Ryan Mitchell of The Tiny Life website has been keeping us posted about his exciting plans for a modified Fencl. In addition for guest writing for Tumbleweed, Ryan has been blogging about simple living, tiny houses, and environmentally responsible lifestyles on his website: we think he's awesome!
The devil is often said to be in the details, and this
couldn’t be any truer than in a tiny house.
Many times I have made the argument over at my blog that tiny houses are more complex and intricate to build than your standard
McMansions. This is because in a small
house, you have so little space to work with that the small facets seem to jump
out at you.
When it comes to traditional homes, mistakes are easily
covered through various tricks of the trade, but they have one major thing in
their favor, lots and lots of space.
With that space you can easily hide the mistakes. Compare that to a Tiny
House, and the tolerances are so small that sometimes being off by 1/8th
of an inch means re-doing hours of work.
It is here in the details that tiny houses have made a name
for themselves, because you have to be so intentional about how you use
space. Here are 5 tips to help you make
sure the details given the reverence they deserve.
Make a list of the most important activities
your home must be able to handle, form should follow that list
Tape out your floor plan to scale and act out a
day in it. Be sure to have extra tape because you’ll be changing it a lot!
Stop looking at other Tiny Houses, make your
house for you.
Consider storage for all your things, including
often forgotten things like trash, recycles, and dirty laundry.
Obsess over the look, feel and form of
everything in your house to make sure it fits in well.
Remember Molly and Zack's ski lodge on wheels? They're still going strong, winter weather and all: no storm will stop these snow-lovers. Bundle up before you read this inspiring story Molly sent us...brrr!
It was December 21, 2012. The world (or just the calendar)
was supposed to end. Ironically as skiers, our world was about to start. It was early winter and there was 10 feet of
snow on the way. But it wasn’t just that winter had arrived. The elevation of
our experience was reaching Everest proportions because of a little winter
cabin on wheels. A mere 112-square feet was going to have grand implications.
Our tiny house was going to get us stranded in the storm, with no other skiers
allowed into our powder land.
Stranded. The word beckons thoughts of despair, desperation,
and misery. It’s not something you want to be, see, or deal with. Until the
world is about to end, 10 feet of snow is predicted to fall at Mt. Baker, and
you’ve got your tiny house parked at the ski area with food and wood stocked
and the fire stoked. It is only then that “stranded” starts to sing vibrant,
melodious notes of luck, opportunity, and blessing. Then being stranded turns into
some sort of victory.
On the day the world was supposed to end, we started out by
digging a walking path from the front door of the tiny house through the four
feet of snow that had fallen overnight. It was not a tiny task, but one isn’t
given an option, when the front door is blocked by a snow bank. We shoveled and
heaved, moving mounds of the fresh snow that we would soon be skiing. The ski
area parking lot was empty, other than the plow, disappearing behind waves of
When we moved into our tiny house last year, there was the
promise of downsizing our possessions and up-scaling our experiences. We wanted
to be mobile, with the ability to sleep in ski area parking lots and find all
the deepest storms. In terms of richness, our wealth came from a bank of powder
turns, not dollar bills. As skiers, being stranded at Mt. Baker was the best we
could do in the realm of experience. It was our pot of gold. In fact, we were
living out many other skier and snowboarder’s dreams. Without our little
portable home, we would’ve never been in that spot at that time. The tiny house
had put us into position to get stranded. I guess what you’re seeking is also
In the end, we had three private days of skiing in the
forest near the Mt. Baker ski area. The Department of Transportation eventually
removed all of the one hundred plus trees that had fallen over the highway
during the apocalyptic storm. Floods of skiers came to the ski area to discover
just exactly what they had missed. We knew what they had missed. And we
reminisced as we planned to excavate the tiny house from what had become a tiny
mountain of snow in the parking lot.
Heading to warmer land
We got by with a little help from our friends. A satiating
six-pack of beer for a hard-working plow driver helped us remove some of the
snow that had piled up outside the house. By the time most skiers arrived, we’d
removed the tiny house from its’ tiny, temporary homestead and had headed to
drier, warmer elevations to celebrate the holiday with family. And to find out
that the world had not ended after all.
Here’s to another year of big experiences in our tiny
Tumbleweed and Southern Adventist University - Partners in Education
Tumbleweed and Southern Adventist University are introducing the concept of tiny home construction to the next generation of American contractors. In the spring of 2013 students in SAU’s Construction Management program will be building Tumbleweed’s newest model.
As you can see from our early drawings of the new house on the left, The new Tumbleweed is going to include a full sized murphy bed with built in couch on the first floor.
