Thanks for a Great Open House!

Yesterday's open house was a whirlwind. I'll admit that I spent the morning fairly certain that no one would come- the weather was weird, Sundays are lazy, and I sometimes lack social confidence.

But you, tiny house people, did not let me down. At exactly 12:58, a throng of people appeared, trudging through the mud. Children, farmers, urbanites, college officials- an incredibly kind and interesting crowd filled the house from start to finish. There was even a line outside! 

One lovely lady brought me daffodils; another family brought me a cake from a favorite bakery. Everyone brought questions, cameras, and positive reinforcement. I wish I'd taken more pictures, but I was so busy answering questions that I didn't get a chance! Here's a few photos I snapped: 

Some of the first attendees- laughs all around

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Written by Nara Williams — March 04, 2013

Filed under: college   friends   learning   massachussets   open house   see a fencl   student  

Nara's Open House

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
Time: 1:00-4:00pm
Where:
Hampshire College
393 West Street
Amherst, MA 01002
Driving Directions
 



To read more about Nara's semester in a tiny house, click here.

We hope to see you there!

Written by Adam Gurzenski — February 26, 2013

Filed under: Fencl   Hampshire College   Massachusetts   open house  

Settling In

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! 

Dream Bench 

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:

Cleaning

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....

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Written by Nara Williams — February 26, 2013

Filed under: campus   comfort   fencl   furnishing   loft   new   open house  

The Countdown!

Recently, I wrote about my plans to live in a tiny house for my last semester of college. In a week's time, my Fencl will finally be arriving on my campus! You could say I'm excited- I've gained some serious calf muscles jumping through hoops for the last two months to make this happen. For those who are curious, especially college students who are interested in trying something similar, here's what my process looked like:

The Proposal

It began with a fairly lengthy proposal that I drafted at home in early December. I outlined all of the reasons why my school would benefit from the presence of a tiny house, given our emphasis on sustainability and alternative lifestyles. I emphasized that I would not need the school's money or resources, just their permission and support.

View HampshireMy beautiful view-to-be 

I sent this proposal to my college's president. I never heard back from him! Luckily, someone else in the office intercepted my proposal and directed me towards a newfangled student project approval system. Through this system, I was able to communicate with all of the individual staff members on campus that would need to personally approve my project 

The Conversation

We had a lengthy back-and-forth regarding zoning, utilities, placement, and everything else imaginable. The staff members were interested and supportive, but still committed to doing a very thorough job- naturally, I found this frustrating. Even when it seemed like everyone was on board, there was no clear sense of approval. I wanted a giant stamp of my proposal that said "yes!"

The Plan

I made a chart of my proposed off-grid utility usage plans, including back-up solutions and alternate ideas. The biggest issue was, big surprise, dealing with my own waste. Turns out this is tricky territory on a college campus. I'd originally hoped to use a composting toilet, but health people gave that a raised eyebrow. 

Hazel toiletMy generous friend- thanks Hazel!

I'm going to start the semester using a nearby friend's toilet (above), and work with interested students throughout the semester to develop an alternative that everyone can feel comfortable with.

Scouting it Out

The spotThe spot! 

Last week, I met with the guys who run facilities and grounds. We discussed some potential solutions to my utility woes, and took a field trip to some potential house sites. Finally, we found the perfect site- I can hook up to the school's electricity while I work on getting solar panel donations. I did a little dance on it to mark my territory.

Waiting (Is the Hardest Part)

Squatting in the living room 

Now, I'm waiting patiently. I've been squatting with three of my friends in their bachelor pad. I thought I packed light this time around, but my possessions seem to be traveling around the apartment a bit. My scruffy friends have mentioned that they're growing tired of me. I think they'll make it one more week, as long as I do some dishes. 

Stay tuned, folks in the Western Mass area- I'll be having a housewarming gathering/open house late next week! 

Written by Nara Williams — January 24, 2013

Filed under: college campus   getting permission   ongoing posts   open house   resources   student   western Massachusetts  

Meet Our New Builders in Colorado

When Dave Fisher says he has a family business, he means it. The Fishers grew up Amish in Pennsylvania, and true to their roots, are very talented when it comes to carpentry: they just finished building their first Tumbleweed Fencl in about two weeks.

Dave and his brothers have been in the construction industry since 1993. Believe it or not, his favorite project from the Montana days was a subdivision. They got to build all of the houses in the development, ranging from about 1,500 to 3,000 square feet in size. Now the brothers have scaled down significantly. Their company, The Shed Yard, specializes in high quality storage sheds, garages, gazebos, and other outdoor buildings and accessories.

Outside the Fencl in snowy Colorado 


Only recently, however, did it occur to the brothers to try their hand at a tiny house. "Someone approached me at a home show in Denver and told me to look up Tumbleweed. I went to the website, and thought, I'd love to build one of these."

After attending the Santa Rosa workshop in October, the brothers met up with Tumbleweed's Steve Weissmann. They talked for hours, and made a decision: the brothers would build a Fencl, and thus be added to the growing network of Tumbleweed builders- great news for Colorado! Given the company's experience with building small structures, tiny houses made a lot of sense. "The great part about building the tiny house was that we could do it inside the warehouse. We could stay warm in the Colorado winter, and didn't have to have any building permits- we'd never experienced that with other kinds of house building."

This is the first time they have built anything on a trailer, but it didn't prove too much of a challenge for the intrepid brothers. They've got team work down to a science: Dave's brother Ben handled most of the wood cutting, while Dave preferred the assembly portion. Ben also handled the wiring, having experience wiring large houses. Alan, Dave and Ben's brother-in-law, managed the interior and put some of the finishing touches on. Dave's sister and his wife helped also a great deal, running errands and handling other business. The only person to work on the house who wasn't related to the Fishers was the plumber!

Keeping warm inside- look at that beautiful wood!

While the house is nearly identical to the Fencl plans, they did make a few modifications. The house is wired to easily accommodate solar panels, and the low-flush toilet can be replaced with a composting toilet. Dave wants customers to be able to customize the house with ease, and to encourage off-the-grid living. If he can convince his wife, he might even build a self-contained Fencl of his own. 

To see more images of their Fencl, Click Here

You can check out their beautiful Fencl this coming Saturday, December 15 2012 from 1 to 4 at the Shed Yard in Colorado Springs. It's for sale, and it won't last long. 

Written by Nara Williams — December 12, 2012

Filed under: builders   colorado   events   fencl   new   open house  
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