Tiny House = Tiny Office

We are very excited to be to owners of the Tumbleweed Tiny House that was part of the Small Worlds exhibition at the wonderful Toledo Museum of Art and we are thrilled to have helped the early childhood programming at the Museum. 

The Andersons and The Lathrop Company did an amazing job building and outfitting the Tiny House. Everyone involved at the Museum and Lathrop made the pick-up easy, painless and a joy.
I first saw a blurb about the Tumbleweed Tiny House Company on the internet back in the early 2000’s and immediately became a fan and began secretly dreaming of owning one. I started following the company website and researching other small houses. 
My family and I desire and seek simplicity, a mark of every Tumbleweed Tiny House. For us, however, this simplicity seems difficult to achieve in these busy days with 2 small children, 2 dogs, and regular gatherings of family and friends in our home, all of which unfortunately do not lend themselves to life in our new Tiny House. 
So, because living in our Tiny House is not at option at this point in our lives, we are happy that we now have a cozy, new office out of which to work. Our new Tiny House is now residing at Developer Town here in Indianapolis, IN. Developer Town is pretty amazing on its own. Software entrepreneurs work in mobile garden sheds inside a giant warehouse that was more or less abandoned. The warehouse is located on the Monon Trail, a great rail-to-trail in Indy that connects downtown to the Northern suburbs. 

The good folks at Developer Town allowed us to move in, set up and get to work. We are grateful to be there and excited to see what is next. We love our Tiny House and look forward to sharing it with our family and friends in the years to come.

The new owner of the XS-House wishes to remain anonymous. 

Written by Bridget Thornton — June 13, 2012

Filed under: home plans   house-to-go   small house   xshouse  

Big Lake, Tiny House


Here's another couple on their way to a Tumbleweed life: Pete & Erin. Bookmark their blog so you can follow them on their Fencl build.

Written by Brett Torrey Haynes — June 06, 2012

Filed under: Build it yourself   See a tiny house   small house   Tumbleweed  

Have You Considered a Historic Neighborhood for Your Small House?


by Jo-Anne Peck, President of Historic Shed Custom Outbuildings

There comes a time when anyone who dreams of living in a small house has to ask the question, “Where will I put my tiny house?” When choosing to site build a little house, this becomes an ever bigger question since zoning codes and neighborhood association rules are often at odds with small house goals. As a result, many tiny house people look to rural areas where restrictions may be less stringent. However, not everyone prefers country living, and site development costs for utilities can be prohibitive on undeveloped land.

For those that would rather live within more established areas, close to walkable stores and with sociable neighbors, older and historic neighborhoods may be a good choice for building a new small home. The average size of an American single-family home has grown exponentially over the years, but most of our ancestors managed to live in much less square footage, often with much larger families. Therefore, there are many established neighborhoods with precedent for small homes. Historically laid out with small lots (for example, much of the historic core of Lake Worth, FL was platted with 25′ wide lots), local zoning in designated historic districts is often tailored so that new construction within the district remains in scale with the historically smaller homes in the neighborhood. In addition, many historic neighborhoods also allow accessory structures behind the main home that can be even tinier than the main home.

Some historic neighborhoods have few available empty lots, while others have many vacant lots available due to fires, demolitions, or never having been fully developed. It may take some diligence on your part to find the right spot, but with careful consideration you will likely find an affordable lot in an up-and-coming older neighborhood that suits you perfectly.

Benefits of building a small house within a historic district:

  • Site utilities are already in place, saving on development costs
  • Established neighborhoods have sidewalks and mature trees
  • Zoning laws are commonly adapted to lot sizes and the scale of surrounding properties, allowing for smaller footprints
  • Historic neighborhoods are often within walking distance to stores and restaurants reducing or eliminating the need for a car
  • Neighbors to look out for you and socialize with; many historic preservation proponents have similar mindsets to tiny house people
  • Historic District design standards direct the area’s future development which often helps to maintain economic stability
  • Many historic districts allow for accessory dwellings behind the main residence that can be even smaller than the main house, allowing for rental income or a co-op living arrangement
  • Property values are based on livability, aesthetics and historic character rather than a “bigger is better” mentality
  • When looking for a lot for your small house, you may find the perfect little house already in existence waiting for your loving touch – historic preservation is the ultimate recycling project

