I'm welcoming returning guest, Jewel Pearson back to the podcast today. Jewel did a beautiful and creative addition to her tiny house, a sunroom called “The Tiny House Remix” and the moment I saw it I knew I needed to have her on the show to talk about it! The Remix is a very well-done way of slightly expanding a tiny house to make it fit your needs and I think you'll find what Jewel has done inspiring.
In This Episode:
- What Jewel learned from taking a break from her tiny house
- Jewel's Remix allows more flexibility in the future
- The sunroom functions as a home office and makes working from home more efficient
- Moving isn't easy, but it has been worth the effort
- Is it still a tiny house?
- The pandemic's influence on the tiny house movement
- Reimagining what and where “community” is
- Why Jewel had to move to her new location
- Could a moveable business be a good fit for your town?
Links and Resources:
- Jewel's first interview on THLP
- the RV IT guy.com
- The Afrominimalist's Guide to Living with Less by Christine Platt
After downsizing her homes and lifestyle over the course of ten years, Jewel Pearson designed and built a beautiful tiny house in May of 2015 that she calls home. Located right outside of Charlotte, NC, her urban – and very chic – tiny home has twice been a big hit on HGTV, has been featured in numerous print mediums, both nationally and internationally, and her “I Live in a Tiny House” docuseries feature on the Apartment Therapy's ‘The New Homesmiths' won an award for its very real discussion and exploration into racism, housing inequality, and redefining community.
A project manager by day, Jewel is also a tiny house advocate and community leader, sharing her experiences, offering consulting services, and teaching workshops throughout the country to assist others in achieving their tiny living dreams. Her home represents a desire that many have to reduce their ecological footprint and focus more on practices of less and sustainability. Jewel is the founder of Tiny House Trailblazers, a duo collaborating force for representation within the tiny house movement and through partnership in the organization ReCommune, is continuing the work of changing and challenging the status quo of housing and community.
This Week's Sponsor:
Tiny House Decisions
Tiny House Decisions is the guide that I wish I had when I was building my tiny house. And it comes in three different packages to help you on your unique tiny house journey. If you're struggling to figure out the systems for your tiny house, how you're going to heat it, how you're going to plumb it, what you're going to build it out, then tiny house decisions will take you through the process systematically and help you come up with a design that works for you. Right now I'm offering 20% off any package of Tiny House Decisions for podcast listeners. Head over to https://www.thetinyhouse.net/thd and use the coupon code tiny at checkout!
Jewel made sure to have plenty of windows to let in natural light
Those are some cool stairs – but they're not exactly sustainable for Jewel
This tiny house has a walk-in closet!
the sunroom is part of what used to be a screened-in porch
The Remix allows Jewel to have her home office set up all the time
Later, this addition will serve as a first-floor bedroom
Jewel's permanent parking spot is on her friend's farm
Beautiful storage solutions abound- check out the bookshelves!
The futon lays flat for company and there is plenty of floor space for an air mattress or two
The door leading into the Remix used to be an exterior door
It's all insulated so it can be used year-round.
Ethan Waldman 0:00
Oh no, I mean I agree completely. I've I've kind of taken over a small space in our little apartment here during the pandemic because it just - we didn't need a space for guests anymore. And I'm never giving it back.
Welcome to the Tiny House Lifestyle Podcast, the show where you learn how to plan, build, and live the tiny lifestyle. I'm your host, Ethan Waldman, and this is episode 186 with Jewel Pearson. I'm welcoming Jewel Pearson back to the podcast today. She was actually a guest several years ago at this point. And Jewel did a really creative and beautiful addition on her tiny house, she added a sunroom, which she calls the "tiny house remix". And the moment I saw it, I knew that I needed to have her on the show to talk about it. Because it's just a really well done way of slightly expanding a tiny house to make it fit your needs. I think you'll be really inspired byJewel and what she has accomplished here with her tiny house. So stick around.
I want to tell you about something that I think will be super helpful as you plan, design and build your tiny house. Tiny House Decisions is a guide that I wish I had when I was building my tiny house. It comes in three different packages to help you on your unique Tiny House journey. And if you're struggling to just figure out the systems for your tiny house, you know like how you're going to heat it, how you're going to plumb it. You know what construction technique are you going to use like sips or stick framing or steel framing, Tiny House Decisions. We'll take you through all these processes systematically and help you come up with a design that works for you. Right now I'm offering 20% off any package of Tiny House Decisions for listeners of the show, you can head over to thetinyhouse.net/THD To learn more, and use the coupon code tiny at checkout for 20% off any package. Again, that's thetinyhouse.net/THD and use the coupon code tiny for 20% off
Alright, I am here with Jewel Pearson. After downsizing her homes and lifestyle over the course of 10 years, Jewel Pearson designed and built a beautiful tiny house in May of 2015 that she calls home located right outside of Charlotte, North Carolina. Her urban and very chic tiny home has twice been a big hit on HGTV, has been featured in numerous print mediums both nationally and internationally, nd her I Live in a Tiny House docuseries feature on The Apartment Therapy's The New Homesmith's won an award for its very real discussion and exploration into racism, housing inequality and redefining community. Project Manager by day Jewel is also a tiny house advocate and community leader sharing her experiences offering consulting services and teaching workshops throughout the country to assist others in achieving their tiny living dreams are home represents a desire that many have to reduce their ecological footprint and focus more on practices of less and sustainability. Jewel is the founder of Tiny House Trailblazers, a duo collaborating force for representation within the tiny house movement and through partnership in the organization ReCommune, she is continuing the work of changing and challenging the status quo of housing and community. Jewel Pearson, welcome back to the Tiny House Lifestyle Podcast.
