Laurel Mundy and Brandon Husby first heard about the Tiny House Movement in the summer of 2014, while they were living in a large and sparsely furnished apartment in Seattle. Not long after the couple decided it was time to simplify, and they began building their own Tumbleweed.
"We were really attracted to the sustainability of going tiny, both in resources used to build it and in the energy required to heat it." - Laurel Mundy
Neither Laurel nor Brandon had any serious construction experience before embarking on their Tiny House RV project. They purchased a Tumbleweed 24 foot trailer and a set of building plans for the Tumbleweed Cypress.
"We were drawn to Tumbleweed’s designs because we thought they were particularly cute, and liked the overall style," Laurel explained.
Construction is taking place in rural Arlington, Washington, on Brandon's family's 30 acre property. A lot of the wood used in the couple's Tumbleweed came from the site, including scarp wood and pieces of downed old growth trees. Some pieces were even cut and milled by Brandon's grandfather many years ago. Now these fallen trees are being put to good use!
One of the coolest parts of Laurel and Brandon's Tiny House RV is their custom stained glass window. Laurel commissioned an artist to make the glass match the colors of their tiny's exterior.
So far the couple has managed to build their Tumbleweed for under $30k, with all the comforts of a standard home in a small footprint. They are currently working on storage solutions, trim and a few finishing touches. Their tiny dream is close to being realized!
"I’d call the style that we came up with: Rustic Craftsman" - Laurel Mundy
After their Tiny House RV is complete, Laurel and Brandon hope to purchase a piece of land in Washington to park it on. The next construction project will be to build Laurel a separate art studio and connect the two structures with a raised deck! For now, she's using the bump out as an art nook (pictured above). Laurel works as an illustrator; view her work here.
To see more photos of this Tumbleweed, follow Laurel's Instagram and Brandon's Instagram
Jenna Spesard is currently traveling around North America in a DIY Tumbleweed Cypress with her partner, Guillaume. They are photographing and writing about Tiny Homes and their adventure. Follow her informative blog.
A while back I posted 5 Creative Staircase Ideas for Tiny House RVs, which sparked an excellent discussion and a few innovative ideas with our readers. Well, it's time to get creative again!
At Tumbleweed, we typically outfit our Tiny House RVs with a standard 32" x 32" fiberglass shower. This is the same size shower that you'd find in a traditional home, and it's comfortable, lightweight and affordable. Of course, some of our customers prefer to use alternatives, which can add character to a tiny bathroom. Below I've listed five alternative showers, but there are many more options out there. Feel free to post your ideas in the comments section.
5 SHOWER IDEAS FOR TINY HOUSE RVs
1). Metal Shower
A popular DIY shower method used in a many Tiny House RVs is the metal shower. Galvanized steel sheets are available at any hardware store and, because it's roofing, the sheets are already waterproof. Note: It's important to waterproof the seams—areas where two sheets meet. For an extra snazzy look, use SILVER silicone sealant for this application. I even used my leftover roofing underlayment behind my tiny metal shower (pictured below), for extra waterproofing.
Metal Shower in Tiny House Giant Journey
2). Horse Trough
Ella Jenkins uses a horse trough for her Tumbleweed Cypress shower tub. This adorable, lightweight, affordable option comes in a variety of shapes and sizes. Ella also created a wrap-around shower curtain rod from copper pipping to ensure that water does not damage her bathroom paneling.
Read all about Ella's Tiny Bathroom
3). Ofuro / Japanese Soaking Tub
Enjoy a soak? Ofuros or Japanese-style soaking tubs are compact and luxurious. Of course, they also tend to be expensive. But, so what? Pamper yourself!
4). Wooden Shower or Tub
Some woods are water resistant - like teak and cedar. Why not create an entire shower with water resistant wood? Wouldn't that be beautiful? Another fantastic shower alternative for Tiny House RVs is the use of a reclaimed wine barrel for a small tub (as pictured below)!
Note: All wood intended to be used in the shower will require maintenance and some form of sealant. But I think the aesthetic is worth the extra elbow grease, don't you?
