Gallery: Oak Park’s Community Shop Class program teaches interns to build tiny homes

Chad Orcutt, who calls himself “a builder by hobby,” worked at Apple for years before moving to Oak Park about a decade ago. Photograph by Steve Martarano

By Steve Martarano

Adding to Sacramento’s tiny home community, one home at a time, is the latest flagship program of Oak Park’s Community Shop Class.

Located on Stockton Boulevard, and sharing a building with another nonprofit, Trips for Kids, the CSC neighborhood learning center is developing a continuing 4-week intern program to build tiny homes on-site. 

Working with TAYNR, a Sacramento-based design and engineering consulting firm, CSC has started construction on its first tiny home, with an eight-person class primarily focused on young people ages 17 to 24. The home is scheduled to finish when funding is secured. It costs approximately $40,000 in labor and materials to build one of these homes, and CSC funding comes from donations, hosting events to outside organizations, and materials acquired from organizations such as TAYNR, Milwaukee Tools, Teichert Construction and SMUD, according to Founder and Executive Director Chad Orcutt.

Each class will take interns through every stage of building a 120-square-foot tiny home, Orcutt said. Upon completion, the home will be placed at an undetermined tiny home community.

Orcutt, who started restoring the space located behind a former Subway restaurant in 2021, said CSC creates an inclusive learning environment for neurodivergent and underserved communities that are mostly ignored in traditional education settings.

Orcutt said CSC is a membership space where people can join for $50 a month for access to the space, tools and coaching from the people who are in the shop. “We’ve got a ton of pros around here that offer assistance and help with people’s small business projects and stuff like that,” he said.

CSC also provides a variety of free classes, mentorship and programs for its members and community partners, and works with organizations such as AmeriCorps, California Mobility Center, Sierra Service Project and Waking the Village. Training courses have included e-bike conversion, ceramics workshops, carpentry classes and a laser-cutting course. On Thanksgiving, CSC gave out free dinners for those in need.

“A lot of the people here, including myself, born and raised in Sacramento, need these types of places,” said Step Newton, a civil rights legal analyst who volunteers and takes classes at CSC. “They’re just so underserved in this area.” 

This story is part of the Solving Sacramento journalism collaborative. Solving Sacramento is supported by funding from the James Irvine Foundation and Solutions Journalism Network. Our partners include California Groundbreakers, Capital Public Radio, Outword, Russian America Media, Sacramento Business Journal, Sacramento News & Review, Sacramento Observer and Univision 19.

Step Newton, a civil rights legal analyst who volunteers and takes classes at CSC, hopes to learn woodworking there.

 Chad Orcutt (foreground) raises the frame for Community Shop Class’s first planned tiny home along with representatives of the Sierra Service Project, in the back lot of CSC on Nov. 8.

 Founder and Executive Director Chad Orcutt spent more than a year getting the Community Shop Class space ready, located on Stockton Boulevard in a former Subway restaurant, before opening in 2022.
The back lot of Community Shop Class at 3818 Stockton Blvd., which shares a building with the nonprofit Trips for Kids, on Nov. 8, 2023. 
Community Shop Class, located in Oak Park, has been operating for about a year since founder Chad Orcutt obtained the building in 2021. (Photos by Steve Martarano)
A donated mural by Sacramento’s Erse the Muralist resides in the Community Shop Class breakroom.

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