Jan Tiura, the first woman tug boat captain in the bay area, had been interested in building a modern cabin for decades to set on her property in Northern California. Unfortunately she never found the right project, and set her dream aside. That is, until a few years ago when her niece, Holly Ortega, began working for Tumbleweed. Finally the stars had aligned!
Holly introduced her aunt to the Tumbleweed MICA design
- a modern one story Tiny House RV. Jan was intrigued by the modern aesthetic. Could this be the modern cabin she had been dreaming of?
"My aunt was drawn to the steel siding on the MICA because it reminded her of the ships she would pull at sea." - Holly (Jan's neice)
Jan posing in front of her photography / Photo: Dylan Entelis, The Chronicle
Jan fell in love with the MICA's weathered steel siding. It not only symbolized the 30 years she spent as a tug boat captain, but also her collection of abstract photographs of weathered steel. Jan's photography has been displayed at San Francisco MOMA. Read more and view her work here
Jan is still a tug boat captain at heart!
Soon after seeing photos of the MICA online, Jan stopped by the Tumbleweed office to take a tour of a model they had for sale. Not long after, she became the MICA's loving new owner.
Jan parked her MICA, which she named "The Barge," on Bad Dog Farm in Moss Beach, California. The Barge overlooks a beautiful meadow and Jan says she feels right at home when she uses her MICA.
"Purchasing the MICA meant reaching my dream," Jan told us. "It's snug and warm and better than anything I could build."
*Photos courtesy of Jan Tiura unless otherwise stated.
Jenna Spesard is currently traveling around North America in a DIY Tumbleweed Cypress. She writes about Tiny Homes and travel on her informative blog: "Tiny House Giant Journey."
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.
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 Tiny Homes and their adventure. Follow their informative blog.
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
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!
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.
Meg Stephens, Lead House Designer
Dear Tiny House enthusiasts,
As Tumbleweed’s lead designer, I have been expanding our family of House-To-GoTM models. We think of the family names in two ways: as external models and internal floor plans.
You asked for flexibility with floor plans and home lengths, and the house names should create a logical way to select from 21 different homes.
Our exterior models are based on nature.
How do these models differ? The Elm has a nice porch and iconic lancet window to greet you. Our Cypress features an aesthetically-appealing recessed... Read More