Kasl Family's Custom Tumbleweed Elm. Shower w/ Wine Barrel Tub & Tile
Tile is not usually recommended for Tiny House RVs for two reasons: 1). It's heavy, and 2). Tile tends to shift and crack when jostled on the road. Of course, if you do not plan on moving your Tiny House RV often, tile might be a wonderful option for a creative and beautiful tiny shower. Get artsy—create a mosaic shower with reclaimed tile pieces!
Left Photo Credit / Right Photo Credit
YOUR TURN: Post your DIY shower ideas below!
Jenna Spesard is currently living and traveling around North America in a DIY Tumbleweed Cypress with her partner, Guillaume. They are photographing and writing about their adventure and occasionally they will be hosting Tumbleweed workshops and open houses. Be sure to follow their tiny house and giant journey.
Meet Mario MD Soto, a California resident and soon to be tiny house RV owner. He’s building a Cypress 20 Equator and has little to no experience with construction. Although he mentions he did build a bird house... once, in the fourth grade. And, it lasted about a week before it broke. So let’s just say he's challenging himself!
Mario says he has always been interested in tiny things - cars, cabins, etc. After some research, he came upon Tumbleweed and decided to visit our headquarters to tour a tiny house RV.
“Love at first sight." Mario describes what it was like when he saw a Tumbleweed tiny house for the first time. "I had butterflies in my stomach and it was in that moment when I truly realized that this is what I been looking for.” Mario purchased plans and a trailer that very same day, and his tiny house journey had truly begun.
Fast forward to today: Mario’s Tumbleweed has been framed, sheathed and the roofing is being put in place.
“I would say the physical part hasn’t been as hard as i thought, but the mental part is what would get me some days,” Mario admitted.” That fear of never doing something like this is the biggest mental block to overcome, but the help from the tiny house community has honestly made all this possible.”
Mario's Unique Metal Roof
Mario has a few unique add-ons to his Tumbleweed that really set it apart, including a solar skylight that opens and closes depending on the weather. He also has a metal roof with a copper patina look. Finally, he plans to wire the electricity in his house to be controlled by his iPhone. To see all of Mario's plans come to fruition, make sure you follow him on his blog and on Instagram!
As usual, we asked Mario to give three pieces of advice for future DIY tiny house builders.
Mario’s Three Pieces of Advice:
1). Safety first. Make sure you understand your tools and wear protective gear, goggles, ear plugs, gloves etc.
2). Sometimes you need to just jump in. You can only research so much. Just jump in and get your hands dirty!
3). Have fun. This will be a rewarding experience: building a tiny home with your own hands, watching it come life and making it into your vision. Knowing it’s a reality, not a dream anymore.
*All photos provided by Mario.
Jenna Spesard is currently traveling around North America in a DIY Tumbleweed Cypress with her partner, Guillaume. They are photographing and writing about their adventure and occasionally they will be hosting Tumbleweed workshops and open houses. Be sure to follow their tiny house and giant journey.
Hanspeter and his German Modified Tumbleweed
Hanspeter is currently building a Tumbleweed in Germany, a country where the tiny house movement is in its inception, but this isn't his first experience as a woodworking pioneer. In June of 2000, he traveled to Mongolia to construct the first wood frame house in Ulaanbaatar for a local family. "This," he says, "was one of the best experiences of my life."
Hanspeter During Construction of Ulaanbaatar's 1st Wood Frame House
A few years later, Hanspeter stumbled upon the Tumbleweed website and was immediately fascinated by the little structures. What he said next will resonate with many of you -
"I loved the idea of having a tiny home of my own, living with a small carbon footprint, staying debt free and having more time for community living. I am retired and my pension is not very big. I don't want to spend my remaining years administrating a lot of personal stuff. So, living small is the best solution for me to live a self-reliant life."
"I love the saying: the best things in life are not things!" - Hanspeter
Hanspeter began construction of his tiny home last summer, but since he is building one of the first tiny homes in Germany he has encountered a few unique challenges. "In Germany, we are not allowed to bolt the structure permanently to the trailer," Hanspeter explains, "So I invented a system to plug my tiny house into the trailer railings." In doing so, his tiny home is now categorized as a "load."
