ND workshop sign up link

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

The Power of Bartering- from a DUMPSTER find to a pimpin' 50s lamp!

Relaxshacks.com is not only about tiny houses, tree houses, and small shelters, but about DIY design, repurposing, dumpster diving, and all around funky decor...... and that's where this mini post comes in....

The good ole power of trading/bartering. I was cleaning out my SOWA market booth in Boston today and had a huge 1970s metal laundry cart that I didn't want to carry and tie to my van roof (I found it in a dumpster, but it WAS pretty nice/cool). 

Well, I had been eyeing this really ugly/funky/dated lamp in another booth and almost pulled the trigger on buying it (he was asking $85- I would have offered less), so instead I ask if the guy was interested in the cart and wanted to trade? 

Well, here's a shot of it in its new home- my studio. Hells yeah! (this dude "Pete" at the SOWA Vintage Market has the best booth- a great eye for funky stuff, and he repurposes furniture in very creative ways too). Look for the big dude with the beard....

Anyway, this will be yet another odd lamp that will illuminate my studio's front windows at night..... 

-Derek "Deek" Diedricksen 

Monday, May 18, 2015

FREE! Check out this tiny art studio cabin WE BUILT in CT!

This small and colorful artist studio cabin (a mere 7' by 10') was built in just three days at our hands-on tiny house building workshop. 

First off, I'm here, I'm alive.... I've just been REALLY, REALLY busy traveling, building, designing, and painting for workshops, galleries, and more. Just this year alone my brother Dustin and I have done builds or workshops in St. Louis, Providence, RI, Vermont, and Sydney, Australia, AND I've opened up a new gallery in an abandoned storefront, built several structures for clients, am working on a charity/fundraiser cabin for the cub scouts, and more! Oh yeah, we head off to Fargo, North Dakota soon too, to do a build/working inside the super-cool Ecce Art Gallery as part of the "Misfit Conference".

And Did I mentioned I have a new book called "Microshelter" coming out through Storey Press in September? 
You can check it out/pre-order it HERE: 

Anyway, as part of a recent (sold out!) Relaxshacks.com Tiny House Building/Design Workshop in Putnam, CT, we built and designed a small art studio cabin INSIDE a really cool space called The Empty Spaces Gallery. This gallery, and the people that run it, are fantastic. The town of Putnam, CT is equally as fantastic- antique shops, a comic book store(!), great restaurants, beautiful falls, tons of public art, a caboose-turned-museum, and more!

To cut to the chase, this gallery, and the funky cabin we built is FREE to check out! So take advantage while your can. The cabin will be on display for another month or so, and the art that surrounds it is just kick-ass as well! I've include some photos I took of the gallery and its art below.

So, get off yer butt, and head on down to check out some wild art, AND a tiny house-like cabin- all for no admission charge at the ESP on Main St.

For more on The Empty Spaces Project, head to: www.theemptyspacesproject.org

by Jonathan Fritz 
Photo by Paul Toussaint 

Art piece I did (of a few on display)- by Derek "Deek" Diedricksen

by Maltee Sinanan 

INSIDE the little art studio cabin- more photos to come!

-Derek "Deek" Diedricksen

Friday, April 10, 2015

Time Lapse Art by Deek Diedricksen (Graffiti Robot) for Tiny House Display

So, as many recurrent readers here may know, Relaxshacks.com is a bit eclectic, and not JUST about tiny houses, tree houses, and cabins. Oftentimes I like to work in recycled-material furniture, projects, and decor, music, and art- which is the case here.

Coming up on May 1-3, not only do I have a Hands-On Tiny House Building Workshop in Putnam, CT where we'll all be building and designing a cabin together, but those dates also signify the beginning of a gallery showing by NYC artist Maltee Sinanan- a showing where you'll also find a few art pieces on display by myself as well. Friday night MAY 1st, 2015 is Maltee's public opening, so come on down! Its FREE! 

This really will be my very first gallery showing, as most of my art is just shown and sold online, so I'm certainly looking forward to it.

Meanwhile, for potential decor in the cabin we'll build, here's something I worked on the other day (above).

It too, is for sale- $300- I do ship 'em. Any purchases also go towards a new Stoughton, MA revitalization project I'm working on- I've rented out an empty storefront in the troubled (business-wise) district of my town, and will slowly transform this into a window-display art gallery in order to bring some additional life, and light, to this town (its old center). My hope is that down the road, someone will be inspired to rent an empty or abandoned storefront in this town and do the same, and before you know it, voila, we're slowly becoming an art town, and bringing in some new, window-gawking, foot traffic....which then helps the existing businesses.

