Hi, my name is Lora, and I have been living tiny for a little over a year now. I purchased my Tumbleweed Cypress in September of 2014, and I absolutely love it!
I am currently living in Georgia at a wonderful RV park that allows full-time residents. One of the advantages of having a custom built Tiny House RV from Tumbleweed, is that I am RIVA certified. I was able to title and tag my Tiny House RV just like a traditional RV and have had no issues with the park where I am.
I am always excited when I get to share my experiences with other people who are interested in this lifestyle. Today I wanted to share 10 lessons with you that living tiny has taught me: Part 1!
1. Living tiny has helped me differentiate between NEEDS and WANTS
I have always been a simplifier and organizer, and I never really considered myself much of a shopper, but boy was I wrong!Once I went tiny, I realized how much of what I purchased didn’t actually add value to my life.It was kind of an alarming and depressing realization.On the upside, downsizing has made me much more intentional about the things I buy.I now have a solid routine in place for each trip to the store that helps me decide if I truly “need” something or if I just “want” it and whether or not an item is worth the purchase.
Before you go tiny, get in the habit of looking at every purchase.Ask yourself the following questions:Does this add value to my life?Is this item really necessary?Do I have room for it in my new space?These are questions I never really considered before I moved into my Tiny House RV, but they have become key components of every shopping trip I make.Now that isn’t to say, I don’t still splurge on pure “wants,” it’s just that now when I purchase something I can tell you how it’s going to add value to my life and that has made all the difference in the world.
2. Living tiny has changed my perspective on space
If you had ask me a year ago if my Tumbleweed would fundamentally change me, I’m not sure how I would have answered. However, after a year in my Tiny House RV, I realize that it has made me more conscious of how I use space and certainly more appreciative of what I actually need and want to be comfortable in terms of square footage.
If you are just starting out on your tiny house journey, make sure you take the time to analyze how you use your current space and how you want to use future space. Make a list of the activities you want to do in your space and make sure you match your smaller living space with your “must have” list. And the next time you are traveling take the time to pay attention to the space you use in your temporary home. Is it all really necessary? Is there anything you can do without? Taking the time to notice the space around you, will help you immensely when it’s time to design your space and make the transition to a smaller home.
3. Living tiny has encouraged me to spend less
Closely related to the first two lessons, living tiny has encouraged me to spend less.I spend less partly because I have less space, as I mentioned earlier, smaller spaces encourage more intentional purchases.The fact that I try to determine if an item is truly going to add value to my day-to-day life before I buy something has greatly reduced impulse purchases.I am much less likely to roam the aisles of a major superstore now than I was before I moved.Again, the mindset adopted from asking myself if each purchase adds value (and fits into my space!) has made me less likely to spend money on things I don’t really need or want.
I am also no longer in a constant state of “upgrading and updating” my home.When I lived in my townhouse, I was always spending money on the next project.However, when I went tiny, I was able to hire Tumbleweed to build my house exactly like I wanted.This alone has saved me thousands of dollars in renovation costs on my “traditional home.”Ask yourself the following questions:How much would I save if I wasn’t always trying to update my current space?How much do I spend on non-essential decorative items in my current space?What do I truly need for my home to feel like “home”?Asking these questions now can help you save money in the future.
4.Living tiny has helped me escape the
Before I downsized, a considerable amount of my monthly income went to housing expenses.These included my mortgage payment, home owners association fees, utilities, upkeep and maintenance on my primary home.I could afford these things, but I never felt like I could get ahead with my monthly budget.
Living tiny has allowed me to cut my actual living expenses by more than half, which has freed up a considerable chunk of change each month.I have been able to use this money to pay-off debt, save in my emergency fund and have more fun!Spend some time to understand your expenses if you downsized.How much could you save?How else could you spend that money to help you create the life you really want to live?Taking some time to estimate expenses now and in the future can give you a head start in deciding if downsizing is right for you from a financial perspective.
