Q&A with Tiny House Experts

We asked three of our tiny house experts to answer a few Frequently Asked Questions:  

ART CORMIER

Art Cormier / Tumbleweed Workshop Presenter

Background:

In 2012, Art completed his Tumbleweed home using SIPS and reclaimed wood and even posted some videos on YouTube explaining how he did it  And that's how we connected - we asked him if he wanted to partake in our Tumbleweed Construction Video and Art obliged. One thing led to another and today Art is traveling the country teaching others the benefits of owning a tiny home. Read more on Art's blog.

Art's modified Tumbleweed Elm

Question: What is your favorite part of your tiny space?

Art: My favorite part of my tiny house?  The love seat when I want to sit,  or the shower when I want to get clean.  Or do I have those confused?

Art's love seat, which can convert into a bed.

Q: Do you have any space saving or downsizing advice?
Art: See video!
 
Q: What would you do different in your tiny home if you could build it again?
Art: If I built it again I would have dormers, got to keep up with the neighbors!
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EDDIE LANZO
Eddie Lanzo / Tumbleweed Workshop Host
Background:
Eddie and his girlfriend Lacey have their almost complete DIY Tumbleweed Cypress parked in a campground in Austin, Texas. Eddie's background is in real estate and he also recently joined the Tumbleweed team as a workshop host. More about their house and build here
Eddie's DIY Tumbleweed Cypress
Question:  How are you decorating your tiny space for the holidays?
Eddie: We have perched a very wintery wreath on the wall for the holidays. That should do it for us. Next year if we're more ambitious, we want to do a stick christmas tree.
Q:  Clever storage ideas / space saving ideas?
Eddie: We plan on adding loft beam storage, installing a leaf table, and putting our compost toilet on tracks that slide out from under the storage stairs.
Eddie's loft with dormers
Q: What would you do different in your tiny home if you could build it again?
Eddie: We would've finished plumbing before moving it to the RV park. It’s all “roughed out” but ABS piping still needs to be finished so we can install our sinks.
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GUILLAUME DUTILH
Guillaume Dutilh / Tumbleweed Workshop Host
Background:
Guillaume and his girlfriend Jenna finished their DIY modified Cypress since September 2014. So far they've traveled over 7,000 miles with their tiny abode, from California to Nova Scotia to Atlanta, while hosting countless open houses and Tumbleweed workshops. Learn more about their tiny house journey here. 
Guillaume's traveling DIY Cypress
Question: What do you do when you and your partner need... space?
Guillaume: We usually just take the dog for a walk since the front door is never that far. 
Q: What is biggest benefit of having a tiny house?
Guillaume: Being able to pursue my passion for photography while traveling.
Q: What would you do different in your tiny home if you could build it again?
Guillaume: If I could do it again, I'd have my corner porch on the sidewalk side or I would build a full porch (the Elm). Porches are awesome!

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Jenna BioJenna 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.

Written by Jenna Spesard — December 10, 2014

Filed under: Art Cormier   Cypress   Elm   Experts   Holidays   SIPS   Tiny Home   Tiny House   Tiny House Giant Journey   Tiny SIP House   Tips   Tumbleweed   Workshop  

10 Biodegradable Products for Greener Grey Water

*All products in this video are listed below*

Since our travels began on September 2nd 2014, Guillaume and I have been trying to "green" ourselves, starting with our grey water. I'd love to be able to say that all of the products that go down our drain are 100% biodegradable, so I've begun switching out our chemical products for biodegradable alternatives. 

Our Water Set Up

Guillaume and I do not have black water, as we use a composting toilet. Our grey water is the "waste" water coming from our shower and kitchen sink. In a campground, it doesn't matter if it's grey or black, waste water drains into the sewer. When we're off-grid, we use a 15 gallon portable grey water tank, which we can dump at any appropriate place. Until now, the appropriate place has always been the sewer because of the products we use. I'd like that to change.