Meanwhile, to pay the rent, I'll be selling art pieces here and there, and occasionally hosting classes and little workshops in the space. So keep checking back!

Here's the space now..... and just you wait to see what it will look like down the road! We have a long ways to go, but we'll get there!

Of course, if you want to help out, we do have a DONATE button in the upper right corner of this very blog. ANY bit helps, as I'm dropping A LOT of money and time on this project- a frightening amount....

-Derek "Deek" Diedricksen

Monday, April 6, 2015

The New Women of the Tiny House Scene..... Part of a Hands-On Workshop in CT!

     "When I set up a workshop, I want it to be overkill- building, and I mean LOTS of it, design, art, repurposing, creativity and free form thinking, and a chance for likeminded tiny house and diy addicts from around the US to get together, learn, create, inspire one another and have a TON of fun.
                                                           -Derek "Deek" Diedricksen (ABC TV- "Chronicle HD")
    Being busy as all heck (we JUST got back from a build/hosting a workshop in Sydney, Australia), one thing I've been meaning to do is to post on some of the rather unannounced guest speakers, builders, dreamers, teachers, and designers that I'll be having at my upcoming hands-on Relaxshacks.com Tiny House Building and Design Workshop on May 1-3rd at The Empty Spaces Project (a great, community-revitalization art gallery) in Putnam, CT. While this workshop is almost sold out before I've really even announced a single guest speaker, I still want to take the time to introduce some of our guests, friends, and collaborators. Be sure to check out the great flyer we have (thanks to Kevin Fitzpatrick of www.KMFIllustration.com) down below as well! Also, a special thanks to Ann Monteiro and Paul Toussaint for their tireless work in helping to make this workshop a reality!

(Below: Day 2 (or 3) from our recent hands-on tiny house building workshop in Sydney, Australia!

I also might add, that this workshop is just LOADED with female builders, speakers, and demo providers. Its just GREAT! Especially as the slight majority of the scene seems to be composed of women.

So for this workshop alone, here are some of our female speakers. The guys? We'll get to 'em in another post....

Luise Susanne Gleason- Luise is one from the duo behind Connecticut's "Runaway Shanty" project. She'll be bringing out their tiny house on wheels so that attendees to the workshop will be able to tour it and ask her and her partner questions. www.RunawayShanty.com

Miranda Aisling- Author of "Don't Make Art, Just Make Something", she's a tiny house addict, runs the Boston area community art center "Miranda's Hearth", and is working on setting up a community art hotel, in a tiny house, where everything from the food to the furniture will be made by local artists. Miranda also works for the very well-reputed Tumbleweed Tiny House Company. www.mirandashearth.com

Kari Cooper- aka "Yurt Girl". Kari will be trekking from New Jersey to bring, and setting up a traditional Mongolian Ger that all can tour. Kari is super-creative, and has helped us in several past workshops. 

Amy Henion- Amy is an aspiring tiny house dweller who is hip-deep in the downsizing process, and will speak on her methods, and her trials and tribulations, while trying to declutter her life and work towards the goal of building a tiny house. She has also been a past TEDxSomerville lecturer, where she gave a talk on the attractions and merits of living tiny.

Goldi- Coming all the way from San Francisco to function as one of our guest builders, Goldi is one of a few cases now where a student showed so much drive, potential, and was so hard working, that we later brought them on as part of the crew. This is Goldi's THIRD workshop with us now, as she's built with us in both Vermont and North Carolina in the past.

Vera Struck- Another GREAT past workshop attendee at one of our earliest workshops, Vera has been hard at work over the last few years working on her "Silver Bullet" tiny house- a traveling, eco-friendly, educational dwelling on wheels. Vera is just dynamite! www.silverbullettinyhouse.com

AND there's more to come! Like I said, its almost sold out (we have a mere 4-5 slots left), so if interested, don't hesitate!


ALSO, upcoming- a VERY small/intimate- two FULL day, fully hands-on tiny house building workshop in Fargo, ND!!!! If interested, send an email to newenglandrockpress at gmail.com

-Derek "Deek" Diedricksen

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

FARGO, ND Tiny House Building (Hands-ON) workshop w/The Diedricksen Brothers....