5.Living tiny has simplified my wardrobe
One of the challenges of living tiny is the lack of storage space.Although my Tumbleweed has some amazing storage features, it still required a big shift in the amount of stuff I owned.When I downsized I offloaded more than 80% of my possessions in a little less than two months.As you can imagine, that was a big adjustment!
Probably the biggest adjustments, besides getting rid of most of my books, was the change from a walk-in closet to a much smaller closet.I now have 36” of closet space (gigantic by many tiny space standards!), which required a well-thought out strategy on purchasing and wearing clothes.To make the transition somewhat easier, I measured out the amount of hanging space I knew I would have in my smaller space before I ever downsized.I spent the time literally measuring the clothes I owned to determine what I could keep and what I needed to get rid of before I could transition to a smaller space.As with most things, I realized how many clothes I owned that I never really wore.I am actually in the process of simplifying my wardrobe even more by following the 333 project.If you know clothes might be a challenge for you if you downsize, consider checking out this challenge.
While I still don’t consider myself a true minimalist (I still own way too many books, dishes and duvet covers to be considered a minimalist), I am much more thoughtful about the stuff in my home, particularly my clothes.Take an honest look at your clothes and donate the stuff you don’t currently love and wear.
Today we are going to discuss three design elements you should consider for the windows in your Tiny House RV: PROPORTION, BALANCE and SYMMETRY.
Proper PROPORTION can make all the difference
Consider the photo above of a Tumbleweed Cypress. The windows are in correct proportion to each other, the size of the structure, and the front door. It's pleasing to the eye.
As you can see, we've now changed the proportion of the windows. The result is less pleasant.
The front bay windows are very small and odd looking. The side windows are large, creating improper proportion to the front door and the overall structure. Making your windows too large can also compromise the structural integrity of the RV and decrease your R-Value.
Create BALANCE in your Window Design
It's important to be consistent with proportion, the amount of windows and their symmetry to create balance in your window design.
Windows attract the eye, so it's important to distribute them evenly. In the above example, the balance of window versus open space is inconsistent. You don't want to have five windows on the left side of your Tumbleweed and only two windows on the right side.
Can you guess why the next example is NOT as well balanced as the original?
The bay windows are centered in the above photo, yet the effect is not quite as charming as the original Tumbleweed Cypress. Why? It has to do with the front door. The front door in this design has a window, so it should be counted in the overall window design. The bay windows have too much open space on either side in comparison to the space around the door window. Therefore, the balance is imperfect.
Don't Forget Symmetry!
To achieve symmetry in your window design, draw an imaginary line down the center axis of your Tiny House RV. As you can see in the above photo of a Tumbleweed Elm, the windows on either side of the center line are a mirror image of each other. The windows are completely symmetrical.
"You can also have a near or approximate symmetry in your design. Here there is no mirror image, but the masses placed on one side of the axis are roughly copied on the other side. There may be side extension that is different than its cousin on the other side, but they are of similar shape and size."Source
The Tumbleweed Cypress is an example of approximate symmetry. In order to counteract the asymmetry of the door placement, a hip dormer is centered over the bay windows. Therefore, the window design is not a mirror image along the center axis, but the visual weight is counterbalanced by the doorway and dormer symmetry.
Next we'll discuss window functionality, specifically for Tiny House RVs!
Jenna & Guillaume traveled around the United States and Canada for one year in their modified Tumbleweed Cypress. Along their journey they sought out and met other Tiny House RVers, took photos of their rigs and interviewed them about their lifestyles. Now they are putting their collection together as a calendar for charity.
All proceeds from this calendar will be donated to charities that provide tiny shelters for the homeless. These four homeless shelters will receive equal portions of the donation:
22 year old Miranda Aisling is currently building a modified Tumbleweed Cypresson the front lawn of The Umbrella Community Arts Center in Concord, Massachusetts. After graduating from college with a Master's degree, Miranda decided to start her own business. "Miranda's Hearth" will be the first community art hotel where everything in the rooms is handmade by local artists.
Miranda's Tumbleweed will be the FIRST Art Hotel!
