It's so nice to follow a project and see it come to its fruition! It all started back when Vancouver artist Zee Kesler attended one of our weekend workshops two years ago and purchased plans to build a Tumbleweed Cypress. Zee wanted to share her Tiny House RV with others and do something unique, so she decided to convert her Cypress into a rolling classroom on wheels! With the help of her friends, she spent last fall and this spring building her modified Tumbleweed. Watch the full tour here:
Being that the space will be used as a classroom for up to twelve students, a few modifications needed to be made to the original plans. Zee added a wheelchair accessible side door, increased the width by building over the wheel wells, changed the roof pitch to allow more vertical interior space and converted the bathroom into a photo booth (students will use the park facilities)!
Did we mention that Zee did all of this under a limited budget? She searched Vancouver for construction waste and recycled materials from the film industry and then collected those items over the last two years. She also had many materials donated to the project, arranged sponsorships, and organized a multi-week workshop that partially funded the project while teaching others Tiny House RV construction. All of these factors helped the Tiny Community Center reach finalization without breaking the bank!
Since the completion of the Tiny Community Center, Zee has been awarded an artist residency at Trout Lake Community Center in Vancouver, British Columbia. She'll be parking her Tumbleweed at Trout Lake starting this July and will open it up to the public. Get involved and/or take an art class in Zee's Tiny Community Center this summer here.
Where can you park a Tiny House RV? There are many different ways to answer this question, but the simple answer is that you can park your tiny abode wherever it is legal to park a regular RV. Laws differ regarding RVs in every county, so you'll need to research your preferred parking location.
If you plan on traveling with your Tiny House RV, you will have the opportunity to park in campgrounds, National Parks, State Parks, overnight parking lots, rest stops, etc. Always read signage to make sure that "RV overnight parking" is allowed before setting up your Tiny House RV. If you are visiting a friend or family member in a county that allows RV parking, you might be parking on private land or in a residential driveway. There are many options out there, just ask any RVer!
You can design your Tiny House RV for "off-grid" or "on-grid" parking. Your future parking location may depend on your choice of utilities. It's a good idea to plan ahead and determine how flexible you'd like to be with parking and utility maintenance.
Ask yourself: Will I always have access to water and electricity? If you'd prefer to have off-grid electricity, you might consider designing your Tiny House RV with propane appliances to limit your electrical needs. If water will not always be available, you'll need to estimate how large of a fresh water tank you will need. The same goes for your grey water and black water tanks.
Ask yourself: How hands on do I want to be with my utilities? Being off-grid might mean emptying your compost toilet, rotating your solar panels and filling your fresh water tank every week. If this does not appeal to you, perhaps a parking spot with full connections is more suitable to your needs.
Watch this video for a full explanation of parking and setting up a Tiny House RV, whether you are off-grid or on-grid:
If you are interested in the products used in this video, here are details (in order of appearance):
If you’re a Tiny House RV lover, then you have probably seen pictures of Brittany’s Bayside Bungalow during one of your internet searches (I know we did). In fact, we took some inspiration from Brittany’s style and her house is one of the major reasons we painted our walls. Watch our full tour of the Bayside Bungalow:
It’s hard to imagine a petite woman like Brittany building a Tumbleweed Cypress all on her own, but the more I meet the women in this movement, the more I believe women can accomplish anything.
I like to say Guillaume built 60% of our Tiny House RV and I built 40%, but I might be exaggerating my contribution just a tad. I learned a lot from our build, but there is no way I could have done it without Guillaume's help and patience. I simply don't have the mental or physical strength to complete a project that large. I would have lost my mind! By the end of the year, I was using a table saw with ease (when we began I wouldn’t go near it). When we started on the interior, I was finally pulling my weight. I insulated the walls. I put up paneling. I did the trim work. I finished the counters and built the cabinets. And, of course, I decorated. If I had to do it again, and I was all on my own, I would purchase a barn raiser.
When I stepped inside Brittany's Bayside Bungalow, I marveled at the immaculate craftsmanship. I was already impressed that she was able to build a Tiny House RV on her own, but this structure was pristine! After further conversation, I realized Brittany completed the Bayside Bungalow without the resources we had during our build, that she had to repurpose an old trailer because Tumbleweed was not yet making Tiny House RV Trailers, and, finally, that she did it in HALF of the time it took us!
There’s no doubt, Brittany’s construction of the Bayside Bungalow was an act of pilgrimage for the movement. Today thousands of DIYers are building their own Tiny House RVs all over the country, and I think the pioneers (like Brittany) deserve some credit for the sudden popularity.
*Brittany has now opened her Tiny House RV as a vacation rental. If you're considering building tiny, I suggest trying the Bayside Bungalow out for a weekend.