YOU WANT LOTS OF HANDS-ON BUILDING EXPERIENCE? IN A SMALL GROUP with lots of one on one time with instructors? Well, this is the workshop for you! ONLY TWELVE people will be allowed to sign up! Two days, a 20+ hour course.... 

Spots are going fast for this two day, hands-on workshop....

Yes, "Its ON!". May 30-31st (Sat-Sun 2015) Derek "Deek" Diedricksen and Dustin (his brother)- aka "Dr. Demo", will be hosting a two-day HANDS-ON Tiny House Building Workshop, INSIDE an art gallery in Fargo, North Dakota, where the class will collectively build a wild, funky, colorful cabin- one that will be used and displayed by the gallery for some time to come. Meals included.

The Diedricksen Brothers have hosted and built/designed for the HGTV and DIY Network series "Tiny House Builders", run the youtube design channel/show "Tiny Yellow House/RelaxshacksDotcom", have built and designed for the History Channel and ABC, and have been featured in the NY Times, Boston Globe, China Times, Seattle Times, ApartmentTherapy.com, Design Sponge, Better Homes and Gardens, and beyond.

And check this!
Austin Hay, will be flying in from California as our guest builder/speaker!

You might know Austin as the kid who built his own tiny house when he was only 15(!), and from the  viral youtube video that was the result of it. It has THREE MILLION VIEWS!

This workshop will be limited to TWELVE people.... we want to keep this intimate, manageable, and want one teacher/builder for every four students. Approximate hours will be 9am to 9pm on Saturday, and 10am to 6/7pm on Sunday.

If you're interested, email newenglandrockpress@gmail.com to sign up/for additional details.

Framing, siding, design know-how, complex cuts, tool usage, problem solving, salvage material building, pallet demos, trailer build info/direction, and you name it- we'll cover it. These workshops are great for beginners, or for those with experience, but looking for new approaches and inspiration.

Here's a video of one of our past workshops.... they're REALLY fun, and we've had some students take them multiple times just for the fun aspect and the networking angle of it.

Cost of the two day class, with many meals included, is $295
Email newenglandrockpress@gmail.com if interested.

CANCELLATIONS: Make sure you can attend before you sign-up as this workshop has less lead-time than the others and we can't deal with cancellations, and such- it just gets too time consuming to fill and replace slots. If you do sign up and later have to cancel, we WILL give your a rain check to any other workshop we host- don't worry. But again, MAKE SURE you can make these dates before you pay, as you will get to attend another workshop if you have to cancel, and not a refund.

Derek "Deek" Diedricksen

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

HGTV "Tiny House Builders" Host fronts Boston, MA based metalcore-hardcore band.....

Hey, for all your recurrent readers, many of you know that aside from building and designing tiny houses, tree houses, forts, backyard offices, and cabins, I'm really into weird art, beer, comic books, anything nerdy, AND metal and hardcore music. Among my favorite bands (one's I've been inspired by): Madball, Downset, Prong, Iron Maiden, Hatebreed, Rage Against The Machine, Clutch, Coroner, and Pantera. And yes, you'll find hints of all of them in this music video/tune.... or so I feel.

(PS- side announcement- we have a NORTH DAKOTA hands-on Tiny House Building/Art Workshop Coming Up in May!)


(Warning: The video has some covert lyrical social commentary in-it, with a few cliche, cock-of-the-walk, hip-hop, tongue-in-cheek lines.... I wouldn't say its for kids). 

 "Prepare To Scare"- this isn't a normal post for this blog, but we do cover art, music, and books now and again, so I'm tossing it up here.... don't worry, we'll be back to building and tiny houses by the next post! And we'll have more on our Fargo, North Dakota mini, hands-on building workshop!

As for the music video, check it out, and if you'd be so kind, pass it on, as we're 100% independent right now, and worked hard on this self-titled 9 song album. We've been working/writing as "Inverter" since 2012 more or less, but this is our first official release, so give it a whirl. The band really is just a studio project- myself on drums and vocals, and Bill Bracken on guitar and bass, but we're working towards making it a live vehicle and doing some dates down the road. Soon.

Special thanks to Jim Foster of Red 13 Media, who recorded this album at his Framingham Studios, and to Jim (again) and Anthony Lewis, who busted ass with this music video- shot in a mere 4 hours.

