature in The New York Times.

Williams, who’s started her own company called Portland Alternative Dwellings, spent her time in Stronghold mingling with those interested in very small homes, encouraging them to start building and reading an excerpt from her book, which looks at how she built a family and a community for herself while leaving most of her possessions behind. She also took a few selfies.

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The tiny houses of Stronghold at night. Courtesy of Boneyard Studios.

“As Dee was saying, it’s the community, not the house,” said Lee Pera, who’s almost finished building her tiny house adjacent to two others on the Stronghold property abutting a cemetery. “Friends of mine will come by on a Sunday and hang out while I’m working; we do concerts; we know the folks who come down the alley and grab stuff from the garden.”

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People check out Lee Pera’s tiny house, which is almost complete.

UrbanTurf asked Williams to weigh in on the micro-unit trend that’s gaining popularity in DC and around the country.

“It’s an old idea that’s just being rolled out again [based on] individual wants and needs,’” Williams said. “Developers want companies like mine to be a part of that discussion, because we’re a great foil. Next to their proposals, we look ridiculous!”

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This article originally published at http://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/tiny_house_star_kicks_off_book_tour_at_boneyard_studios/8395

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