A Tumbleweed in Germany

Hanspeter and his German Modified Tumbleweed

 

Hanspeter is currently building a Tumbleweed in Germany, a country where the tiny house movement is in its inception, but this isn't his first experience as a woodworking pioneer. In June of 2000, he traveled to Mongolia to construct the first wood frame house in Ulaanbaatar for a local family. "This," he says, "was one of the best experiences of my life."

 

Hanspeter in Mongolia
Hanspeter During Construction of Ulaanbaatar's 1st Wood Frame House

 

A few years later, Hanspeter stumbled upon the Tumbleweed website and was immediately fascinated by the little structures. What he said next will resonate with many of you - 
"I loved the idea of having a tiny home of my own, living with a small carbon footprint, staying debt free and having more time for community living. I am retired and my pension is not very big. I don't want to spend my remaining years administrating a lot of personal stuff. So, living small is the best solution for me to live a self-reliant life."

 

"I love the saying: the best things in life are not things!" - Hanspeter

 

Hanspeter began construction of his tiny home last summer, but since he is building one of the first tiny homes in Germany he has encountered a few unique challenges. "In Germany, we are not allowed to bolt the structure permanently to the trailer," Hanspeter explains, "So I invented a system to plug my tiny house into the trailer railings." In doing so, his tiny home is now categorized as a "load."

 

 

Hanspeter faced his next challenge when he weighed his half-finished tiny home and was forced to cut back on using heavy materials. Tumbleweed trailers are rated for either 10,000 or 15,000 lbs, but as Hanspeter explains: "The sturdiest trailers available in Europe that I know of are 3.5 tons (about 7,700 lbs). My trailer is a  2.7 tons trailer (about 6,000 lbs). The only solution for building tiny homes in Europe is to build lighter and smaller."

  

 

Since discovering weight might be an issue, Hanspeter has put his home on a diet, employing only light weight materials. For example, he used aluminum instead of steel roofing and styrofoam insulation instead of wood fiber. Even with taking these precautions, Hanspeter's most recent weighing neared 5,300 lbs. That leaves him only 700 lbs for the remainder of his interior build. 

"I am aware that the Tiny House might still become too heavy once fully equipped. One option is to change the axles, the breaks and the towing bar." Hanspeter contemplates, "I'm also currently investigating if the trailer manufacturer is able to build a 3.5 ton trailer with the same dimensions and the same railing as my current trailer." If that option proves available, Hanspeter's Tiny House could be transposed onto the new heavy-duty trailer (as mentioned earlier, his home was engineered to be "plugged" into the trailer, rather than permanently fixed). Although costly, he believes upgrading the trailer would be the ideal solution.

 

 

Hanspeter's Three Pieces of Advice for Tiny Home Builders:
1)  Try to get the sturdiest trailer available with the largest possible payload.
2)  Build with the lightest materials you can find and keep the thickness of floor, roof and walls in reasonable limits. Weight will add up fast and every pound counts in the end.
3)  Try to get in touch with other builders of Tiny Houses, Circus Wagons, Vardos and Shepherds Huts. In Europe, this is the most difficult task.

 

Thank you Hanspeter for sharing your story and advice with our readers. We know that every build helps us learn and grow as a community.
 

-------------------------------------

*All photos provided by Hanspeter & Black Forest Tiny House

*More information on Hanspeter's build can be found on his website here.

-------------------------------------


 
Jenna Spesard is currently building a Tumbleweed Cypress with her partner, Guillaume, who is a professional photographer and Tumbleweed Workshop Host. After the build is complete, they plan to travel around North America in their tiny house blogging and photographing their adventure. More on their tiny house and giant journey here



 

Written by Jenna Spesard — August 06, 2014

Filed under: Build it yourself   builders   diy   Downsizing   Europe   european codes   germany   trailer   Tumbleweed   tumbleweed trailer   weight  

Tiny House Parking Available

Hi Tiny Housers! 

We were contacted by Rena Patrick, who has TWO parking sites available for tiny homes on her property on Quadra Island, British Columbia. More below - 

"There is electricity, water, cell phone reception, and land for rent. Wi-fi connection can be provided. Would be suitable for two friends wanting to live close to one another in a quiet and peaceful rural setting, which is walking distance from all amenities. 100$/week Canadian, long term available." 

Please contact Rena directly if interested - renapatrick@poetic.com

Photo of parking spots provided by Rena Patrick

All the best,
Tumbleweed Staff

 

Written by Jenna Spesard — August 01, 2014

Filed under: British Columbia   Parking   tiny House   Tiny house parking  

High School Students Build Three Tiny Homes

The Academy of Career Education (a.k.a “ACE” high school) in Reno, Nevada is not only embracing tiny homes as an alternative housing option but also as an educational tool for their students. Being a tuition-free charter school focusing on construction and engineering, each student at ACE becomes OSHA certified and is offered a variety of courses with hands-on training in home building. 

