Where in the World is Tiny House GJ? - Northeastern USA

Tiny House GJ at Ye Olde' Mill Campground in Burnt Cabins, PA

Hi All -

Now that we've been on the road for a few weeks, Guillaume and I wanted to share our stories and travel tips. We will be scooting along the highway for the next year. So stay tuned!

Our official trip began September 2nd with our departure from Shelbyville, Illinois. If you're confused it might be because we built half of our house in Los Angeles, but at the beginning of the summer we decided to move the build to the midwest (where my family graciously let us take over their driveway). Read about our move from California to Illinois here

The construction of our house had taken over our lives for the past year, and yet, we were still scrambling to finish right up until the final gargantuan moment of our tiny exodus. It was 6pm before we slowly rolled away from my family's quiet farm town and began an 800 mile journey to our first destination: the Tumbleweed Philadelphia workshop, where our house would make its debut. Check out the below video tour of our home taken by Philadelphia workshop presenter Deek

I had never been to the east coast before, so I was very excited that the first section of our trip would take us to somewhere exotic - a place where locals don't even blink an eye as they shuffle past 300 year old buildings, coffee is served strong and meant for drinking on the go, and lobster rolls are considered a common lunch. 

Philadelphia really surprised me. I spent days just walking the streets, reading plaques and snapping photos. I'm not used to living in a place that has history, and I allowed myself to feel proud and at home. The words: "I could live here," occasionally crossed my mind.

Our Parking Spot in Philadelphia - across from the workshop

That being said, I was full of contempt for the city as we pulled our (what seemed like) enormous house through its narrow streets. Parking was impossible, which I expected. Our trailer jack clawed at the ground more than once, and every time it felt like the house was collapsing. 

Tiny House GJ Parking Illegally in Philly
Watch out wire - Here we come!!

Tips for Towing a Tiny House in North Eastern USA:

1). KNOW YOUR HEIGHT. REALLY KNOW IT. There are many low overpasses along the east coast. Our house is 13'4" and we had a few close calls. One in particular in New York City, where an overpass boasted a low clearance of 12'6"! We slowed down, frantically discussed our options and then realized that our house would fit. The sign was a lie, or a terribly un-funny joke. Either way my heart skipped a beat at the thought of reversing in NYC traffic. I cringe at the idea of a convertible tiny home. A wonderful purchase for us was an RV GPS. It alerts us of any low overpasses, weight restrictions, horizontal clearances, propane restrictions, etc. If you are going to travel often with your tiny home, buy one!

2). Watch for potholes, steep inclines / declines. Our trailer jack and chains will usually take the hit first, but I wouldn't recommend it. Take it slow and be alert. 

3). If you are still in the pre-build stage, consider placing your door on the passenger side. When parking on the side of the street, exiting the tiny house on the driver's side (or the side of traffic) can be dangerous. This tip really applies to travel anywhere, but especially relevant in an east coast city where streets can be very narrow and traffic heavy. 

4). KNOW YOUR WEIGHT. Tie down everything inside, and distribute your weight evenly. You can weigh your house at any trucker scale (LOVES or similar). Ours is a bit heavy - 9,800 lbs. This means we have to be very careful about our tongue weight. Semi-tedious work, but we often shift our belongings to the back of the house for travel to alleviate our heavy tongue. We are looking for a bigger truck to compensate for this. Currently we have a 3/4 ton diesel Ford F-250, but would like a 1 ton dually. If anyone has any advice for us about this, please feel free to comment!

5). In New York City, watch for gawking pedestrians and flying hotdogs. 

Tiny House in Central Park 

Yes, after leaving Philly we drove the house through New York City. No, we aren't insane.. well, maybe a little. A short-lived cruise through central park ended with us being kicked out; we had permission but ended up causing trouble when we couldn't navigate properly. Our tiny home crawled away with its tail between our legs to a campsite in Croton-On-Harmon, about an hour outside of the city.

Our Campsite in New York - Croton Point Park

Before leaving New York City we snapped a few photos of the tiny house amongst the skyscrapers. It was September 11th, and the significance of the anniversary was not lost on us. We tried to visit the memorial, but it was closed for family members only - a respectable request.

As the new One World Trade Center proudly served as our canopy, we remembered. 

Currently we are on our way to Montreal. My next update will be about crossing the border and staying overnight in campgrounds, truck strops or similar. Wish us luck!

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Check our OUR ROUTE and follow our journey on our website and facebook

For more photos of our journey, follow us on INSTAGRAM

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Jenna Spesard is currently living and traveling around North America in a self-built Tumbleweed Cypress with her partner, Guillaume, who is a professional photographer and Tumbleweed Workshop host. They are photographing and writing about their adventure that began in September 2014. Occasionally they will be hosting an open house. More on their tiny house and giant journey here.

Chris's Tiny House in the Country

Chris with his Tiny Retreat in upstate New York

This past weekend Deek Diedricksen presented our Philadelphia workshop and we met a lot of wonderful attendees, many of whom aspire to build or live in a tiny home. Last year at this very same workshop, Chris Schapdick attended with a similar goal: specifically to build a tiny vacation home in the country for himself and his nine year old daughter, Mia.

