We can build on this.

IMM at TCNJ Senior Show 2020

May 18, 2020 | 7:00 - 9:00 pm

Dream Big, Live Little.

Jamie Ling

Project Site

Creator Bio:

Jamie is a Senior IMM major and Finance minor with a focus in Digital Fabrication and Information Visualization. Throughout her time at TCNJ, she has been involved in various internships, clubs and activities on campus and is currently the Creative Director/Production Committee Manager for the TCNJ Gaming Clubs. After graduation, she will be joining Goldman Sachs as a Global Markets Analyst.

Project Overview:

tiny house

Dream Big, Live Little is a project that explores sustainable living, tiny homes, and analyzes the relationship between both. The purpose of this project is to raise awareness of 1) tiny houses and the tiny home movement and 2) the different ways in which people can live sustainably to better our lives, the environment and our world. This project additionally provides ideas that focus around the positive impact tiny homes could have on impoverished or underdeveloped communities. I am a strong believer of the idea that design can be used to create positive social impacts all around the world. Simply by changing the exterior and interior design of a space can make homes seem more desirable to live in. Design can boost individuals' morale and fosters opportunities for growth and success. I've seen underdeveloped communities made of the most hardworking and kind people, who deserve so much and have such Big Dreams, despite Living in a Little space. I hope to one day make their "little spaces" the best places to chase their amazing dreams!

Personal Inspiration/Interest:

Ever since I was young, I have always loved looking at floor plans and imagining what it would feel like to be in one plan versus another (I was a weird kid, I know). I also had a slight interest in tiny homes, but it was my trip to Aruba that first sparked the original idea for this project (read here).

What Were Some Challenges You Encountered? One Overarching Problem/Challenge and How Did You Solve It?

I encountered many challenges during this project. For one thing, I had never built anything before and I had no idea how to even use a screw gun, much less a table saw. For another, I had never used Maya and didn’t have the faintest idea of how to 3-D Model. I knew nothing about tiny housing or tiny living. I just knew this was a project I wanted to work on and these were topics I wanted to learn more about. I wanted to learn how to do all these things and so I did.

Despite all these challenges, the most challenging thing for me was the hardest to admit. It was a challenge for me to accept the fact that I couldn't do this project on my own. It was the fact that it would be crazy for one person to build a tiny home model alone, and that I needed someone else's help to complete it on time. I do not like accepting help. Admitting that I needed help from my Father of all people with the build was the hardest thing for me to do during this project. However, in the end I'm happy I asked and really appreciate the help I received. Who knows, I might have lost a finger or two otherwise!

My big takeaway from this is that I learned that sometimes you can’t do everything yourself and you may have to ask for help to get something done in time, and even more importantly-- there's no shame in that.

Development Process & Tools:

  • Maya, Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop, Premier Pro, Floor Planner
  • Panel saw, Table saw, Miter saw, Screw gun, Drill, level, and more
  • A variety of online resources and databases for research

At the very beginning of my process, I took the time to do some research, attend a tiny home expo, and familiarize myself with tiny living. After this, I started sketching up my own designs in an easy to use program called Floor Planner. Once I felt comfortable with a base design, I taught myself how to use Maya through use of a lot of online tutorials. I modeled everything in Maya after that. Once my design in Maya was finalized, I started the build. However, I soon learned that things didn't quite visually appear as I had hoped, and so I made adjustments to my design on the fly, adding some things here, taking away something there, as I thought necessary until the build was complete. Throughout this whole process, I've been researching, writing, creating graphic materials, and working to put together a portfolio to showcase all this work in one place.

How is This Work Likely to Impact the World Beyond TCNJ?

I am hoping to raise awareness for the tiny home movement, sustainable living, and other social problems discussed in my posts on Medium. I am hoping to inspire people to making positive changes in their lives whether that be by living little, re-assessing their mindsets and lifestyles, or something else! I hope to give hope to those in need of help, to show them that people are seeing and are listening and can help them in their situations, we just need a bit more time.

I am hoping to inspire and start conversations.

*NOTE*: Anything I present on is not meant to sway you one way or another or force you into a certain lifestyle. My goal is simply to present options and you take it from there!

How Did You Adapt to COVID-19 Situation?:

Though the rest of my online classes weren’t a problem to me, adapting this project has certainly been a struggle.  For one thing, I had a room at the College all marked out and secured to present, but due to this unique situation I had to figure out how I was going to display a 8.5'x13'x20' structure at home. The only possible solution was to display the project outside in my backyard. This brought up a bunch of new problems including: figuring out how to level the yard, leveling it, figuring out how to waterproof and secure the house to the ground in case of rainstorms and strong winds, and building a roof for the house to prevent nature’s beloved birds from doing their business in my house. This was a large pile of added work, I made it work.

Did You Collaborate With Others?:

Besides receiving help with the build, reaching out and having conversations with tiny home experts, I did not collaborate with anyone else as this project was managed and designed by me alone. I am very grateful for the great amount of help I received with the build, moving the structure outside and waterproofing it, as well as all the information I gained from those in the tiny home and sustainability community. Shout-out especially to my Father who taught me how to build a solid structure and helped me lift all the heavy weights, and to Kay Anderson from PrecisionTemp who has been such an amazing person, thank you for providing me with helpful contacts and information on tiny living, and thank you for being so supportive throughout this whole project.