By LOIS KINDLE
Ever thought of going tiny and living big? There’s a local event coming up next week that will show you how, and answer any questions you may have about living more sustainably.
The 2nd annual Tiny Home Show will take place from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Nov. 10 at the Hillsborough Community College/SouthShore campus, 551 24th St. N.E., Ruskin. Hosted by the Circle Pond Tiny Home Community in Ruskin, the event is a fundraiser for the South Shore Coalition for Mental Health and Aging and the Ruskin Community Development Foundation.
Last year’s inaugural event attracted about 6,000 people.
“Interest was so great that we drew nationally recognized speakers on tiny-home living this year,” said Debbie Caneen, director of admissions for Sun Towers Retirement Community and owner of the Circle Pond Tiny Home Community. “We will feature about a dozen tiny homes and provide all kinds of information for anyone who’s curious about living in a tiny home and folks who may already own one.”
The lineup of speakers includes:
• Andrea J. Burns, owner of the Tomato Box tiny home, which will be among the tiny homes shown at the show, will discuss “Tiny Houses Promote Critical Thinking” at 10:30 a.m.
• Jo-Anne Peck, of Historic Shed, an expert on zoning and building codes for tiny living, will present “Zoning and Building Codes for Tiny Living” at 11:30 a.m.
• John and Fin Kernohan, founders of the Tiny House Association, will present “Living Your Tiny House Dream” at 12:30 p.m.
• Andrew Bennett, of Trekker Trailers and Core Housing Solutions, and Barbara Reilly, of Bildsworth International, will discuss “Future Proofing Tiny Houses: Building Practices, Insurance, Inspection and IRC Codes” at 1:30 p.m.
• Pat Dunham, a tiny space specialist and tiny home owner, will provide tips on living well in small spaces at 2:20 p.m.
All will be presented in the breezeway, with time allotted for questions and answers.
The Kernohans are bringing along their Tiny Firehouse Station No. 9, built as a tribute to firefighters and on-scene first responders.
The International Mobile Kitchen food truck, several other food trucks and around 20 vendors will be on hand.
Local performers Harold Davis and Bonnie Mullen will play a relaxing array of pop and country hits and original songs on guitar, harmonica and violin.
Admission to the fundraiser is $5; veterans and HCC students get in free. All proceeds will benefit the two nonprofits mentioned previously.
The Tiny Home Show in Ruskin was brought to South Shore by Caneen. In 2016, she used money from the sale of a rental home she owned to purchase 4.5 acres in Ruskin. Her goal was to help address the lack of affordable housing in the area and to create a community garden on the site. After clearing the property of Brazilian pepper, several run-down mobile homes and a fence around a pond on the property, Caneen purchased a tiny home built by Stephanie Henschen, a student majoring in architecture at the University of South Florida, as part of her thesis. The home was featured on an HGTV show and seen by a company in Seattle, which later hired Henschen to build container restaurants.
The home Caneen purchased and three others added since June 2017 currently make up the Circle Pond Tiny Home Community. Seven other rental sites for tiny homes are available for as little as $450 month. Water, sewer, garbage, electricity and lawn maintenance are included.
In September, Caneen received a $1,000 Fulfill Your Destiny grant through the Helen Gordon Davis Center for Women as part of its Business Builder’s Award and used the money to buy organic veggie starts for the community garden.
Typical tiny homes range in size from 100-to 400 square feet, Caneen said. They must be no wider than 8 feet and no taller than 13 feet and 6 inches. Lengths vary.
Some owners have their entire tiny home built; some have the shell built for them, and then they finish it; and others build theirs entirely themselves, although Caneen cautions these folks should contact a company like Bildsworth, because landowners must require certain quality standards.
Advance tickets for the show are available at https://tinyurl.com/Tiny-Home-Show, they can be purchased at the gate.
For more information, call Caneen at 813-892-2990. For more information about the Circle Pond Tiny Home community, email info@CirclePondTinyHomeCommunity.com.