A Guide to Window Design for Tiny House RVs

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!

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Jenna BioJenna Spesard is currently living and 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 their informative blog. 
 
     

 

Written by Jenna Spesard — January 26, 2016

Filed under: balance   cypress   design   elm   form   function   proportion   RV   symmetry   tiny house   tiny house rv   window  

Trailers: What Style Are You?

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."

The Low-Wider

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. 

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If you want more information on delivery, pricing and specs for any of these trailers, click here to download your free study plans. 

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Jenna BioJenna Spesard is currently living and 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 their informative blog. 
 
     

Written by Jenna Spesard — November 05, 2015

Filed under: cypress   deck over   elm   linden   low-wider   mica   tiny home   tiny house   tiny house RV   trailer   tumbleweed  

$500 Discount On Tumbleweed Barn Raisers!

What is a Barn Raiser?

If you're interested in building your own Tumbleweed but find yourself restricted due to time, skill level, tools, etc. a Tumbleweed Barn Raiser might be the best choice for you!

When you purchase a Tumbleweed Barn Raiser, we deliver a partially built Tiny House RV that you can finish yourself! Design your Barn Raiser using our interactive builder and sleep easy knowing that the foundation of your Tiny House RV will be built by professionals.

We estimate that our Barn Raisers save 100-200+ hours on your total build time. We offer 10 different designs / lengths for you to choose from, now including our modern design - the Tumbleweed Mica. 

Our Modern Mica - NOW AVAILABLE AS A BARN RASIER!

Financing Now Available!

We're excited to announce that financing is now available for Tumbleweed Barn Raisers.

  • No Money Down
  • 100% Financing
  • Get funded in 72 hours
  • Interest rates from 3.99% to 8.99%
  • Payments from $213 to $500 per month
  • Sales Tax, registration and shipping costs can be financed too!

For more information on financing, click here.

$500 Discount - Now Through August 31st!

Get a free quote on your Barn Raiser anytime between now and August 31st, 2015 and receive $500 off* the total price! Our specialists are waiting to assist you and answer any questions. 

*discount valid for 30 days after quote is received

Barn Raiser Customer Stories

We like to check in on our Barn Raiser customers occasionally to see how their builds are coming along. It's amazing how every Tiny House RV is different! After delivering the shell, we find that our excited new barn raiser customers infuse their passions and preferences into finishing the build. This really makes their Tiny House RV come alive! See for yourself in a few featured Barn Raiser stories below. 

"JStalls Tiny House"

Jonathan and his Tumbleweed Barn Raiser, after he installed the windows himself!

Jonathan Stalls customized his 24 foot Elm Barn Raiser to have a side door and no porch. He also choose to have Tumbleweed install the metal standing seam roof. Since receiving his Barn Raiser he has installed the windows, cedar siding and front door himself! 

Look at this beautiful and sophisticated Tiny House RV basking in the Colorado sunshine! Follow Jonathan's Build on Facebook.

"Tiny House For Three"

Maighen, Brandy, and their son R.A.D. with their new Tumbleweed Barn Raiser

Using a mixture of materials, Maighen, Brandy and R.A.D have given their Tumbleweed Cypress Barn Raiser uniqueness and flare! We love seeing how creative they've been with their build. A canvas was delivered, but what they've created is a piece of art!

Check out this Texas family's eclectic and colorful Barn Raiser on their website, Instagram and facebook

"Tiny House in the Country" 

Chris's Tumbleweed Barn Raiser (Upon Pick Up)

Chris Schapdick lives in New York City but wanted his young daughter to have a connection to nature. He purchased property in upstate New York and decided to build a tiny mobile cabin for weekend getaways. A Tumbleweed Linden Barn Raiser was perfect for his situation because Chris was limited on time, but wanted the experience of building his own tiny retreat. 

Chris's  Picturesque "Tiny House in the Country," Winter 2015

Follow "Tiny House in the Country" online here

Want more Barn Raiser stories? Check out these blogs:

"The Tiny House the Grandma Built"

"Unskilled Build"

"Tiny Adventures in a Big World"

Written by Jenna Spesard — July 13, 2015

Filed under: Barn Raiser   Build   Construction   Cypress   Discount   Elm   Financing   Linden   Tiny House   Tiny House Movement   Tiny House RV   Tumbleweed  

Roof Shapes for Tiny House RVs

Six Basic Roof Shapes / photo credit

In architecture, the roof shape of a structure will have a big impact on the overall design. Above you can see six basic roof shapes, but for the purposes of this concise article we are only going to discuss the following: 1). Gable Roof, 2). Gambrel Roof, 3). Hipped Roof, and 4). Flat Roof.

Remember there are advantages and disadvantages to every roof shape, but most importantly you should choose the shape that best fits the visual aesthetic of your entire Tiny House RV design.

A Tumbleweed Elm w/ a Gable Roof Shape & Dormers

Gable Roof

When you ask a child to draw a house, what do they usually draw? Answer: A gable roof shape with two windows, a door and perhaps a chimney. The gable roof shape is classic, sophisticated and summons an emotional connection of "home". 

Here is what the interior of a Tiny House RV with a gable roof looks like:

A classic gable roof. *Note, the roof expands to shed dormers in the loft.

