Summer is coming and it's the perfect time to think about starting your Tumbleweed. That's what Jonathan Bellows did back in the summer of 2009 when he started to build his very own Fencl. Thanks to his very comprehensive online journal, we get to see how he went from purchasing plans to actually living in a Tumbleweed home. Here's how his journey began:
"This summer I've decided I'm going to build a house. I've been wanting to build a house for a long time now but I've been putting it off... mostly because I've had nowhere to build it. With recent real estate prices reaching all-time lows, now would be the time to buy. Of course, I'm also paranoid that, as soon as I DO buy, I'll end up wanting to move. Hardly any of y'all live around here anymore, you know? I don't want to end up stuck with a mortgage - I'm very debt-averse and it just feels wrong to me. I'm also tired of living in "standard" houses. Don't get me wrong, this is a nice house... I just want someplace where I can live more in tune with my ideals."
Jonathan's mother pointed him to our website and he took a liking to the Fencl. The rest is, as they say, history. Here's some early images of the trailer being built. You can read the rest of Jonathan's first post here. We'll be featuring highlights of Jonathan's build in future posts.
And what a beauty it is! Brittany's slightly modified Fencl was built in just over 5 months. The home now sits on the shores of Puget Sound. We can't think a more perfect place for a Tumbleweed! Thanks to here ingenuity, some inspiration from the unstoppable Dee Williams herself and a love for small spaces, Brittany's story is sure to inspire you to take the next step in building your own tiny house.
"Over the internet I bought a set of plans, purchased a tiny fireplace online, and – having it shipped to my address in Olympia – invested myself my future building project enough that I couldn't chicken out. I was going to do it. I had made my mind and was going to build myself a tiny, mobile cabin so that I could live anywhere I wanted and whenever I wanted, wherever my future would take me. "
The inside of the Fencl is as individual as she is. Isn't it amazing how you can put so much personality into a small space?
Brittany's approach to building for her Tumbleweed is worth sharing:
"It took me roughly 5 months of building, planning, reading and mistake-making to finish my house. Taking shop class in 7th grade just wasn't enough carpentry training, so I borrowed numerous construction books from the library and had many a meeting with Dee Williams and other construction-minded friends. A family friend offered to help me do all the electrical, plumbing and gas work in the house – if only I would supply him with a 6-pack every time he came over. My parents offered me space to build at the top of the property, so I set up shop and went to work. I found an 18 foot like-new trailer on craigslist, bought my stove from the scratch-and-dent section at Dickinson, bought a beautifully painted ceramic sink in Mexico, and tried to find as many reused/recycled items as possible."
She sure seems to have made the right choice in building a Tumbleweed Tiny House:
"I have been living in the house for about a year now and absolutely love it. It is perfect for just one person, with the occasional visitor coming over for a cozy dinner around my tiny table. While most homeowners spend their own free time cleaning the house, my cleaning routine rarely takes 20 minutes. I am happy to have as much free time, friend time, and happy hour time as possible to myself!"
Learn how to build your own tiny house at a Tumbleweed Green Building Workshop.
We love hearing from our customers, especially from those who've taken that big step and built a Tumbleweed Tiny House of there own. For our newsletter this week, I wanted to introduce you to Jonathan, who currently resides in his Fencl in Flint, Michigan.
Jonathan has kept a very comprehensive online journal, chronicling his build from the very beginning and subsequent relocation. One thing that I believe you'll really like is that he has taken over 400 pictures and has written over 100 entries. It makes for an inspiring read, to say the least. If that's not enough, he's also recorded some great videos of the interior and exterior of his modified Tumbleweed. Talk about maximizing a tiny space! He's even got a Wii in there and room to use it! You'll want to see his video about installing the electrical system. We get quite a few requests for information about plumbing a tiny house for everyday use and this video will answer a lot of those questions. If you've ever wondered how to live with a composting toilet, Jonathan even has a video about that.
I really think he's done a great job with this tiny house. Maybe he can inspire you to move from dreaming about tiny living to actually building the tiny house of your dreams.
p.s. You gotta read this post about his dog Barney. Hilarious!
Learn how to build your own tiny house at a Tumbleweed Green Building Workshop.
Last year, Tom and Neri, college professors in Santa Fe, New Mexico, made a decision to radically change their lifestyle. They wanted to be more mobile, lessen their carbon footprint, spend more time with their young daughter, and simplify their lives. One of the first things they did was to look for a portable house that would allow them to move at will yet maintain a comfortable, family-friendly home. No surprise that Tumbleweed's Lusby model
was the clear choice for their future new home.
At the Tumbleweed Santa Fe Design & Build Workshop a few weeks ago, we met Tom and his friend Pat Crowe who is helping Tom and Neri build their Lusby. Not knowing how to build, Tom enlisted the aide of Pat because of his passion for using salvaged materials for new building construction. Kindred spirits. With the help of Pat, they located a 1910 bungalow in Texas that was about to be torn down. Pat hitched the trailer and drove to Texas to retrieve almost all the reclaimed lumber needed to build the Lusby.
Tom and Pat are now working together to build the Tumbleweed home from reclaimed wood. Taking a pay-as-you-go approach, work is proceeding at a leisurely but steady pace. The trailer is in place, walls and roof are complete, interior wood finishes and cabinets are done and exterior siding is in progress. Almost all from reclaimed pine from the Texas bungalow. Very soon, Tom and Neri's Lusby will be finished. And then their new adventure will really begin.
Note: Pat Crowe is always excited about the opportunity to salvage old buildings, saving them from slow rot, fire, or the landfill. He is also looking forward to helping other tiny-house folks with their lumber requirements. His web address is www.echoreclamation.com
; email is email@example.com.
This little house journey was probably first inspired by my love of the children's book Andrew Henry's Meadow by Doris Burns.
Andrew was a boy who liked to "build things," but his family often scolded him for taking their things to use as building supplies. So Andrew, goes off to a meadow and builds his own tiny house. Soon every kid in town has joined Andrew and he builds them all houses to suit their personalities. One gets a house built over the creek so he can sail his toy boats; another gets a house in the trees so she can bird watch; another gets an underground house so she can be with her pets who live underground. As a kid, I was amazed. First that anyone could build their own house, and second that you could have a house suited perfectly for you.
When I built this tiny house, my brother gave me the first annual Andrew Henry Award. The tiny house inspired him to follow his own dream of buying the boat he's always wanted. There will be years of renovating before it's seaworthy, but he's calling his Florida Trawler "Andrew Henry."
Interestingly, Doris Burns lived in her own tiny house when she wrote her books.
"According to the blurb accompanying that book, her studio was "a small cabin where she spends the day at work after chopping enough wood to keep the fire going through the day, hauling two buckets of water from the pump for washing brushes and pens and brewing 'a perpetual pot of tea'". In 1965 Waldron Island was without electricity, telephone service, running water or merchants. All of her goods and supplies were brought by boat from the mainland." Wikipedia (Note – since I still own the book, I can verify that this is what the blurb says.)
In any case, reading Andrew Henry's Meadow was life changing. It planted the seed of a tiny house, dozens of books germinated the seed, and Tumbleweed's workshop fertilized it. The plans made all the difference. Without them, I wouldn't have known where to begin. Obviously, Bob St. Cyr and his class did 95% of the hard labour. Sure I paid the bills, and I wielded the odd hammer, but the little house only exists because of Bob, Bob's class (especially Denny and Aaron).
Thanks so much. I'll send a final blog after all the finishing details and decorating are done.