Tiny House Giant Journey's Hook Ups (bottom left of trailer - blue grey water tank)

THGJ Grey Water Set Up

THGJ Grey Water Set Up

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10 PRODUCTS FOR GREENER GREY WATER:

1) Shampoo* - 365 Lavender Blend / oily + normal hair
2) Conditioner* - Acure Lemongrass + Argon Stem Cell
3) Body Soap* - Dr. Bronner's Magic Soap - Lavender
4) Acne Cream* - 100% Pure Spot Treatment
5) Face Wash* - Desert Essence Thoroughly Clean Face Wash / Oily & Combo Skin
6) Body LotionDr. Bronner's Magic Lotion - Lavender Coconut
7) Toner* - Acure Facial Toner / Balancing Rose + Red Tea
8) All Purpose Spray* Method All-Purpose Cleaner - Cucumber
9) Dishwashing Liquid* - Ultra Dishmate - Natural Almond
10) Mascara*100% Pure Fruit Pigmented Black Tea Ultra-Lengthening Mascara
*Packaging claims product is biodegradable
*Website claims product is biodegradable
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Where do you find biodegradable products?

It's actually very simple. You can shop online or you can go to a health food store. Whole Foods is a great resource, and usually they have at least one staff member dedicated to help you choose natural products.

How can you tell a product is biodegradable?

Ah yes, well you need to be a chemist. Not really, but this is a little tricky. You could do a massive amount of online research to learn how to decipher ingredient lists, trust the employees at your local health food store or pick products that have "100% biodegradable" or "readily biodegradable" written on the container. This last suggestion will limit you because many products do NOT add the biodegradable categorization to their packaging, even if the product is biodegradable.

100% Biodegradable Label on Dr. Bronner's Magic Soap

Do biodegradable products really work?

The easy answer is: Yes. The longer answer is: You need to find the right product for you. I've found some biodegradable products to have a displeasing smell or texture. I had to stop using one shampoo because it actually made my hair feel greasier AFTER the shower. But, for the most part, I've been happy with the products I've chosen. Like anything, it takes time and patience.

Shopping Tips:

1). Some biodegradable products are multi-purpose, like Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps. They boast that you can use this soap for 18 different things! As a tiny houser, this is a total win.

2). Home remedies also work! White vinegar and water, mixed together in a spray bottle, is an excellent affordable cleaning solution. Coconut oil is a great moisturizer.

3). Biodegradable products are more expensive, but there are affordable products as well. Choose products with simplistic packaging. Companies that care more about what's inside rather than on the bottle are usually going to gain my respect. You can also look around at your local farmer's market. Often there will be at least one booth for natural soaps, lotions, etc. Ask them if their product is 100% biodegradable.

4). Read the directions. Many natural products are concentrated, therefore you can buy a smaller bottle and it will last you as long as a large chemically-enhanced bottle (another win for tiny housers).

3). As a bonus, many biodegradable products are cruelty-free, vegan, manufactured with renewable energy and contained less cancerous materials.

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HELP ME GREEN MY GREY WATER! 

Okay my green friends, if you have a biodegradable product you'd like to recommend, please comment below!

Let's produce more enviro-friendly products and create less sewage.

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Jenna BioJenna Spesard is currently living and 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.

 

Written by Jenna Spesard — October 30, 2014

Filed under: Biodegradable   Cypress   Giant Journey   Green   Grey Water   Lifestyle   Products   Tiny House   Tumbleweed  

Video Tours of Our Tiny Homes

We’ve been gathering and creating video tours of our tiny homes over the past few months, and we are now thrilled to release them all in one place! You’ll also now be able to view them under each house design for the Elm, Cypress and Linden. We hope these videos are helpful for those of you wondering which model will best fit your particular personality. Enjoy!

If you’d like to tour one of our tiny homes in person, we have another exciting announcement, our showroom in Colorado Springs is now open! Book a tiny house tour here.

First up, we’d like you to step inside our classic model: the Elm 24 with dormers.

We love this design because it’s based on the very first Tumbleweed. The Elm offers a full porch and a picturesque arched window above the front door. This model is simply stunning, just watch as the Home & Family hosts gush in this tour!

 

 

Next up we have our brand new Cypress 24, an extended version of our most popular model which features a left, right, or no porch option.

This particular tiny home is packed full of amenities, including: a full size refrigerator, air conditioning, a washer/dryer combo, downstairs bedroom, staircase, and much more!

 

 

If you’d rather have a smaller model, take a moment to tour through this Cypress 20 and feel the difference. Do you need the extra four feet? Or maybe you can live with even less. Not to worry, we also offer the Cypress on an 18 foot trailer!

