A Contemporary Riverfront Whidbey

Introducing Deidre's Modified Whidbey 

Deidre has been interested in building a cottage since she was introduced to Tumbleweed eight years ago. Originally she fell in love with Tumbleweed's B-53 design, but after purchasing a property in Great Barrington she gravitated toward the Whidbey. "Ultimately, I changed my mind because I loved how the Whidbey floor plan featured the backyard." Deidre explains.

Once you see this backyard, you can't blame her for wanting to make it a focal point!

Deidre's Stunning Back Patio 

"I was working off of an existing foundation, so I had to modify the Whidbey plans to match what was already in existence." She clarifies. "This meant making each room a little larger than the original plans, and I also allocated space for the master bedroom to have a custom walk-in closet." 

Whidbey closet

Photo of Deidre's custom closet designed by closetscapes / Photo by Deidre

According to the National Association of Home Builders, the average home size in the United States has reached nearly 2,700 square feet. Deidre's two bedroom modified Whidbey is 960 square feet, or around one third the size of the average American home size. 

Deidre pulled a lot of inspiration from  Little House in Little Rock

"Being so close to the water, I moved all the mechanicals to the attic instead of the basement and eliminated the loft." She says, detailing other modifications she made to the Whidbey. "This allowed me to have 9 foot ceilings throughout, and an entire basement for storage."  

Deidre's contemporary interior design cleverly amplifies the square footage of her home. By keeping her color palette neutral and her furnishings sleek and simple, she has created a commodious abode. "When you stand at the front door you can see out the back, which gives the space an open feel." Deidre describes. "I have recessed lighting throughout the home, open shelving in the kitchen, and I only use a few candles for decorating. I try to keep it minimal."  She also purchased the majority of her furnishings from local shops to support the community. 

Three Space Savers Used in Deidre's Whidbey Include:

1). A wall mounted living room television to clear up floor space

2). A built-in wood storage space in the great room that doubles as a TV console

3). A lazy susan for corner storage in the kitchen and a smaller-than-normal countertop microwave 


       Whidbey bedroom  Whidbey Bedroom  

Construction on Deidre's Whidbey was completed in May, but as one project comes to an end, another one is just beginning."I want to continue to downsize," she admits. "The clearer the space is, the more room you have to think. It's peaceful." 

Deidre's Whidbey in Great Barrington, Massachusetts is currently on the market (see link below). Next up, she'd like to build a Tumbleweed Harbinger!

Tumbleweed Harbinger / photo by Tumbleweed Tiny Homes


*All photos (unless otherwise noted) by David Fell Photography. More photos of the home here.

*Click here to view Deidre's Whidbey property listing.

*Follow Deidre's blog here.


Jenna BioJenna 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 19, 2014

Filed under: B-53   built it yourself   cottage   custom design   downsize   Great Barringtom   Massachusetts   square footage   tumbleweed whidbey   whidbey  

Top Laundry Units for Tiny Homes

Tumbleweed Cypress-24 with EdgeStar Washer/Dryer Combo

One of the most frequently asked questions regarding tiny home living is: Can I do laundry in a tiny home? The answer is: Yes! There are many units available and elements to consider, such as: space requirements, load capacity, weight, portability, automatic vs. manual, ventilation, power consumption, and budget. 

When our customers request an automatic laundry machine for their Tumbleweed, we always provide them with a combination washer/dryer. This is because combo units are compact enough for tiny home living without sacrificing the quality and convenience of a standard automatic machine.  

Dave Fisher, our Tumbleweed builder, researched and tested many combination washer/dryers for our House-To-Gos. Below we'd like to share the two combination units we recommend and use.  

1). LG - Model # WM3455HW

LG Washer/Dryer Combo
  • Retail: $1,435.00 (as of 8/8/2014)
  • Size: 2.3 cubic ft. / Dimensions: 33.5" H x 24" W x 25.25" D
  • Weight: 159 lbs.
  • Ventless
  • 15 lb wash capacity
  • 9 lb dry capacity
  • Highly energy- and water-efficient
  • Nine (9) washing cycles / Six (6) drying cycles
  • Five (5) temperature levels
  • Also comes in silver  

Photo credit: Compact Appliance

 2). EdgeStar - Model # CWD1510S 

EdgeStar Washer/Dryer Combo
  • Retail: $949.00 (as of 8/8/2014)
  • Size: 2.0 cubic ft.  / Dimensions: 33 1/6" H x 23 7/16" W x 23 1/2" D 
  • Weight: 188 lbs.
  • Ventless
  • 15 lbs. wash capacity
  • 7.71 lbs. dry capacity
  • Seven (7) wash cycles
  • Three (3) wash/rinse temperatures / Five (5) spin speeds
  • Also comes in white  

Photo creditCompact Appliance


If automatic laundry is not for you, below are three zero electricity options commonly used in tiny homes.

3). The Wonder Wash

 Wonder Wash

  • Retail: $42.95 (as of 8/8/2014)
  • Size:  12" x 12" x 16"
  • Weight: Less than 6 lbs empty
  • Wash capacity: Approx. 10 T-shirts or 2 pairs of blue jeans
  • Wash time: 1-2 minutes
  • Operation: Crank handle
  • Bonus Video - Watch as Tumbleweed Workshop presenter Art Cormier uses the Wonder Wash



Photo credit: www.thevoltreport.com

4). The Laundry Pod 

Laundry Pod
  • Retail: $99.95 (as of 8/8/2014)
  • Size: 14.45" x 14.02" x 13.55"
  • Weight: 6.5 lbs empty
  • Wash capacity:  Approx. 10 regular articles of clothing
  • Wash time: 1 minute
  • Operation: Crank handle



Photo credit: www.containerstore.com 

5). Scrubba

*Lightweight travel option. Backpacker friendly.

  • Retail: $54.95 (as of 8/8/2014)
  • Size: When bag is flat - 21.3" x 12.6" 
  • Weight: Less than 5 oz.
  • Wash capacity:  Approx. 2 days worth of summer clothes
  • Wash time: 1-3 minutes
  • Operation: Rubbing against internal wash board 


Photo credit: www.thescrubba.com


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.

    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  

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