Jewel Pearson 3:33
Thank you so much. I'm happy to be here.
Ethan Waldman 3:36
Happy to have you. So you were on the show. Where this this will this episode will be in the 180s. And you were episode 77. Which means well, first of all, people can go back and listen at thetinyhouse.net/077. But that means it's been close to two years since you've been on the show. And I know that a lot has happened for you in your tiny house in the intervening two years. So can you can I know it's hard to sum up? But can you give us a summary
Jewel Pearson 4:07
in in those two years so to if we were chatting two years ago, I just moved to a farm location closer in to Charlotte than where I am now. I ended up only being there for about nine months. There were some challenges, some safety issues, the usual rural area issues for me in that area. And so I ended up leaving my house there for a while and having to get an apartment for a year until I figured out a location for my tiny house. And so now I moved it that following year to a friend's farm, which is southeast of Charlotte about 45 minutes outside of Charlotte and I moved back in in May of this year May of 2021. And so I This I consider this my forever location. And I have been working on what I call my tiny house remix. So I added, you know, if I had added previously I'd added a screened in porch to the house, a larger screen to porch I should say. And so at this location I kind of enclosed that screened in porch and added some space and built kind of what I consider a sunroom. And so I increased my space. It's about 470 square feet now. Nice. With a new add on, and I love it.
Ethan Waldman 5:38
Well, I want to hold on that stuff, because I have a whole bunch of questions about the add on because I think it's a brilliant a brilliant idea. Okay. I'm curious, you know how the old saying goes like, you don't know what you got till it's gone. I'm curious. Did you have any realizations about your tiny house? Or things did you realize or learn anything about living tiny that you kind of only understood after you had to leave your tiny house?
Jewel Pearson 6:07
Um... having to pay rent.
Unknown Speaker 6:13
I was in uptown Charlotte, and my motivation, every time I had to pay rent was, "I have got to get back into my tiny house." That was my main thing that I missed.
Ethan Waldman 6:26
Jewel Pearson 6:27
And then it was it was a one bedroom. So it wasn't a large space. But I did it as I moved in. I believe it was like March the sixth, it was just a couple of weeks before shutdown happened. And as that progressed, having neighbors so close by, you know, next door neighbors, a whole building full of people kind of made me long for my tiny house. Also, because you were so dependent on people doing the right thing. And you know, who, and it wasn't going well, in the apartment buildings, like they were just way too many people and, and there wasn't a lot at that, you know, in the beginning, known and, and so it was just it was kind of scary to be in a big apartment building with a bunch of people. So it made me long for my house even more.
And then I enjoyed being in up in, you know, in the Charlotte calls their downtown 'uptown'. So I enjoyed being in that proximity to the city, but I did just really miss my house and appreciated it as home more. Having been gone from it for a year. It was just like, there was an additional motivation to get back into my house. And I think, for me, it was also kind of a realization. Like, I think, you know, starting a so many of the people who started out with us years ago in the movement, have decided some of them have decided not to live in their tiny houses anymore. And I kind of was wondering around that five year mark, was this still what I, you know, was what I wanted to do. And that kind of just reminded me that you know, my love for my houses. Yeah, this is still my long term plan.
So and that kind of was the part of the catalyst for the work that I did because in addition to build in the sunroom space, I redid the decor on the interior painted and redid my glory, because I had done Airbnb in my house for a little while because I still had to pay for the location where my house was sitting where I had been previously and then I was paying apartment rent by Airbnb, Airbnb my house for a few weeks. And that, for me was something I never planned to do, because I just didn't want other people in my house like this was you know, my space and I never intended to, to share it. So coming back into it, I needed to make it home again. And so that was part of the remix to make it home. And my you know, kind of My sacred space again.
Ethan Waldman 9:07
Yeah, yeah. So So tell me about the remix that you had already done a screened in porch. And was that a mobile structure as well.
Jewel Pearson 9:17
So when I initially built my house, I had a small screened in porch. So it was like, like 5x9. And I had a balcony overhead. And so then probably about a year, year and a half later, after my initial build, I expanded that port so that it was 10x9. Yeah, it was 10x9.
Ethan Waldman 9:40
Jewel Pearson 9:41
And so it wasn't that that part wasn't... and I removed the overhead balcony. That porch wasn't mobile. So when I move the house, I would break it down. And and then once I got to the new location, have it put back together again. And so had that was kind of what I've been doing for the last, you know, four or so years and then coming out to this space like I mentioned, I don't intend to move my house from here so because I'm on our huge farm, it was an opportunity to take advantage of having the space to kind of expand the house a bit. You know, I still don't want to go too big but kind of as I keep saying my tiny house for me is my retirement plan. So my thought process is, you know, at some point the sunroom will probably become my first floor bedroom. You know, that kind of deal of thinking ahead. What that looks like and living in my space going forward.
