Jonathan Black: Tiny House Builder, Grandson Extraordinaire

I try really hard to be a loving granddaughter: I visit my grandma as much as possible, take her out to lunch as often as she'll allow, and occasionally even help clean out her basement. So naturally, I've always had reason to believe I was the model grandchild.

That is, until I met Jonathan Black at the Tumbleweed workshop in LA.

 Jonathan Black Jonathan Black 

A former CalPoly student, 26 year old Jonathan chose to seek a different educational path after several unsatisfying years of school. He currently works as a server at a restaurant in San Luis Obispo, and says he's much happier dealing with "life stress" than "school stress." Now, he's setting out on a whole new meaningful adventure: tiny house building for a cause.

Jonathan's grandpa has stenosis, and is trying to plan ahead for the unfortunate possibility of needing to use a wheelchair. His house in Morgan Hill, however, is not wheelchair accessible. To solve this problem, the family has hatched a brilliant plan: Jonathan will build a wheelchair accessible wing on his grandparents' house.

There's only one problem: to work on the house, Jonathan needs a place to stay. His grandparents owned both a motor home and a shed, but neither was an option. The motor home needed too much work, and grandpa had already converted the shed into an office.

The perfect solution? A Tumbleweed Tiny House for Jonathan.

Jonathan loves the idea of avoiding debt, and is excited to integrate his tiny house into a larger meaningful project for his family. He purchased the Fencl plans before coming to LA. 

Brainstorming at the workshop 

Jonathan played around with many different designs at the workshop, getting input from his mom, Bethany, and other helpful attendees.

He will build the Fencl in January, hoping to use as many found and donated materials as possible. He will be blogging about the process as he goes, as well as checking in with us here.

After he completes his tiny house, he'll begin work on the wing for his grandparents. "My mom doesn't want it to look like a disabled wing," explained Bethany. "We want Jonathan to do something that doesn't look ugly, because it's a sensitive issue." Jonathan will be mentored by a local building inspector who is also an ADA inspector, seeking ways to make the wing both aesthetically pleasing and wheelchair accessible.

By the end of next year, he'll have not only blown me out of the water in the best grandchild competition, but will have completed a little house of his own. Two birds, one stone anyone?

Jonathan with grandparents and mom

Right now, Jonathan is looking for trailers in the Morgan Hill area, so please let us know if you can help!

 

Written by Nara Williams — December 07, 2012

Filed under: Build it yourself   home design   house plan   plans   small house   wheelchair accessible   workshops  

Thrifty Thursdays - Solar Cooking/Hot Water Heating


Here's a great tip from the endless well of information that is Deek Diedricksen. 

Written by Brett Torrey Haynes — June 07, 2012

Filed under: Build it yourself   general   house plan   Media   off-grid   solar home   video  

Build Your Virtual Tumbleweed Contest


Our first contest was a hoot and we hope this one will be just as much fun. This time, you can choose between 3 of our houses: The handsome Anderjack Box Bungalow, The über-popular Fencl House To Go and the roomy Harbinger Cottage. So, how does it work? 

  1. Login into Pinterest and start a board with the name of one of these houses in the title. Please include at least one image of the house in your board. Extra love if you link it to the page on our site.
  2. FIll the board with your imagination and dreams of tiny house living.
  3. Send me an email with a link to your board at brett@tumbleweedhouses.com

That's it! If you need an invitation to Pinterest, email me at brett@tumbleweedhouses.com and I will send one your way.  We will accept submission from June 4 - June 8, 2012. Starting on Monday, June 18th, we will post our top 10 favorite boards and our crazy-loyal fans will pick their favorite board. We will announce the winner on Friday, June 22, 2012. One more thing…

The Prize: A limited edition Hollyhock t-shirt, a copy of the Small House Book, the DIY book, the Popomo tiny house plans, the Zinn tiny house plans and the Vardo. What a pack of tiny house goodness! Have fun Tumbleweeders. I can't wait to see what you come up with.


Written by Brett Torrey Haynes — June 04, 2012

Filed under: Box Bungalow   Build it yourself   Fencl   floor plans   house plan   Pinterest  

Lee's Community Build in D.C. - Part 1

Lee Pera and a group of tiny house builders attended a Tumbleweed workshop last year. This year, they broke ground on their tiny house community in Washington, D.C. Below is an update from Lee who will be guest blogging her tiny house community adventure with us regularly. If you're interested in starting a group build in your community, drop us an email and we'll work with you to connect with other tiny house enthusiasts, builders, and suppliers in your area. 


We’ve been doing preparatory work this week meeting with other tiny house builders, scoping out materials and prices, looking at designs we like, and helping Brian out on the lot and garden beds.  Making decisions usually stresses me out, and all the decisions that go into a tiny house have been overwhelming me, so it felt good to already decide on a couple things while looking at materials.  For instance, I love the look of the interior of the Protohaus and have decided to go with bead board rather than the knotty pine that the Fencl tiny house plans call for (saving a significant amount of money as well).  I have also decided I really like the look of cork flooring and many of its benefits and will most likely go with that for my flooring – whew…two decisions made effortlessly!

The biggest news this week is that I may end up downsizing even more.  Originally I planned on building on a 22 ft-long x 8 ft-wide trailer, extending the Fencl out by 4 feet in length and one foot in width.  But this week we were out for beers with our new tiny house friends Margaret and Zach – who are building an amazing tiny house in South Carolina – and Zach told us about an ad he had seen for a tiny house shell.  It’s a fabulous deal, but the main issue I had with it is that, while built on an 18-ft trailer, the shell is just 16 feet long and 7 feet 10 inches wide.  Could I really lose 6 feet of interior space?  That’s a lot of room in a tiny house.   Still, the price is less than what my trailer itself will cost, and the seller was excited that we even knew about tiny houses.  Tony talked with the builder/seller and he seems to have done solid work, and Zach checked it out in person for us.  It looks like I’ll be buying the shell all built out!  We will finish the roofing, siding and interior starting in June.

Next, Tony and I went to spend some time hanging out in the Fencl (18 ft long x 7 ft wide).  After spending about an hour, moving about in the rooms, hanging out in the loft, scoping out storage, I think I can make a smaller unit work.  It will require getting creative about storing my stuff (or getting rid of more), but I’m excited about the challenge.   I like to think I adapt easily to wherever I live and the size will be fine, but if it’s too small I can design and build a larger one over time.  It will be useful to spend some time in one first to get an idea for what I really want and need in size and design.  I’ll post more photos of the shell soon.


Written by Bridget Thornton — May 16, 2012

Filed under: Build it yourself   Fencl   house plan   In the News   small house   Touring the US  

Download Study Plans

Our FREE study plans give you the opportunity to discuss your dreams with an architect or your local building department. The Study Plans give you enough information to talk price and sizes. We've also added material cost estimates for all our homes.

To download, please click on the image below

Written by Steve Weissmann — October 20, 2010

Filed under: Build it yourself   home plans   house plan  
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