This Tiny House RV's great room feels spacious because of the peaked roofline, guiding your eyes skyward. The steep 12:12 roof pitch also allows for easy rain and snow runoff. 

"Runaway Shanty"- Tiny House RV being built on a Tumbleweed Trailer w/ Gambrel Roof Shape

2. Gambrel Roof

The gambrel roof shape is a staple for the traditional American "country home". As you travel through the rural areas of the United States, you will see many examples of the gambrel roof used on farmhouses and barns. You might also see this roof shape used in a few colonial residences around New England. 

Here is what the interior of a Tiny House RV with a gambrel roof looks like:

April's Tiny House RV with a Gambrel Roof Shape

The gambrel roof provides more interior ceiling space than the gable, while also providing a decent slope for snow and rain runoff. That being said, this roof shape is more difficult to construct and will be heavier than a traditional gable.

The Tumbleweed Cypress w/ a Hipped Roof

3). Hipped Roof

The hipped roof, seen here on a Tumbleweed Cypress, is our most popular Tiny House RV design. A visual charmer, hipped roof shapes can be seen all over the country in residential architecture. The design resonates will many home owners, which has lead to its overwhelming popularity. 

Here is what the interior of a Tiny House RV with a hipped roof looks like:

The hipped roof, as seen above in the small loft above the door, slants inward but still provides ample space for storage or a display. 

The Tumbleweed Mica w/ a Flat Roof

4). Flat Roof

The term "flat roof" is a bit of a misnomer. This roof shape is not completely flat, but actuality has a slight slant for rain runoff. Flat roofs are an ancient form of architecture, but the design is still used all over the world today. For example, most green roofs (roofs used for growing vegetation) are flat roofs.

Here is what the interior of a Tiny House RV with a hipped roof looks like:

So which of these roof shapes would you choose for your Tiny House RV? Comment below!

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Jenna BioJenna 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.

Written by Jenna Spesard — April 06, 2015

Filed under: Cypress   Elm   Flat   Gable   Gambrel   Hipped   Mica   Roof   Roof Shapes   Tiny Home   Tiny House   Tiny House RV  

The Advantages of Tiny House Dormers

A dormer is a structural element in architecture that protrudes from a sloped roof and allows for additional space. If you're a tiny house enthusiast, the words "additional space" in a tiny house article might seem oxymoronic. Yes, owning a tiny home means that you are "okay" with small spaces, but there is no reason that you should have to sacrifice comfort in your tiny house RV.

So let's learn a little more about dormers and what they could do for your loft. 

A Tumbleweed Elm or Cypress loft WITHOUT dormers (keeping the gable roof line throughout) and a skylight.

Some tiny housers love the coziness and lightweight option of the un-dormered loft (keeping the triangular gable roof line throughout), but most prefer to have a little more headroom. Dormers provide extra space for comfort and additional windows, while keeping the lovely visual aesthetic. 

Tumbleweed Cypress WITHOUT dormers. A lovely gable roof line throughout.

 

Tumbleweed Elm WITH Dormers. Space is gained. The visual aesthetic is not sacrificed. 

How much space do you really gain by having dormers? In order to visualize how much space is actually gained by adding dormers, you will need to have a basic understanding of roof pitch.

Roof pitch is described as the vertical rise divided by the horizontal span of a roof. The gable roof in our Elm and Cypress models have a 12:12 pitch, while our lofts with dormers have a 3:12 pitch. It is important to maintain some roof pitch for weather runoff. 

Examples of roof pitch. Photo credit: Wikipedia

An older Tumbleweed model, where the 3:12 pitch returns to 12:12 for the last few inches of the loft.

If you peer into the back of this older Tumbleweed's loft, you can see where the 3:12 pitch returns to the triangular gable roof line (12:12 pitch). This is a great way to visualize the difference between these two roof pitches. 

If the above loft DID NOT have dormers:

  • The roof pitch would be that triangular slope throughout
  • The four windows that line the sides of the bed would be lost
  • The space on either side of this queen bed would be lost
  • A king bed would not be possible (only possible with dormers)
  • The use of a staircase would be rather difficult (a ladder would most likely be used instead)

Due to costumer feedback, in all of our current models and plans, the dormers extend all the way to the back of the loft. By doing this, the above Tumbleweed loft has gained even more space. Starting this year, we will also include dormer plans with our Elm and Cypress plans, free of charge.
Steve Weissmann (President of Tumbleweed) is 6'2" and can comfortably sit up in bed in this Cypress loft with dormers. 
By adding dormers to your loft, you will also gain valuable wall space, not only on the sides of your loft, but also in the front and back. Consider the cheek walls: the walls that are formed between your dormers and gable roof. Below is a photo of my loft and, as you can see, we've chosen to add an outlet to our cheek wall. My future plan is to mount a television there one day. I could also add a cabinet, shelving, additional lighting or hang decorations / plants / photographs in this additional space. 
Tiny House Giant Journey's loft with dormers. 
So what do you think? Do you want dormers in your tiny house loft?

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Jenna BioJenna 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.

 

Written by Jenna Spesard — January 26, 2015

Filed under: Cypress   Dormers   Elm   Loft   Tiny home   Tiny House   Tiny house Giant Journey   Tumbleweed  

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