A few December tiny house events

Before the cold weather really sets in and we bundle up in our houses (big or small), a few tiny house events happening in DC next week:

Thursday, December 8 @ 7:30PM
Tiny house talk + Q&A at Patagonia DC
Free admission, free snacks, and free beer! Jay will be talking about building and living in the Matchbox, and the big adventures living simply can provide. Doors open at 7PM.

Sunday, December 11 @ 11AM
Tiny house tour of the Matchbox
Take a tour of the 150-square-foot, off-grid house, currently situated right in the middle of a bustling and festive holiday tree farm, courtesy of Old City Farm & Guild.

Hope you can make it!

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The Matchbox at Old City Farm & Guild

 

Tour the Matchbox: September 15th, 2016

Between summer travel and summer heat, it’s been a quiet season for Boneyard Studios. But with cooling weather and lovely evenings ahead, we’re excited to announce another tiny house tour Thursday, September 15 at 6PM! After dozens and dozens of Sunday morning open houses, we’re curious to try out a weekday evening tour, aimed at those who may not be able to make it downtown on a weekend. The Matchbox (and only the Matchbox) will be open for viewing and a Q&A at 925 Rhode Island Avenue NW—home of Old City Farm & Guild, with a Metro stop, CaBi station, multiple bus stops, and plenty of bike parking (and car parking) nearby.

Like always, we’ll start promptly with a general introduction, so please arrive on time. Afterwards you’ll be free to ask questions, take photographs, check out the space and its many small and off-grid features, and take a walk around the lovely urban farm right in the Matchbox’s backyard. Catch a few more details on Facebook here, or head on over and register here. Hope to see you on the 15th!

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The Matchbox @ 925 Rhode Island Avenue NW

Tiny house tours are back: Another move for the Matchbox

It’s been a long year—three lovely locations, two messy moves, one little house just looking for home. And last week, the Matchbox moved yet again, available for tours and visits and concerts and much, much more very soon.

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Boneyard Studios has always been about local architecture, local arts, and local agriculture, and so we’re thrilled to be teaming up with the awesome folks at Old City Farm & Guild, the coolest urban garden center in the District. It’s a place where plants and people come together right in the center of the city (Shaw, to be exact), and this fall the Matchbox will be in the center of it all, adding some great tiny house events to Old City’s already wonderful set of community gatherings. It’s going to be a great autumn, and you’re welcome to join us in kicking things off right at the DC State Fair, hosted by Old City on Saturday, September 12 from 12PM to 8PM (more information here).

Our fall calendar is still in the works, so if you can’t make it to the fair, no worries—there will be many more opportunities to see the Matchbox coming up. Until then, here’s a little footage of the little house out on the big road:

Tiny House Community: Reflections on the Tiny House Jamboree

I often start off my introductions by stating that I never wanted to build a tiny house.  People chuckle and, a bit incredulously, ask “What do you mean you didn’t want to build one?  I can hear the confusion in their voice, and I understand.  After all I spent the last three years of my life building a tiny house and a tiny house community. 

Yet I wasn’t like many of the tiny house DIY builders that I know.  Sure, I got excited about the design, but I wasn’t all that interested in learning how to build: I had never even held or operated a drill and driver before starting this project, and I certainly didn’t know what a rainscreen was or what PEX meant.  What excited me more than building the house was doing something creative in an urban area to challenge us to think more intentionally about the way we live our lives and about what we can do with unused and vacant spaces.

So no, I didn’t really want to build my own house, but I ended up having to because when I started this project there were no fully-built tiny houses to buy and there were very few plans available.  Fast forward three years and more than three network TV shows, and it seems everyone has caught tiny house fever.  I no longer have to explain to people what a tiny house on wheels is, I can’t keep up with all the different builders, groups, blogs, and shows out there, and what was once seen as a fringe (and tiny) movement has grown into an (almost) mainstream industry.

Given the numbers at the Tiny House Jamboree last weekend you could argue that tiny houses are already a mainstream industry.  40,000 people came pouring into the grounds outside of Colorado Springs to tour more than 25 houses, to learn about different technologies for off-grid living, and to listen to many of us who have already taken this tiny house journey speak about our experiences.

I must admit I was a bit suspicious at first. I think anyone who has been part of a small community or movement feels a bit excited but also protective when it enters the mainstream. I wondered about the integrity of people who are now tiny house TV celebrities. I didn’t fully trust the motivations of businesses who were springing up nationwide to build tiny houses.  Were these folks really passionate about the reasons we build tiny houses? Challenging people to address overconsumption, take control of their finances, live intentionally, learn to communicate and be present without distraction?  Were they committed to changing an industry that builds bigger because it’s cheaper?  Or were they just jumping into this movement because it would increase their ratings and profits?