 

 

Lastly, we’re ecstatic to show you the first video tour of our Linden 20.

 

This design will provide the largest loft and, like the Elm, offers a full size porch. Once inside you’ll see this model is quite unique from the other two, but she has a Tumbleweed heart and offers a clever, spacious design.

 

 

There are so many options to make these each of these designs one-of-a-kind, including: 3 trailer lengths, 23 floor plans, 3 sleeping options, multiple kitchen options, and choices in number of skylights, roof colors, chosen appliances, etc! The beautiful thing about living small is that you can customize YOUR home to fit YOUR lifestyle. And we want to help you find your perfect home. 

Bonus Video: Why Tumbleweed?

 

 

 

So, now that you've toured a few Tumbleweeds, WHAT TINY HOME ARE YOU?

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Jenna BioJenna Spesard is currently living and traveling around North America in a DIY Tumbleweed Cypress with her partner, Guillaume, who is a professional photographer and Tumbleweed Workshop host. They are photographing and writing about their adventure and occasionally they will be hosting an open house. Be sure to follow their tiny house and giant journey here.
 

Written by Jenna Spesard — October 06, 2014

Filed under: Cypress   Elm   Linden   Showroom   Tiny House   Tumbleweed   Video Tour   Why Tumbleweed  

Zee's Tiny Classroom Update

Zee Kesler (On Left in Blue) and her Tiny House Team

We spoke with Zee Kesler back in May when she was still raising funds and dreaming of owning a tiny mobile community center in Vancouver. After a very productive summer, it seems Zee’s dream is close to becoming a reality. Her tiny structure has a finished exterior and the interior is in the works.

The advancements in her build are owed substantially to her friends and construction / design partners: John McFarlane (who builds tiny homes in Vancouver), Josh Armstrong, and Dave Myers. “I trust them whole heartedly and love everything they’ve done,” Zee explains. Her materials consist mostly of recycled supplies from local film productions, and the guys are constantly surprising her with the reuse of these items, seen most recently in her multi-colored window trim.

‘I love stripes, so when I saw what they did (with the trim), I was like: “Awww, you guys know me!”’ Zee recalls. “A community center should be colorful.”

As promised, workshops were held throughout Zee’s build, allowing other tiny house enthusiasts to learn from guest experts and even participate in the construction when possible. “The workshops covered the entire process of building a tiny home,” Zee explains, “So even though we aren’t finished with the house, we did demos of how to complete a tiny home.” Zee continued by saying that she was learning along with her 7-8 workshop attendees. Her favorite part was understanding how water interacts with certain materials and how houses have evolved over time.

Photo from Zee's Tiny House Workshop

Another unique item in Zee’s tiny classroom is the back window. “John (her designer) modified the Tumbleweed plans to create a community center layout, and he decided to make the back window stand out and possibly double as a future trademark or logo.” The result was to put several extra windows together creating a large, picturesque, mosaic-like window.

 

Zee's Unique Back Window

Zee’s house still has a little way to go, but she hopes it will be completed in about a month. This winter she endeavors to secure a grant for a public parking spot in Vancouver and to make this tiny home into a official community center where classes will be held. If all goes well, Zee’s dream will become a reality as early as Spring 2015.

Stay tuned for more updates on Zee’s story!

More info on Zee’s tiny community center follow the build on facebook here and online here, and the original story here

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*All photos provided by Zee Kesler

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Jenna Spesard is currently living and traveling around North America in a self-built Tumbleweed Cypress with her partner, Guillaume, who is a professional photographer and Tumbleweed Workshop host. They are photographing and writing about their adventure that began in September 2014. Occasionally they will be hosting an open house. More on their tiny house and giant journey here.
 

 

Written by Jenna Spesard — September 26, 2014

Filed under: canda   community center   Tiny House   vancouver   zee kesler  

Traveling Tiny House - Stories & Tips

Tiny House GJ at Ye Olde' Mill Campground in Burnt Cabins, PA

Hi All -

Now that we've been on the road for a few weeks, Guillaume and I wanted to share our stories and travel tips. We will be scooting along the highway for the next year. So stay tuned!

