Tiny House Parking Available

Hi Tiny Housers! 

We were contacted by Rena Patrick, who has TWO parking sites available for tiny homes on her property on Quadra Island, British Columbia. More below - 

"There is electricity, water, cell phone reception, and land for rent. Wi-fi connection can be provided. Would be suitable for two friends wanting to live close to one another in a quiet and peaceful rural setting, which is walking distance from all amenities. 100$/week Canadian, long term available." 

Please contact Rena directly if interested - renapatrick@poetic.com

Photo of parking spots provided by Rena Patrick

All the best,
Tumbleweed Staff

 

Written by Jenna Spesard — August 01, 2014

Filed under: British Columbia   Parking   tiny House   Tiny house parking  

High School Students Build Three Tiny Homes

The Academy of Career Education (a.k.a “ACE” high school) in Reno, Nevada is not only embracing tiny homes as an alternative housing option but also as an educational tool for their students. Being a tuition-free charter school focusing on construction and engineering, each student at ACE becomes OSHA certified and is offered a variety of courses with hands-on training in home building. 

“We were looking for new projects,” ACE instructor Tony Clark explains, “and we happened to see a news story on a boy that built his own tiny home instead of a fort. After that, we did some research and found Tumbleweed.” After pitching the project to Tumbleweed President Steve Weissmann, Mr. Clark and his students were donated a set of Cypress 20 plans. Clark also attended a workshop last fall and purchased three Tumbleweed trailers. In January 2014, ACE students began building three tiny homes. 

“We have about 45-50 students taking the course, between the ages of 15-18 years old,” explains Clark. “All the traditional techniques for building a home are covered, and then some! There are more codes to follow when building a tiny home, as well as weight, propane and movement to consider. I think the biggest benefit is that it makes the kids better problem solvers.”

Justin Moore, a student taking the course, believes building a tiny home will make anyone a better carpenter. "Tiny homes are a growing trend, and learning to build off-grid housing is extremely beneficial." 

Ace High School

One of Clark’s favorite teaching moments was when two of his award winning carpentry students installed the shower insert. “They triple checked their work, but they forgot to make sure the trailer was level.” Clark chuckled, remembering. “They had to do the work all over again. It’s not something you would encounter in a regular home, and so it was an excellent learning experience for them.” 

Before summer break, the students were sheathing the roof and had started on electricity and insulation. They’ll pick back up when schools begins in September, with the goal of being finished by December 2014. 

“We have some interested buyers for two of the tiny homes, and we’ll keep the third on display.” Mr. Clark went on to say that all the money made from the sale will go straight back into funding the program. “I want to continue building tiny homes at ACE. The students have really embraced it.” 

Justin (Clark's student) agrees,  "I think tiny homes are very very cool. I could see myself living in one, but I would customize it to fit my lifestyle." 

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*All photos provided by ACE High School

*For more information on the ACE High School Tiny House project, click here.

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Jenna Spesard is currently building a Tumbleweed Cypress with her partner, Guillaume, who is a professional photographer and Tumbleweed Workshop Host. After the build is complete, they plan to travel around North America in their tiny house blogging and photographing their adventure. More on their tiny house and giant journey here

Written by Jenna Spesard — July 29, 2014

Filed under: Academy of Career Education   ACE   Build it yourself   Cypress   design   High School   Reno   School   tiny   tiny home   tiny house   Tumbleweed  

Composting Toilets - Top Manufactured Units for Tiny Homes

My partner and I are about 90% finished with our Tumbleweed Cypress and we saved the best for last - the bathroom! We've decided to go with a composting toilet, and my research began with the simple DIY bucket unit and has now moved onto the more "high-tech" options available. Below I've listed three manufactured compost toilets specifically for tiny homes. Each of these units are self-contained, waterless, and include some form of ventilation and aeration. 

I hope this list is helpful but keep in mind that there are many options out there. Choose the commode that works best for your tiny home! 

