A Work In Progress "Creating A Tiny House Village"

A Work In Progress

Creating a Tiny House Village


We are always surprised when we look back over time and see what we’ve accomplished. It’s always more than we thought it would be. Things seem to fall into place and people come into our lives when they are supposed to (apparently) to either do something or not do something. We get a lot of calls from people asking if they can come and visit the Tiny House Village here at The Sanctuary, and they can, but we need to set up appointments because we are not always here, and the residence would like to know if someone is coming, not only to potentially show their house, but just to know. The most common questions we get asked are.

Q:  How many Tiny Houses are on the property?

A:  At the moment we have 4 Tiny Houses. 2 have full time residents, 1 is a part-time getaway, and one is under construction.

Q:  Do you have any for rent, just to try out?

A:  Right now we are working on that, we will have more “temporary rentals” in the future, but for now we are more of a place to put your own Tiny House.

Q:  Do you have water, sewer and electrical hookups?

A:  We are running a 15 amp circuit to each plot. We currently do not have sewer or water hookups. The current residents are using water containment systems and composting toilets, or they are using the facilities at The Sanctuary where we have 2 full bathrooms and laundry, or a little of both.

Q:  Do you sell a piece of property to each resident?

A:  No, the land is rented per month. All property will remain The Sanctuary’s.

Q:  How much does it cost?

A:  Currently for YOUR home in the village it is 300.00 per month.

Q:  How do most people heat their homes?

A:  Most of the Tiny Houses use propane but electric heat is possible and wood is also an option.

Q:  How much land does everyone get?

A:  We have 80 acres, and we share the whole thing. We really don’t put boundaries around each house or lot. Our goal is to give each home its own private spot. We hope to keep privacy and solitude for each resident.

Q: Do you allow children or pets?

A: The Sanctuary is an ADULTS ONLY community. We are not set up to handle children safely, although children can visit our residents. We only allow cats that are fixed and current on their vaccinations. As with the children, solitude, nature and quiet is a part of The Sanctuary experience, dogs and children are not allowed.

Q: Can I hunt on the property?

A: We do not allow hunting or discharging of firearms on the property, although, we boarder the Mille Lacs wildlife management area where you can hunt. Our goal is to live in harmony with nature on this property.

   We know that we are limiting the population of people that are ready to live in this environment, but we are not looking to build a major population here. Just a few people who want to live as a community helping each other live a very simplistic lifestyle in nature. Like the title says, “A work in progress”. We will deal with situations as they arise, but we have a pretty good idea of what we want and don’t want.

Thanks for reading!

Bill Campbell


What keeps people from taking the leap into a Tiny House?

   I saw this question awhile ago on facebook, and now that we’ve been more involved with the Tiny House movement and have talked to hundreds of people at the Home and Garden Show in Minneapolis, I wonder even more. Some people we talked to were just curious, but there were many people who seemed to be on the fence as to whether they could do it or not. One of the big reasons for living in a Tiny House on a trailer is mobility, but the people I talked to mostly were looking for independence and a less expensive way to live. Obviously if you have children, space and schooling is something to consider. If you’re not willing to downsize, that’s a problem. But the biggest question we get is “where can I live in it”? Zoning concerns are a huge problem and it’s hard to pull the trigger on building a Tiny House if you don’t know where you can live in it. From what I understand, most zoning laws keep you from living in a Tiny House on a standard lot or in a driveway. If your Tiny House is on wheels, it’s considered a RV, and living in an RV is not allowed in most cities. If you put your Tiny House on a foundation, your Tiny House now must conform to HUD codes, which they won’t. So where are you going to go and where are you going to build? Yes, we have a solution here at The Sanctuary, restrictions here are minimal for zoning, but we are only a solution for a few homes. There are many communities working on these issues as we speak. What we are doing here is creating a community of people who want to start a shared interest in each other’s well being, and collective support for the whole community. The nice thing about a Tiny House on a trailer is that, if where you put  it doesn’t work out for you, you can always move. I’ve got relatives trying to figure out what they are going to do when their retirement money runs out. Apartments, senior care, it’s terribly expensive and local and state laws have no financial reason to allow “Tiny Homes” on wheels to be placed on private lots so people can have a place for their aging parents or other reasons. Jay Shafer of Four Lights Tiny House Company and the founder of Tumbleweed Tiny Homes, has been battling the zoning issue for years. We shouldn’t be “governed” out of an affordable option of living. The “Grand Illusion” of having a huge house with a huge mortgage and working ‘till you die to pay it off, shouldn’t be a requirement to exist in America. Anyway, we’re all in this together, and if you’re looking at the “Tiny House” direction as an option, check out our website for events that might help you, or a place to live in your house. We can also direct you to builders and other people we know that are actually living in tiny homes right now. Good Luck!

