September, 2011.

While figuring out how I was going to be more mobile, I realized that as long as I was taking a few months to figure out my next steps before moving to California, I might as well use the time productively and head west with some new credentials & experiences under my belt. Since I have general interests in architecture, renovation, interior design and real estate, I thought it could be helpful to search for a renovation class in my area, and get some hands-on experience. I did a quick Google search, and on the first page of results, the name “Yestermorrow” caught my eye.

I clicked onto the Yestermorrow website and I immediately got a warm, excited feeling about the school, and the prospect of studying there. I remember that it was really appealing to me that Yestermorrow seemed to offer a real sense of community, and would improve my design abilities and also teach me some hands-on, real-world trade skills. I looked through the course list and found lots of interesting and fun-sounding classes, like Urban Regeneration, Solar Design, and Less is More: Designing the Small or Tiny Home.

Then I searched through the certificate programs, and got really excited by the prospect of completing the Certificate in Sustainable Building & Design, which I discovered I could finish in a matter of months. So, that’s the route I decided to take. At 6 -7 hours for a one-way trip to school, I wanted to save time & money and complete the program in as few trips as possible. However, I made sure I only signed up for classes I was excited about, and that would stretch me beyond my current abilities.

Over the next six months, and through four stays at the school between October 2011 and April 2012, I took all of the required classes for the certificate, as well as a number of supplementary courses on ecological concepts & best practices, basic carpentry, design, electrical wiring and (of course) renovation. As good as the certificate program is, I took these supplementary classes to round out my education even more. In this blog I’ll be sharing insights from several of these classes, and my goal is to manifest many of the design and systems ideas that I learned from class in the final design / build of the Airstream.

In the meantime, here’s a list of the classes I took, to give an idea of the basic education I received, leading into this project:

  • Basic Carpentry
  • Foundations 101
  • The Healthy Home*
  • Less is More: Designing a Small or Tiny House*
  • Solar Design*
  • Math for Builders
  • Introduction to Structural Design
  • Codes, Costs & Contracts
  • Ecological Design & the Built Environment*
  • Urban Regeneration*
  • Green Remodeling & Deep Energy Retrofits*
  • Fundamentals of Design
  • How to GC Your Home
  • Solar Electric Design & Installation*
  • Renovation
  • Electricity: Safe & Secure
  • Wire it Up!

* = Courses that apply to the certificate program

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