When looking for an appropriate historic neighborhood to build in consider the following:

  • Look for a neighborhood of predominantly smaller homes; neighborhoods with shotgun style or bungalows are generally suitable
  • Neighborhoods platted from the 1890s to 1930s developed for working class residents often have small lots suited for smaller homes
  • Irregular or previously subdivided lots, often called “non-conforming” by zoning standards, may be perfect for construction of a small house and very affordable
  • Look for an “up and coming” neighborhood, preferably with an activeneighborhood association for more affordable property
  • Avoid neighborhoods where the trend has been to demolish the older small homes and replace them with “McMansions”
  • Avoid neighborhoods where new additions to existing homes are equal to or bigger than the original historic home
  • Look at the architectural style of surrounding homes; you will likely be required to build a home with similar scale and shape (i.e. if most of the homes have gable roofs, yours will more likely meet design requirements if it also has a gable roof)
  • Talk to local Zoning officials to find out minimum and maximum lot coverage, setbacks, parking requirements and other site development regulations before you buy
  • Talk to the local Historic Preservation office to learn about design guidelines for infill construction within the neighborhood before you design your small home
  • Consider buying a lot with an existing home and build a tiny house behind to provide rental income if zoning allows

For those interested in living more economically in a smaller footprint without having to build from scratch, looking for a house in a historic district may be a great opportunity to both live in an attractive home and neighborhood and to recycle an entire house. If the perfect house doesn’t already exist, or is not within budget, building a new small house within a historic district may be just the right combination.

Visit Historic Shed’s website  http://historicshed.com/

Reposted with permission from Kent Griswald's Tiny House Blog. Kent has been blogging about tiny house living at TinyHouseBlog.com for 5 years and is an authorized Tumbleweed affiliate.

Written by Kent Griswold — June 05, 2012

Filed under: Build it yourself   general   small house  

Join Deek in Vermont

Deek Deidricksen is hosting a Tiny House Summer Camp in Orleans, Vermont on July 6-9, 2012. You can find out more here. Knowing Deek, this will be a blast!

Written by Brett Torrey Haynes — June 05, 2012

Filed under: green building   home design   small house   Workshop  

Powering Our Tiny House

One of the most common questions we are asked is how  did we set up the electricity in our tiny house. I’ll be the first to admit that I am not that familiar with all the technical aspects of our system so here is what we said about it on our blog:

“We designed the solar for our cabin by first minimizing our needs - energy hogs like electric stoves, fridges, washer / dryer, air conditioning, water heaters, microwaves and such were ruled out. Our system provides lights, small fans, and plugs for small appliances. When we need to run construction tools or other items with large power needs, we use a portable generator. The generator can also recharge the batteries if we need it to.”

We both work from our tiny house. I use a laptop computer which probably draws the most power. Matt is able to do most of his work from a tablet which uses a lot less energy to run.  

We don’t have a traditional refrigeration system. We did find a great invention called the Coleman Stirling Engine Cooler that was used by long haul truckers and boaters. Coleman doesn’t make them any more. Even at its coldest setting it draws very little power. We don’t use it as our primary cooling source, however. We set it on freeze and put ice packs inside which we then transfer to a regular cooler.  We also changed the way we buy and eat food. We bought into a CSA and we make frequent trips to the farmer’s market to get fresher ingredients that we use faster.  

We also didn’t install the recommended propane fueled boat heater in our tiny house. We live in the southern Appalachian Mountains and during the summer it will never get cold enough to need it. For now, we don’t plan to live in our tiny house over the winter months because we’ll take that time to travel and see family in other parts of the country. 

Next time, I’ll share our water systems and how we have a pressurized shower without any indoor plumbing.  

Written by Laura LaVoie — June 04, 2012

Filed under: Build it yourself   green building   green home   home design   home plans   Power Station   small house   solar home  

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