After a weekend spent with builders, both DIY and professional, I am humbled.  I didn’t meet anyone who was purely in this for the money or the popularity of it.  I shared a panel with Zac Griffen of Tiny House Nation and he started off asking the audience to please not ask him questions about the TV show and then proceeded to give some of the most eloquent answers on sustainability, intentional living, and responsible design of the whole event.  Darin Zaruba of EcoCabins, whose company hosted the event, was passionate about making sure DIY builders knew about code and zoning and the challenges they posed.  And, upon meeting other tiny house builders who I had only before corresponded with online, any lingering fears I still had about small living and never quite being understood by others quickly vanished.  I hadn’t realized how much energy I expend explaining my choice to build a tiny house to people until I didn’t have to explain it anymore.  They just got it – they too had all built their own houses before tiny houses gained popularity. They too had to justify to their friends, family and colleagues why this lifestyle was important to them.  Not having to explain myself and my decisions after three years of so much explaining was perhaps the most refreshing aspect of the whole weekend.

Saturday night panel: Zac Griffen of Tiny House Nation, Lina Menard of Niche Design and Consulting, Andrew Morrison of Tiny House Build, Lee Pera of Boneyard Studios and Darin Zaruba of EcoCabins

Drinking beer on the Saturday night panel: Zac Griffen of Tiny House Nation, Lina Menard of Niche Design and Consulting, Andrew Morrison of Tiny House Build, Lee Pera of Boneyard Studios and Darin Zaruba of EcoCabins.  Photo credit: Gabriella Morrison of TinyHouseBuild

What I most enjoyed after the new connections with other tiny house builders was getting to talk to others about building tiny house communities and creative urban infill – my real passion.   Lina Menard and I presented a very-well received talk on tiny house communities that included 5 models for setting them up and 5 pieces of advice.  After our presentation I talked with a city councilmember, a county planner, developers, and members of community groups who are starting tiny house communities.  I was impressed by the amount of work going on around the country regarding tiny houses and tiny house communities in cities.  Stay tuned for more information regarding those initiatives soon. In the meantime, check out some of the photos from the Jamboree.

Join us (and our awesome panel) for ‘Small is Beautiful’ next Tuesday, 7/21

A few weeks ago, we announced the DC premiere of Small is Beautiful: A Tiny House Documentary, hosted by Boneyard Studios at Woolly Mammoth Theatre. Just a reminder—it’s only one week away, and tickets are still available! We also promised a post-film Q&A with the DC area’s leading tiny house builders and owners, and are excited to announce our panel—

Moderated by Mary Fitch, AICP, Hon. AIA;  Executive Director of the American Institute of Architects DC
Robin Hayes; 
Tiny house builder and owner of Build Tiny
Amanda Stokes; Tiny house owner
Lee Pera; Tiny house owner and founder of Boneyard Studios
Jay Austin; Tiny house owner and co-founder of Boneyard Studios

So bring your questions, bring your loved ones, and bring your ticket—$15 now, $20 at the door (like all Boneyard Studios events, this one’s not-for-profit, and so we’re relying on your support to help us pay the space-and-screening bills). Can’t make it but still want to help us put on more events like this in the future? There’s a spot for donations, too.

WHEN: Tuesday, July 21, 2015, 8PM
WHERE: Woolly Mammoth Theatre (bike racks out front, street parking available, and just a short walk from any Metro line)

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Here’s one more look at the Small is Beautiful trailer:


Small is Beautiful is a revealing look into the tiny house movement, a grass roots response to the housing affordability crisis that traps people from across the developed world. In Portland, Oregon, we meet four characters, each of whom are at various stages of building and living in their own tiny homes. Ben is a 20-something single guy with an inheritance to spend and a design he drew, but an ambitious timeline and no building experience. Nikki and Mitchell are a young couple who, along with their two dogs, dream of bucking the strereotypical life style of buying a big house and spending the rest of their lives trying to pay it off. Karen, 50, has loved living in her tiny house for two years yet still struggles with the lack of permanency that comes with living in a house on wheels. Ultimately this story proves that it’s not what’s inside the walls of a tiny house that counts, but rather it is the strong community of like-minded people who support each other as they dare to be different. Runtime: 68 minutes.

