We’ve been friends with Deek Diedricksen for almost three years now. We first met him at a Wilmington workshop and we kept in touch via social media and email sharing a passion for small spaces, tree houses, and roadside ephemera. Every workshop he offers is a gem in my opinion and I have no doubt this next one in Connecticut will be the same.

tiny house workshop ct_smallI got a chance to sling some questions Deek’s way to try and find out more about his workshops and what motivates him.

Tiny r(E)v:  Another workshop, huh? Do you ever get tired of hosting workshops?

Deek Diedricksen: No, I don’t- they’re a bit addicting to do, honestly, as each one is so very different- a unique set of teachers and speakers, each project (or two, three) is/are different. While they can be a nightmare and time-vampire to plan, they’re really fun to be at, and its a great chance to meet so many new and creative people. Each one stands as a chance for me to try out new designs too. 

TR: How important is the hands-on aspect of your workshops?

DD: More important than any other part of it. There are so few hands-on workshops, and fewer, if any, that have as much real-deal building as ours- for all skill levels too- from none, to working with seasoned vets. The Relaxshacks.com workshops will leave you with a greater understanding of and a confidence with tools, techniques, and you’re presented with a wide variety of design approaches, and then some. Its a heck of alot of building, problem solving, networkings, and DOING. 

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TR: People have often said online that your spaces are not actually livable. What are your thoughts, if any, on that “accusation?”

DD: Yeah, I hear that here and there, and I can’t help but feel a little bad for those who are so quick to write off some of the designs as they’re missing the intent. I feel thats on par which cliche comments like “There’s no insulation, therefore, it won’t work”. Well, don’t be so limited in your imagination that you block yourself from harvesting ideas because you can’t get past the lack of insulation (on the uninsulated seasonal builds I’ve done). I just find it a shame that some have that mindset- The, “I don’t like one or two aspects, so I refuse to see or hear the rest of the story” horse-blinder approach. Anyone can put insulation in a structure with very little time, money, and skill too. Get over it. Take what ideas you like and work, leave those that you don’t dig, and move on. 

I also used to state, until I was almost blue in the face- that some of the designs are mere microcosms of ideas that could be gleaned from and used in “bigger” tiny houses, but the attention span of many is so short, myself included, or that fell on deaf ears- I’m not sure. What it comes down to is that I am involved with more than just tiny houses. I build and design tree houses, backyard offices, weekend-cabins, shelters, art installations, so I’m never intending to offer up one specific person’s idea of a true-to-form tiny house each time (or even tiny houses in some cases). And what would that tiny house ideal be anyway? My idea of a livable structure differs from that of other people too- there’s no one set standard.

Let me also state that some of the designs aren’t meant to be permanently livable, but as very affordable, and easy to construct, vacation cabins or camping shelters. Anyway, damn good question- I don’t think anyone’s ever asked me that. 

TR: What is one component you feel is of absolute importance in yours builds?

DD: Oh man, that’s tough. If I had to give you two it’d be creativity in color and materials, and the use and presence of natural lighting. With tiny, tiny spaces, having a lot of natural light really serves to open a place up and trick the mind into thinking a set space is bigger than it really is. 

TR: Do you have any new plans or books coming out anytime soon?

DD: Yeah, there’s a lot going on actually. My brother and I host a hands-on build workshop in two weeks in Sydney Australia- which is just surreal. They contacted us, and are flying us out and putting us up to do some design and build work with them (a salvage place called “The Bower”). We have the CT workshop in May too, of course which will be INSIDE a really cool art gallery called “The Empty Spaces Project”. The build will be donated to the gallery to help them out, and will be publicly displayed for two months, then auctioned off. I also have a brand new book out Sept 8th on top of that. Its called “Microshelters” and will be VERY different than my existing book “Humble Homes, Simple Shacks”. This one also has six full out plan sets from myself, and as collaborations with designers like Jay Shafer (Four Lights Tiny House Company), Will Yount (Hummingbird Tiny Spaces), Matt Wolpe (Just Fine Design/Build) and more. To come full circle, this book really sums up what I’m about: Sometimes I build tiny houses, and sometimes I build things a heck of a lot smaller and that are intended for other uses. We cover almost sixty structures in the book, and you’ll get to see a few from me that really haven’t been featured before- some going as far back as 2002, when I started getting more serious about building tiny structures and tiny houses. 

Right now though, the CT workshop (May 1-3) is the real focus. We limit the group to about 30 people, we have a TON of guest speakers, demos, and a collaborative cabin build project, and its just going to be so much fun. Its filling up pretty fast, but if any of your readers want to sign up, just head to www.relaxshacks.com