In the summer of 2012, Michael Byer, the future owner of "Tiny House Coffee" met Zack Giffin: pro skier and builder. Zack showed Michael his self-built Tiny House RV, which was being used as a mobile ski lodge. Features of Zack's tiny included a potbelly stove, sleeping bunks, a spiral staircase, and beer taps that were accessible from the porch.
"Something about the 'quaint mountain cabin' aesthetic stuck with me." - Michael, on Zack's Tiny House RV
Michael was inspired. He and his wife, Sabra, hired a professional builder and came up with an idea for a mobile coffee shop. Tiny House Coffee was born!
On July 4th, 2015, Tiny House Coffee opened for business in Poncha Springs, Colorado.
Q & A with Michael from "Tiny House Coffee"
What is it really like owning a business out of a Tiny House RV? We interviewed Michael to get some insight.
What about a Tiny House RV works with your business?
The coolest advantage to running a business out of a Tiny House RV is the ability to both choose our location and move around if necessary. Currently, we are parked at a busy intersection in a small town where we are the only gourmet coffee shop. We love this spot and do not have any plans to move. We are also able to keep our overhead costs low, allowing us to use the highest quality ingredients available while keeping our prices competitive. Lastly, the Tiny House RV itself draws a lot of attention from people who are interested in building one or have seen them on TV but never have had the opportunity to walk inside of one.
Any cool design elements that you'd like to share?
We knew from the start that we wanted to have space inside for our customers to order and enjoy their drinks. With that in mind, we had to build an efficient work space in less than half of the total space available. We modeled the plumbing after coffee kiosks, using 5 gallon water jugs and an RV water pump to supply our appliances. This design allows us to park places without water hookups. All of the glass windows and the door have double-pane tempered glass; expensive but necessary for moving down the road safely.
Steve Weissmann, President of Tumbleweed, visiting "Tiny House Coffee"
What is the most common comment you get from customers?
We are always surprised at how many people ask if we live in the loft. The word 'house' is in our name so it makes sense, but it would be pretty extreme for the three of us to share the loft and operate the coffee shop in the same space.
Do you move your Tiny Coffee Shop around?
While our shop tows down the road very well, it is quite involved to move around. Still, there is something enticing about moving around to events and festivals and going to where the people are. But we love our customers and it is important to us that they know where to consistently find us. For now, we are very happy with where we are parked (in Poncha Springs, Colorado) and have no plans to move.
Will and his wife, Nya, wanted to explore the United States, so they built a custom Tiny House RV worthy of an epic road trip. Read on for more on this one-of-a-kind design!
Will and Nya built their Tiny House RV in Georgia, using YouTube videos and the documentary "TINY: A Story of Living Small" as their means of inspiration. After one year of construction, they hit the road, heading west.
"We learned so much and overcame countless obstacles to make our Tiny House RV vision a reality." - Will
Along their route, Will and Nya decided to stop in Colorado Springs, only a few miles from the Tumbleweed showroom and build facility. Serendipitously, Nya found an online job posting while they were in the area, and Will went in for an interview. He was hired on the spot and now works at Tumbleweed's Colorado Springs showroom.
Even though Will and Nya's Tiny House RV is one of the smallest we've ever seen, it still feels spacious, which might be due to their gable style dormers. They also increased exterior space by adding a fold up porch.
"Every piece of (our Tiny House RV) is a small triumph and I’ve never experienced a more intimate connection with a space in my life." - Will
Will and Nya's tiny has an artsy vibe with features including: colorful cedar shingles, a barn-style dutch door, gothic hinged shutters, and a leaded glass window. The eclectic style is mimicked in the interior with exposed wood and a pebble kitchen countertop.
Will explained that the pebble counter was made using a recycled old door which they covered in river rocks and then applied a two part epoxy.
"I think it looks like a shallow creek frozen in time." - Will, on his unique countertop
What unique design elements would you incorporate in your Tiny House RV?
In recent years multiple TV shows, documentaries and popular news channels have shined a spotlight on the tiny house movement. At this point, almost everyone is aware of Tiny House RVs. Micro dwellings are truly sweeping the nation!
Why do Tiny House RVs fascinate so many people? Some enthusiasts are attracted to the innovative designs; others dream of zero debt. College students think of their independence, and retirees are intrigued by the low maintenance lifestyle. Nomads love the mobility and flexibility. Environmentalists are drawn to the idea of shrinking their carbon footprint.
Tiny House RVs, and the lifestyle they encompass, inspire people to go for their dreams! Let's take a look at 10 Tumbleweed Tiny House RVs built this year.
10 Inspirational Tiny House RVs from 2016:
Photo credit:Miranda Aisling Hynes
1). Big Art Tiny House
Miranda's purple beauty is located on the front lawn of a community arts center near Boston, Massachusetts. The design for "Big Art Tiny House" is based off of the Tumbleweed Cypress and features handmade local art throughout the interior. More info here.
Photo credit: Wanderlust Tiny House
2). Wanderlust Tiny House
Lauren and Patrick purchased a Tumbleweed Barn Raiser in January 2016 and finished their build by April. Currently they are traveling around the country with their Tiny House RV, exploring and camping in state parks. More info here.
Photo credit: Appalachian Tiny House
3). Appalachian Tiny House
Evan and Kristin share their brand new Tumbleweed Cypress with their dog and cat. Their beautiful backyard set up is located in Virginia. More info here.
Photo credit: Mt. Hood Tiny House Village
4). Scarlett Tiny House
Scarlett is a Tumbleweed Elm built and customized specifically for the Mt. Hood Tiny House Village to have a farmhouse theme. This tiny features two lofts and a downstairs sleeping space, so it's great for a family vacation. More info here.
Photo credit: Meg Stephens
5). Meg's Tiny House
Meg Stephens originally design the Tumbleweed Linden and her plans have sold to hundreds of builders in the last few years. In 2016, she has finally built her own tiny dream house. Look at that intricate trim work! More info here.
Photo credit: Tiny House Oklahoma
6). Tiny House Oklahoma
Tiny House Oklahoma, a Tumbleweed Elm design, was recently on display at "Dads Fest" on Father's Day 2016. Over 200 people were able to walk through this craftsman style tiny! More info here
Photo credit: Room to Spare Tiny House
7). Room to Spare Tiny House
Jeff and Megan have been building their tiny dream for the past two years in Las Vegas, Nevada. Their Tumbleweed Linden is starting to come to life this year, as they finish the interior in 2016. More info here.
Photo credit: "Paulie" Tiny House
8). "Paulie" Tiny House
"Paulie" is a modified Tumbleweed Cypress currently being built by a father/daughter team. Randy has been teaching his daughter, Nicki, the life skill of carpentry and named the tiny in memory of a dear friend. More info here.
Photo credit: College Tiny House
9). College Tiny House
Matthew Hicks is 18 years old and finishing his own Tumbleweed Cypress to take to college this fall. The red siding really pops! This spring, Matthew asked a girl to prom by writing on the side of his tiny. More info here.
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!