Less is More (Part 1 of 3)

November, 2011.

Having taken a few introductory classes at Yestermorrow (Basic Carpentry, Foundations 101, and The Healthy Home), I’d been slowly familiarizing myself with the culture of the school. So far, I was finding Yestermorrow to be a supportive environment. I was happy with the small class sizes and the healthy meals, and I really liked the people. Between the hands-on courses and classroom theory, in a short time I was starting to build confidence in my ability to pick up a tool and put something thoughtful & sturdy together.

One of the first people I’d met at Yestermorrow was Gillian Davis, who was then a full-time wood shop intern for the school. She stood out to me right away, not just because of her bright, engaging personality, but because she was in the middle stages of building a tiny house for herself on a trailer flatbed in the parking lot…

When I had a chance, I mentioned to her that I was taking the Less is More design class, and was thinking of buying an Airstream trailer as a green renovation project. Could I have a tour of her tiny home sometime, and pick her brain about what the process was like? Gillian was open to it, and we decided we’d find a quiet break in our schedules to take a look.

The design class I was referring to was my first 5-day-long design course, Less is More: Designing the Small or Tiny House with instructors Dave Cain & Andreas Stavropoulos. Originally based on a program called Designing Small Living Spaces, the Less is More class would be exploring philosophy of living in, and methods of designing for smaller structures. Our assignment would be to complete a series of designs for a small structure that we might want to build for ourselves. Studio sessions would be punctuated with a number of site visits to small buildings within a short driving distance from the school (including the home of instructor Dave Cain), and we would also have the opportunity to speak with the owners both about how the structures came to be and how well they functioned over time.



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