Tug Boat Captain Becomes a Tiny House RV Owner

Jan Tiura, the first woman tug boat captain in the bay area, had been interested in building a modern cabin for decades to set on her property in Northern California. Unfortunately she never found the right project, and set her dream aside. That is, until a few years ago when her niece, Holly Ortega, began working for Tumbleweed. Finally the stars had aligned!
Holly introduced her aunt to the Tumbleweed MICA design - a modern one story Tiny House RV. Jan was intrigued by the modern aesthetic. Could this be the modern cabin she had been dreaming of?

"My aunt was drawn to the steel siding on the MICA because it reminded her of the ships she would pull at sea." - Holly (Jan's neice)

Jan posing in front of her photography / Photo: Dylan Entelis, The Chronicle

Jan fell in love with the MICA's weathered steel siding. It not only symbolized the 30 years she spent as a tug boat captain, but also her collection of abstract photographs of weathered steel. Jan's photography has been displayed at San Francisco MOMA. Read more and view her work here and here.

Jan is still a tug boat captain at heart!
Soon after seeing photos of the MICA online, Jan stopped by the Tumbleweed office to take a tour of a model they had for sale. Not long after, she became the MICA's loving new owner. 

Jan parked her MICA, which she named "The Barge," on Bad Dog Farm in Moss Beach, California. The Barge overlooks a beautiful meadow and Jan says she feels right at home when she uses her MICA. 

"Purchasing the MICA meant reaching my dream," Jan told us. "It's snug and warm and better than anything I could build."


*Photos courtesy of Jan Tiura unless otherwise stated.


Jenna BioJenna Spesard is currently traveling around North America in a DIY Tumbleweed Cypress. She writes about Tiny Homes and travel on her informative blog: "Tiny House Giant Journey."

Written by Jenna Spesard — July 21, 2016

Filed under: Bay Area   Jan Tiura   MICA   Modern   San Francisco   Steel   tiny home   Tiny House   Tiny House Company   tiny house movement   tiny house rv   Tug Boat   Tumbleweed   Weathered Steel  

Tiny House Coffee Shop: a tiny business on wheels

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.


*Like and Follow Tiny House Coffee on Facebook


Jenna BioJenna Spesard is currently traveling around North America in a DIY Tumbleweed Cypress. She writes about Tiny Homes and travel on her informative blog: "Tiny House Giant Journey."


Written by Jenna Spesard — July 18, 2016

Filed under: Colorado   mobile business   mobile shop   shop   tiny home   tiny house   tiny house coffee   tiny house movement   tiny house rv  

Will and Nya's Eclectic Tiny House RV Design

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. 

Will & Nya's tiny is only 14 feet long, the same size as the first Tumbleweed ever built

Will Tiny House

"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?


*Follow Will and Nya's Tiny House RV, named "The Creature Cottage," on Facebook

*All photos provided by Will and Nya 


Jenna BioJenna Spesard is currently traveling around North America in a DIY Tumbleweed Cypress. She writes about Tiny Homes and travel on her informative blog: "Tiny House Giant Journey."


Written by Jenna Spesard — July 01, 2016

Filed under: bohemian   creature cottage   design   eclectic   micro home   tiny home   tiny house   tiny house movement   Tumbleweed  

10 Inspirational Tiny House RVs Built in 2016 (so far)

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.

Photo credit: Best Little House in Texas

10). Best Little House in Texas

Cody and Randi built their Tiny House RV based off of Tumbleweed Elm plans. We love the side french door and intricate woodwork throughout! More info here.


Jenna BioJenna Spesard is currently traveling around North America in a DIY Tumbleweed Cypress. She writes about Tiny Homes and travel on her informative blog: "Tiny House Giant Journey."


    Written by Jenna Spesard — June 24, 2016

    Filed under: best of   cypress   elm   inspiration   linden   shelter   tiny home   tiny house   tiny house movement   Tumbleweed  

    Father Daughter team build a Tiny House RV to spend time together

    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. 

    Father Daughter Tiny House

    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. 

    Randy and Nicki's Tiny House RV

    "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.

    Randy and Nicki's Tiny House

    "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.

    Randy and Nicki's tiny house

    "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.

    Randy and Nicki's Tiny House

    "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.

    Click here to read a similar Tiny House RV story with a Mother/Daughter team. 


    *To follow Randy and Nicki's build, check out their website.

    *All photos provided by Randy & Nicki


    Jenna BioJenna Spesard is currently traveling around North America in a DIY Tumbleweed Cypress. She writes about Tiny Homes and travel on her informative blog: "Tiny House Giant Journey."


    Written by Jenna Spesard — June 19, 2016

    Filed under: a secret you and me   colorado   cypress   daughter   father   home   house   materials   reclaimed   resourced   salvage   salvaged   shelter   tiny home   tiny house   Tumbleweed   workshop  

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