It's so nice to follow a project and see it come to its fruition! It all started back when Vancouver artist Zee Kesler attended one of our weekend workshops two years ago and purchased plans to build a Tumbleweed Cypress. Zee wanted to share her Tiny House RV with others and do something unique, so she decided to convert her Cypress into a rolling classroom on wheels! With the help of her friends, she spent last fall and this spring building her modified Tumbleweed.
Being that the space will be used as a classroom for up to twelve students, a few modifications needed to be made to the original plans. Zee added a wheelchair accessible side door, increased the width by building over the wheel wells, changed the roof pitch to allow more vertical interior space and converted the bathroom into a photo booth (students will use the park facilities)!
Did we mention that Zee did all of this under a limited budget? She searched Vancouver for construction waste and recycled materials from the film industry and then collected those items over the last two years. She also had many materials donated to the project, arranged sponsorships, and organized a multi-week workshop that partially funded the project while teaching others Tiny House RV construction. All of these factors helped the Tiny Community Center reach finalization without breaking the bank!
Since the completion of the Tiny Community Center, Zee has been awarded an artist residency at Trout Lake Community Center in Vancouver, British Columbia. She'll be parking her Tumbleweed at Trout Lake starting this July and will open it up to the public. Get involved and/or take an art class in Zee's Tiny Community Center this summer here.
Check back soon for a full VIDEO TOUR of Zee's Tiny Classroom!
Where can you park a Tiny House RV? There are many different ways to answer this question, but the simple answer is that you can park your tiny abode wherever it is legal to park a regular RV. Laws differ regarding RVs in every county, so you'll need to research your preferred parking location.
If you plan on traveling with your Tiny House RV, you will have the opportunity to park in campgrounds, National Parks, State Parks, overnight parking lots, rest stops, etc. Always read signage to make sure that "RV overnight parking" is allowed before setting up your Tiny House RV. If you are visiting a friend or family member in a county that allows RV parking, you might be parking on private land or in a residential driveway. There are many options out there, just ask any RVer!
You can design your Tiny House RV for "off-grid" or "on-grid" parking. Your future parking location may depend on your choice of utilities. It's a good idea to plan ahead and determine how flexible you'd like to be with parking and utility maintenance.
Ask yourself: Will I always have access to water and electricity? If you'd prefer to have off-grid electricity, you might consider designing your Tiny House RV with propane appliances to limit your electrical needs. If water will not always be available, you'll need to estimate how large of a fresh water tank you will need. The same goes for your grey water and black water tanks.
Ask yourself: How hands on do I want to be with my utilities? Being off-grid might mean emptying your compost toilet, rotating your solar panels and filling your fresh water tank every week. If this does not appeal to you, perhaps a parking spot with full connections is more suitable to your needs.
Watch this video for a full explanation of parking and setting up a Tiny House RV, whether you are off-grid or on-grid:
If you are interested in the products used in this video, here are details (in order of appearance):
If you’re a Tiny House RV lover, then you have probably seen pictures of Brittany’s Bayside Bungalow during one of your internet searches (I know we did). In fact, we took some inspiration from Brittany’s style and her house is one of the major reasons we painted our walls. Watch our full tour of the Bayside Bungalow:
It’s hard to imagine a petite woman like Brittany building a Tumbleweed Cypress all on her own, but the more I meet the women in this movement, the more I believe women can accomplish anything.
I like to say Guillaume built 60% of our Tiny House RV and I built 40%, but I might be exaggerating my contribution just a tad. I learned a lot from our build, but there is no way I could have done it without Guillaume's help and patience. I simply don't have the mental or physical strength to complete a project that large. I would have lost my mind! By the end of the year, I was using a table saw with ease (when we began I wouldn’t go near it). When we started on the interior, I was finally pulling my weight. I insulated the walls. I put up paneling. I did the trim work. I finished the counters and built the cabinets. And, of course, I decorated. If I had to do it again, and I was all on my own, I would purchase a barn raiser.
When I stepped inside Brittany's Bayside Bungalow, I marveled at the immaculate craftsmanship. I was already impressed that she was able to build a Tiny House RV on her own, but this structure was pristine! After further conversation, I realized Brittany completed the Bayside Bungalow without the resources we had during our build, that she had to repurpose an old trailer because Tumbleweed was not yet making Tiny House RV Trailers, and, finally, that she did it in HALF of the time it took us!
There’s no doubt, Brittany’s construction of the Bayside Bungalow was an act of pilgrimage for the movement. Today thousands of DIYers are building their own Tiny House RVs all over the country, and I think the pioneers (like Brittany) deserve some credit for the sudden popularity.
