Icons of the Modern Tiny Home Movement
It's nice to talk with you again! Or, if we haven't met, my name is Alaska—otherwise known as The Tiny House Concierge. I'm a Millennial who quit everything and reinvented her life in a tiny house. And guess what?
Quitting my life and buying a tiny house was the best thing I've ever done.
I'm endlessly grateful to everyone who has made this lifestyle possible, and today, I'd like to pay homage to some of them. These five tiny house VIPs are paving the way for the rest of us to live out our tiny home dreams. How cool is that? This is one post you'll want to read through to the end!
OK, are you ready to meet some of the faces behind the modern tiny home movement?
5 Icons of the Modern Tiny Home Movement, Recognizable Thought-Leaders to Behind-the-Scenes Changemakers
1) Lindsay Wood, The Tiny Home Lady
Picture a powerhouse woman in a white pantsuit and a sparkly red fedora (with matching shoes!) who regularly takes the tiny home world by storm.
Lindsay is the official tiny house hype woman, and for good reason- she knows her stuff! Lindsay burst onto the tiny home scene when her builder went bankrupt and left her with (in her words) a "surprise DIY."
Lindsay has spent every moment since teaching others to navigate the challenging world of buying a tiny house.
In fact, she even launched a whole academy last year! The GO TiNY! Academy helps would-be tiny homeowners figure out the logistics of:
- Finding tiny home financing.
- Buying land for a tiny home.
- Choosing a tiny home builder.
Does that sound like it would be helpful? I thought so.
Lindsay is one of the most knowledgeable people in the tiny home community, and she lends her expertise, voice, and energy to propel the tiny home movement forward. Sometimes you'll find her sharing wisdom on stage at tiny house festivals, and other days she's one-on-one over Zoom helping would-be tiny homeowners make good decisions.
The Tiny Home Lady and her husband, Eric, at The Tiny House of Peace
To sum up, Lindsay is fun and uber-experienced with all things tiny houses. She also offers free consultations, so be sure to contact her sooner rather than later. You deserve a smooth tiny home journey.
Please tell her Alaska says "hi!"
2) Jill Kanto, tiny home community directory creator
Have you ever been scrolling through tiny house pictures on Instagram and thought to yourself, I would totally buy a tiny home... if I could find tiny home parking!
Luckily for all of us, a fantastic human named Jill Kanto is solving the tiny house obstacle that keeps so many people from jumping into the tiny home movement.
In 2012, Jill was freshly divorced, parenting two children under seven, and telecommuting nights. She knew she needed to make a change, and when she discovered the magic of intentional communities, she knew she'd stumbled upon the answer.
Though she wasn't in a position to be part of an intentional community at the time, Jill held the vision of a community-supported life close to her heart, and in 2015 she built a DIY tiny home on wheels.
These days Jill Kanto is known as the mastermind behind the epic site ChooseTiny.com.
ChooseTiny.Com allows you to search for tiny home communities, tiny home villages, and other tiny home parking options that meet your needs.
And guess what? Because Jill is awesome, the site is free. FREE.
Can we all send her a virtual high-five? Or better yet, let's contribute!
You can join her volunteer team here OR add your tiny home community listing here.
Watch the tour of Jill's DIY Tiny House!
3) Kol Peterson, ADU trailblazer
Kol Peterson wasn't having it with the "affordable housing" standards in his area ("affordable" units being 400k), and so he decided to do something about it.
You've got to love a human who sees a problem and decides to take matters into his own hands!
For more than a decade, Kol has been involved with ADUs (accessory dwelling units) in his hometown of Portland. He has worked to spread awareness about their value, offer consultations regarding installation, and been involved in policy work.
Kol understands the power of the ADU to transform the tiny home movement and provide access to more affordable housing. In a recent post on AccessoryDwellings.org (a website he co-founded), he talks about how ADUs provide a framework for the legal integration of tiny homes. After all, the backyard ADU is something society already understands.
In 2021, the city of Portland legalized RVs (and tiny houses that share that classification!) as legal dwelling units. And these days, Kol is working alongside homeowners to transform their backyards with RV hookup sites.
Would you like one of those in your backyard? Excellent. Then definitely don't miss this post about the work he's doing now.
There is hope, friends; there is hope. His name is Kol.
OK, who's moving to Portland?