If you want to help us out, for a mere $8, you can pick up the album....

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Inverter-Explicit/dp/B00UV1N0KK/ref=sr_1_2?s=dmusic&ie=UTF8&qid=1426685161&sr=1-2&keywords=Inverter
CD Baby: http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/inverter 

As for the cut-and-paste press release we grabbed offline from a metal/hardcore news site... from an interview I did a few months back.....

"Mark your calendars as March 16th, 2015 signals the release date for the independent offering from the "new" Boston, Massachusetts-based act/project "Inverter". The two member "band", comprised of Derek "Deek" Diedricksen, and Bill Bracken- both longtime musicians, WBCN FM (CBS Radio) alums and members of the New England scene, has been writing and recording under the "Inverter" moniker since 2012, but this self-titled album stands as their first official full release (at Red 13 Media in Framingham, MA with Jim Foster). Why should we care? Well, for the simple sake of "WTF!?" curiousity, and all-out randomness, we recently found out that frontman Diedricksen had been doing some hosting and design work for both the HGTV and DIY Networks this past year for a show called "Tiny House Builders", which debuted this past December. "HGTV meets HARDCORE and METAL"? We NEVER saw that one coming. Furthermore, if Madball, Downset, or Prong, are your thing, these guys might be right in your wheelhouse. 


Anyway, to those who give it a chance, pick up a copy= THANK YOU!

-Derek "Deek" Diedricksen

Saturday, March 14, 2015

DIY Salvage Decor- Deek Interviews Shannon Quimby (HGTV, Better Homes And Gardens)

At the 38th Annual St. Louis Home And Garden Show- 2015

In this short interview, Derek "Deek" Diedricksen (HGTV, DIY Network, Relaxshacks.com) talks to Budget-Design Expert and Magazine Stylist Shannon Quimby, whose expertise deals with taking found items, and junk, and re-making, or re-imagining, them into new decor pieces for homes. Shannon's work is often seen in magazines ranging from Better Homes and Gardens, to Country Living, Vintage Style, Flea Market Style, and beyond. She is also author of the book "Color, Create, Decorate", and has contributed to many others such as "Salvage Secrets: Transforming Reclaimed Materials Into Design Concepts" and "Salvage Secrets: Design And Decor". She has also worked for, and appeared, on HGTV, and The DIY Network. 

(This interview was conducted inside a tiny A-frame cabin/garden shelter (or office) that was a LIVE, behind-the-ropes, build by Derek "Deek" Diedricksen, and his brother Dustin Diedricksen, for the 38th Annual St. Louis Home and Garden show where both brothers, and Shannon, were featured speakers. This A-frame cabin, which was built for under $1000.00, was completed in 3 days. The front of it is clad in clear Tuftex polycarbonate roofing, and its roofed with Ondura roofing (www.Ondura.com). Roy St. Clair, a friend of the brothers, was  the third member to help with this live build.

Also- don't miss Deek and Dustin's LIVE, ACTUAL-BUILD, workshop coming up!!!
 Click on the banner on the top of the blog for more info....


Friday, March 13, 2015


Some fun/whimsical things I've been working on.... Sure, there are 4,500,786 artists that blow me out of the water, but I'm having fun making these little paintings, and I'm reusing old yard sale canvases, and scrap wood blocks (otherwise bound for the dump) when doing so.

 If you're interested in me doing a piece for you- even one of your tiny house- let me know.... kidcedar at gmail.com (all the ones shown have SOLD- sorry)- ALSO, we'll have (and make) some cool tiny hands-on art at our next Tiny House Building Workshop- May 1-3 in CT. We'll build a cabin INSIDE an art gallery, that will be on display (publicly) for two months and then auctioned to help out this non-profit art gallery.

THE NEW STUDIO: Why the heck not? As some of you know, a ways back I began renting out a small studio in an old factory in my town (one of about fifteen artist studios on a 3rd floor) simply so I could have some creative fun and get back to painting, sketching, and graffiti-based work. I've been selling original pieces for some time now simply through my personal Facebook page- "Derek Diedricksen", and while I've sketched hundreds and hundreds of tiny cabin ideas for my blog or my books, I've done very few in color.

Above: My studio- decked out with many free, salvaged, and recycled items....

I figured, why not work on some tiny art pieces, that could be potentially used as decorations in tiny houses, cabins, or tree houses- or for those aspiring for tiny spaces and wanting a little art piece to remind them of their eventual goals?