FILM SCREENING: ‘Small is Beautiful’ and Boneyard Studios Q&A at Woolly Mammoth Theatre

We’re excited to announce DC’s first showing of Small is Beautiful, Jeremy Beasley’s new tiny house documentary. Join us on Tuesday, July 21st at 8PM at Woolly Mammoth theatre for a wonderful exploration of the physical and emotional challenges and rewards of building tiny, told through the eyes of four do-it-yourselfers building and living small in Portland, Oregon. And after the film, we and a few other tiny house enthusiasts and builders will host a Q&A about the tiny house movement and our own experiences building tiny houses, and a tiny house community, here in Washington, DC.

Seating is limited, and while our community events are usually free, for this we have to charge to cover the costs of rental space, screening licenses, and A/V support (of course, donations to keep these events going are always appreciated even if you can’t make it). And thanks to Woolly Mammoth for their support and helping us screen this film.  Go grab your ticket here! 

‘Tiny House Plays’ arrive at Boneyard Studios

"Big Bread" in the Pera House.

“Big Bread” in the Pera House. (Ryan Maxwell Photography)

Last weekend, Pinky Swear Productions kicked off the first performance(s) of their Tiny House Plays, five one-act “playlets” staged in the tiny houses and outdoor spaces of Boneyard Studios. Explains the Washington Post:

The bright minds at Pinky Swear Productions thought it would be fun to stage a cycle of brief new plays in the wee homes. Each show is short — 15 minutes or so — and set in one of the often ingeniously efficient little units, several of which are actually being lived in part time. The audience is split into small groups and shepherded from station to station to see playlets about love, death, aging and coping.

On Friday, we had the privilege of joining the actors, playwrights, production crew, and the friends and family of Pinky Swear for a lovely dress rehearsal, hopping from set to set for a wonderfully diverse collection of plays, all developed by local female writers. I can’t really offer an impartial review, of course—how could I not absolutely love seeing the Matchbox transformed into the lovers’ cabin of “Josie, June, and Death,” or be more-than-a-little moved by the break-up taking place in the Minim House’s “For Emma” as we come to terms with a tiny house break-up of our own?

"For Emma" in the Minim House.

“For Emma” in the Minim House. (Ryan Maxwell Photography)

Impartial or not, the quirky, clever plays—”sweet, funny, and sad”—were a treat to witness, and totally worth a three-weekend displacement from my home as the show runs its course. Of course, they’re also a living, breathing example of what we’re all about at Boneyard Studios: awesome events, free space for artists, big silly dreams that always seem to work out.

Oh, and you can check ’em out yourself for much less than a three-week displacement from your house—just $20, every cent of which goes straight to Pinky Swear and its army of hard-working (and really lovely) actors, playwrights, and the dozens of other people, props, and port-a-pottys they need to make these Tiny House Plays run. Remaining showtimes Saturday & Sunday, 10/4, 10/5, 10/11, and 10/12, 1PM, 3PM, 6PM, and 8PM. Tickets here.

"Josie, June, and Death" in the Matchbox.

“Josie, June, and Death” in the Matchbox. (Ryan Maxwell Photography)

Tiny house plays: tickets available now!

A few weeks ago, we announced something we’re really, really excited about: the local playwrights and actors of Pinky Swear Productions taking over our lot this autumn for the first-ever Tiny House Plays: real theater taking place inside real tiny houses. Well, it’s a few weeks later, and tickets are NOW ON SALE, so go get ’em here.

Details!:

Pinky Swear Productions Presents: TINY HOUSE PLAYS

13 actors. 6 playwrights. 5 plays. 3 very small houses.

Set in and inspired by Boneyard Studios, a charming tiny house community in Washington, DC, these funny, poignant, sometimes provocative stories touch on the important questions: Is there an afterlife? Is gentrification bad? What do you do when the Grim Reaper comes to dinner and just won’t leave?

TINY HOUSE PLAYS invites the audience to travel from house to house, story to story, peeking in on neighbors as they live, love, break up, move on — and sometimes find themselves right back where they started.

***IMPORTANT***

Because of the unique nature of this production:

*NO WALK-UPS. All tickets must be purchased in advance.
*Please arrive no earlier than 15 minutes before the performance time.
*The location is outdoors and not wheelchair accessible. If you have mobility, allergy, or other concerns, please contact Pinky Swear before purchasing your ticket.
*Seating is not guaranteed. Some plays are standing room only.
*Parties may be split up.

