After spending a good amount of time in a variety of living areas, Kendra is seeking something more. Whether living urban, suburban, rural or in the wilderness, there's always a price to pay. Rent payments are neverending, and no kind of investment to speak of. To make a home somewhere so often means signing up for a mortgage or non-stop payment. Kendra plans to build her Tiny Home when the sun comes back to Seattle. From there she hopes build a farm, create a community center and continue her passion of working in outdoor education and community healing. She may even start a food truck (or food cabin on wheels), or help you build your tiny home, or your dream.
When I was a little girl, I dreamed of having a house on wheels to live and adventure in. I asked for one that Christmas, and awoke to a girly RV toy with little dolls. Dismayed, my tomboy heart deflated a little. "No, like a REAL house, on wheels." I was informed there was no such thing. I then realized I was going to have to build it myself.
Twenty years later, I was working as an Adventure Guide in Central America, living in a plastic tarp off very little money. I was trying to figure out a way to acquire a homey shelter that could afford me the feeling of home wherever I went. Rent was a taxing idea on so few dollars, and I had college loans to pay off. I recalled my childhood dream, and began searching the internet for images of 'houses on wheels'. I found Tumbleweed, and was romanced by the visions of their economical warm spaces.
This spring I will be building the Walden, in Seattle, Washington. Once it's built, I plan to continue working in as a youth educator and performance artist and build a community garden and healing center with my partner. We hope to host events such as concerts, farm days, DIY workshops, summer camps, as well as host getaways for individuals and families. You can be a part of the process! Check out the fundraising campaign here.
Thanks for your support!
Recently, we posted
an article about J.T.'s modified Walden. It started a great conversation- blog readers responded with over 160 comments! J.T. has done his best to answer some of
the questions you asked.
Alexis asked: When the septic tank gets full, is there
somewhere to empty it or does it go to one of those sewage processing plants?
J.T. says: Black water is
collected in an 18 gallon waste water tank by Thetford. They make a lot of RV
supplies. The tank is on wheels and sits directly below the toilet under the
trailer. This can be dumped at any RV park that offers a sewer dump station. For the grey water I use a separate waste-line which collects and drains daily onto topsoil/mulch pit and vegetation.
Peatstack asked: Can
the house harvest rainwater, does it have a tank/filter, does it generate
electricity or use a battery system with solar/ propane generator? Can it
accomodate a composting toilet that the house needs no septic system? I would
like a house that can sit on open agricultural land without any systems
connections, the occasional propane tank and grey water drain accepted.
J.T. says: The roof's surface area is
quite small, but you could divert rainwater into a collection tank for
irrigation: a standard rain barrel would be overkill, but a 10 gallon tank
would work. I have a 25 gallon drinking water tank onboard with a water pump. I
can also hook up to a 3/4 inch garden hose. Make sure you put an RV/Marine
drinking water hose or your water supply will have an off plastic odor. Water
heater and pump are powered by 12v batter. 120v comes from a 20 amp extension
cord into a 30 amp circuit breaker box using around .5 to 1kw per day.
Annette asked: This looks like it would be the PERFECT portable office for
our mounted drill team. I do have a question regarding using solar power as an
energy source. Has anyone installed a solar set up and if so, what did they use
and how is it working to help out with their energy usage?
J.T. says: A Solman Action Packer System could run this house
easily. A plug and play system is the solution for a tiny house- something for
sure in the near future. I am considering A. 2 fixed panels on the roof of the tiny house. Orientation
to the sun could be limited when a new location is found. The Solman Action Packer could easily fit in the loft area above the front door or B. 2 fixed panels on the top of my truck with the Solman
system in the back of my truck. It could be parked daily in different spots to
optimize sunlight, then plugged into my house daily to charge on board batteries.
Stove and Oven:
Erica Gott asked: In mine, I want a full stove, with range
AND oven, even if it's small. I love cooking and need one. I can't wait to have
my own tiny home.
J.T. says: I have a 2 burner propane stove by Suburban. No oven, though a typical RV
oven would fit in nicely. I use a 20 gallon propane tank under the trailer,
which runs about $6 a month.
Libertymen asked: Is the refrigerator too small?
J.T. says: I have a 3.1 cubic foot fridge under standard
counter height. A 9.9 cubic foot fridge takes up the same foot print and stands
around 50 inches high. You would lose useable counter space, but gain storage
asked: How does
he keep things from falling off the shelves when he is moving? As well as the
furniture sliding around?
J.T. says: It takes about 10 minutes to pack everything up, and
it all goes in a box!
Jan Dregalla asked: Love the customization, especially the up-lighting towel window shades, kitchen shelving and Ikea shelving. I'm
curious, does the 2' addition on the front affect towing?
J.T. says: The extra 2 ft and added weight is on the rear, actually
distributing the weight more evenly. The standard design has a lot of the weight
on the towing hitch
Thanks for your great questions!
It only takes a couple minutes to see JT's penchant for baking bread revealed in his Tumbleweed. His kitchen is adorned with commercial shelving and his living room blinds are brilliantly made from Flax linen, known as couche which is used to cradle baguettes when they are rising. They are rolled, then pinned around a 1/2 inch dowel. In total, JT's creative nature is evident in the details of his newly built Tumbleweed home.
JT started with the Walden plans, but ended up combining elements of the Lusby, plus some of his own creativity into his finished product. And what a beauty it is. He started with the recommended 18' trailer but then decided he wanted his home to be an extra 2' longer. His solution ... add 2 feet to the living room. But what about the porch? Well, JT figured that out too. He found some c-channel steel that matched the trailer and had a 2' section welded to the front so he could add his porch. JT like's the open feel of the porch and decided to keep it free from posts and railing.
Come on in
Inside JT used much of the traditional Tumbleweed finishing touches like the pine tongue and groove walls, the wood finished windows and the fir flooring (which he couldn't stop talking about). It's amazing how many Tumbleweed's include a trip to IKEA before they are finished. And this little home is no different. Rather than build custom shelving, JT bought pine shelving at IKEA and built it right in to the house. It blends in so perfectly, you can't tell the difference.
Small Bathroom Design
To mix things up a little, JT added a couple inches to the bathroom and put in a tidy sized sink underneath the window. Above the toilet he simply recessed shelving and a mirror to give the bathroom a much grander space with a unit from IKEA. The 6" bathroom vent quickly clears the bathroom of moisture from the shower.
Small Kitchen Design
A great way to save time and money, the commercial kitchen shelving was put underneath the finished wood countertop. These shelves can be found at stores like Ikea and Costco.
The kitchen blinds are simply dish towels with small dowels inserted into the ends - and voila - window coverings made. Next to the kitchen sink, you can see how the space in the wall was used for extra shelving.
Good sleep in a tiny home
Take a look at the accent lights at the head of the bed. Known as "up lighting", it creates a warm glow without shadows that is perfect for bedtime reading. The mattress is a single piece of memory foam for a perfect nights sleep.