Happy Father's Day! Today we're highlighting a father-daughter team who decided to build a Tiny House RV to spend more time together.
Randy & Nicki rocking out while working on their Tiny House RV roof
Back in October 2014, Nicki received a call from her father, Randy, who had a wild idea to build a pirate ship on top of a trailer. "That sounds cool," Nicki told her father, "but why don't we build something more practical, like a house?" That very weekend Nicki and Randy attended a Tumbleweed workshop that was serendipitously happening in nearby Boulder, Colorado.
"I thought there would hardly be anyone at the workshop, but it turns out there were over 75 people!" Randy recalled with amazement. "And Meg, the presenter, was very informative, rational and helpful. The dream (to build something with his daughter) became a reality almost immediately after this weekend."
Randy, who has always regretted not building a tree house as a teenager, wanted to teach his daughter about carpentry. With his 40 years of experience and Nicki's eagerness to learn, construction of their Tiny House RV began almost one year ago.
"The best gift has been the mentorship and bonding (my dad) has offered." - Nicki
Randy and Nicki are building on a Tumbleweed trailer and using modified Tumbleweed Cypress plans. They have chosen to name their tiny in memory of a dear friend, Uncle Paul. "Paulie" is being constructed with Uncle Paul's tools and his passion for reclaimed materials.
The round window, front door, siding, window trim and greenhouse window are examples of salvage finds being used on Randy and Nicki's Tiny House RV. However, as with many resourced materials, these items have taken a lot of extra labor to re-claim, store and install.
"This experience is simply a gift," says Nicki. "It's been an incredible opportunity to spend so much time together."
Close friends, Al and Nancy, offered Randy and Nicki their barn and property as a build site. Because of this, construction was able to continue throughout the winter season in Colorado. Nicki's mother, Donna, has been tracking the father-daughter team's work hours so that they can accurately recall this data after construction is complete. They hope to be finished this summer.
"As a father, to be able to teach and learn with my daughter the basic skill of shelter, is exciting," Randy explains. "Nicki has been learning life skills that will serve her forever."
Randy and Nicki's story encompasses so much of the spirit and community behind the tiny house movement. How many people can say they built a shelter with their father or daughter? It's wonderful to see people coming together, accomplishing their dreams and learning/teaching life skills through Tiny House RV projects.
This week we'd like to feature Ryan Hoffmeyer's unique Tiny House RV, featuring a one story floor plan.
Ryan began constructing his Tiny House RV during North Dakota's 2014 winter season. He was completely isolated in a rural community, building in his neighbor's garage. That is, until the project literally outgrew the space.
"I built at much as I could knowing I had a 12’ garage door and a 13’ Tiny House RV," Ryan explains. "It wasn’t long before I had to move outside in the dead of the winter."
Having strong knowledge of the construction process, Ryan built solo and was able to finish his Tiny House RV in just four months, despite the weather. In May 2015, he moved it to Colorado.
A one-story Tiny House RV design that works!
Ryan designed his Tiny House RV to have no loft, high ceilings, and a main floor sleeping space. He accomplished this by installing a murphy bed over a folding couch. The transforming furniture came from Italy and took 3 months to ship. In the meantime, Ryan continued to build.
Ryan can also relax in a hammock with his open floor plan!
Another innovative element in Ryan's design is that he chose to elevate his kitchen and bathroom floor 15 inches to accommodate a space for mechanical storage. By doing this his batteries, piping, p-traps, fresh and greywater tanks are all located in the insulated area of his trailer. He never has to worry about winterizing his pipes for freezing temperatures.
"Being a DIYer, I could afford to build my house with nice things," Ryan explains. "If I were to do it all over again, I wouldn’t change a thing."
The average DIY Tiny House RV spends approximately $25-30k in materials, but Ryan opted for upgrades. The total costs for his 20' Tiny House RV came to $35k.
Ryan's Three Pieces of Advice:
1) Build as much as you are able to yourself. Sleeping in something you built with your own hands is the best feeling ever.
2) Watch youtube videos. Gather ideas, do’s and don’t. Just because it's tiny, it doesn’t mean you don’t have all the building procedures of a normal home. Framing, plumbing, windows, roofing, siding, electrical, interior finish, etc. It can be overwhelming without the correct knowledge.
