3 Steps To Becoming A Tiny House Owner
Kenton Zerbin Tiny House Workshop Presenter


Since I began working in 2013 as an educator in the tiny house industry, I have taught over 1000 tiny house enthusiasts across North America. In that time, I have observed that all my tiny house students are in 1 of 3 steps.

So what are the three steps, and where are you in your journey?

  1. Confirm this is the right decision for you.
  2. Learn to Design a perfect tiny home for YOU, for your CLIMATE, and for your LIFESTYLE.
  3. Learn how to Construct your itty-bitty house so it is safe, functional, and awesome.


Step 1: Confirmation. Is A Tiny House the Right Fit For me?

Let’s face it. Not every idea you have had was a good idea. (I know what you did last summer.)

Even if you are a die-hard tiny house fan, you need to second-guess and confirm whether you CAN or SHOULD try to design/build/live in a tiny home.

Roughly 60% of my workshop students are in this first stage. They are SO ready to learn what it takes… honestly, they are too ready. What do I mean by “too ready”?

I mean they want to dive right into buying plans, trailers, start designing and learning the tips and tricks of building. They want to learn about utilities, legalities, and products. They want a tiny house NOW before they know if it’s truly going to be the right fit for them.

This is the #1 mistake in the industry.

If you haven’t gone through this critical reflection stage yet, STOP. It is crucial to come to terms with what it actually means to live in a tiny house. Here is an article I wrote to help you “Living In A Tiny House: The Honest Pros & Cons”.

Only once you have confirmed this lifestyle decision do you need to understand the intricacies that go into designing a tiny house, and THEN you begin looking up how to construct one.

I can speed-track you through this process in the online or in-person A Tiny House Workshop. Learn from someone who has been living in their self designed and built off-grid tiny home since 2016, has dozens of tiny home friends, and has worked closely with numerous professional builders.

Regardless of whether you can make it to one of the workshops in my North America tour, I am here first to help you decide IF you want to go tiny (I am not trying to sell you a tiny house). The workshop and these articles are here to inform you and speed track your perfect tiny house dreams. So here are my top articles to help you through this 1st step:

  1. Living In A Tiny Home: The Honest Pros & Cons
  2. 13 Types of Tiny House People (And Their Motivations)
  3. How Much Does A Tiny House Cost? An Honest Answer


STEP 2: Design. How Do I Design My Tiny Home?

Great! You are informed, you know why you are doing this lifestyle shift, and you still WANT a tiny home real bad. You even have an idea of what your tiny home could look like. Or do you…?

One of the most common tiny house mistakes is to copy a design or buy/build a tiny house that is perfect for someone else … but it may not be for you!

This next step in the journey requires you to go through a blend of life analysis, the basics of interior design, and understand the legal options that will be the right fit for you.

The best way to speed-track and inform your perfect tiny home is to register for my 2.5-day workshop. Here’s why:

  • You get numerous tiny virtual tours to show you what “perfect” tiny homes can look like based on who their owners are.
  • You will become your own life coach and go through design exercises to clarify your goals and priorities (so important to do if more than 1 person is living here). The design of your house will follow this.
  • You will learn a to-scale tiny house design exercise in class. This will allow you to take your priorities and goals and turn them into a floor plan for YOU. (You will also receive a free copy of the exercise for starting your design.)
  • You will get to walk through tiny house designs laid out on the floor to-scale. This will inform you what you need for your design and also teach you common mistakes, pros, and cons of various layouts.
  • You will understand the intricate details and complications of your 5 building code options and the zoning/bylaws implications. I will teach you how you work with the rules, how to work around the rules, and how to change the rules.

In case you are on the fence about taking the workshop, no worries, I want you to help you regardless and to convince you just how valuable this workshop will be for you. You can also read the testimonials from other students who took the workshop here.

To help you along on this second step of design for getting your perfect tiny house, here are my recommended articles:

  1. The Ultimate Tiny House Questionnaire To Start Your Tiny House Design
  2. Planning A Tiny House: The Top 4 Mistakes
  3. Tiny House Plans: How To Make Your Own


STEP 3: Construction. How to Build Your Perfect Tiny Home.

FINALLY! You have gone through step 1 and confirmed that you indeed want a tiny house. You also have gone through step 2 and have a good base understanding of how to design your tiny home. Now let’s talk about how to build your itty-bitty house so it is safe, functional, and awesome.

The first thing to say is that construction (even with pros) is often full of mistakes. You don’t want mistakes. You want a tiny house that maximizes every single inch, is safe and strong and works with (or around) legalities.

Secondly, you need to know how your home works and needs to work, so you make correct decisions for how to build. It is common for DIYers and pros alike to make common mistakes and shortcuts resulting in an inferior, uncomfortable, or even unhealthy home.

The best way to avoid mistakes is to be informed. Regardless of whether you buy a used tiny house, build your own, or buy a tiny home from a professional, the only way to ensure you are getting a well-built tiny house is for you to be informed.

If you are informed you will avoid buying a lemon of a used tiny house, you will take extra measures while building your own, and you will be able to choose a professional builder who is worth their money and a good fit. Not every “pro” out there is worth the name.

Obviously, constructing a home is a HUGE topic with many areas of specialty. Join me for a workshop and ensure you see the bigger picture of how a tiny house is built. You will see how every step is DIY possible, where and when you should use pros, and you will receive the recommendations to ensure your tiny house is strong, legal, and healthy.

I want you to build an awesome tiny house. Till our workshop together, here are my top articles on tiny house construction:

  1. The Steps To Build A Tiny House
  2. Tiny House Builders – How To Pick The Right One
  3. Your Tiny House: DIY Build vs. Buy Used vs. a Tiny House Builder


In Conclusion:

There is a lot to learn about tiny house decisions regarding design, building, and living.

When I designed and built my tiny home I felt like most of the resources out there were terrible. So, I dove deep into learning. I consulted numerous builders, engineers, designers, and tradespeople. Still, I made thousands of dollars of mistakes.

As a professional educator, I knew I could provide the resource and help that I never got. So I designed a 2.5-day crash course that condensed what took me 8 months of research and 8 months of construction to learn.

Since I began teaching, I have received glowing reviews, and I have been requested to teach this workshop first across Alberta, then across Canada, and now across North America, both in-person and online. I want to ensure that you love your tiny home, regardless of whether you want to DIY build, buy used, or use a pro-builder.

I hope this was helpful! If you are interested in speed tracking these steps, I invite you to A Tiny House Workshop.



Kenton Zerbin

Photo credit: Bricks-To-Go 

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