Tumbleweed Open House
Don't miss your golden opportunity to view this Fencl!
Our writer Nara Williams, who is spending her semester living in this Fencl is having an open house this weekend for you to come see a tiny house for yourself.
When: Sunday March 3, 2013
To read more about Nara's semester in a tiny house, click here
We hope to see you there!
It's been 10 days since I moved several suitcases full of possessions into the Fencl and called it home. It never fails to amaze me how quickly humans can adapt to a space: for me, it took about 3 seconds to feel entirely in my element!
The tiny house has been a huge hit on campus. I've gotten a number of random visitors who have all been very respectful.
I'll be opening up the house to the public on Sunday, March 3rd from 1 to 4 pm, so if you missed it last time, feel free to come by!
As far as everyday life, I'll run through a few of those beloved classic domestic categories:
I've never been a consistently organized person. But here, I find myself coming home from work at 2 am and wanting to tidy. Something about having a place for everything encourages me to put everything in its place...imagine that.The clever usage of space, rather than small size, might actually be the most novel thing about Tumbleweeds. I am someone very well suited to a large quantity of shelving and surfaces to work on. When confronted with a large empty space, I don't know what to do with my possessions, and find that I'd rather have none at all.... Read More
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.
Lone Hansen has some
beautiful views about tiny houses. She lives in Denmark, and is a Buddhist, member of the Royal Danish Navy, and tiny house builder. She's shared the following details on her plans to build a Fencl in Denmark.
I have a small plot of land on the island of Zealand
This is where I would like to build a small house. Not just any normal house,
but rather a house that does not impact the environment more than necessary.
Being a Buddhist, it is important for me to leave as small
an imprint on the environment as possible. Since we are all interdependent,
then there is no reason to bring any aggressiveness into our dealings with our
I will build a small passive solar house with solar power
and solar water heating. There will be a solar venting system on the roof. Off
the grid. Small because it leaves the smallest footprint on the environment. It
does not take much to heat it, since it will be well insulated with triple
glazed windows (low energy windows) and thick layer of insulation under the
floor, in the walls and roof. And easy and quick to clean ;-)
I've worked in the Royal Danish Navy for 3.5 years. So I got
used to living in small spaces with one cupboard and one drawer. The interior
design of boats is an inspiration for practical solutions to hold all the stuff that one can gather in a lifetime. The question is how much space one needs to
be fully satisfied and content and how much stuff. If the space is well thought
out, then it is possible to live in a shoebox.
However, I needed inspiration for my small build. I looked
all around the internet and came across Tumbleweed, The Tiny House Company.
These houses seems to fit my needs very well, and are filled with practical
solutions and ideas. I fell in love with the Fencl and Whidbey house and bought
When I got the drawings, I realized that they were in feet
and inches. It is however almost impossible to get any kind of ruler with feet
and inches here in Denmark,
since our entire industry is based on the meter system. Recalculating all the
measurements seemed a little daunting and could possible lead to mistakes,
since I am not that skilled in the imperial system.
Tumbleweed to ask if they happen to have a metric version of the two houses.
Shortly after, I received a mail, that they would be so kind and make metric
versions for me. I've just got those yesterday. And they look just fine and
seems correct at the first glance. So I thank Tumbleweed very much for doing
the recalculations of the drawings. It has been a time-consuming work.
Now I just need to make some redrawing of the house plans,
so they are according to the Danish building code. This means that the Fencl
will become a bit wider with more insulation in the floor, walls and roof. The
Whidbey will be lower (too tall for the area it would be build) and also a bit
wider with more insulation in the floor, walls and roof. Both will have 200 mm.
minimum of insulation in the floor, 300 mm in the walls and 400 mm in the roof
area. This might need some recalculation of the strength of the structure. I
will add some extra big windows on the south elevation and roof to get more
passive solar heating compared to the original drawings.
I expect to start building the Fencl next spring when the
frosty weather is over!