3) Take the Tumbleweed workshop. It's pretty much is a live version of youtube. You get a booklet and step-by-step on every procedure. Plus the room is filled with enthusiasts who are planning to build, or have built, and are sharing about it. I was very impressed with the knowledge of the staff. Tumbleweed trains them properly before they send them off to start to train you. I give it a 10.
What do you think? Would you opt for a single story floor plan if you could? Comment below!
"Don't laugh, but I know what I want to do with my life."This is the statement Kacey told his girlfriend, Catherine, one afternoon as she came through the front door of their home. He had just watched the film "TINY: A Story About Living Small," and he was hooked. He wanted to build a Tiny House RV.
This story is not an uncommon one. In recent years, thousands of people have fallen in love with tiny spaces. In fact the Tiny House Movement is growing rapidly, welcoming more and more dreamers every day. Within minutes Kacey convinced Catherine that building a tiny house would open new doors in their life, and so began their tiny journey.
Kacey is 6'4," but he isn't the first tall man to build a Tiny House RV.
Building a Tiny House RV for a tall frame is not impossible. Wes Sekeres (who is 6'4") designed and built his Tiny House RV with custom high ceilings in his kitchen and bathroom. Two brothers, both towering over 6'7," built the "Tall Man Tiny House" specifically for tall body types.
At every Tumbleweed workshop we meet at least one attendee who wants to build a spacious Tiny House RV for a tall occupant. We offer design tips and suggestions to help all future tiny housers design their perfect Tiny House RV. We like to believe that anything is possible with some creative thinking.
Kacey and Catherine decided to use Tumbleweed Elm plans, with a few modifications: a double door, increased window size, and enclosing the porch for more interior space.
Beginning their build in February 2015, the couple hopes to have a finished Tiny House RV by the Tiny House Jamboree in August this year. Currently, they are working on the interior.
"This build has been unexpected transformational in all aspects of our lives,"Catherine explains. "We find ourselves being far more purposeful in how we communicate with each other."
Kacey and Catherine plan on making their Tiny House RV completely off-grid. They will store a 95-gallon water tank and batteries in the "basement" of their Tiny (or underneath the trailer). The finished design will also include innovative storage solutions such as: toe kick drawers, folding tables and in-wall cabinets.
Ironically, Kacey and Catherine recently showcased their Tiny House RV at the Tumbleweed workshop in Berkeley, the same workshop that Kacey attended almost two years ago. It seems their tiny journey has come full circle!
What would make you take the leap and start your own tiny journey?
Deb began dreaming about simplifying after having a negative personal experience with managing too many belongings. She came across the tiny house movement and felt that Tiny House RVs embodied her desire for simplicity and functionality. Now Deb's daughter Chanel, who has experience in residential and commercial design, is helping her mother build her tiny dream in to a reality.
"We took a Tumbleweed workshop last May." Chanel explains."The workshop experience was the final push to give us the confidence to get started!"
Together the mother daughter team is building Deb's Tiny House RV in Olympia, Washington. They hope to be finished by September of this year, which will mark one year of construction.
"We have learned building a Tiny House RV is a process that should not be rushed."- Deb
Chanel customized the original Tumbleweed Elm design to compliment Deb's lifestyle and preferences. She extended one side of the structure to have a full dormer that stretches the entire length. This customization creates an a-symmetrical look and increases interior space. Deb's Tumbleweed will also have a unique storage staircase design with space for: hanging clothes, a pull out desk, an ottoman and display shelving for books and photos.
Smart choices have to be made when designing a small space, and it takes a lot of creativity.
Chanel believes that working on her mother's Tiny House RV has been a rewarding experience. She gets to help her mother create a space that embraces every detail of her lifestyle.
We asked Deb what it's like building with her daughter. Her answer is too good not to share:
"It has been a wonderful experience, everyday we learn something new together. We understand how each other thinks so we are able to put our heads together and solve problems. We also have the help of Chanel’s fiancé, Marshall, who has construction experience and has been our teacher every step of the way. The three of us make a great team, and when things get hairy we take a break and have a glass of wine. My Tiny House RV could not have been built without many heated discussions, long trips to Home Depot and laughs over wine."
Everyone who attends a Tumbleweed workshop is an alternative thinker and dreamer!