Ethan Waldman 10:42
Yeah, so the sunroom replaces some of the porch? It includes some of the porch and yes, is it is it physically attached to the original tiny house?
Jewel Pearson 10:55
Ethan Waldman 10:56
Jewel Pearson 10:57
It is yes. It is physically attached to the original tiny house the tiny house is two of the walls. It's it's like a backward L Okay. On the back side of of the tiny house.
Ethan Waldman 11:12
Okay, so you actually see the outer wall of the tiny house inside the sunroom? Yes. Cool. Yeah. I always like that when you can see and what was an exterior wall and an inside space? Like when they take an old building and build something? You can see the brick?
Unknown Speaker 11:30
The brick? Yes. I always love seeing brick inside of a building. And so yeah, that's kind of what I I have and I kind of laugh so one of the battened door in the back window. Every time I look at it, I feel like I should be serving something out of the window the window looking into the kitchen.
Ethan Waldman 11:54
Yeah, yeah, that is funny. So do you have to do Did you break through at all in your tiny house? Or do you do you have to exit the tiny house and then enter the sun room?
Jewel Pearson 12:05
You exit the tiny house so I had the back door so I just leave... so that back that... what was an exterior back door is now an interior door in the sunroom, so is just the entrance and exit into the house.
Ethan Waldman 12:23
Got it. Got it. So what I mean, how do you use the sunroom? And I guess what I'm getting at is like, what does what does this serve that the tiny house like wasn't doing for you?
Jewel Pearson 12:36
So I have my job. One of the things that happened during the pandemic is my, my role at my at the job that pays my bills changed. And so I needed to have, you know, everybody was working from home. I've already I've always worked well I've worked from home since 2007. So I needed to with my expanded job role be able to have my desk out all the time, you know, I also have a have like a couple of monitors. So I have a fold down desk inside the tiny house that I would always, you know, take up and down every day. But once you're taking it up and down every day is kind of like each morning, you're starting all over, you got to figure out where I was when I finished yesterday. And to me it's just like an a transition and adjustment. So I want it to to be able to have my desk out full time and be able to focus and for me, I also there's some opportunities that I am working on within, you know, kind of the tiny house movement so I wanted to be able to have a central space to do this on that and it be my workspace. It's just something about the continual of, of having this face out and being able to come right back to where you left off that kind of helps with maybe that's just the way my brain works.
Ethan Waldman 14:00
Oh, no, I mean, I agree completely. I've I've kind of taken over a small space in in our little apartment here and during the pandemic because it just we didn't need a space for guests anymore. Right. And I'm never giving you back.
Jewel Pearson 14:20
Guests taking up directed down to the hotel.
Ethan Waldman 14:24
Exactly. Yeah, no, just having a bigger monitor. Having my you know, my podcasting equipment. It's set up I just have to move the microphone.
Jewel Pearson 14:33
Exactly. I don't have to do anything. All that setup. Yeah, that time is eliminated. So yeah, that's that was that was the main piece of why I wanted this area and then, you know, kind of the long term thinnking, as well.
Ethan Waldman 14:50
How did you how did you approach the design?
Unknown Speaker 14:54
Kind of like I approached the design from my, from my tiny house, a piece of graph paper. started off. Initially, it started off as I was just going to do more of a screened in porch kind of thing. And then over the course of time, I was going to enclose it. And then it ended up coming as I, as I realized what that effort was going to look like, in talking to builders, they were like, well, you'll build this out, and then you'll spend just as much money redoing everything to make it an enclosed room. So why not just kind of make it happen? The first, you know, you're on your first shot out. Yeah, so that's what I decided to do. And it was just a piece of graph paper, drawing it out. And, and knowing the, the way I wanted to use the space and the things that I had, like, I didn't buy anything new, it was still some stuff that I already had that I wanted to incorporate in this space. So just making sure I could accommodate that. And then for me, it's always the windows, being able to have some sunlight. So I probably that's probably since I've not had formal design training, I probably approach it completely wrong, but I approach it from what does what is my window situation gonna look like? And then that kind of determines what the room is gonna look like.
Ethan Waldman 16:21
Yeah, and it is, you know, I'm looking at some pictures of it. And yes, there are windows just all around.
Jewel Pearson 16:29
Yes, yes. Now the one thing I did learn this time from designing my tiny house is that I like to have art hanging on the wall. And I have so many windows inside a tiny house that I don't have a lot of space to hang up my artwork. So this time I did learn to have a little more wall space so I can add my artwork. But otherwise I could have just had I would have been okay with complete a roomful of windows because I just like that, you know, natural light. Yeah. Sunshine, windows all around.