1). Nature's Head

Nature's Head Compost Toilet

PRICE: $925 / Made in USA

SIZE - 20" toilet seat height X 22" width needed for handle / vent use X 20 5/8" depth required / 28 lbs

COMPOST CAPACITY - approx. 90 uses

VENTILATION - Vent mounted at the side rear of the unit / 12V fan

AERATION - Crank aeration

URINE - Diverts urine into small built-in holding take

INSTALLATION - Video here.  Bonus video - Art's Nature's Head 

2). Separett - Villa 9210

Separett Compost Toilet

PRICE -  $1389 / Made in Sweden

SIZE - 17.3" toilet seat height X 19.95" width X 30" depth required / 48 lbs

COMPOST CAPACITY - Family of four will need to empty container every 3-6 weeks.

VENTILATION - Vent mounted at the top rear of the unit / 12V fan 

AERATION -  When pressure is added to the seat, the chamber is rotated

URINE - Diverts to a separate waste tank (not included in unit)

INSTALLATION - Video (1/2 way down page) here.

3). Sun-Mar Excel-Ne 

Sun-Mar Compost Toilet

PRICE: $1645 / Made in North America

SIZE - 26.5" toilet seat height X 22.5" width X 46" depth needed to empty / 50 - 95 lbs. *Sun-Mar also has a mobile version that is smaller, but requires more electricity.

COMPOST CAPACITY - Family of three will need to rotate chambers every three months. The unique aspect of this toilet is that it has three chambers, allowing compost to fully form in the third chamber.

VENTILATION - Vent mounted at the top rear of the unit / 12V fan optional

AERATION - Crank aeration

URINE- Liquids are evaporated within unit / no diverter. Requires a drain for excess liquid. 

INSTALLATION - Video hereBonus informational video here

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What do you do with the waste after emptying your toilet? You can, of course, compost your waste - that's the whole point! Although, the amount of time required before safely giving your waste back to mother nature depends on several factors, including your chosen unit. I would recommend reading The Humanure Handbook by Joseph Jenkins, which has a lot to say on the subject. In fact, I know exactly where you should store this book... right next to your current toilet.

My decision? Drum roll please........ I ended up choosing the Nature's Head compost toilet for our tiny house. The size is a perfect fit for our small bathroom, allowing us to build future storage space around the toilet. 

Guillaume (my partner) & Salies (our dog) modeling our new compost toilet!

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Jenna Spesard is currently building a Tumbleweed Cypress with her partner, Guillaume, who is a professional photographer and Tumbleweed Workshop Host. After the build is complete, they plan to travel around North America in their tiny house blogging and photographing their adventure. More on their tiny house and giant journey here

Written by Jenna Spesard — July 16, 2014

Filed under: Compost   compost toilet   composting toilet   composting toilets   nature's head  

Tiny House For Three

Family posed on the porch of their "big house" (above) and their barn raiser (below).

Meg, Brandy, and their 2-year-old son nicknamed "R.A.D." are about to dramatically shrink their idea of home. Having just received a Tumbleweed barn raiser, the family of three will be shedding approximately 3,000 square feet!

“Somewhere between growing to despise our huge mortgage and realizing we would never be able to take my mother on the Alaskan cruise she dreamed of, something just snapped in my mind.” Meg explains why her family has decided to downsize from their 3,193 sq foot home and nearly $2,000 a month mortgage payment.

“Losing my mom made us realize the ‘American Dream’ of the big house with the white fence was really just a pair of shackles preventing us from doing the things we really wanted to do.” Sadly, Meg’s mother recently lost a 17-month battle with cancer. Before she was diagnosed they had planned on moving the whole family from Texas to Washington. “The more I thought about the plans I was making with my mom, the more resolute I was that I needed this change. I was sick to my stomach with the knowledge that I let the big house weigh us down." It was then that Meg and Brandy finally made the decision to drop the big house, and travel around the country with a tiny home before settling in Washington for R.A.D to start school. 

With Brandy attending college and Meg working two jobs, the couple quickly realized that finding time to build was going to be a challenge. That’s when they stumbled upon Tumbleweed’s barn raiser - a professionally built skeleton of a Tumbleweed tiny home secured on a Tumbleweed trailer. The family chose the Cypress 24’ Horizon model, which will allow a private bedroom for their son as well as a loft bedroom for themselves.  

“Having the professional builders do all the heavy lifting and, most importantly, the strapping and securing of the structure to the trailer was the decision maker in the build vs. buy debate for me.” Meg explains. “I’ve had nightmares of the house sliding off the trailer, so the peace of mind that comes with having professionals secure my house is worth it’s weight in gold!" 