At Tumbleweed we host over 30 "Dream Big, Go Tiny" workshops annually all over the United States and a few in Canada. We strive to improve our presentation with the latest and greatest information and have a team of people dedicated to our workshops. We don't consider it "work" to teach others the skills necessary to build a Tiny House RV. Helping others achieve their dreams is fun and fulfilling!
Whichever build workshop you choose to attend, either hosted by Tumbleweed or another reputable company, we know you'll walk away with a positive outlook on the tiny house movement. It's time to your first step, and GO TINY!
1). Presenters share personal stories (and mistakes)
Coming from all over the country, Tumbleweed workshop presenters have either built, designed, or owned (any many times all of the above) a Tiny House RV. Many of them started out by attending a Tumbleweed workshop!
"I always share the story of how I crashed my Tiny House RV because I forgot one simple safety feature." - Guillaume Dutilh, workshop presenter
Not only will our presenters inform you on the best building practices specific to Tiny House RVs, but they'll also share personal advice of what NOT to do. These anecdotes have saved hundreds of workshop attendees from making costly mistakes.
2). Meet other local enthusiasts
Our weekend workshops range from 60-100 attendees from diverse backgrounds! That's a lot of people gathered in one room with similar interests. On the Saturday evening of our workshop weekend, we hold a social mixer. Not only is this event a lot fun, it's also a great opportunity for attendees to mingle and exchange contact information. At the end of the workshop, we also send out an e-mail contact list (to those that wish to participate) so that attendees can keep in touch.
Many times, attendees will volunteer to help construct each other's Tiny House RVs. Sometimes experienced carpenters, plumbers, and electricians attending the workshop will share advice and offer to work on local projects. Mingling with other local enthusiasts at the workshop can help you find free/cheap labor and life long friends!
Image taken from current Tumbleweed Workshop Workbook
3). Learn SPECIFIC Tiny House RV build methods
Tiny House RV construction is a blend of regular home construction and RV construction. Building a road-worthy structure will require meeting certain specifications. Although the Tumbleweed workshop is mostly focused on beginner build methods, even the most experienced carpenter will learn a few tricks that apply specifically to Tiny House RV construction.
Image taken from current Tumbleweed Workshop Workbook
4). Gather resources on appliances, green energy, tiny travel and off-grid practices
Over the years, Tumbleweed has updated their workshop presentation to include the latest and greatest information relevant to the industry. At the workshop you'll learn about small space appliances, green energy, as well as travel and off-grid practices that will help you create an efficient and functional Tiny House RV. These resources are absolutely priceless and will save you hundreds (if not thousands) of dollars on your build.
Image taken from Tumbleweed Workshop Workbook
5). Get inspired, ask questions and receive DISCOUNTS!
At the Tumbleweed workshop you'll receive a workbook with hundreds of colorful, detailed photographs. Flip through the pages of your workbook and circle your favorite styles, appliances and space saving ideas. Interested in multi-purpose furniture, a downstairs bedroom, or an affordable portable solar system? No problem! Get inspired by Tiny House RV images and stories from the workshop staff.
At the workshop, you'll have plenty of opportunities to chat with a member of the workshop staff. This is your chance to ask questions and get real, unbiased answers.
Get the answer to these FAQs and many more:
What is it really like to use a compost toilet?
Where can you park your Tiny House Rv?
How is it sharing the space with your significant other?
What heater should I choose?
How much does a typical Tiny House RV weigh?
TUMBLEWEED OFFERS DISCOUNTS TO THEIR WORKSHOP ATTENDEES!
At the workshop, you'll be informed of a variety of discounts on Tumbleweed products. So, if you already know you want to purchase a trailer, barn raiser or fully built RV, attending a workshop might pay for itself!
Is there a Tiny House RV available to tour at every Tumbleweed workshop?
We always strive to have a Tiny House RV available to tour at each of our 30+ annual workshops scattered throughout the country, but this is not always possible. When there is an owner located in the area willing to let attendees walk through their Tiny House RV, we organize a tour to happen during the two day workshop. For obvious reasons, not every Tiny House RV owner is willing to open their space to our attendees and we absolutely respect their privacy.
As the list of Tiny House RV owners grows with every passing year, tours are becoming more and more common at our workshops. When a tour is not possible, our workshop staff will tape layouts on the floor to provide a similar spacial awareness effect.
Will we see you at one of our workshops this year?