Small Houses

I’ve had an interest in cottages and cabins since I was young. My first introduction to small houses was through books I read as a child. Tiny homes were frequently depicted in fairy tales and story books as inviting and cozy. Whether their residents were hobbits, bears, or pigs, I found them intriguing.

In December 2000, I read a Des Moines Register article about a University of Iowa Art Professor, Jay Shafer, who was living in what I perceived to be a storybook house on wheels. With permission from the Des Moines Register, I posted the story to my website. I soon began receiving letters, phone calls, and emails from people wanting to know how they could contact Jay and how they could get a tiny house on wheels to live in. I eventually contacted Jay, and in 2002 the Small House Society was formed. By 2003, I commissioned Jay to build a tiny house for me. I was to be his first customer. I worked with Jay and helped build the tiny house that would be my home for six years – from August 2003 to August 2009. I called it the Mobile Hermitage.

I continue to follow the small house movement, and work as a facilitator to promote and support smaller and more sustainable living.

In the fall of 1984, I attended the South American Urban Studies program offered by the Higher Education Consortium for Urban Affairs (HECUA) and Hamline University. This and other experiences helped me develop a better understanding of urban planning and community building.

Stemming from my interest in architecture and community, I launched the Iowa City Architecture website that features news and articles about physical buildings as well as the building of community through revitalization efforts and neighborhood empowerment.