Every week I get hundreds of emails from people interested in our tiny homes from around the world. The level of interest swings rather wildly. There are those who have become swiftly convinced that living smaller is better, to those who like the concept but just can’t see themselves living in such a small space. After speaking to many from both ends of the spectrum, its become apparent to me that for many, the two biggest obstacles to living in a tiny home is a) the size of the home and b) where in the world will you put all your stuff. In this post, we’ll talk about the first one.
Space is relative I won’t try to kid you: moving from what most people call a normal-sized home to a tiny or small home is definitely a reduction of square footage. But is it really a reduction of livable space? Let’s define livable space as the area you need to take care of life’s necessities. With that definition in mind, look around your current location. How much space do you occupy at any given time? When you sit at your desk to travel the world wide web, the rest of your space becomes irrelevant to you. What I mean is this: your kitchen stands empty when you desk chair is full. What about the distance it takes to get from desk to kitchen? Outside of wall space to hang some artwork or photos, how much wasted space do you see between those two locations? The truth is that you have exactly the same usable space in a tiny home without all the vacuuming. The same is true when it comes to the bedroom. For most of us it serves a primary purpose: sleeping, which most of us readily admit we do not get enough of. When you come home from a long day of work, do you go into your bedroom and run from wall to wall, marveling at the space? Most of us don’t. We see out bedrooms as a simple and rudimentary location. It serves a basic purpose. The same is true with a tiny home, the main difference being that it is out of sight in most of the homes we design. As many tiny house owners will tell you, the small sleeping space works just fine for getting some needed shut-eye.
There is one benefit that a tiny home provides that no mini-mansion can: you begin to see the space outside of your home as another livable, usable space. There are no walls, there’s plenty of room to move about and wonders of wonders, there is so much to do out there! When I read the blogs and emails from happy tiny home owners, I always get the sense that they’ve discovered this simple truth and they are the better for it. When you step into one of our homes, the fear that you’re about to be confined to a claustrophobic space gives way to the overall sense of coziness and surprising openness of the home. That’s because they’ve been designed by someone who is a true craftsman. It’s real, livable space and it might just be all the space you’ll ever need.
Tumbleweed Tiny House Company
Summer is coming and it's the perfect time to think about starting your Tumbleweed. That's what Jonathan Bellows did back in the summer of 2009 when he started to build his very own Fencl. Thanks to his very comprehensive online journal, we get to see how he went from purchasing plans to actually living in a Tumbleweed home. Here's how his journey began:
"This summer I've decided I'm going to build a house. I've been wanting to build a house for a long time now but I've been putting it off... mostly because I've had nowhere to build it. With recent real estate prices reaching all-time lows, now would be the time to buy. Of course, I'm also paranoid that, as soon as I DO buy, I'll end up wanting to move. Hardly any of y'all live around here anymore, you know? I don't want to end up stuck with a mortgage - I'm very debt-averse and it just feels wrong to me. I'm also tired of living in "standard" houses. Don't get me wrong, this is a nice house... I just want someplace where I can live more in tune with my ideals."
Jonathan's mother pointed him to our website and he took a liking to the Fencl. The rest is, as they say, history. Here's some early images of the trailer being built. You can read the rest of Jonathan's first post here. We'll be featuring highlights of Jonathan's build in future posts.
And what a beauty it is! Brittany's slightly modified Fencl was built in just over 5 months. The home now sits on the shores of Puget Sound. We can't think a more perfect place for a Tumbleweed! Thanks to here ingenuity, some inspiration from the unstoppable Dee Williams herself and a love for small spaces, Brittany's story is sure to inspire you to take the next step in building your own tiny house.
"Over the internet I bought a set of plans, purchased a tiny fireplace online, and – having it shipped to my address in Olympia – invested myself my future building project enough that I couldn't chicken out. I was going to do it. I had made my mind and was going to build myself a tiny, mobile cabin so that I could live anywhere I wanted and whenever I wanted, wherever my future would take me. "
The inside of the Fencl is as individual as she is. Isn't it amazing how you can put so much personality into a small space?