Ethan Waldman 17:03
Yeah. So is this is this an insulated like conditioned space? Or is it
Jewel Pearson 17:10
it is okay. It is drywall, insulated drywall, the whole not the only thing that so this will be you know, that first winter, you know how that first winter goes in your tiny house when you're trying to make sure you've done everything right. Yeah, so the only thing that not exactly 100% sure of so this started out as kind of a deck so the foundation of it isn't like a house foundation with a float closed off. It started off as a deck. So I ended up wrapping, wrapping it just like I normally do the tiny house, you know, foam board insulation, and some OSB. So thinking, I'm thinking the floor might be a little cool. Like, you know, sometimes a tiny house floor can be a little cool because you're not on a foundation. Yeah, but it is carpeted. And, you know, working on my plan. So I think that I think it'll be fine. Nice. We'll see you know that that first year you learn a lot,
Ethan Waldman 18:14
we'll see. Exactly
Jewel Pearson 18:17
yes. So I am back to even though I've been in my house six and a half years, I'm back to year one at a new location, you know, hoping you bet all your infrastructure together and all of that stuff. And I'm hoping you pick you learned your lessons from previous setup. So we'll see. We'll see soon.
Ethan Waldman 18:35
New Location and new new space. Exactly. Exactly. Yeah, and I you know, I think people who are, you know, romanticizing the tiny house movement think that like, oh, there are these houses on wheels, we can just pick up and move anytime. I mean, I've moved my house a couple of times I dread it I don't ever want to do it. And I can't imagine that's just the house but you also move these deck this modular deck
Jewel Pearson 19:06
system massive effort which is why I said this time like with this bill there I will not be moving my house and that's just it period and so my friend whose properties is you know when before I started filming i That's why I like It's like we're well we're stuck together for forever so we can't fall out or anything because I'm not planning to move my house but yes, my moving my house is a production has been a production which is why and I've always said like you know going into the movement in the beginning because I didn't really have a concept of of size. I thought I would be moving my house more then I did but then once I started building it in really realize what 28 feet long by eight six wide by 13 Six, you know, look slack is like, Well, no, we won't be moving this as as much as I thought. And then the other thing is, it's nerve wracking to move your house because it's like, all of my money is going down the street. And it's, you know, you just kind of want to be sure everything is okay. So, yeah. The breakdown and, and then so and for me, you know, after that first year, breaking down the house looks like also getting a U haul for my exterior stuff as I'm bugs, I'm always concerned that they're bugs on stuff. And so where I could have probably put it inside the house, it was like, No, I can't go inside the house, crawl off of it and be in the house. So I always get a, you know, a U haul to get my outside stuff and get the deck and then get in location and do the setup. But even as much effort as it is, you know, the opportunities that I've had to move my house to a completely different location and still have my home in this different location.
To me, it's it's still worth it. You know, it's, it's, it's not that it's not as easy as you know. And when people say, Well, why don't you just buy an RV, it's not as easy to start up your RV and move it to a new location. But I still I wouldn't trade it, you know, or anything because I still get to have my house wherever I go. Yeah, also, just
Ethan Waldman 21:32
I hope that people by now stop asking about the RV because it's just two different things.
Jewel Pearson 21:38
They don't they don't I just posted a video on my YouTube page recently and two, three questions for as much money as you spend on it. I would just buy an RV and it's like, I don't even want to address that question like, like you haven't thought about what you're going to do in the winter time with that RV? Are you going to always be somewhere warm? What happens as it starts to depreciate? What happens when you want to hang up picture and you can't hang a picture on your RV wall but but my my house represents always like to me there's so many factors and of course, you know it that differentiate a tiny house in an RV, but people just don't stop making that comparison. Yeah, I mean, I could
Ethan Waldman 22:25
see the RVs have their merits. Like if you want to travel in time, if you want to travel every week, then by all means,
Jewel Pearson 22:32
like buy an RV. Absolutely. I've got a travel trailer out here in the yard. That's one of my next projects, and fun MOBA lobe about but it's still to me, it's it's there. It's apples and oranges, you know, in my opinion. And then I think the other thing about that question is when people usually when people say it, they might they try they say it in such a way that like they just think you're a complete idiot that you wouldn't have considered going to buy an RV instead of building a tiny house like you have you didn't put any thought into it. And you don't have any reasons why tiny house works more works better for you.
Ethan Waldman 23:10
Yeah, yeah. It. The other thing that I that I love about the remix is just how it just looks like it was always there. Like you picked up the red from the siding, accent color and the stairs up to the deck. And then the trim around the windows, you know are also red. So it really all just comes together.
Jewel Pearson 23:34
Macy Miller, and I'm not going to quote it completely accurate. But she commented on my pictures and said something about how it just flows. And she said something like the inside is outside and outside is the inside. Yeah. And I was like I feel so seeing Macy because it was a whole lot of thought that went into putting, and I enjoy it is just the it is it's one it's a reflection of me and how I feel about my home. And then yes, it all had to kind of go together and just just flow. So yes, thank you for saying that.
Ethan Waldman 24:09
You're welcome. Yeah, and I think the fact also, I mean, it's just, I'm gonna put pictures up on the show notes page, but like, the inner corner is is black and then the walls and the ceiling and the carpet are white and it just like and the fact that it's an L shape rather than like just a box. Kind of it makes it look really big. actually like it looks like a huge room.