“We were looking for new projects,” ACE instructor Tony Clark explains, “and we happened to see a news story on a boy that built his own tiny home instead of a fort. After that, we did some research and found Tumbleweed.” After pitching the project to Tumbleweed President Steve Weissmann, Mr. Clark and his students were donated a set of Cypress 20 plans. Clark also attended a workshop last fall and purchased three Tumbleweed trailers. In January 2014, ACE students began building three tiny homes. 

“We have about 45-50 students taking the course, between the ages of 15-18 years old,” explains Clark. “All the traditional techniques for building a home are covered, and then some! There are more codes to follow when building a tiny home, as well as weight, propane and movement to consider. I think the biggest benefit is that it makes the kids better problem solvers.”

Justin Moore, a student taking the course, believes building a tiny home will make anyone a better carpenter. "Tiny homes are a growing trend, and learning to build off-grid housing is extremely beneficial." 

Ace High School

One of Clark’s favorite teaching moments was when two of his award winning carpentry students installed the shower insert. “They triple checked their work, but they forgot to make sure the trailer was level.” Clark chuckled, remembering. “They had to do the work all over again. It’s not something you would encounter in a regular home, and so it was an excellent learning experience for them.” 

Before summer break, the students were sheathing the roof and had started on electricity and insulation. They’ll pick back up when schools begins in September, with the goal of being finished by December 2014. 

“We have some interested buyers for two of the tiny homes, and we’ll keep the third on display.” Mr. Clark went on to say that all the money made from the sale will go straight back into funding the program. “I want to continue building tiny homes at ACE. The students have really embraced it.” 

Justin (Clark's student) agrees,  "I think tiny homes are very very cool. I could see myself living in one, but I would customize it to fit my lifestyle." 

-------------------------------------

*All photos provided by ACE High School

*For more information on the ACE High School Tiny House project, click here.

-------------------------------------


 
Jenna Spesard is currently building a Tumbleweed Cypress with her partner, Guillaume, who is a professional photographer and Tumbleweed Workshop Host. After the build is complete, they plan to travel around North America in their tiny house blogging and photographing their adventure. More on their tiny house and giant journey here

Written by Jenna Spesard — July 29, 2014

Filed under: Academy of Career Education   ACE   Build it yourself   Cypress   design   High School   Reno   School   tiny   tiny home   tiny house   Tumbleweed  

Top 3 Manufactured Composting Toilets for Tiny Homes

My partner and I are about 90% finished with our Tumbleweed Cypress and we saved the best for last - the bathroom! We've decided to go with a composting toilet, and my research began with the simple DIY bucket unit and has now moved onto the more "high-tech" options available. Below I've listed three manufactured compost toilets specifically for tiny homes. Each of these units are self-contained, waterless, and include some form of ventilation and aeration. 

I hope this list is helpful but keep in mind that there are many options out there. Choose the commode that works best for your tiny home! 

1). Nature's Head

Nature's Head Compost Toilet

PRICE: $925 / Made in USA

SIZE - 20" toilet seat height X 22" width needed for handle / vent use X 20 5/8" depth required / 28 lbs

COMPOST CAPACITY - approx. 90 uses

VENTILATION - Vent mounted at the side rear of the unit / 12V fan

AERATION - Crank aeration

URINE - Diverts urine into small built-in holding take

INSTALLATION - Video here.  Bonus video - Art's Nature's Head 

2). Separett - Villa 9210

Separett Compost Toilet

PRICE -  $1389 / Made in Sweden

SIZE - 17.3" toilet seat height X 19.95" width X 30" depth required / 48 lbs

COMPOST CAPACITY - Family of four will need to empty container every 3-6 weeks.

VENTILATION - Vent mounted at the top rear of the unit / 12V fan 

AERATION -  When pressure is added to the seat, the chamber is rotated

URINE - Diverts to a separate waste tank (not included in unit)

INSTALLATION - Video (1/2 way down page) here.

3). Sun-Mar Excel-Ne 

Sun-Mar Compost Toilet

PRICE: $1645 / Made in North America

SIZE - 26.5" toilet seat height X 22.5" width X 46" depth needed to empty / 50 - 95 lbs. *Sun-Mar also has a mobile version that is smaller, but requires more electricity.

