I was in the San Francisco area a few months back (a long, fun, haul for an East Coaster like me- what a town!), to shoot a few tiny housetours/episodes for my youtube show "Tiny Yellow House" and for content photos on a new book I've been working on, when I saw this! Its a Tumbleweed Fencl, RIGHT outside the gates of Muir Woods, at the parks maintenance and ranger station- how cool! The area was fenced in, and I couldn't get any closer, but I stopped my car, turned around, and snapped this photo:
Tiny Ranger House!
A lot of the photos I've taken on these trips are not only going to be in my follow-up book to "Humble Homes, Simple Shacks" but are being incorporated into a slide-show of inspirational tiny houses that is one facet of my presentations for the Tumbleweed Workshops that I teach around the country. This slide show presents some of the dos and don't of tiny house construction, and design approach, while also showing off some exceptional, clever, and bizarre deviations people have taken on the Tumbleweed plan designs- and beyond. Domes, Tree houses, Floating Homes, Tiny Houses built from Recycled Materials....they're all in there!
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.
Hey, my name is Cat. My buddy is Cisco, or /Francisco, Caballero de las Llanuras de la Costa del Golfo/. He’s a young English Springer Spaniel mix, a rescue that was picked up in a “dump zone” near Beaumont, TX. I’ve only had him a month. I wanted to give him a proper name to reflect his Spanish heritage, something like /Don Quixote de la Mancha/. (The Gulf Coast Plains is an ecoregion that includes Beaumont.)
I own a smallish 900-sq. ft. house in south Louisiana, in the small, historic town of Grand Coteau. My interest in stewardship of the planet goes back decades. I’ve been a park ranger for the National Park Service, a systems engineer for IBM, performed in the Closing Ceremonies of the Athens 2004 Olympics. A life rich in experience, but not always rich financially. I’ve learned to be frugal.
In 2007, I had the good fortune to be selected to be trained by Al Gore to be a global warming presenter. Biggest surprise? He was funny! From that workshop, I met someone who told me about a two-week all women’s workshop with Solar Energy International learning photovoltaics (solar). “Wow!” I thought, “at last, I found my niche.” Leading the way, a life of sustainability. So, I formed a company, Cat Dancing Energy. Well, several years later, I’m regrouping. As someone in the industry told me, “The solar business is much more business than it is solar.” How true, running a business is far, far more work than I ever imagined...or wanted.
Working on the Brad Pitt solar project in New Orleans!
And, as a “construction” type of industry, not so easy for a woman...unless you want to do sales, or work in the office. (Which I don’t esp. want to do.) Women in the field? Not so much. Nevertheless, I’ve had some good projects, installed a solar demo project for Brad Pitt in the Lower 9th Ward of New Orleans, did an all Women’s install with Grid Alternatives in the SF Bay area, and a variety of other installs, site analysis, designs, energy consulting, taught solar workshops.
Along the way, I discovered Tumbleweed homes, visited Jay’s home the summer of 2011, and attended a Dallas, TX workshop that year with Dee Williams. The Tumbleweeds make a lot of sense to me, and fit in with the desire of a sustainable lifestyle.
At the back of my property is a small cottage, about 10 x 15 feet. It’s something I want to convert into a Tumbleweed. One thing I’ve learned this year, thanks to the 1%, is that working hard is not the way to (necessarily) make money. So, my hope is to convert my cottage into an adorable Tumbleweed with Tuscan styling, and use it as an investment, a little guest house.
Cottage to convert
My path then has a two prong approach: continue to try to find my niche in the solar/renewable energy world with the right company, and build a Tumbleweed home. Being a native of the northeast, I typically leave Louisiana during hot summers in search of cooler climates, more mountains, hiking opportunities, solar opportunities, etc. I don’t always have a clear plan of where I’ll go until summer is upon us. Watching “Field of Dreams” tonight, Cisco curled up into my lap. (At 40 lbs, he’s a sizable lap dog.) I asked him, “Where are we going this summer? Iowa?” He just wagged his tail and looked at me with sweet, brown eyes.
Ryan Mitchell of The Tiny Life website has been keeping us posted about his exciting plans for a modified Fencl. In addition for guest writing for Tumbleweed, Ryan has been blogging about simple living, tiny houses, and environmentally responsible lifestyles on his website: we think he's awesome!
The devil is often said to be in the details, and this
couldn’t be any truer than in a tiny house.
Many times I have made the argument over at my blog that tiny houses are more complex and intricate to build than your standard
McMansions. This is because in a small
house, you have so little space to work with that the small facets seem to jump
out at you.
When it comes to traditional homes, mistakes are easily
covered through various tricks of the trade, but they have one major thing in
their favor, lots and lots of space.
With that space you can easily hide the mistakes. Compare that to a Tiny
House, and the tolerances are so small that sometimes being off by 1/8th
of an inch means re-doing hours of work.
It is here in the details that tiny houses have made a name
for themselves, because you have to be so intentional about how you use
space. Here are 5 tips to help you make
sure the details given the reverence they deserve.
1.Make a list of the most important activities
your home must be able to handle, form should follow that list
2.Tape out your floor plan to scale and act out a
day in it. Be sure to have extra tape because you’ll be changing it a lot!
3.Stop looking at other Tiny Houses, make your
house for you.
4.Consider storage for all your things, including
often forgotten things like trash, recycles, and dirty laundry.
5.Obsess over the look, feel and form of
everything in your house to make sure it fits in well.