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."
Tumbleweed trailers are equipped with special trailer radial tires, which are rated to carry the weight load of a Tiny House RV. Of course, like any tires, they are not impervious to sharp objects! What happens when you have a flat tire on the road? How can you lift your heavy Tiny House RV?It's important to think ahead and have a plan for such situations.
Below we've listed a few options for changing a flat tire on your Tiny House RV
OPTION ONE: Patch & Tow to Repair Shop
If your tire is patchable, you can patch the tire and tow your Tiny House RV slowly to the nearest repair shop. Be sure to call ahead to make sure they can accommodate you. Bring in your spare tire, or ask the shop if they have the correct tire in stock. It is vital to use tires that are rated to hold the weight of your Tiny House RV. Otherwise, they can blow!
Tiny House flat tire being fixed at a repair shop
OPTION TWO: Change the Flat Tire Youself, Using a Trailer Jack
You can also change the tire yourself using a trailer jack. Do NOT use the scissor jacks on your trailer to lift your Tiny House RV. Scissors jack are not rated to support the weight of your Tiny House RV without the tires. They are meant for stability and support.
There are many trailer jacks available for purchase. We recommend the Anderson Rapid Jack because it is extremely portable and affordable (about $50). Plus, we've actually seen it in action on Tumbleweed trailers. The Anderson Rapid Jack can lift your wheel about 7 inches.
Steps for using the Anderson Rapid Jack:
Place the Rapid Jack under the good wheel on the same side of the wheel that needs to be changed.
Slowly drive onto the Rapid Jack, which will lift one side of your trailer.
Adjust your scissor jacks and tongue jack for stability as you drive onto the Rapid Jack
Keep driving onto the Rapid Jack until the flat wheel is suspended.
Place a wheel chock under the Rapid Jack to secure it in place.
Watch the video below to see how to use the Rapid Jack. The video is a little cheesy, but it is also informative!
If you have a Tumbleweed trailer, the Anderson Rapid Jack will fit between your fender and tire, but you will need to place is perfectly. This is especially important when coming off the Rapid Jack. If the Rapid Jack is about to touch the fender, use a mallet to wiggle the Rapid Jack out from under the wheel.
Although it's difficult to see, the wheel on the right is suspended in the above photo
If you need to lift your wheel more than 7 inches, you can try driving up onto a few blocks of wood before using the Rapid Jack (as pictured above and below). If you are parked on soft turf, such as mud or sand, it will be very difficult to lift your trailer. In these special situations, you might need to call a mechanic.
Steps for changing a trailer tire yourself:
Changing a trailer tire is very similar to changing a car tire.
Loosen the lug nuts while the wheel is still on the ground.
Lift the Tiny House RV using a trailer jack (see instructions above for Anderson Rapid Jack) just enough so that the flat wheel is hovering just over the ground.
Remove the flat wheel and replace it with the good spare.
Tighten the lug nuts as much as you can by hand, wiggling the new wheel in place. Tighten bolts or nuts in the sequence shown:
Lower the trailer back to the ground and tighten the lug nuts once more to the appropriate torque.
Drive a few dozen miles and re-torque the lug nuts to the right specification. Once that’s done, you are good to go!
OPTION THREE: Call a Roadside Mechanic
If you cannot patch your tire or change the tire yourself, then you will need to call a roadside mechanic. Make sure to tell the mechanic the weight of your trailer. Be as descriptive as possible. Try calling local RV repair shopsand asking for roadside mechanic recommendations.
We have a very special Tiny House RV story to share with you this week. Introducing Brian and Skyler's custom Fifth Wheel Tiny House RV!
Brian & Skyler's "Fifth Wheel" Tiny House RV
The fifth wheel design is a popular concept in the tiny house movement that hardly ever sees fruition. What's so great about a fifth wheel tiny house RV? You get extra space for an elevated bedroom over the gooseneck! Also, fifth wheel trailers are designed for heavier loads than regular utility trailers.
Brian and Skyler decided to on a fifth wheel trailer because they didn't want to climb into a loft, especially because Brian is very tall. They also intend on keeping their tiny for many years. The hope is that the design will fit their lifestyle throughout the decades.
"A big focus of ours was a space for EVERYTHING. We listed all our possessions and designed the space around storage options." - Brian
The young couple was inspired to go tiny for financial freedom and to pursue their dream of moving out west. Both Skyler and Brian have a bachelor's degree in building construction. Their fifth wheel design is 100% custom and something they are very proud of achieving.
"Even with extensive construction experience, building a house on a trailer is no easy feat!" -Skyler
Specs on Brian & Skyler's Fifth Wheel Tiny House RV:
Material Cost: $35,000 (which does not include labor)
Construction Timeline: 8 months, finished in December 2015.