Thanks, Bill


The Sanctuary Labyrinth

   Ever since I can remember I’ve always wanted to do things on my own without asking any help from others. I know there are a lot of people out there just like me. I mean, I’m sure they didn’t create the phrase “If you want it done right, do it yourself” for me. I rarely do anything right.  Telling people what to do is not my strong point. I’d just as soon do it myself. Mmmm….I guess that’s why my management career didn’t last too long.  I usually thrived in jobs that just had an end vision and let me go at it! I’ve done a lot of things on my own up here at The Sanctuary, and although I’m proud of the things I’ve accomplished, It’s not the most effective way to get the most things done in the shortest amount of time. We are in the process of building a Tiny House Community here, and my old way of thinking is just not going to work.  Therefore I hereby surrender my need to have to do everything. I hereby surrender my fear of asking people to help.  I hereby will accept the talents, skills, generosity  andresources of others to help fulfill the vision of this community without the guilt of feeling indebted. That being said, we are going to build a Labyrinth here at the Sanctuary! It’s going to be a great space and we are sure that whoever is supposed to be involved, will be.   The Labyrinth build is absolutely free to come to and you can register on the event page at TheSanctuaryMn.com. You can stay for a few hours, or the whole weekend. We will have some sleeping areas available on a first sign-up basis. Our design is already set and the area is already cleared. We will be using fieldstone to define the walking areas and hope to find a way to have mossy type paths so it can be walked on with bare feet. This is a great opportunity to find out what The Sanctuary is all about and join in with great people for a great cause.  We hope to be able to offer the Sanctuary Labyrinth to whomever wants to visit free of charge on dates we are open to the public. The weekend date is May 13-15. You can also show your commitment to attending on our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/events/931331666952696/. Please look at the other events we are having in 2016 also. We really hope you can join us!

What's New?..........Bill Campbell

 I’m overdue for an updated blog!  The Tiny House we started at the July build we had here at the Sanctuary, is starting to take on its personality, with the bulk of the outside being finished. As you can see from the photo, we decided to build the house with the trailer hitch at the FRONT of the house at the suggestion of Daniel Bell, the instructor at the build. It has become a very positive decision which has helped us come up with some neat options for the front deck. Some of the deck sections are removable for transporting. The best advantage is that we can now back our Tiny House into its location rather than pulling it through. Many locations just don’t have the room for pulling your truck out once you’ve got the house where you want it. We put in the skylights and, although they can be expensive, they really add a sense of more room to the sleeping loft. We used steel roofing with hidden fasteners, which was my first experience installing and was really quite simple. At some stores, you can order your steel cut at the exact length you need so there is very little cutting. We were contacted by the Minneapolis Home and Garden Show ( http://homeandgardenshow.com/ ) , which is a huge deal here in Minnesota every year. They are going to have the front foyer of the Minneapolis Convention Center be a display of Tiny Houses! They will have 5 tiny houses on display (including ours) and will be landscaping them so it feels like a village. Over 100,000 people attend this annually and we expect a lot of questions about tiny houses and our village. Speaking of our village, things are moving along and we have been in touch with many potential residents and some that probably won’t work out. A lot of people have different reasons for wanting to live tiny, which may or may not fit in our village. Some people want to live in a tiny house but want a huge garage next to it….um…no. Some want the hookups that RV’s are used to being provided with, but as of now, our village will offer a nice secluded spot in nature with one 15 amp electrical wire to plug into. We are looking for about 6 permanent residents (in which some have been filled) in our village, and we are now considering having a couple of houses outside of the village for people to rent short term to “try out” Tiny Housing. Our plan is to have The Sanctuary offering community space and amenities that some tiny houses may not have (like laundry) and tools that can be used by the community. This whole idea evolves daily so who knows what tomorrow will bring? We recently had a Tiny House meet-up here with about 35 people coming up here to visit. It went great! I strongly encourage anyone in the area who is interested in the Tiny House Movement to join the meet-up!