Above: Sketch I did of Tammy And Logan's Tiny House (one built by Dee Williams). www.RowdyKittens.com

I'm no Rembrandt, but have been having a lot of fun messing around with salvaged materials, recycled and leftover paints, and small yard sale canvases. So here are a few I did recently.

Also, our Hands-On Tiny House Building and Design workshop in CT (May 1-3 2015) is filling up fast, so if interested, click on the banner near the top of this blog, and then scroll down for details. We have a good deal of women as speakers and experts this year too, which is GREAT!

Another one- pen sketch for fun.... (for sale)


-Derek "Deek" Diedricksen

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

TINY HOUSE LIVE BUILD hits CT- HANDS-ON Build and Design Workshop!

Check out this new kick-butt flyer art from Kevin Fitzpatrick of www.KMFIllustration.com- the guy is fantastic! We're REALLY looking forward to this workshop- one to be held INSIDE an art gallery in Putnam, CT ("The Empty Spaces Project"). Gonna be fun, and we'll ALL build a really cool, funky, cabin together, as well as take on some really creative collaborative art and decor projects! We have MANY guest speakers, teachers, and demos as well, and this little CT town is loaded with great restaurants, and a live-music venue right next door to the build!

The first day of the workshop will also coincide with the gallery opening of NYC artist Maltee Sinanan- whose work is REALLY cool/fun! One of her pieces will also end up within the cabin we build- which will later be open to the public to see for a month or so afterwards.

'Hope to see some of your there- this one is filling up fast. If you want more info, or want to sign up, click the banner link on the top of this blog prior to the workshop date (May 1st, 2015).

-Derek "Deek" Diedricksen

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Deek's Tiny House/Cabin LIVE BUILD in St. Louis- Photo Journal

THANK YOU St. Louis, and the folks at their 38th annual Home and Garden Show (the THIRD largest in the U.S.!). Dustin "Dr. Demolition" Diedricksen and I had a GREAT time down there, alongside Roy "Two Phones" St. Clair from www.Ondura.com (aka "The Tuftex Tiny House Roofing Guy" as many called him). While down there we built a cool little A-frame cabin LIVE, and behind the ropes, for a demo to those who attended this four day event. It was a ton of fun and I'd do it again in a heartbeat. Good people, good food, good times....
(Note: we DO have a 3 day, FULLY HANDS-ON Tiny House Building Course coming up on CT- scroll down below for details!)

Man, I have quick hands!

St. Louis was a lot of fun, despite the weather.

Some highlights....

-Checking out "Aaron Kamm and The One Drops"- randomly. One of THE BEST, and tightest live bands I've seen in a long time (and I'm a jaded gent who used to work in the music industry). These guys were just FANTASTIC!

-Going to the top of the St. Louis Arch- WELL WORTH THE RIDE! Not all that expensive either. $10 for the ticket. The CN Tower was almost $50 when I went! Crazy.... (still worth it though)

-Crawfish Enchiladas at "The Broadway Oyster Bar"- a pretty misnamed joint, as its an ultra-funky cajun restaurant with a great live music room.

-Pulled pork sandwiches from "Vernons" near "The Hill"

Above: The micro backyard cabin/office we built- a simple a-frame plan that can be built for about $800 (less if using salvaged/recycled materials). It stood 11' 6' tall. It was later successfully auctioned off for charity when we finished. The roofing is Ondura, and the front is clear Tuftex brand polycarbonate. Special thanks to Eric Schwartz and crew at Refab.org for the salvaged materials! 

Highlights (Continued).....

-Hanging with (several times) and picking the brain of Shannon Quimby- who has done a ton of work for HGTV, The DIY Network, and many fabulous magazines that I often read, such as Flea Market Style, Vintage Style, Small Space Design, Better Homes and Gardens, Storage Solutions, and so many more. We nabbed a little interview with her that will be up on youtube soon as well. You can check out her work at www.ShannonQuimby.com . A super nice person- funny too!

-Doing SEVERAL radio and TV interviews- one short one at the studios of Fox Channel 2 news in town....

The view near the front of our hotel (the St. Louis Arch- 630 feet tall!) 

I figured that this would make for a less cliche photo by the base of the St. Louis Arch....

And our upcoming workshop.... click to enlarge

-Derek "Deek" Diedricksen