Laura and Rory's adorable custom Tiny House RV sits pretty on a blueberry farm near Vancouver, British Columbia. The couple recently shared their stories with our Vancouver Tumbleweed workshop attendees, along with advice and build tips!
It took Laura and Rory one year to build their blue Tiny House RV, and the couple is happy to have the project finished (or almost finished). A carpenter's work is never done!
Laura and Rory's Tiny House RV features a gambrel shaped roof, which expands the interior living space dramatically. They have plenty of headroom in their two lofts. A bedroom skylight adds natural light and ventilation to the space.
Perhaps the most innovative area in the couple's tiny is their sitting area or "great room." Their custom convertible couch is spacious enough for SIX people to dine! That's fantastic in such a small footprint.
The couple added a personal touch to their front door with a one-of-a-kind stained glass window. Rory's grandfather handmade the window for Rory more than 20 years ago. They had the delicate stained glass mounted between two pieces of tempered glass, protecting it from the outdoor elements.
Laura and Rory's bathroom showcases some excellent woodwork - especially around the tiny bathroom sink. The bathroom also features a compost toilet, pocket door and full shower stall.
Lastly, Laura and Rory's kitchen has all the amenities of a standard size kitchen: full range stove, washing machine, double sink and full refrigerator. Rory sculpted the concrete countertop himself. It looks absolutely gorgeous!
The couple was able to build their dream Tiny House RV for $30,000 CAD. They are currently using the power and water hookups from a large house on the property, in exchange for a reasonable rent payment.
Laurel Mundy and Brandon Husby first heard about the Tiny House Movement in the summer of 2014, while they were living in a large and sparsely furnished apartment in Seattle. Not long after the couple decided it was time to simplify, and they began building their own Tumbleweed.
"We were really attracted to the sustainability of going tiny, both in resources used to build it and in the energy required to heat it." - Laurel Mundy
"We were drawn to Tumbleweed’s designs because we thought they were particularly cute, and liked the overall style," Laurel explained.
Construction is taking place in rural Arlington, Washington, on Brandon's family's 30 acre property. A lot of the wood used in the couple's Tumbleweed came from the site, including scarp wood and pieces of downed old growth trees. Some pieces were even cut and milled by Brandon's grandfather many years ago. Now these fallen trees are being put to good use!
One of the coolest parts of Laurel and Brandon's Tiny House RV is their custom stained glass window. Laurel commissioned an artist to make the glass match the colors of their tiny's exterior.
So far the couple has managed to build their Tumbleweed for under $30k, with all the comforts of a standard home in a small footprint. They are currently working on storage solutions, trim and a few finishing touches. Their tiny dream is close to being realized!
"I’d call the style that we came up with: Rustic Craftsman" - Laurel Mundy
After their Tiny House RV is complete, Laurel and Brandon hope to purchase a piece of land in Washington to park it on. The next construction project will be to build Laurel a separate art studio and connect the two structures with a raised deck! For now, she's using the bump out as an art nook (pictured above). Laurel works as an illustrator; view her work here.
Will my hobby fit in my future "tiny lifestyle?" The truth is, not all hobbies are suitable to be practiced in a tiny space, but many tiny housers find ways to integrate their passions into their Tiny House RV. Storage for your hobby crafts and gear is also possible with a little creativity. Let's take a look at a few examples.
Hanging ukuleles, guitars or violins is a great way to store your musical instrument as a piece of art in your Tiny House RV. If you play a large instrument, such as piano, you will need to integrate enough space for the instrument into your design.
Ella Jenkins designed her Tumbleweed with space in mind for her beloved instruments. In the photo above, you can see her large harp resting as a background focal point while her banjo is stored on the top shelf in the foreground. It can be done!
Are you an artist? Nowadays they make collapsible artist easels that fit perfectly in a tiny space. Try positioning your easel in an area with plenty of windows for natural light, as seen in the Tumbleweed Cypress pictured above.
Miranda is an avid knitter, and she plans on continuing her hobby in her Tumbleweed. Ella makes jewelry. Skyler runs a headband making business out of her Tiny House RV. There are plenty of artistic hobbies that can work in a small space.
Sports are generally meant to be done outdoors or in an specified arena. That being said, sport equipment can be stored in a Tiny House RV. Some tiny housers even use rock climbing holds on their wall instead of a ladder! Rackets, trekking poles, snorkel masks and fins, can easily be stored or displayed in a small space. I've even seen collapsible kayaks and folding bicycles in Tiny House RVs!
Zack Giffin (Host of Tiny House Nation) uses his Tiny House RV as a mobile ski lodge! His tiny space actually advocates for his hobby! Photo credit of Zack's house.
Some exercise routines are possible in a tiny space, such as: yoga, sit ups, push ups, pulls ups, lunges, squats, etc. For exercise that requires a lot of equipment or maneuvering, a gym membership may be best.
Who says you can't have a big screen TV in a Tiny House RV? Mario has not one but TWO big screen TVs in his Tumbleweed: a projection screen for the loft and a big screen on a swivel in his great room. You can easily watch football games, host movie nights or play video games in your Tiny House RV with the right entertainment system.
If you love cooking and homesteading, you're not alone! Many tiny housers enjoy self sustainability. Ariel has a planted beautiful garden next to her Wyoming based Tumbleweed. She also enjoys canning, drying, pickling and cooks almost all of her own meals.
As I mentioned before, not all hobbies can fit in a Tiny House RV (or even a large home). For instance, if you're hobby is glass blowing or ballet dancing, you will probably prefer to rent a studio space. If you enjoy raising chickens, fishing and hunting, you should get outdoors.
You don't have to fit everything inside your Tiny House RV. A lot of equipment can be rented, such as: scuba gear, skis, skates, canoes, etc. Purchase art supplies as you need them. Enjoy having the freedom of mobility without clutter and materialism. You can find a way to practice your hobbies, even if that means thinking outside the box!
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.