The Workshop Video!

After many hours of editing (THANK YOU, Dwight Raatz!), we now have a video of the awesome Tiny House Build & Workshop we hosted in July. We would like to thank Jay Shafer (Four Lights Tiny House Company) and BA Norrgard (A Bed Over My Head) for their participation and Nina Zamudio for her Facebook posts while BA's page was down! We ESPECIALLY want to thank Daniel Bell (Daniel Bell Construction) for leading the workshop and the extra time he put in, each evening, making sure the house was ready for the next day. THANK YOU to The Sanctuary Minnesota Inner Circle members Deanna Reiter (yoga), Troy Stende (Breaking Through Barriers), Carol LaRock (Brenda's right hand), Melissa Scott (support) and Dwight Raatz (photography). Our gratitude for having you in our lives is immeasurable! THANK YOU to The Bill and Tom Show for entertaining us on Thursday night. Thank you to Denise (Bowe's Restaurant) for catering our daily lunch and going out of your way to research and prepare vegetarian, vegan and gluten free options. Of course, THANK YOU to the wonderful group of participants!! Without you, there wouldn't even have been a workshop! And last, but not least, a shout out to Charlie, the bear, for making an appearance for the seclusionist in the group. (He stayed WAY out in the woods to be surrounded by nature.) You made his trip! We had so much fun, we are considering hosting one again next year. To top this year's fun, we could have a picnic on the Fourth of July and play horseshoes, jenga or have a good ol' fashioned potato sack race?!? LOL!


Tiny House Update......Bill Campbell

It's been a week since the 5 day Tiny House build event has concluded and I finally have some time to start working on it myself. Thanks to everyone who came to the workshop and helped get it this far. For those of you who had to leave early, we were able to get all of the rafters up and most of the wall sheeting in place. I started on the roof sheeting. I started by deciding to use 1x6 tongue and groove pine for the edges of the roof that are exposed from underneath. The issue I noticed in doing this was that the roof sheeting (4x8-1/2 CDX) plywood, is 1/4" thinner than the 1x6 T&G pine boards. Even though the roof metal that I eventually put on will probably make it so you can't see the small drop in thickness, I'm planning on putting some extra roofing felt on the CDX just to bring it a little closer to the thickness of the 1X6 T&G.

I suppose you don't necessarily have to use a different material in the "exposed" area, but I had the product on hand and it looks better than just the CDX plywood showing underneath. By the way, in CDX grade plywood, the C & D means that one side is a better grade than the other and the X means it's got an exterior glue so it won't delaminate if it gets rained on a couple of times. I'm thinking that if you wanted to just let the plywood be your finish under the overhangs and under the front porch, you might consider installing the plywood with the better "C" grade facing down. It is normally installed with the better grade facing up.

The next thing I plan to do is get metal roof edge and #30 roofing paper to make it somewhat water tight 'till the metal roof is on. Although we plan on putting in skylights on the roof, for now I'm going to cover it with the roofing paper, but I will need to buy the skylights and frame the roof properly before I can put the metal on the roof.

What's our vision? By Bill Campbell

Now that we’ve decided to create a Tiny House Village, We get many people asking us why? What is our vision? What is your long term goal?  I’m not sure if everyone can relate, but after we bought this 80 acre parcel and we started slowly turning it into what we now call The Sanctuary, we have developed friendships with others who have fallen in love with it also. Even though the peace and serenity of The Sanctuary may be, in part, tied to the lack of population, having others share in our interest of nature, and a simpler way of life, away from the city, is a real desire.  Like finding another fan of your favorite musical group or movie, you enjoy each other’s company to share and experience the joy it brings you.  We’ve had so many great times up here observing the wildlife, taking in the beauty of the night sky or the sound of the birds as sun rises in the morning.  We see the village as a continuation of these developing friendships, with Tiny Houses as being a good way for us to live together, but with enough room to feel that same peace, serenity and connection to nature. Maybe it will take awhile to fill the village with like minded friends. Maybe it won’t.  We really aren’t in any hurry.  The ultimate goal will be to create a community that will live together and utilize everyone’s skills and resources to become unburdened by mortgage debt and  be more self sufficient.  I know there are multi-family households that live together to reduce their expenses. Our community will do the same, but with much more space for everyone. We can all help each other retire as a community.  If this sounds like something you’d like to be a part of,  maybe we should talk?