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TINY HOUSE PLAYS

Concept and direction by Jessica Aimone*

With plays by Thembi Duncan, Ann Fraistat, Shawn Fraistat, Danielle Mohlman, Donna Rachelle, and Laura Zam

Featuring Nathan Alston, Clarissa Barton, Christian Campbell, Alexis Graves, Dexter Hamlett, Allyson Harkey,* Melissa Hmelnicky,* Georgia Mae Lively, Kevin O’Reilly, Lilian Oben, Stephanie Svec, Gray West, and Kimberlee Wolfson

* Pinky Swear Productions company member

September 27 – October 12
Saturdays and Sundays only
Showings at 1pm, 3pm, 6pm, and 8pm

Tickets are $20 a piece, and all proceeds go to the production company, six playwrights, and thirteen actors who have been working tirelessly (like, for at least the past six months) to bring this production to fruition. Please note that Boneyard Studios isn’t getting anything from this partnership beyond the privilege of being able to support local art, and the honor of having our tiny houses turned into tiny stages for the next month.

Hope to see you there! Once more, here’s that link.

Autumn events!

As the weather (maybe) cools and autumn quickly approaches, here’s a quick roundup of what’s going on at DC’s tiny house community over the next few months—

Near Northeast playing at a recent tiny house concert.

Near Northeast playing at a recent tiny house concert.

NOTE: While all Boneyard Studios events are (as always) free—though donations to support our featured local artists are greatly appreciated—the tiny house workshop and tiny house plays, facilitated by friends of the community, are charging admission to cover production costs.
 
Featuring Boy on the Wall, Takunda Matose, and Just Enough Education to DJ.
Show begins at 7PM. BYOB.
 
Weekend workshop hosted by architects, builders, and designers intimately involved in the creation of Boneyard Studios.
Workshop begins 8:30AM Saturday and takes place at Trinity University (with a visit to Boneyard Studios that afternoon)Limited to 30 participants.
 
Show begins at 6:30PM; BYOB.
 
Six local playwrights, five community-inspired plays, three tiny house stages.
Running 1PM, 3PM, 6PM, and 8PM every Saturday and Sunday. Tickets not yet on sale.
 
Our most popular and long-running event (over 5,000 served). Come tour the tiny houses in person, see the interiors, and chat with the designers and owners.
Houses open at 11AM.
 
Discuss simplicity in an enclave of tiny houses with the new Boneyard Studios book club. First reading: Leo Tolstoy, Family Happiness, available for free online or for Kindle.
Discussion begins at 3PM.
 
Featuring Catriona Sturton.
Show begins at 6PM; BYOB.
 
(All events are also posted to the Boneyard Studios Facebook and Google Calendar.)
 
Like what we’re offering and want to see more? Consider making a (much-appreciated!) donation to support Boneyard Studio’s expansion to bring even more local and creative and arts, architecture, and agriculture to the District. Or, bring your own creativity to Boneyard Studios: let us know if you’d like your art featured amongst the tiny houses, or are looking to use the space for a book reading, concert, poetry recital, seminar, or whatever else you can think of … it’s there for you to enjoy.
 
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Dee Williams discussing her ‘The Big Tiny’ memoir at a springtime book reading.

Tiny House Plays: coming Fall 2014 to a tiny house community near you

A few weeks back, we hinted at a big surprise coming to Boneyard Studios this fall. Here’s a little peek at what we have in store (be sure to follow Pinky Swear Productions to get the latest):

Six Playwrights. Five Plays. Three Tiny Houses. One Community. Pinky Swear Productions takes over Boneyard Studios this fall with Tiny House Plays.

Pinky Swear Productions is excited to announce a partnership with Boneyard Studios to produce Tiny House Plays, a series of short plays by six talented local playwrights.

Pinky Swear has long discussed the idea of producing site-​specific theatre in an alternative space. So when company member and veteran Pinky Swear director Jessica Aimone read an article about Boneyard Studios, she reached out to the tiny home owners. To our delight, they have enthusiastically embraced the opportunity to turn their tiny houses into tiny stages—and come fall 2014, audience members will join us on a journey from tiny house to tiny house, watching life unfold inside (and sometimes outside) each space.

For Tiny House Plays, Pinky Swear reached out to several local women playwrights and one brother/​sister team to pen short pieces on the theme of community, inspired by Boneyard Studios and the surrounding neighborhood. We are excited and proud to now announce our playwrights for Tiny House Plays: Thembi Duncan, Ann and Shawn Fraistat, Danielle Mohlman, Donna Reinhold, and Laura Zam. Together, they will create a shared world in which the characters’ stories are revealed simultaneously in each space.

Learn more at pinkyswear-productions.com. Tickets not available just yet, but stay tuned!

(As always, Boneyard Studios isn’t making any money from this partnership; we’re just looking to do what we can to promote local arts. To support our mission and our plans to expand to a new location where we can do even wilder and crazier things than bringing five plays to three tiny houses for twenty-five plus performances next month, consider donating here. Thanks!)