Reclaimed Pine for Reclaimed Life

Tumbleweed Tiny HouseLast 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.
Tumbleweed Tiny HouseTom 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; email is

Written by Steve Weissmann — February 15, 2011

Filed under: Build it yourself  

KCI - Inspiration

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.

Written by Kitchener Waterloo Collegiate and Vocational School — February 12, 2011

Filed under: Houses  

KCI-bedding down for the winter

We put the little house to sleep in November – we drained the water and locked the doors.  That was pretty much it.

When the roofers came they missed some areas that needed caulking, so we recorded all of these, used some tape to show where the problems were and hopefully it will get fixed asap.

Though the daytime weather was beautiful (13 degree celcius), it was quite cool in the evening.  Still we were toasty warm.  I guess two people in a tiny space generate a fair bit of heat.  We didn't notice this in the summer because the windows were always open, and even in the warmest weather we stayed cool.  Conversely, we're staying toasty in lower temperatures.  We didn't use a heater, though we had a little ceramic one. We turned it on for about 15 minutes, and then it just wasn't necessary.  We've got good sleeping bags so maybe that makes a difference.  Someday, I might install propane. For now, this will do. We're not staying there in the winter for more than a night or two so this won't be a problem short term.

I love sleeping under the eaves and hearing the rain fall, it makes me fall asleep with a smile.

The little couch is actually a dog bed that belonged to my Gram.  It just fit through the tiny door.  We had to take the door off its hinges to fit it in, but it worked.  Of course, now I wish the dog bed was a few inches longer so it would butt up right to the walls.  The stool is also ancient.  I haven't brought anything new into the tiny house for furnishings and that's satisfying.  I did buy material for the dog bed cushion and stool, but even that was bought on sale and I did the sewing myself.

Written by Kitchener Waterloo Collegiate and Vocational School — January 29, 2011

Filed under: Houses  

Dee Williams

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.

Written by Steve Weissmann — January 18, 2011

Filed under: Build it yourself  

KCI- Ceiling paneling

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.

Written by Kitchener Waterloo Collegiate and Vocational School — January 09, 2011

Filed under: Houses  

Tumbleweed Models

Tumbleweed Galleries

Recent Posts


Recent Comments

Sign Up For Our Newsletter

Design Yours

Customer Showcase

Photo Gallery

Free Catalog

Take a Video Tour