*Brittany has now opened her Tiny House RV as a vacation rental. If you're considering building tiny, I suggest trying the Bayside Bungalow out for a weekend.
"A year ago I read You Can Buy Happiness (and it’s Cheap) by Tammy Strobel," Lora told us in a recent interview. "I loved the idea of simplicity and aligning my space and money with my values and goals." Lora then toured a Tiny House RV at Tumbleweed's Colorado Springs location and discussed with a builder how to create her ideal custom Tiny House RV. "I chose Tumbleweed because I loved their floor plans and their interior design," Lora explained. "Their homes are top quality."
Tumbleweed offers plans, trailers and barn raisers (half-built homes that you can finish yourself), but Lora chose to have Tumbleweed build the entire Tiny House RV for her. "Although I loved the idea of building my own, it didn’t fit in with my goals, timeline or ability level!" She admitted.
Eight months ago, Lora received her Tiny House RV, which is currently parked in an RV park in Georgia.
"I’ve become more conscious of how I spend my time and money, which has helped me really change my life in some pretty exciting ways (like starting my own business)." - Lora
What are Lora's two favorite spots in her new Tiny House RV? "The nook is the perfect spot to snuggle up with a good book or to relax with an episode of my favorite show after work," Lora answered. "And the first time I climbed into bed, it was like having the cool treehouse I always wanted as a little kid!"
"My tiny home just feels like me.It’s very organized and functional, with lots of storage for the things I love in my life (like my books!).One of the best things about a small space, is that every detail reflects who you are because it’s all more intentional." - Lora
Lora's blog, The Tiny House Teacher, offers advice and tips to other tiny enthusiasts as well as some informative content on the movement. Be sure to check it out.
Wouldn't it be nice to travel anywhere with your Tiny House RV without worrying about "plugging-in?" Ariel McGlothin just purchased a Tumbleweed 24 Cypress, and she customized her Tiny House RV to be completely off-grid, even in the cold winter climate of mountainous Wyoming.
"The propane heater built into my RV does an excellent job of providing steady, even and comfortable heat," Ariel explains. "The only thing I would prefer comfort wise is a heated floor as my feet have always tended to be cold, but I chose not to go with that due the the power use and knowing that (my Tiny House RV) would be off-grid."
Ariel's lofted bedroom
Ariel chose the 24 foot Cypress model, and her layout was customized to have a large kitchen for cooking meals from scratch. Some other customizations include: converting her closet into a pantry, adding a double sink and creating a smaller custom shower stall in order to make her kitchen larger.
"I use my oven and all four burners," Ariel explains. "So it (the full range appliance) is absolutely worth the space for me."
The benefits of being off-grid include self-sustainability, a lower carbon footprint and reduced utility bills, but it's not for the faint of heart. "(Being off-grid) is a commitment." Ariel admits, "I don't mind that, but it does require more thought than being plugged into the grid somewhere. I just have to be mindful of things."
When it's sunny out, Ariel is able to provide the electricity for her Tiny Home RV with solar panels. On a cloudy day, she switches on the generator to recharge her batteries. "I take an extra minute in the morning to run up the bank behind my RV to dust the snow off the solar panels," Ariel explains. "I recharge camera batteries and my laptop, while the generator is running."
2). Propane Appliances
Ariel's heater, water heater, stove and oven are all powered by propane rather than electricity. "I need to monitor my propane tanks and fill them as each one gets empty so I'm not suddenly without heat," Ariel comments.
Ariel's Tiny House RV has a 26 gallon water tank hidden under the kitchen sink. She fills this weekly by hauling jugs of fresh water to her RV and pouring them into the exterior water inlet. The tank could also be filled using a garden hose, if she had one nearby, and if it wasn't frozen.
Consumption wise, Ariel uses about 140 gallons of water a month not including her showers that are usually taken at the gym. "It's been fun to measure my use of things." Ariel tells us. Because of this, she has become very conscious of her usage.
Ariel has a Nature's Head composting toilet, the fan favorite for manufactured composting toilets in the Tiny House RV world. She dumps her urine container about once a week. The "solids" compartment is rated for 90 uses before dumping.
"None of this is hard, it's just a commitment to extra regular chores that people typically do not have any experience with these days." - Ariel McGlothin
For more details on Ariel's tiny house or off-grid living tips, check out her informative website here.
All photos provided by Ariel (who is an excellent photographer)! More of her work on her website.