"A year ago I read You Can Buy Happiness (and it’s Cheap) by Tammy Strobel," Lora told us in a recent interview. "I loved the idea of simplicity and aligning my space and money with my values and goals." Lora then toured a Tiny House RV at Tumbleweed's Colorado Springs location and discussed with a builder how to create her ideal custom Tiny House RV. "I chose Tumbleweed because I loved their floor plans and their interior design," Lora explained. "Their homes are top quality."
Tumbleweed offers plans, trailers and barn raisers (half-built homes that you can finish yourself), but Lora chose to have Tumbleweed build the entire Tiny House RV for her. "Although I loved the idea of building my own, it didn’t fit in with my goals, timeline or ability level!" She admitted.
Eight months ago, Lora received her Tiny House RV, which is currently parked in an RV park in Georgia.
"I’ve become more conscious of how I spend my time and money, which has helped me really change my life in some pretty exciting ways (like starting my own business)." - Lora
What are Lora's two favorite spots in her new Tiny House RV? "The nook is the perfect spot to snuggle up with a good book or to relax with an episode of my favorite show after work," Lora answered. "And the first time I climbed into bed, it was like having the cool treehouse I always wanted as a little kid!"
"My tiny home just feels like me.It’s very organized and functional, with lots of storage for the things I love in my life (like my books!).One of the best things about a small space, is that every detail reflects who you are because it’s all more intentional." - Lora
Lora's blog, The Tiny House Teacher, offers advice and tips to other tiny enthusiasts as well as some informative content on the movement. Be sure to check it out.
We travel full time with our Tiny House RV and so far we've gone 15,000 miles in eight months. I don't know of any other Tiny House RV that travels as much as we do, so we've had to figure out a lot of logistics on the road. Below I've outlined my monthly expenses in hopes that it is helpful for my fellow travel bugs!
If you're looking for explanations on towing specifications and requirements, click here.
Our wet Tiny House RV - we assume the house weighs more after a rain!
MY MONTHLY EXPENSES ON THE ROAD
Our Tiny House RV weighs 10,100 pounds when fully loaded. We tow with a Ford F-250 Diesel 4x4 and get between 8-10 mpg. We put 2,070 miles per month on our truck. That number includes ALL driving, not just towing.
MAINTENANCE ON TRUCK:$294*
*This number has been divided by the eight and a half months we've been on the road to calculate our average monthly expenses. Total truck maintenance is $2,499
This number is SUPER high! We had to replace a few parts in our truck, including the FICM, the alternator and two batteries. I can't say whether this is due to towing or not, because the 2006 Ford F-250s are known for these problems. Sigh.. that's life I guess. Hopefully this number will start to go down.
*This number has been divided by the eight and a half months we've been on the road to calculate our average monthly expenses. Total trailer maintenance is $467.50
We had a regular 10,000 bearing inspection (they were good). We had to replace our tongue jack because we crashed the Tiny House RV on our maiden voyage... Full explanation here. We also had to replace our chimney cap a few times due to damage from low tree branches.
TRUCK INSURANCE: $95
We are insured through State Farm. We have liability coverage on our "tow load."
TRUCK PAYMENT: $0
Our truck is paid off. Yippee!
TINY HOUSE RV PAYMENT: $0
Our Tiny House RV is paid off. Yippee!
MOBILE INTERNET: $130
We use Verizon wireless as our provider because they have the fastest data service. We've been relatively happy with the service, but it's expensive. Due to our web related jobs, we need at least 30 gigabytes a month. This isn't even enough for us to stream movies, we always run out! Obviously if you do not need 30 GB (or the internet at all) this number is irrelevant. Campgrounds sometimes have WIFI available, but it's almost always terribly slow.
CAMPGROUND FEES: $238
We park in campgrounds on average 9 nights a month. The rest of the time we park on private property, offered by some of the most gracious people in the world (our followers and other Tiny House RV enthusiasts). That helps A LOT! Campground fees can average between $10 - $60 a night. We are a member of Passport America, which offers a 50% discount on thousands of campgrounds all over North America.
We use propane for our cooktop, water heater and sometimes to power our refrigerator.
WATER / ELECTRIC: $0
We fill up our water tank in campgrounds or from our parking hosts. So far we haven't had to pay for water or power (of which we use very little), aside from our campground fees.
We carry our trash and dispose of it responsibly in campgrounds.
TOTAL AVERAGE MONTHLY EXPENSES FOR TOWING & TINY LIFESTYLE = $1550
This total number is for two people and while it might seem high, it's less than just our apartment rent payment in Los Angeles! We could save a lot of money by traveling less and canceling our internet, but that's not the lifestyle we want at this time. We also hope our truck maintenance costs will go down now that we've fixed everything. You might notice that we did not include food expenses, cell phones expenses, student loans, etc. That is because those expenses would be the same on or off the road, tiny or big.