Our StoryHow we got our start in the tiny house world and what we're about.
Paprika -Pepper- Clark
Designer, Teacher, Blogger, Tiny House Geek
After attending a workshop in 2008, Pepper, decided to invest her tiny nest egg in an equally tiny house build. She gave an inspirational talk and tour of the Towhee afterwards and was invited by Tumbleweed Tiny House Company to teach a few workshops herself. Later she was hired to write the content and redesign the curriculum for the workshops, and taught 18 of them across the US and Canada. She now has three complete tiny house builds under her belt alongside her husband and partner Dylan, and they currently live in their second, a 17 foot long house they call the Goldfinch.
Builder, Carpenter, Handyman, Troubleshooter
Dylan was skeptical when Pepper caught the tiny house bug, but he’s come around and is now a heartfelt advocate of a smaller simpler lifestyle – as long as there’s room for his tools! His broad experience with construction, carpentry, plumbing, electrical, towing, heavy equipment, automotive, and even landscaping makes him indispensable in working through solutions to unique challenges presented by small house scenarios. He can advise on everything from tires to trim, and if he doesn’t know the answer, he knows a specialist who does.
We’re flexible, friendly, and willing to be there when and how you need us. From articles and research shared on our website to Skype calls and Facetime chats to graphics, 3D renderings, and animations, we’ll explore all avenues to help tiny house folks near and far. While we can’t be available every moment, you’ll find us surprisingly responsive. Ask your questions in comfort, knowing our talks with over a thousand tiny house folk means we’re nearly impossible to shock.
No tiny house dream is too big, no feature too wild, no setting too unusual to keep us from honoring your questions with the best answers we can find. We’ve recommended skylights based on cat accessibility, smart LED lighting with 16 million colors, soundproofing for walls, smart home automation and remote control, and insulation methods for tinies in freezing locations. We love a good challenge, so bring your tall orders and we’ll bring our thinking caps.
Systems in a tiny house are often quite specialized, and for good reason. Take advantage of our experiences to inform and realize the ideal solutions to your particular needs. Need onboard water storage? Want off the grid energy independence? Want to explore waterless toilet options and don’t know where to begin? Let us cut through the overwhelming volume of info out there and help you get directly to the answers you’re looking for.
Our “spec” house – built without a buyer in contract – now set up and enjoyed on two lovely acres in Malibu.
A commissioned design/build for a Texas client that pushed tiny boundaries with ample amenities and dimensions.
Recent Blog Posts
I love this piece! The interview was a joy, and we felt really comfortable with Brei (the interviewer who barely appears on camera) and the camera man (whose name I regret I’ve forgotten). I’m so glad we were able to connect so we could add our part to this sensible bit of reporting. And hey, I’m super camera shy, but I don’t look half bad! The level headed tone of this segment signals a long overdue decline in the shock value of tiny homes in the news media, one I’ve been hoping to see for a while. The perspective in this discussion is “This has potential. What are the obstacles?” Very constructive, and a great antidote to the tendency in the media to make it all sound too easy. While I’m a huge tiny house fan, I’m also a true advocate in that I see the damaging effect of false perceptions and I want people to step into these challenges well informed.
People have asked many times why we decided to build tiny houses, how we persisted and finished our first one in spite of the challenges, and why we keep at it even though it’s much harder then it looks. In real life off the cuff answers have worked, yet somehow fallen short of clearly expressing the most important parts. Here are my answers from a more reflective point of view. My First Workshop I attended the Tumbleweed workshop, presented by the brilliant Jay Shafer (now of Four Lights Tiny House Company) in a Sebastopol California apple orchard in July of 2008, alongside Kent Griswold (of Tiny House Blog) and Greg Johnson (of Small House Society). It was either the second or third they had presented; about 10 of us sat in a circle of folding chairs under an enormous evergreen with Jay as he quietly talked us through his build process.
We’re growing in Sonoma County; the population increased 7.6% from 2000-2010, about 2% per year. We have great weather, resources, entrepreneurial spirit, and abundant culture rich in art, wine, and local food. There are educational draws like Sonoma Academy, Sonoma State University, and the Santa Rosa Junior College – among the best in the nation, as we all like to brag. On top of it all, we’re blessed with enough natural beauty to smack us all with calendar worthy views every day. [Yet] we see a rising tide of the struggling underemployed, from educated young creatives working part time, to laid off middle-aged freelancers, to folks of retirement age working for minimum wage as servers or box store greeters to make ends meet.
We’re Pepper Clark and Dylan Pankow, a couple with a broad range of experience who combined have lived in Sonoma County for 55 years.
Dylan grew up in Petaluma and pushed a lawnmower since he was 12. After high school he studied automotive repair at the Santa Rosa Junior College, worked in construction for a time, then built a gardening and handyman business.
Pepper moved to Sonoma County after high school and earned 5 career certificates in landscape and business disciplines during four years at the SRJC. During her studies she worked at a respected native nursery and met landscape design clients there.
We met through a friend, went into business together doing landscape design and installation, and the rest is history. We’ve built three tiny houses together, and taught building and tiny living workshops to over a thousand people across the country. Our mutual love for the great outdoors and time with friends and family always keeps life interesting. We have two school age kids and are still committed entrepreneurs with multiple small business ventures in our past and present.
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