Brittany's approach to building for her Tumbleweed is worth sharing:
"It took me roughly 5 months of building, planning, reading and mistake-making to finish my house. Taking shop class in 7th grade just wasn't enough carpentry training, so I borrowed numerous construction books from the library and had many a meeting with Dee Williams and other construction-minded friends. A family friend offered to help me do all the electrical, plumbing and gas work in the house – if only I would supply him with a 6-pack every time he came over. My parents offered me space to build at the top of the property, so I set up shop and went to work. I found an 18 foot like-new trailer on craigslist, bought my stove from the scratch-and-dent section at Dickinson, bought a beautifully painted ceramic sink in Mexico, and tried to find as many reused/recycled items as possible."
She sure seems to have made the right choice in building a Tumbleweed Tiny House:
"I have been living in the house for about a year now and absolutely love it. It is perfect for just one person, with the occasional visitor coming over for a cozy dinner around my tiny table. While most homeowners spend their own free time cleaning the house, my cleaning routine rarely takes 20 minutes. I am happy to have as much free time, friend time, and happy hour time as possible to myself!"
Learn how to build your own tiny house at a Tumbleweed Green Building Workshop.
We love hearing from our customers, especially from those who've taken that big step and built a Tumbleweed Tiny House of there own. For our newsletter this week, I wanted to introduce you to Jonathan, who currently resides in his Fencl in Flint, Michigan.
Jonathan has kept a very comprehensive online journal, chronicling his build from the very beginning and subsequent relocation. One thing that I believe you'll really like is that he has taken over 400 pictures and has written over 100 entries. It makes for an inspiring read, to say the least. If that's not enough, he's also recorded some great videos of the interior and exterior of his modified Tumbleweed. Talk about maximizing a tiny space! He's even got a Wii in there and room to use it! You'll want to see his video about installing the electrical system. We get quite a few requests for information about plumbing a tiny house for everyday use and this video will answer a lot of those questions. If you've ever wondered how to live with a composting toilet, Jonathan even has a video about that.
I really think he's done a great job with this tiny house. Maybe he can inspire you to move from dreaming about tiny living to actually building the tiny house of your dreams.
p.s. You gotta read this post about his dog Barney. Hilarious!
Learn how to build your own tiny house at a Tumbleweed Green Building Workshop.
Last year, Tom and Neri, college professors in Santa Fe, New Mexico, made a decision to radically change their lifestyle. They wanted to be more mobile, lessen their carbon footprint, spend more time with their young daughter, and simplify their lives. One of the first things they did was to look for a portable house that would allow them to move at will yet maintain a comfortable, family-friendly home. No surprise that Tumbleweed's Lusby model
was the clear choice for their future new home.
At the Tumbleweed Santa Fe Design & Build Workshop a few weeks ago, we met Tom and his friend Pat Crowe who is helping Tom and Neri build their Lusby. Not knowing how to build, Tom enlisted the aide of Pat because of his passion for using salvaged materials for new building construction. Kindred spirits. With the help of Pat, they located a 1910 bungalow in Texas that was about to be torn down. Pat hitched the trailer and drove to Texas to retrieve almost all the reclaimed lumber needed to build the Lusby.
Tom and Pat are now working together to build the Tumbleweed home from reclaimed wood. Taking a pay-as-you-go approach, work is proceeding at a leisurely but steady pace. The trailer is in place, walls and roof are complete, interior wood finishes and cabinets are done and exterior siding is in progress. Almost all from reclaimed pine from the Texas bungalow. Very soon, Tom and Neri's Lusby will be finished. And then their new adventure will really begin.
Note: Pat Crowe is always excited about the opportunity to salvage old buildings, saving them from slow rot, fire, or the landfill. He is also looking forward to helping other tiny-house folks with their lumber requirements. His web address is www.echoreclamation.com
; email is email@example.com.