Jewel Pearson 24:34
Yes, it does. On lady sent me a note and she she was so angry. She was like, you can't even represent the tiny house movement anymore. Like she was like you've built a huge space in the light lady. It's not I mean, depending on who's who you're talking to the tiny house is 400 square feet. 500 square feet. I'm at 470 I still live in a tiny house and I'm going to keep talking about the benefits Tiny House powders like I'm not getting ready to get kicked out, but she was so bent out of shape. And I was like late lady. It's not. It's not It's not that serious. And it's not that big. Yeah, you you're you were talking about sustainability. I still live in a small space.
Ethan Waldman 25:15
It's yeah. I don't know why there's that tendency of the tiny house police. And my, my guess is that that most people who are kind of doing this don't actually live in tiny houses
Jewel Pearson 25:26
anyway? actly. Exactly. They're just policing us. Right? Right. I mean, I think that she was bent out of shape in,
Ethan Waldman 25:34
in our culture of just discarding, and you know, it's like, okay, this house doesn't work for me anymore. I'm gonna sell it again, something bigger. Yeah, you know, to be able to keep your tiny house and put this addition on, and really continue to use those resources that were put into your tiny home and just expand on it, I think is is certainly more sustainable than selling the tiny house or, you know, building something new.
Jewel Pearson 26:06
I think the same, I think the absolute same,
Ethan Waldman 26:11
I'd like to tell you a little bit more about Tiny House Decisions, my signature guide, and the resource that I wish I had when I was building my tiny house, it starts with the big decisions, which is, you know, should you build a tiny house yourself or with help is a is a prebuilt shell a good idea? Is a house on wheels better than on the ground and what works better for you deciding on the overall size, deciding on whether you should use custom plans or pre made plans, different types of trailers and more. Then in in part two, we get into the system so heat, water showers, hot water, toilets, electrical, refrigeration, ventilation, and we're only two thirds of the way through the bug at this point. From systems we go into construction decisions talking about nails versus screws, sips versus stick framed versus advanced framing versus metal framing, we talk about how to construct a sub floor sheathing, roofing materials, insulation, windows flooring kitchen, I know I'm just reading off the table of contents. But I just want to give you a sense of how comprehensive Tiny House Decisions is. It's a total of 170 pages. It contains tons of full color drawings, diagrams and resources. And it really is the guide that I wish I had when I was building my tiny house. Right now I'm offering 20% off any package of Tiny House Decisions using the coupon code tiny, when you head over to thetinyhouse.net/THD, that's THD for Tiny House Decisions. Again, that's coupon code tiny when you check out at thetinyhouse.net/THD.
Jewel Pearson 27:54
This room was a game changer even though it's not. It's not huge. It just opened the space and open kind of my perspective, I would say of of home. And I think my dog was happier to be back here than I was and it was just she's just excited to be back home like enough in the familiar space and I saw her energy shift which was interesting to me. But yeah, I'm I'm excited to be to have this space and and have the flexibility like I was saying you know long term. I see it as this becomes my bedroom and I don't have to be concerned about climbing the stairs for the law in and it just you know i i can transition it and just make it work.
Ethan Waldman 28:43
Yeah. Now as your loft. Is your loft stairs or a ladder?
Jewel Pearson 28:48
Stairs? Yeah, okay, stairs. Yeah, I definitely. I've always said I was on the older side of building a tiny house. So I definitely knew ladder wasn't going to be sustainable for me.
Ethan Waldman 29:01
Yeah, I don't think ladders are sustainable for anybody. I don't recommend it. I do not recommend the ladder.
Jewel Pearson 29:12
Yeah, I have some really cool stairs.
Ethan Waldman 29:15
It's interesting that you bring up you know that you feel like you are on the older side. What you know, and I'm sure you see this too because you are also somebody who teaches and offers you know, kind of offers your tiny house knowledge out to other people. But in from where I'm sitting, there are way more boomers building tiny houses now now than there are millennials. Absolutely way.
Jewel Pearson 29:45
Yeah, the movement has definitely shifted in that direction. Now you're younger and the movement has definitely shifted. And then the conversation has shifted especially. And I don't want to say post pandemic, because we're still we're still in the process of it. But after the hit of the pandemic, and people had to start looking at, at, at finances and time and family, and you know, every their entire perspective different, the conversation doesn't seem as strange to people now, because priorities were put in place, you know, but not by choice for a lot of people so that the tiny house movement now makes a lot of sense to people before who just really even didn't even grasp it. Yeah.
Ethan Waldman 30:40
And, and I will say, a home that of the size that you have now, I think, would feel a lot more tangible to, to a much broader group of people. Right, right. Yeah. For sure. Even like,
Jewel Pearson 31:01
I mean, we, you know, we both know that families and couples do well, in the smaller timing space, because we're friends with them. But people who aren't in the movement, find it are too, to understand that concept. And I remember early on, as, as couples and families were starting out in the movement, and there were a lot of, you know, blog posts where they were talking about the fact that it had strengthened relationships and marriages, because they had to, you know, there wasn't the opportunity to go off into another part of the house and not deal with whatever was going on. So communication improved and time spent with family improved, and, you know, just overall interaction. I think that that is even it, I think the pandemic being in lockdown. You know, some people either sink or swim as far as as that with their, you know, families in being, you know, in home all the time at home all the time. Yeah, so I think it's out, we know, it's doable. But then for people who haven't ventured, like you said, my house, they can conceive it better that this gives them a little more space, and they don't feel like they're on top of each other.
