For six years, Dee Williams has been living in her tiny Tumbleweed home and championed the cause for the Small House Movement.
"I sold my big house and got rid of most of my stuff, limiting myself to about 300 things -- that was everything from heels and a toothbrush, to a couple of dinner plates and a two-ton jack. I then bought a set of plans from Tumbleweed. Four months later I had my tiny dream house."
Dee focused on using recycled materials, and spent just $10,000 building her tiny home. Using her home to promote a shift in consciousness, Dee has been featured on the cover of YES! Magazine, online videos, and opens her home regularly for local house tours. Dee has also written her own eBook called Go House Go. This mini-booklet focuses on how to connect a tiny house to a trailer, and how to keep the walls and roof from twisting, leaning or buckling. Also included is information about moisture control and a common list of building materials.
We went up a couple of weekends to install the ceiling paneling and the end gables. We got more proficient and by the second weekend we were flying along. We won't be touching anything else until the spring. So all trim work and baseboards will wait until then. Still, the house looks wonderful and it is worth every penny. For inspiration, in the last ten years, I've had a picture on my fridge of a woman reading in her tiny house, now I can replace that house with my house. It's very satisfying.
We've got a queen sized mattress in the loft and it feels quite roomy. I can sit up without knocking my head; however, I'm five feet tall. My husband has to be more careful.
At just 15 years old, Austin Hay decided to build his own Tumbleweed. About 8 months ago, Austin showed up to a Tumbleweed open house and announced that he was going to build the Fencl before he graduated high school. He carefully shared his plan of raising money and enlisting friends and convinced us to donate a set of plans. I was impressed by how persuasive and genuine this young man was.
Over the summer, Austin worked and saved $3,000 to cover the cost of the trailer and beginning supplies. Two weeks ago, we had a chance to catch up with Austin again when he came to our Tiny House Workshop and shared his story with the class.
He said his long term goal with the house was to live in the Fencl while in college and save money on housing. When someone asked if his house "impressed the girls", he shyly admitted "not yet".
Austin just finished the roofing on the house in time for the upcoming rain. Working mostly on Saturday and Sunday, Austin said he's been having fun with it. You can read Austin's blog at minihousebuilder.webs.com
Northwestern Students Design an Off-Grid Tiny House
At the beginning of 2009, a group of six undergraduate engineering students at Northwestern University were introduced to the Tumbleweed Tiny House Company and the Small House Movement. Inspired by Tumbleweed’s designs and realizing its potential for promoting environmental sustainability, they began conceptualizing their version of the next generation of tiny homes.
Through the support of Northwestern University, the staff at the Segal Design Institute, and the greater Evanston community, the students combined innovations from various fields of architecture and green design to create plans for an off-grid home that works to balance comfort and sustainability. The tiny house collects its own solar energy and water to reduce its environmental impact. Fitted with a rainwater catchment and solar panel system, the 128ft2 footprint provides enough power and potable water to sustain a single tenant year-round in the Midwest climate.
Notable attributes of the house include a stand-alone photovoltaic system with a battery bank, a water storage system that fits underneath the house, an active solar water heating system, and dual-purpose awnings for both shade and rainwater collection. The house is equipped with additional features to reduce energy and water consumption, such as incorporating DC powered loads, a shower with an efficient, low-flow showerhead, a non-electric composting toilet, and a woodstove to heat the home.
Currently, the team is focused on upcoming construction efforts and generating additional funding. The Northwestern Tiny House Project has received support from the Breed Fund for Design, the Dow Sustainability Innovation Student Challenge, as well as private donations. View their website at www.tinyurl.com/nutinyhouse for more detailed information about the project as well as how you can help.