4) Zack Giffin, Tiny House Nation cohost
Does that name ring a bell? Because it should. In fact, you're probably already a fan- you've seen the hit tiny house TV show Tiny House Nation, right? Zack was one of the hosts.
He might be a tiny (sorry, I couldn't help it!) bit famous, but know this:
The advocacy work Zack does for the modern tiny home movement extends far beyond what we've seen on TV.
Zack moderating a tiny house panel discussion at the Innovative Housing Showcase in Washington DC
Zack started out as a tiny dweller himself and built his first tiny house on wheels to support his professional skiing career. These days, though, he works tirelessly behind the scenes doing much of the grunt work to make the tiny home lifestyle possible for the rest of us.
Zack is currently the vice president of the Tiny Home Industry Association, has contributed to the success of the non-profit Operation Tiny Home, and regularly lends his skill and star power to moving the needle on the tiny home movement.
Do tiny house heroes wear capes? I don't know, but Zach needs one.
"I am celebrating because last week Port Townsend became the first city in Washington State to legalize tiny homes on wheels as accessory and primary dwelling units!!! This is a huge moment for advocates of tiny homes and affordable housing!This also represents a milestone for me because for the past few years I’ve been intentionally refusing new projects until the prohibitions against tiny homes are lifted. Well, that day is now here and it means that if you ever dreamed of having me design and build a customized tiny home for you, now is your chance.However, there is a catch. I’m not just open for business, I’m embarking on a project to create a “catalog” of tiny home designs that will be put through the state labor and industry certification process and then become available to any person or city that wants pre-approved home plans. That means I need a special type of client. Someone who shares my vision and wants to use their investment to assist others who cannot afford the time, money and hassle that is being imposed by the state.The concept of pre approved plans is well understood to be the most impactful way to remove the barriers and costs that limit peoples access to housing, yet to my knowledge it’s never been done with Tiny Homes on wheels.So, if you are serious about wanting this wild and crazy guy to help you design and build your dream, please reach out. Serious inquiries only. Must have a min budget of $100K and be willing to contribute the final design to the catalogue. I’m only accepting one or two projects but after I am done I will supply the designs to anyone who asks."-Zack Giffin, Tiny Home Industry Association VP
5) Dan Fitzpatrick, an incredibly successful tiny house advocate
Somewhere out in California, there is a guy dedicating his retirement to legalizing the tiny home movement.
That guy's name is Dan Fitzpatrick.
What makes Dan qualified to take on something as notoriously tricky as tiny home legalization? A lot. Dan has over fifty years of experience in government and real estate development.
Dan is the president of the Tiny Home Industry Association, and while we are falling in love with tiny houses on Pinterest, he is compiling and cross-referencing the information needed for cities to easily legalize tiny homes and make our dreams come true.
"During the past several years, he has made numerous presentations to state and local governments throughout North America. He wrote and processed the ordinance amendments that legalized movable tiny homes as ADU’s in numerous cities. Additionally, he worked on state law changes in WA, OR, FL, NH, CA, CO, and ME and continues to consult with local tiny home advocates around the country."
See? I told you there was a guy.
Dan has been known to share his wisdom at tiny house festivals, hold conferences about building tiny home communities, provide support for tiny home developers, and get on the phone and have conversations with city planning departments on our behalf.
So someday soon, when tiny homes are legal in your backyard, remember to address your good vibes to Mr. Dan Fitzpatrick, OK?
Modern Tiny Home Movement Icons
Does this list give you hope, or what?!
I know that tiny home legalization can sometimes feel like it's moving slowly, but as someone who went tiny just two years ago, I can say firsthand that progress is being made.
Much of that progress can be attributed to the five people listed above, so if you want to support their efforts, be sure to follow their social media accounts, join the Tiny Home Industry Association, subscribe to their newsletters, and send them emails of encouragement. The battle they are fighting is hard, and they deserve all the support we can give them.
Thanks for reading, and I'll be back in two weeks here on Tiny House Expedition's epic blog.
(You subscribe to that too, right?)
Alaska is a writer, realtor, and tiny homeowner living in the great state of Colorado. She is the founder of The Tiny House Concierge, a company that offers consultation and copywriting services for people looking to rethink their housing and rewrite their lives. In addition to her website, she can be found on Instagram and YouTube.