Meg and Brandy ordered their barn raiser in mid-March and received a notification it was ready on April 22nd. The family set off to retrieve their new home - one that is equal in size of their current master bathroom! When they first stepped inside the tiny dwelling that would one day carry them off on an adventure, Meg remembers thinking it felt huge and tiny simultaneously. Check out their height charts: 

“Our son calls it his ‘Biiiiigg Hooose’, and it (the tiny home) will probably continue to feel big to him while he is little.” - Meg

How will this family cope with this dramatic downsize? Check back in for updates on Meg, Brandy, and R.A.D. as they finish their house and prepare to travel around the U.S.A. 

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All photos provided by Meg and Brandy. 

Follow this tiny house family on their blog here. Like them on facebook here.

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Jenna Spesard is currently building a Tumbleweed Cypress with her partner, Guillaume, who is a professional photographer and Tumbleweed Workshop Host. After the build is complete, they plan to travel around North America in their tiny house blogging and photographing their adventure. More on their tiny house and giant journey here

 

 

 

A Tricky Trailer Delivery

Jeff and Megan's New Tumbleweed Trailer Being Delivered!

Jeff and Megan attended a Tumbleweed workshop in Las Vegas earlier this year, where they were able to tour three different tiny homes. After that, they took the plunge - purchasing a brand new 20 foot Tumbleweed foundation on wheels. Let the build begin!

The first obstacle almost every tiny house builder faces is a big one - WHERE TO BUILD?  Jeff and Megan currently live in Las Vegas, and like so many tiny housers, they lack an ideal space for construction.  Many people in this situation rent a location such as a workshop, while others build in a friend's backyard, barn, or tall shed. Finding the perfect build site can take time and research, but it's well worth the effort.

The main considerations when choosing a build location are:

1) Adequate space for maneuvering the finished house through the entrance
2) Adequate space to move around the house while constructing
3) Access to electricity for power tool usage
4) A covered lockable area to protect materials and tools
5) Budget

*Also, depending on the geographical location, a covered build site might be preferable to prevent weather damage.  

While brainstorming possible build locations with a close friend, Megan and Jeff stumbled upon a solution. "We figured our friend Martin would have some good ideas because he's a Las Vegas native, but instead he offered his own backyard!" Megan said. "We are very lucky." Martin's yard is spacious, and he is also allowing them access to his garage and electricity. But, there is one challenge -  an angled driveway that could pose a problem for maneuvering. Is this build site too good to be true? 

The Challenge: Backing the trailer through the angled driveway

Tumbleweed Trailer

Oops! First attempt - part of the retaining wall collapsed!

"I knew backing the trailer in was going to be tricky." Jeff explained.  "The gate opening is 10′ wide, and the trailer itself is only 8’6″. We knew it would clear, as long as we worked around that angle." Eventually they lined the trailer up as best they could, unhooked, and pushed it in by hand. 

Slowly, Jeff and Megan navigated the trailer into the back yard...

Hooray!! They made It! It's so spacious back here!

Okay, but how are they going to pull the trailer out with a 13 foot house on top?! "We’re confident we’ll come up with a solution." Jeff chuckled. They are considering building up the area where the retaining wall fell over or engineering some sort of steel “deck” that could be installed to allow for a truck to pull the trailer out. Both Jeff and Megan agree, they'll have to figure it out before they begin to build.

Any ideas or tips for Jeff and Megan's exit strategy (literally)? Please share.

Make sure to check back for periodic updates on Jeff and Megan! They are preparing to build a Linden, modeled from Meg Stephens's house and hope to be finished by February. 

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All photos provided by Jeff & Megan.

Follow Jeff & Megan's blog here. And friend them on facebook here.

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Jenna Spesard is currently building a Tumbleweed Cypress with her partner, Guillaume, who is a professional photographer and Tumbleweed Workshop Host. After the build is complete, they plan to travel around North America in their tiny house blogging and photographing their adventure. More on their tiny house and giant journey here

 

 

 

Written by Jenna Spesard — June 27, 2014

Filed under: Build it yourself   builders   Downsizing   Trailer   Tumbleweed Trailer   Vegas  
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