For six years, Dee Williams has been living in her tiny Tumbleweed home and championed the cause for the Small House Movement.
"I sold my big house and got rid of most of my stuff, limiting myself to about 300 things -- that was everything from heels and a toothbrush, to a couple of dinner plates and a two-ton jack. I then bought a set of plans from Tumbleweed. Four months later I had my tiny dream house."
Dee focused on using recycled materials, and spent just $10,000 building her tiny home. Using her home to promote a shift in consciousness, Dee has been featured on the cover of YES! Magazine, online videos, and opens her home regularly for local house tours. Dee has also written her own eBook called Go House Go. This mini-booklet focuses on how to connect a tiny house to a trailer, and how to keep the walls and roof from twisting, leaning or buckling. Also included is information about moisture control and a common list of building materials.
At just 15 years old, Austin Hay decided to build his own Tumbleweed. About 8 months ago, Austin showed up to a Tumbleweed open house and announced that he was going to build the Fencl before he graduated high school. He carefully shared his plan of raising money and enlisting friends and convinced us to donate a set of plans. I was impressed by how persuasive and genuine this young man was.
Over the summer, Austin worked and saved $3,000 to cover the cost of the trailer and beginning supplies. Two weeks ago, we had a chance to catch up with Austin again when he came to our Tiny House Workshop and shared his story with the class.
He said his long term goal with the house was to live in the Fencl while in college and save money on housing. When someone asked if his house "impressed the girls", he shyly admitted "not yet".
Austin just finished the roofing on the house in time for the upcoming rain. Working mostly on Saturday and Sunday, Austin said he's been having fun with it. You can read Austin's blog at minihousebuilder.webs.com
Our FREE study plans give you the opportunity to discuss your dreams with an architect or your local building department. The Study Plans give you enough information to talk price and sizes. We've also added material cost estimates for all our homes.
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Today was eventful. The snow is almost gone which is unusual for Ontario in March. It was probably one of the rainiest and windiest days we've had all year. Not a great day for driving a trailer 100 km (60 miles) but we managed. Dave Cook the owner of Intruder Trailers was fantastic. He had the 18 foot Suretrac trailer ready to go when we arrived. The cost was 2895, with taxes it ended up being 3271. Dave made sure we had the proper hookup for the electrical and a 2 5/16 trailer hitch ball. They also filled out the paperwork for us to take down to the Ministry of Transportation to get the license we needed. 10 minutes down the road, $35 for the license plate and a quick trip to Tim Horton's for coffee and we were ready to head back to Intruder Trailers where Dave fixed up our trailer hitch and showed us how to hook up the trailer.
The one thing we found out was that most tandem trailers need to undergo a safety check each year if they are going to be on the road. Hmmm. That was news. The ministry sites I'd consulted didn't note that anywhere I looked. They've got height, weight and length restrictions, and the Fencl conforms to all of these. Whew.
It might be a pain to have to move the house each year for a safety, but it might be enough just to get the safety when we eventually move the house again which could be years after we park it the first time.
Dave was keen about the idea of our tiny house and had even been looking at them on line. We'll keep him posted as the house goes up. He also recommended that if indeed we are parking the house for years, we should consider taking off the tires for the duration. He says tires will deteriorate in the sun and be useless after a few years.
Since it was crazy windy, we decided to drive the back roads to return to Kitchener. It took about an hour to drive from Nilestown and then another hour just to park the trailer in the shop where the classes will do the building. They're using one of the auto shops rather than the woodworking shop because of its access to outside. They've set up workbenches and circular saws in the auto shop and it should work. Bob and the students will tell you more about the challenges of this space.
All I know is it was very challenging getting the trailer into the space. I'm sure my husband was ready to scream "Lucccy" in exasperation. He probably wanted to swear too, but he refrained. Although the automotive shop is huge, two metal posts that operate the car hoists block the space about 18 feet from the door. We (and by we I mean my wonderful husband) had to back up the trailer so that it was centered perfectly between these hoists. Needless to say, this took a long time. Ultimately we (and again by we I mean my wonderful husband) ended up having to manually lift up the trailer and reposition it so it would fit between the hoists. There are only a couple of inches of clearance on each side.
I can't believe it is actually happening.