COMPOST CAPACITY - Family of three will need to rotate chambers every three months. The unique aspect of this toilet is that it has three chambers, allowing compost to fully form in the third chamber.

VENTILATION - Vent mounted at the top rear of the unit / 12V fan optional

AERATION - Crank aeration

URINE- Liquids are evaporated within unit / no diverter. Requires a drain for excess liquid. 

INSTALLATION - Video hereBonus informational video here

-------------------------------------

What do you do with the waste after emptying your toilet? You can, of course, compost your waste - that's the whole point! Although, the amount of time required before safely giving your waste back to mother nature depends on several factors, including your chosen unit. I would recommend reading The Humanure Handbook by Joseph Jenkins, which has a lot to say on the subject. In fact, I know exactly where you should store this book... right next to your current toilet.

My decision? Drum roll please........ I ended up choosing the Nature's Head compost toilet for our tiny house. The size is a perfect fit for our small bathroom, allowing us to build future storage space around the toilet. 

Guillaume (my partner) & Salies (our dog) modeling our new compost toilet!

-------------------------------------

Jenna Spesard is currently building a Tumbleweed Cypress with her partner, Guillaume, who is a professional photographer and Tumbleweed Workshop Host. After the build is complete, they plan to travel around North America in their tiny house blogging and photographing their adventure. More on their tiny house and giant journey here

Written by Jenna Spesard — July 16, 2014

Filed under: Compost   compost toilet   composting toilet   composting toilets   nature's head  

Tiny House For Three

Family posed on the porch of their "big house" (above) and their barn raiser (below).

Meg, Brandy, and their 2-year-old son nicknamed "R.A.D." are about to dramatically shrink their idea of home. Having just received a Tumbleweed barn raiser, the family of three will be shedding approximately 3,000 square feet!

“Somewhere between growing to despise our huge mortgage and realizing we would never be able to take my mother on the Alaskan cruise she dreamed of, something just snapped in my mind.” Meg explains why her family has decided to downsize from their 3,193 sq foot home and nearly $2,000 a month mortgage payment.

“Losing my mom made us realize the ‘American Dream’ of the big house with the white fence was really just a pair of shackles preventing us from doing the things we really wanted to do.” Sadly, Meg’s mother recently lost a 17-month battle with cancer. Before she was diagnosed they had planned on moving the whole family from Texas to Washington. “The more I thought about the plans I was making with my mom, the more resolute I was that I needed this change. I was sick to my stomach with the knowledge that I let the big house weigh us down." It was then that Meg and Brandy finally made the decision to drop the big house, and travel around the country with a tiny home before settling in Washington for R.A.D to start school. 

With Brandy attending college and Meg working two jobs, the couple quickly realized that finding time to build was going to be a challenge. That’s when they stumbled upon Tumbleweed’s barn raiser - a professionally built skeleton of a Tumbleweed tiny home secured on a Tumbleweed trailer. The family chose the Cypress 24’ Horizon model, which will allow a private bedroom for their son as well as a loft bedroom for themselves.  

“Having the professional builders do all the heavy lifting and, most importantly, the strapping and securing of the structure to the trailer was the decision maker in the build vs. buy debate for me.” Meg explains. “I’ve had nightmares of the house sliding off the trailer, so the peace of mind that comes with having professionals secure my house is worth it’s weight in gold!" 

Meg and Brandy ordered their barn raiser in mid-March and received a notification it was ready on April 22nd. The family set off to retrieve their new home - one that is equal in size of their current master bathroom! When they first stepped inside the tiny dwelling that would one day carry them off on an adventure, Meg remembers thinking it felt huge and tiny simultaneously. Check out their height charts: 

“Our son calls it his ‘Biiiiigg Hooose’, and it (the tiny home) will probably continue to feel big to him while he is little.” - Meg

How will this family cope with this dramatic downsize? Check back in for updates on Meg, Brandy, and R.A.D. as they finish their house and prepare to travel around the U.S.A. 

------------------------------------

All photos provided by Meg and Brandy. 

Follow this tiny house family on their blog here. Like them on facebook here.

-------------------------------------

Jenna Spesard is currently building a Tumbleweed Cypress with her partner, Guillaume, who is a professional photographer and Tumbleweed Workshop Host. After the build is complete, they plan to travel around North America in their tiny house blogging and photographing their adventure. More on their tiny house and giant journey here

 

 

 

Tumbleweed Tiny House Company
bodega loring nv
harbinger Whidbey sebastarosa
enesti b53 zglass

Recent Posts

Categories

Recent Comments


Free Catalog

Customer Showcase

Amish Barn Raiser

Tumbleweed Trailer

Take a Video Tour