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Life Arts

Greener on the Other Side: Who Put the Fun in Sustainable Architecture?

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It's Easy Being Green

I was invited to observe a Tumbleweed workshop the last weekend in June in Washington, DC,  facilitated by Derek "Deek"  Diedricksen, author and creator of small dwellings.  "Upbeat and fun" just barely describes his presentation: imagine a mix of architect Antoni Gaudi, inventor Rube Goldberg and "What, me worry?" Alfred E. Neuman on speed, and that's Deek.

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Deek's Vermont Cabin has a 10' x 10' footprint. by Photo: Bruce Bettis

Held at the new American Institute of Architects building, the workshop was a compendium of tiny house planning and building tips, tools, appliances and building code considerations.

During part of the class, participants taped out three of the Tumbleweed Tiny House floor plans with blue tape, so we could walk around in them to get a feel for the size.

I was staying nearby, in a cozy little suite at the historic Harrington Hotel. So, when I returned from the event, I measured the suite, and discovered it could hold at least four Tumbleweed homes in its square footage!

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Workshop participants tape out the floor plans of three Tumbleweed Tiny Houses by Photo Credit: Meryl Ann Butler

After the DC workshop, Deek headed for his Tiny House Summer Camp in Vermont where participants who overnight in his quirky guesthouses would build two new tiny houses together.

Summer Camp with Deek by Photo Credit: Derek "Deek" Diedricksen

Deek will be be hosting his next Tumbleweed Tiny House workshop on Oct. 20th - 21st in NYC.  And on Nov. 2-4, he's hosting another HANDS-ON, BUILDING WORKSHOP (on tiny houses) in Massachusetts (Details at

Humble Homes .... by Derek "Deek" Diedricksen

Deek is author (he calls himself  "concoctor")  of the book "Humble Homes, Simple Shacks, Cozy Cottages, Ramshackle Retreats, Funky Forts: And Whatever the Heck Else We Could Squeeze in Here." It's a "Wordless Workshop"  meets R. Crumb  pictorial manual that's a veritable escapade into  "triple caffeinated" creativity. Entertaining and unconventional, he'll inspire even if you never actually pick up a hammer.

Underneath the humor and zaniness, is a heart of gold. Deek's "GottaGiddaWay" Homeless Shelter/Camp Prototype was inspired in part by a desire to develop economical, protective housing for the homeless.

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"The GottaGiddaWay" Homeless Shelter/Camp Prototype with Deek inside by Photo: Bruce Bettis

"The GottaGiddaWay" Homeless Shelter/Camp Prototype exterior by Photo Credit: Derek "Deek" Diedricksen

Check out Deek's YouTube videos in "Tiny Yellow House" in conjunction with "Make" magazine here , described as "This Old House meets Wayne's World," and join in the fun green housing revolution!

Free Tiny House directory:
Popular Science has put its entire 137 years of magazines online for free. It can be searched.

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Meryl Ann Butler is an artist, author, educator and OpedNews Managing Editor who has been actively engaged in utilizing the arts as stepping-stones toward joy-filled wellbeing since she was a hippie. She began writing for OpEdNews in Feb, 2004. She became a Senior Editor in August 2012 and Managing Editor in January, (more...)

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