Lina Menard Spreads Big Ideas About Tiny Homes7.9.18
Green Hammer Operations Coordinator, Lina Menard, is used to thinking outside the box, especially if it’s a box measuring 200 square feet. A tiny house designer, builder and consultant, Lina loves helping others create the type of dwelling that reflects their values and the life they want to live. Since 2013, she’s been teaching a course on tiny home design and construction at Yestermorrow Design Build School, where she herself completed a Sustainable Design Build Certificate Course.
“The scale of a tiny home is small enough that people can really wrap their brains and imaginations around it, and really dig in,” she says. “Designing and building a tiny home really forces people to think about what matters most and what ‘home’ really means to them.”
Tiny houses can be affordable and energy-efficient, making them an attractive option for people living in places such as Portland and Seattle, where home prices and rent have been steadily increasing. Tiny houses are also popular among those seeking a home office, art or writing studio, children's playhouse, or guest room. Lina lives in a cohousing community in Portland comprised of two tiny homes and one common house (to learn more, check out her blog, Niche News).
She’s learned firsthand about the challenges of permitting tiny homes, which is a significant obstacle for many tiny homeowners. Portland has been a testing ground for accessory dwelling units (ADUs), which makes it a natural testing ground for tiny homes, she says. “If Portland’s Residential Infill Project passes, for instance, it could pave the way for many more small dwellings in the Portland market."
Green Hammer has completed some ADUs over the years and most recently is focused on working with developers to create “missing middle” housing that encourages people of different ages and family sizes to live in one community. For instance, Tillamook Row is designed to meet zero energy goals, has a common building and courtyard, and allows people to age in place.
After five years of living and breathing in the tiny home movement, Lina says she is excited to be working at Green Hammer, where everyone is committed to proving that green buildings can perform better and at a lower cost than traditional buildings. As Operations Coordinator for Green Hammer, she is responsible for creating tools and systems to help Green Hammer design and build better buildings. “Green Hammer’s drive to constantly improve inspires me to do better.”
As part of her role as Operations Coordinator, Lina is representing Green Hammer on the Build Small Coalition, which supports research, policy innovation, education, outreach and new partnerships to promote the creation and access to smaller housing — including accessory dwelling units, cottage clusters and other options — in greater Portland and across Oregon.
Lina will be traveling to Waitsfield, Vermont later this month to teach the Tiny House Design-Build course at Yestermorrow, along with Lizabeth Moniz, Jacob Mushlin and Keith Lewis. If you’re interested in learning more, you can contact her at lina (at) greenhammer.com.