Hanspeter faced his next challenge when he weighed his half-finished tiny home and was forced to cut back on using heavy materials. Tumbleweed trailers are rated for either 10,000 or 15,000 lbs, but as Hanspeter explains: "The sturdiest trailers available in Europe that I know of are 3.5 tons (about 7,700 lbs). My trailer is a 2.7 tons trailer (about 6,000 lbs). The only solution for building tiny homes in Europe is to build lighter and smaller."
Since discovering weight might be an issue, Hanspeter has put his home on a diet, employing only light weight materials. For example, he used aluminum instead of steel roofing and styrofoam insulation instead of wood fiber. Even with taking these precautions, Hanspeter's most recent weighing neared 5,300 lbs. That leaves him only 700 lbs for the remainder of his interior build.
"I am aware that the Tiny House might still become too heavy once fully equipped. One option is to change the axles, the breaks and the towing bar." Hanspeter contemplates, "I'm also currently investigating if the trailer manufacturer is able to build a 3.5 ton trailer with the same dimensions and the same railing as my current trailer." If that option proves available, Hanspeter's Tiny House could be transposed onto the new heavy-duty trailer (as mentioned earlier, his home was engineered to be "plugged" into the trailer, rather than permanently fixed). Although costly, he believes upgrading the trailer would be the ideal solution.
Hanspeter's Three Pieces of Advice for Tiny Home Builders:
1) Try to get the sturdiest trailer available with the largest possible payload.
2) Build with the lightest materials you can find and keep the thickness of floor, roof and walls in reasonable limits. Weight will add up fast and every pound counts in the end.
3) Try to get in touch with other builders of Tiny Houses, Circus Wagons, Vardos and Shepherds Huts. In Europe, this is the most difficult task.
Thank you Hanspeter for sharing your story and advice with our readers. We know that every build helps us learn and grow as a community.
*All photos provided by Hanspeter & Black Forest Tiny House
*More information on Hanspeter's build can be found on his website here.
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.
Tiny homes are versatile. While many use them as permanent minimal dwellings, others convert small shelters into gorgeous guest homes, lucrative vacation rentals, backyard offices, or tiny traveling solitudes. So, how about a tiny mobile classroom?
Zee Kesler is an artist and educator-in-training residing in Vancouver - a city known for having the second MOST expensive housing in the world according to a recent U.S. Think-Tank survey. She found it hard to find a permanent residence while attending school, and so last summer Zee attended Tumbleweed’s 2-day Tiny House Workshop with Derek “Deek” Diedricksen presenting. “I had so many questions,” said Zee. “And I really loved hearing Deek talk about salvaging, because I’ve always been good at resourcing materials.” From that moment on, Zee was hooked. She bought plans to build her own Cypress, not for a permanent dwelling, but instead this education-lover intends to construct a mobile community classroom.
Unique, you betcha! But this isn’t Zee’s first experience in portable education. She is also co-founder of MakerMobile:Workshop on Wheels, a traveling classroom/hackspace/art studio in the back of a converted cube van. Her tiny house will be an appendage to this idea, but with more amenities and better insulation.
Zee hopes to fit 8-10 foldout desks inside her future modified Cypress, with classes available for payment-in-trade (meaning you can pay with cookies, a t-shirt, or anything deemed worthy)! Some example subjects offered in the tiny classroom include: sewing, cooking, yoga, meditation, sculpting, origami, foreign languages, etc. All classes will have a qualified instructor, and Zee will organize and manage the entire operation.
That’s the goal, but this tiny houser is just getting started. Zee purchased a trailer this week and is currently resourcing salvaged materials. The build begins soon, but she just can’t help it - Zee wants to makes her Cypress’s construction an educational experience as well! “I hope to hire carpenters, roofers, plumbers, and electricians that will lecture as they build the house. “ Zee explains. She might even have the students build a miniature Cypress for some hands-on experience. That’s right: a miniature tiny house! “When I was at the Tumbleweed workshop I know a lot of people left wanting to build a tiny house, but didn’t have the resources. I want to share my build to help the tiny house community. This way, we can all learn together.”
Zee's build will begin in July and August. If you are in or around Vancouver area and would like to stay in the loop, join the mailing list found on her blog and/or support her here.
Top Artwork by Brian Archer
Center Photo & Bottom Layout Artwork by Zee Kesler
Jenna Spesard is a writer by trade. She 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.