Tumbleweed’s focus on education is longstanding. Through workshops, books, open houses, partnerships with high schools and community events we are trying to change the perception of what is possible. We are thrilled to be working with a community of future builders that have the ability to change the way America lives, literally, in the palms of their hands.
I recently had the opportunity to sit down with two of the Tumbleweed staff involved in developing the partnership with Southern Adventist. The first thing I wanted to know was why they felt it was necessary for the next generation contractors to understand the concept of tiny homes.
Pepper Clark, a Tumbleweed workshop presenter, was nothing less than enthusiastic in her response. “It's essential for the next generation of American contractors to understand the idea of tiny homes because they provide both the most logical response to our growing economic and logistical housing challenges. Future builders need to be aware of how many problems can be solved with a tiny house; providing means for multi generational families to live happily together, allowing people to work at careers they love instead of high paying jobs they hate, enabling folks to move their homes as needed to respond to changes in their lives, and giving young people a way to live independently with little overhead as they start out.”
Our head of business development and sales, also sees contractors as an integral component to solving America’s housing and financial crisis. “American contractors have the opportunity to help Americans with the financial headache of getting into home ownership. When contractors assist people in getting a better financial foundation under their feet, it will be assisting future generations. We want to refill the building pipeline in a healthy and sustainable way!”
When asked about Tumbleweed’s focus on education Pepper discussed the importance of homeowner awareness and creating a financially sustainable lifestyle. “If we can assist people in making the decision to live in a tiny way, to reduce financial stress and increase financial stability in the average home, we will have been successful. Many people are having a hard time making ends meet. It is a path to less stress and financial stability.”
Southern Adventist University is pioneering a new and more responsible approach to educating the next generation of American builders. Tumbleweed is looking forward to the day when the concepts involved in tiny space design and construction are standard components of all university level construction programs.
As of December, Pepper Clark of Bungalow to Go has accepted a full time job at Tumbleweed, and she’s now spending her days at the Sonoma office working hand in hand with the team to make fabulous things happen. Here’s what she has to say about this new development:
A month ago I would never have imagined I would step away from my own business to take a "regular job" again, but the three most important things to me about working independently are that I get to be exactly who I am (no pantyhose and high heels for me!), I get to make business decisions based not only on the bottom line but also on their emotional and environmental impact, and I get a lot of fulfillment out of the level of creativity and autonomy it gives me. The miraculous thing about working here is that I still get to cover all three of those bases while working cooperatively with a talented group of people who have similar perspectives and priorities.
After the two workshops I presented last year I kept in touch with the Tumbleweed folks. I know from everything we've shared that the highest calling for the whole team is to make the tiny house dream attainable for everyone who wants to grab it. To do that, a certain amount of sustainable growth is called for. When they felt ready to grow and hire some more people, I was flattered to find that I was at the top of their list of people to bring in full time. For now I'm providing building and design consultations and customer support while preparing for presenting workshops again in spring.
We're working together on revamping the workshop format to create the best possible experience based on years of feedback from our audiences. We're very excited about adding more opportunity for tiny house fans to connect socially with each other, and putting in some hands on elements for workshops coming up in 2013.
As for Bungalow to Go, we've decided the way to go forward is to combine forces with Tumbleweed. For now, my partner and the crew will continue to work the same way they always have, with my input gradually being replaced with their efforts. When Tumbleweed customers have a need for a customized or fully custom build in our region, Bungalow to Go will get that project.
Overall, I view the changes in Tumbleweed as nothing but positive. We’re growing so that we'll be able to do what we've been doing, but more so- helping people fulfill their tiny house dreams through education,inspiration, and simply amazing support and research. Over the past years with very little "manpower" we've been limited on what we could do to bring the wealth of our knowledge out to everyone, but that's going to change soon.
Welcome Pepper, and we look forward to working together to expand the horizon of possibilities for all the many people who want to think big and live tiny!
Don’t hesitate to jump on this opportunity to see a perfectly built Tumbleweed! Our talented builders in Colorado Springs have a freshly finished Fencl available for potential buyers to tour and view. To make arrangements weekdays between 8am and 5pm, just call first to make sure someone is there.
This Fencl could be yours! Click here
The location is 2108 Victor Place, Colorado Springs,Colorado 80915, and they can be reached at (855) 590-7433.
This Tumbleweed is ready to roll, with conduit prepared for your solar wiring, propane tanks, and a 30 gallon fresh water holding tank. The floor is finished in cork, and the RV furnace and spray in polyurethane insulation are ready to take on the coldest weather. Please enjoy touring this beautifully made Fencl - even if you’re interested in a differentTumbleweed model. It's so beautiful it probably won't be available to the public all that long, and seeing a tiny house in real life can do wonders in terms of helping fans figure out which model they prefer and how they’d like to use their space.
Want to see more images? Click here