Ethan Waldman 32:18
Yeah. Yeah, it certainly could make it possible for for two people to work from home. Right. From the tiny house and not, you know, each person could be on a call in almost separate separate rooms. Right?
Jewel Pearson 32:33
Absolutely. Absolutely. Yeah.
Ethan Waldman 32:36
So if you if and when you have guests, they is the sunroom, a sleeping space, or is that
Jewel Pearson 32:45
it could be I haven't, I haven't had guests. But I do have a futon in here that lays completely flat to a bed, there's plenty of floor space. And in the inside of the tiny house at my couch, is is a nice sized couch. And so there's plenty there's actually plenty of space. For guests, I'm I'm hoping to have my my nieces and nephew live in Atlanta. So I'm hoping and they're really tall kids like 636264. So I'm looking forward to hopefully to have them come visit in because we used to, when they were younger, we used to spend a lot of time together. In as I moved into the tiny house, we kind of had to we haven't done it as much. So that was one of one of the things that I've spoken to them about is having able to have them come and stay and enjoy the larger space.
Ethan Waldman 33:40
Nice. Are you? I know you've done a lot of different workshops, are you do you have anything coming up for you any tiny house workshops that you're teaching? I
Jewel Pearson 33:50
don't have any workshops per se coming out right now we still offer, you know, I I do most of my work with lead para. That's my business partner. So we have some recorded, recorded workshops available what we are launching an initiative, that re commune which is we're working on the launch within the next month or so. And kind of what we feel like needs to happen now is taking the tiny house movement from individual solutions into collective solutions so that it's more about community of people as a whole. Like, you know, we've done the tiny house as the individual solution for six, seven, you know, eight years now, but now we really need to be thinking about collectively what does that look like for the better the greater good for everyone. So that's the direction within read commute. That that the work that we're putting together and we'll be launching so
Ethan Waldman 34:57
nice and is that around specifically recommissioned specifically around like finding parking and places where you can live.
Jewel Pearson 35:05
That's part of it but it's it's it's more also working with property, having people so re commune as in reimagining community redistributing community recreating community, so that people are thinking of building community using movable houses and businesses. Because the way community is set up right now as far as what is required, from an infrastructure perspective, the investment of infrastructure to build a community with conventional housing that, you know, eliminates a lot of people from the conversation, but there are so many people who actually do have property that if we could get officials and and have those conversations, where people are open to creating community using movable houses and movable businesses, then you're able to create community in places that that it doesn't currently exist, because, you know, those spaces, you don't have community, people don't have the money to build community, but you're kind of bringing in the community in what the exists with existing land. So those are the conversations that that we want to start having to help people reach, you know, reimagine community, basically.
Ethan Waldman 36:22
Yeah, well, that how will you facilitate those conversations is there is it like online, zooms, videos, conferences,
Jewel Pearson 36:32
it's gonna be, it's gonna be online and where we are launching, through, I don't know, if you're familiar with mighty networks were logged in through an initiative through that site, so that we create a loss my word for it, but some options for people to be able to gather within the site to to facilitate conversation and, and bring people together to, to start those conversations and go out in and create, you know, pilot communities, etc. And within, we'll still be hosting our workshops within that format for people who, you know, still want to learn about tiny houses, we still will address that. But again, kind of moving it to the collective solution.
Ethan Waldman 37:21
Got it? I love that. And and I am very familiar with mighty networks because I, my online community, Tiny House Engage is on a mighty network as well.
Jewel Pearson 37:30
Okay. Yeah. Okay.
Ethan Waldman 37:31
It's a good platform,
Jewel Pearson 37:32
we might might have to pick your brain. Yes. Everybody wants to come pick your brain.
Ethan Waldman 37:38
Jewel Pearson 37:40
No, don't pick my brain. But yeah. And I want to ask you some questions. Yep.
Ethan Waldman 37:46
Sure. Sure. So in in all of the places that you've parked your tiny house, I know you've had safety issues with with the people who live there. Have you ever run into issues with zoning or legality? You have as well,
Jewel Pearson 38:07
I have. That's how I got kicked out of the city of Charlotte. I was in I have been in someone's backyard for two years. And it was kind of a cool setup, because the house faced a street. And it was almost like an inverted L as well. So the house faced the street one way and then my tiny house faced the street in the back of the house. So you really couldn't tell in the backyard was so long, I really couldn't tell I was in that person's backyard. It just kind of looked like a house.
Ethan Waldman 38:38
Jewel Pearson 38:39
Sitting there. And of course, I had wrapped the bottom of the house. So you didn't know it was on wheels. And I had I hadn't lived like that for successfully for a little over two years. And then the neighborhood was is was changing in building code enforcement. It was in and out of the neighborhood. And I don't know. I'm not exactly sure it was. So somebody somehow started paying attention to my house and they had cited the house owner, the property owner for having an unpermitted ADU. They couldn't tell that it was on wheels. So they they told him that he needed to get them all in or, okay, well, well, they were just telling me to go through the proper process. And so yeah, then I knew I had to have a conversation with them to tell them that it was on wheels.