"By exhibiting the full creative process of building and filling (a Tiny House RV), we will draw attention to the creative fields of architecture, woodworking, pottery, quilting, interior design, and weaving, to name a few."
- Miranda Aisling
Miranda kicked off construction in June of this year, and things were going well, until she ended up in the emergency room with pneumonia. Working full time AND building a Tiny House RV can be exhausting. "It was a good lesson in pacing," Miranda told us, "but it (the illness) affected my motivation and optimism."
It took Miranda almost a month to recover, but she's back to work (this time at a reasonable pace). Her Tiny House RV is on schedule to finish in June 2016.
"The hardest part (of building a Tiny House RV) is not what you don't know, it's the amount you don't know and figuring out how to keep up with that volume."
- Miranda Aisling
Miranda's Advice for Other Tiny House RV Builders:
Plan out as much of your build as possible before you put in the first nail. Once you're building, there is very little mental space left to plan the next step.
Find a sidekick who will be there no matter what; find a group of people who will show up when they can.
Don't be a perfectionist. Appreciate the character of your home and the story in every board.
We'll be checking back in with Miranda as her Tumbleweed nears completion. Miranda has also been hired to host several of our Tumbleweed Workshops. If you signed up for one in 2016, you might meet her!
Did you know that there are now THREE different Tumbleweed trailer designs? It doesn't matter if you're building a classic Tumbleweed Elm, a modern Mica or a custom design of your own, Tumbleweed has the right trailer for you!
The Original Utility Trailer
The Tumbleweed Utility Trailer design now comes in four lengths: 18’, 20’, 24’, and 26,’ and is the perfect trailer for a Tiny House RV design with a loft, such as the Linden, Elm and Cypress, because it maximizes interior height.
The Utility Trailer floor framing allows for insulation, saving you an extra 3 1/3" of headroom! With 5,200 lb axels the utility trailer is outfitted with two axels for trailer lengths of 18' and 20,' and three axels for lengths of 24' and 26.'
By building between the wheel wells, the Utility Trailer design allows for exterior eaves that will extend to the maximum legal width of 8'6." Eaves are gorgeous aesthetically, but they also protect your siding from rain and snow damage.
The Deck Over Trailer
The Deck Over Trailer is the ideal trailer for single-story Tiny House RV designs, like the Tumbleweed Mica. The Deck Over has maximized trailer width by building over the wheel wells. This trailer comes in three lengths of 20', 24' and 26,' all outfitted with two 7,000 lb axels.
*Eaves are not recommended for Tiny House RVs built on the Deck Over trailer because the trailer is already at the maximum legal width of 8'6."
NEW!!! Interested in building lower AND wider? The Low-Wider trailer maximizes interior space (height and width) in your Tiny House RV by building around the wheel wells. This trailer comes in lengths of 18', 20’, 24’, and 26,’ all outfitted with two 7,000 lb axels.
The Low-Wider trailer is a good fit for custom Tiny House RV designs, as there aren't any Tumbleweed designs for this trailer (yet).
*Eaves are not recommended for Tiny House RVs built on the Low-Wider trailer because the trailer is already at the maximum legal width of 8'6."
Why I Chose the Tumbleweed Trailer
Whenever someone asks me what are the most important pieces to "splurge on" when building your own Tiny House RV, I always say: "Your trailer, windows and roof." When I built my Tiny House RV, I had zero building experience and renovating an old trailer requires welding - something I was not prepared to do. By purchasing one of the first Tumbleweed trailers, I saved myself hundreds of work hours and I knew I was getting a quality product.
Other reasons why I recommend purchasing a manufactured Tiny House RV trailer -
By purchasing a Tumbleweed Trailer, I felt safe towing my house over 22,000 miles. I knew the heavy duty 5,000 lb axels and radial tires were able to withstand the load, and they did.
Tumbleweed trailers are tested to be perfectly balanced for Tiny House RV designs.
Brakes, lights and flashing are included and designed specifically for Tiny House RVs.
If you want more information on delivery, pricing and specs for any of these trailers, click here to download your free study plans.