Build location: Skyler's father owns a manufacturing company in Columbus, Mississippi, and was kind enough to allow them to build in his warehouse.
Square Footage: 255 square feet
Weight: 20,000 lbs (approximate)
Brian & Skyler's Space Saver Ideas
The unique shape of Brian and Skyler's tiny is not the only surprise this couple dreamed up! Check out the below list of "space savers" they incorporated into their design:
Hidden dog house – Their dog (Sadie) has a hidden bed built into the staircase!
Jewelry Storage – Brian built doors that open a hollow space inside the bathroom wall for small storage. Skyler hangs her jewelry in this space on a pegboard.
Tool Closet Underneath Gooseneck – Because Brian and Skyler have a significant amount of tools, they built a tool closet underneath the gooseneck.
Stair Drawers – The stairs have pull out drawers for extra storage.
Closet – Brian and Skyler made trailer modifications so that the load of their bedroom was properly supported. In doing so, they also built a closet underneath their bed.
A Tiny Business on Wheels
Skyler runs her own small business making homemade headbands. She will be running this business, called SugarSky, out of her Tiny House RV! How cool is that?
"I will be working from home and running this business out of our tiny house!" Skyler explains."It’s an exciting adventure that will continue to make SugarSky a lean, organized company"
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?
Mt Hood Village RV Resort, part of the Encore and Thousand Trails campground network - the largest and most successful provider of RV resorts and campgrounds in North America, has ordered FIVE Tumbleweeds to create a Tiny House Village! We're very excited about what this could mean for the movement.
Starting Memorial Day Weekend 2016, the Tiny House Village will be available for nightly rentals.
Rent a Tumbleweed at the Mt. Hood Village!
Discover if this lifestyle is right for you
About the Location:
Mt. Hood Village RV Resort is located only one hour from Portland, Oregon. This location features picturesque views with resort amenities. The area offers easy access to hiking, rock climbing, golfing, fishing and year-round skiing and snowboarding.
The Mt. Hood Village RV Resort already offers a variety of nightly rentals, including yurts, cabins and cottages. The Tiny House Village will be an excellent addition to the property, offering a unique opportunity for enthusiasts to try out a variety of floorplans.
It's the perfect vacation destination!
"We noticed the trend and thought: this is an opportunity to do something really neat!"
- Ann Colletti, Thousand Trails
Ann Colletti, of Thousand Trails, says the company is buzzing with excitement over the Tiny House Village. If all goes well, Thousand Trails might even build similar Tiny House Villages at other locations across the country!
About the tiny rentals:
Tumbleweed is building five Tiny House RVs for the Tiny House Village. Each "tiny" will have a unique floorplan and a personality to match. Read the descriptions of the rentals below.
"Atticus" is sleek and modern with cedar siding and black accents. Watch the stars or search for wildlife from the comforts of this Tumbleweed Linden's full size porch! Great for a romantic getaway, or close family and friends.
"Scarlett" radiates with farmhouse charm with her red siding and white trim. Enjoy the beautiful views from her full size porch. With two lofts and small downstairs sleeping space, this tiny is a comfortable retreat for a family getaway.
"Lincoln" exudes sophistication with a rustic style. His extra-long loft can accommodate three sleepers, and an additional downstairs bedroom can sleep two more! Lincoln is the largest Tiny House RV being built for the Tiny House Village.
"Zoe" was designed with nature lovers in mind. Painted dark blue with white trim, this Tumbleweed Cypress offers comfort with a whimsical aesthetic. She is also one of Tumbleweed's most popular models!
The smallest Tiny House RV being built for the Tiny House Village, "Savannah" features mustard-colored siding with white trim and red shutters. She's a true southern belle with decor to match! Great for a romantic getaway or close friends / family.
When asked why Thousand Trails chose Tumbleweed models for their Tiny House Village, Ann responded that they were attracted to the mentality behind the Tumbleweed brand.
"Tumbleweed strives to build green and they won't compromise on quality. We are attracted to that mindset."
- Ann Colletti, Thousand Trails
Above photo: View of Mt. Hood
Introductory Rental Pricing:
- $124 per night / weeknights - $129 per night / weekends - $139 per night / holidays
When can you book?
Mt. Hood Village will be taking reservations for the Tiny House Village beginning in early March. Memorial weekend will be the first weekend available for rent. Click here for more information.
Don't Miss the Tiny House Village Kick-Off Event
Before opening the village for rentals, Mt. Hood Village will be hosting a "Kick-Off Event." At the event, you will be able to tour all five models! This may be the only time you will be able to see inside the Tiny House RVs without booking a rental, so don't miss out.