And so we talked for I'm gonna say almost four, four months and the interesting thing is zoning was okay with it. They were like, you know, we're, we're okay with it. And you can get building code enforcement to be okay with it. And everyone that I had spoken with a building code enforcement like we put together this plan, they were I was working with my architect. They needed to see the review of my structural engineer of my type for my tie downs. and I had all of that stuff. And we what they were suggesting is that they were going to go through and do an inspection. And, you know, if they found something that they wanted me to fix that that was fine. But per their inspection, however it turned out, then they would allow me to leave, you know, leave the structure. And that was kind of that was cool for me, like, they were like, well have to cut through one of the walls and see the interior structure, I'm fine with that. If you all will do that I can repair it, you know, after you're done, if you'll just leave me alone, and let me live in my house. And we were making excellent progress.
And then someone said, before we got to the inspection piece, someone said, they wanted to send it up to their boss to have their boss review it. And the boss shot it down, you know, probably he probably hadn't even had the email for 15 minutes. And this was like, like I said, four or five months worth worth of work. And he shot it down completely to say it was just it was a park model something he said and it doesn't fit, blah, blah, blah. And everything that he said was part of the initial conversation. Like it wasn't he, he hadn't discovered that it was on wheels, like like they knew it was on wheels, like he was acting like he had just discovered it was on wheels and law. Now that we know that that's why we're in this conversation.
But no one that was on the email thread that I have been speaking with for the four or five months seem to be willing to respond to him and say, you know, we know that and we're, we're considering this process and blah, blah, blah, it was like, he shut the conversation down completely. And everybody went mute. So I ended up having to move the house as a result.
Ethan Waldman 41:42
Jewel Pearson 41:44
Yeah, it does. I just feel like so like the work that that we're planning to do with ReCommune and the conversation that we want to have with building, you know, community with, with movable houses and businesses, I don't think it's something that really is going to appeal to the larger cities like Charlotte, they don't they don't need that. But when you have more of a a smaller city rules city rural town that needs to like that the area where I am this a small, there's a small town city right next door that has a small college and all of those college students go into Charlotte, for you know, entertainment for you know, for all of that. But if we could build that within that town, versus having to actually build physical buildings, and you know that the cost outlay for that, but you build community by bringing businesses in movable businesses, and then you even have with movable businesses, you even have the opportunity to say, Okay, this, this particular business isn't doing well in this area, what what do they need? What would do better, so then you roll that one out and bring another one in.
And so and so there's, you know, there's really not the loss of, you know, ended lease or business just not doing well floundering and just not doing well, but then you're able to keep the monies that those college students are taking to that next big city spending, you're able to keep that within your community, you're able to keep them, you know,
Ethan Waldman 43:15
Jewel Pearson 43:16
Build your community that way. And I think that is more of a conversation that, you know, appeals to a smaller city, and I think they'll see value in it. Versus a Charlotte like they don't they don't need to have the conversation. I mean, in their minds, they don't...
Ethan Waldman 43:34
They need to have a different conversation.
Jewel Pearson 43:35
Exactly, exactly like to dress the you know, the houseless community that for housing and affordable housing, conversation, but as of right now, they don't feel like it's a necessary conversation.
Ethan Waldman 43:48
Yeah, I mean, things are happening. And fortunately, they're more happening on the west coast. But yeah, I did an interview a couple of weeks ago about the laws that were just passed in Portland, that Portland, Oregon that essentially allow any tiny house on wheels or RV to be used as an ADU.
Jewel Pearson 44:07
Ethan Waldman 44:08
And basically, it's it's acknowledging the fact that we have a shortage, a severe shortage of housing. And if we actually, if we actually want to make housing more affordable, and to have more of it, we have to make it dramatically easier. Because going through as you just, you know, kind of alluded to, in your story about four months of work to try to get this thing passed. And then you ultimately get told no, like, most people don't have the time or the organizational skills or just like the that bureaucratic stuff is, yeah, are like my eyes glaze over as soon as I start reading it, so it's like, exactly. We can't expect individual people to go through this process over and over and over and over again.
Jewel Pearson 44:56
Exactly. Yeah, I read a article I'm going to say a couple of months. About that said there was no city in the United States where someone make minimum wage before was at a house to buy a house or an apartment or something like that. It was just saying, you know, there's nowhere so where are these people supposed to live? Yeah. It's
Ethan Waldman 45:21
I mean, tiny houses aren't like a solution to every problem, but they absolutely help a lot. And I I do
Jewel Pearson 45:28
I say that all the time. I do
Ethan Waldman 45:31
think that the the idea of, of bringing movable businesses into the model and being able to appeal to smaller towns and and kind of connect tiny and mobile to their interests, that's the only way that you get things done. Yeah, know them, of them how to how it's going to help them. Yeah, so are you are you off grid? Or are you connected to the to the main house?