Our official trip began September 2nd with our departure from Shelbyville, Illinois. If you're confused it might be because we built half of our house in Los Angeles, but at the beginning of the summer we decided to move the build to the midwest (where my family graciously let us take over their driveway). Read about our move from California to Illinois here

The construction of our house had taken over our lives for the past year, and yet, we were still scrambling to finish right up until the final gargantuan moment of our tiny exodus. It was 6pm before we slowly rolled away from my family's quiet farm town and began an 800 mile journey to our first destination: the Tumbleweed Philadelphia workshop, where our house would make its debut. Check out the below video tour of our home taken by Philadelphia workshop presenter Deek

I had never been to the east coast before, so I was very excited that the first section of our trip would take us to somewhere exotic - a place where locals don't even blink an eye as they shuffle past 300 year old buildings, coffee is served strong and meant for drinking on the go, and lobster rolls are considered a common lunch. 

Philadelphia really surprised me. I spent days just walking the streets, reading plaques and snapping photos. I'm not used to living in a place that has history, and I allowed myself to feel proud and at home. The words: "I could live here," occasionally crossed my mind.

Our Parking Spot in Philadelphia - across from the workshop

That being said, I was full of contempt for the city as we pulled our (what seemed like) enormous house through its narrow streets. Parking was impossible, which I expected. Our trailer jack clawed at the ground more than once, and every time it felt like the house was collapsing. 

Tiny House GJ Parking Illegally in Philly
Watch out wire - Here we come!!

Tips for Towing a Tiny House in North Eastern USA:

1). KNOW YOUR HEIGHT. REALLY KNOW IT. There are many low overpasses along the east coast. Our house is 13'4" and we had a few close calls. One in particular in New York City, where an overpass boasted a low clearance of 12'6"! We slowed down, frantically discussed our options and then realized that our house would fit. The sign was a lie, or a terribly un-funny joke. Either way my heart skipped a beat at the thought of reversing in NYC traffic. I cringe at the idea of a convertible tiny home. A wonderful purchase for us was an RV GPS. It alerts us of any low overpasses, weight restrictions, horizontal clearances, propane restrictions, etc. If you are going to travel often with your tiny home, buy one!

2). Watch for potholes, steep inclines / declines. Our trailer jack and chains will usually take the hit first, but I wouldn't recommend it. Take it slow and be alert. 

3). If you are still in the pre-build stage, consider placing your door on the passenger side. When parking on the side of the street, exiting the tiny house on the driver's side (or the side of traffic) can be dangerous. This tip really applies to travel anywhere, but especially relevant in an east coast city where streets can be very narrow and traffic heavy. 

4). KNOW YOUR WEIGHT. Tie down everything inside, and distribute your weight evenly. You can weigh your house at any trucker scale (LOVES or similar). Ours is a bit heavy - 9,800 lbs. This means we have to be very careful about our tongue weight. Semi-tedious work, but we often shift our belongings to the back of the house for travel to alleviate our heavy tongue. We are looking for a bigger truck to compensate for this. Currently we have a 3/4 ton diesel Ford F-250, but would like a 1 ton dually. If anyone has any advice for us about this, please feel free to comment!

5). In New York City, watch for gawking pedestrians and flying hotdogs. 

Tiny House in Central Park 

Yes, after leaving Philly we drove the house through New York City. No, we aren't insane.. well, maybe a little. A short-lived cruise through central park ended with us being kicked out; we had permission but ended up causing trouble when we couldn't navigate properly. Our tiny home crawled away with its tail between our legs to a campsite in Croton-On-Harmon, about an hour outside of the city.

Our Campsite in New York - Croton Point Park

Before leaving New York City we snapped a few photos of the tiny house amongst the skyscrapers. It was September 11th, and the significance of the anniversary was not lost on us. We tried to visit the memorial, but it was closed for family members only - a respectable request.

As the new One World Trade Center proudly served as our canopy, we remembered. 

Currently we are on our way to Montreal. My next update will be about crossing the border and staying overnight in campgrounds, truck strops or similar. Wish us luck!

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Check our OUR ROUTE and follow our journey on our website and facebook

For more photos of our journey, follow us on INSTAGRAM

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Jenna Spesard is currently living and traveling around North America in a self-built Tumbleweed Cypress with her partner, Guillaume, who is a professional photographer and Tumbleweed Workshop host. They are photographing and writing about their adventure that began in September 2014. Occasionally they will be hosting an open house. More on their tiny house and giant journey here.

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