Jewel Pearson 46:01
I am connected to one of the out buildings here. Okay. And so I'm connected there, but there is no main company for WiFi out here. And so I had to go through one of the solutions the the RV IT guy, who does
Ethan Waldman 46:20
Jewel Pearson 46:21
he does Wi Fi for for RVs, most you know, most people that's the the option that I am going with and fingers are crossed at some of the big companies come back here soon.
Ethan Waldman 46:34
The RV IT guy. Well, you just you just gave me a name. And I gave him a plug for another interview on the on the show.
Jewel Pearson 46:42
Oh, yeah. Yeah, you should talk to him. His his solution like it is saved. It saved my life because I just couldn't imagine being in a location. You know how you just open your phone and you expect to see somebody's Wi Fi? Just right. So see something? Nothing. There's nothing Nada. Nada. Yeah, I was trying so hard to get our Spectrum to consider coming out, but apparently where I am is too far off of the main highway. And it's cost prohibitive for them in and there's nobody else saying that there's a need. So that conversation didn't go very far. Okay, so yes, you should talk to the RV IT guy. He's got a very cool solution that is, is saving my life right now.
Ethan Waldman 47:34
Oh, that's that's quite a plug.
Jewel Pearson 47:36
Yeah. I need to let them know I need some money.
Ethan Waldman 47:44
Well, I think last time we talked, I usually ask guests for book or resource recommendations. But I wanted to ask you, you know, you've you've told us about re commune. And we talked about Tiny House trailblazers. recomendada. Org. Are there any tiny house dwellers or people who you want to shine a light on that deserve, you know, people's attention?
Jewel Pearson 48:10
I kind of been disconnected from the community. I don't have anyone that I and I'm gonna regret saying I don't have anyone I can think of right now. Because as soon as we're done, I'm gonna think of somebody. Um, but uh, I have a book recommendation. So.
Ethan Waldman 48:27
Jewel Pearson 48:29
So it for me, it's the the question that we always get is, you know, kind of about the downsizing process. How do you how do you do the downsizing? How does that work out or you make it easier. And I think, in addition to being able to see themselves living in a smaller space, I think people just find the task of downsizing and minimalism and all that kind of stuff, daunting. And so a good friend of mine, Christine Platt wrote a book about minimalism, and it's the Afrominimalist's Guide to Living With Less, but it's not just a it's so I've always said, I'm not a minimalist, because, you know, when we I was first, starting in the movement, and there was like you, you're supposed to have six shirts and 10 pairs of pants. And, you know, that never resonated with me because, you know, I was building a tiny house with a walk in closet, and I you know, corporate America like that just never fit with me and my style. So I've never really considered myself a minimalist, but her guide approaches it from a different perspective and approaches it from the perspective so that representation is also there for for someone like me who didn't see themselves in the state, you know, the conventional the or the mainstream, mainstream movement. And it also she also kind of talks to for people of color black people and people of color. Why living with less is, is hard. And it's kind of the same concept concept that I've spoken about in the tiny house movement where I say it's a harder sell for people of color who are still trying to achieve conventional home ownership. And if you look at the numbers year after year, they're at the bottom of the list for are achieving that. So when you start talking about a tiny house, it's like, I don't know, I don't want to talk about that. I'm still trying to get, you know, what's considered the American dream. And so she kind of has incorporated the background of why you know, what our relationship is to stuff and why our relationship to stuff is, is as it is in and but it's also a diet for everyone. So it's not just for people of color, but it's an excellent book. And for me, it's kind of cool because she also has an audio version, and she's actually doing a reading. So as I'm, as I'm writing, it's like my friend is reading a book to me, which I think is kind of is kind of cool. So yes, I would. I don't have anybody that I can think of right now to shout out, but I would definitely shout her.
Ethan Waldman 51:00
You just You just shout it out her and her book. So there you go.
Jewel Pearson 51:04
Yes. Okay. Yeah. Okay, so I guess yeah, that counts. Thank you, Ethan for Let me roll that back.
Ethan Waldman 51:09
Yeah, totally. And that's okay. There's another person to have on the show.
Jewel Pearson 51:14
Oh, yes. Yes, yes. Yes. Yeah. To talk about Afrominimalism. Absolutely.
Ethan Waldman 51:19
I admit, I have not heard the term Afrominimalism. But um,
Jewel Pearson 51:23
she is on Instagram as the Afrominimalist.
Ethan Waldman 51:26
Jewel Pearson 51:27
That's how you can find her and I can also make an introduction for you for sure.
Ethan Waldman 51:31
All right. Well, Jewel Pearson thank you so much. It's been great to catch up and congrats on your tiny house remix. It's awesome.
Jewel Pearson 51:39
Thank you so much, Ethan. It's always a pleasure. I appreciate you having me on.
Ethan Waldman 51:43
Thank you so much to Jewel Pearson for being a guest on the show today. You can find the show notes including a complete transcript, lots of photos of the tiny house remix and links to Jewel's work online at thetinyhouse.net/186. Again, that's thetinyhouse.net/186. Well, that's all for this week. I'm your host, Ethan Waldman. And I'll be back next week with another episode of the Tiny House Lifestyle Podcast.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai
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