"I really want my daughter to have a connection to nature." says Chris, who currently lives in New York City but has recently purchased land upstate. "Ideally we'd have a tiny home as a weekend getaway, and later I could retire in it." 

After the workshop Chris felt inspired to build his own tiny home, but like many of us, he had other obligations that took priority. "I thought about buying a trailer," Chris admits, "but I was moving slow and, honestly, the whole idea (of building my own home) was daunting."

Finally, in early 2014, Chris found his solution with the announcement of Tumbleweed's tiny house starter kit - or "barn raiser." The barn raiser was ideal for Chris because it would expedite the build process AND allow him to finish the house himself. Within a few weeks, Chris received a photo and notification that his tiny home was ready for pick up.

Tumbleweed Barn Raiser / Photo by: Tumbleweed Tiny Homes*

"It might sound corny, but when I received that photo it reminded me of seeing the first ultrasound of my daughter. I had an immediate connection with my tiny house. " Chris recalls giving countless tours of his new home while towing it from Tumbleweed's Colorado build site to his rural property in New York. "It really resonates with people." 

Chris chose a Linden Horizon floor plan which features a second downstairs bedroom for his daughter. Mia thinks her dad's tiny home is really cool, and Chris hopes she'll want to be involved on some of the interior build.

A few interesting pieces Chris has added to his tiny home include an incinerating toilet and a library rolling ladder. He also has exciting plans for the front door:  "I'd like to have a bright colored entry door, like Ella's house. I also bought an old brass ship porthole for a window insert."

Chris even installed a motion detection camera to see what wildlife might trek up to his tiny home, but one day it malfunctioned and took a photograph every minute. If you're feeling a little scrambled from your busy schedule, take a moment to watch this "day-in-the-life" video created from Chris's camera's happy accident. 

"It's amazing to see a day go by and have absolutely nothing happen...it's like that everyday." - Chris

Once in a while, there are a few furry visitors! 

Three Pieces of Advice From Chris:

1). Take your time.

2). Know that there are resources out there to help you.

3). Be confident in your own abilities and have the confidence that you can do it.

We will check back in on Chris's build later this year. In the meantime he is looking forward to receiving advice and answering questions. He is about to embark on electricity and plumbing, so any research, links or tips are welcome!

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Contact Chris through his tiny house website here.

*All photos provided by Chris unless otherwise stated.

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Jenna Spesard is currently living and traveling around North America in a self-built Tumbleweed Cypress with her partner, Guillaume, who is a professional photographer and Tumbleweed Workshop host. They are photographing and writing about their adventure that began in September 2014. Occasionally they will be hosting an open house. More on their tiny house and giant journey here.
 

 

Tour a Tumbleweed

How much of a difference can a few feet make? Decide for yourself as Tumbleweed's Steve Weissmann leads you through this beautiful 172 square foot Cypress 24.

The floor plan in this tour is the new Equator, which includes an open great room / kitchen as well as a separate downstairs bedroom or workspace. If you love the look but would prefer a different flow, don't worry! There are plenty of other layout choices for this 24 foot tiny home. Check out the Horizon, Overlook and Vantage floor plans by clicking here.

Cypress Equator Floor Plan

Cypress 24 Equator Floor Plan

As you watch the video, you'll notice this Tumbleweed is tricked out with all the bells and whistles. This Cypress 24 has a washer/dryer combination unit, air conditioning, and large refrigerator (as opposed to the standard under the counter unit). Perhaps the most exciting new add-on is the storage staircase.

Cypress 24 Staircase with Drawers for Extra Storage

Head up the stairs and into the spacious loft, complete with double dormers! It's big enough for a king size bed or a queen with space leftover for bedside storage. Visualize this sizable bedroom as Steve (who is 6'2") demonstrates how he can comfortably sit up in bed. 

This tiny home was constructed on a Tumbleweed 24 foot three axel trailer. Hardy retractable scissor jacks and convenient outdoor water, power and sewage hookups allow this tiny home to be easily transported from location to location. Steve recommends a 1-ton truck for this particular model, as it's one of our largest.  

So now that you've had a tour, we're dying to know what you think about our new model? Comment below!

<a href="/pages/dealership">Schedule a tour</a> of this home in Colorado Springs, CO. <a href="/pages/dealership">Learn more</a>

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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.
 

 

Top Refrigerators for Tiny Homes

Photo of Tumbleweed Elm-18 Equator with a Edgestar 2.3 cubic ft. Refrigerator 

In continuation of our "Top Appliances for Tiny Homes" blog series, this week we are going to focus on our recommendations for chilling your leftovers - a.k.a, the fridge! Click here for our post on "Top Laundry Units" and here for "Top Manufactured Composting Toilets." So let's get started. Grab a beverage, because we are serving up some food for thought! 

In our Ready-Made Tiny Homes we prefer to use one of the first two options on this list, depending on the size requested by our costumer. Our build team at The Shed Yard has tested these units for quality and energy consumption. Both of our recommended refrigerators are more energy efficient that the majority of models on the market today, which is a valuable factor to consider when shopping for tiny home appliances.

1). Edgestar - Model # CRF320SS

Photo of Tumbleweed Elm-18 Equator with a Edgestar 2.3 cubic ft. Refrigerator

  • Retail: $229.00 (as of 8/22/2014)
  • Size: 3.1 cubic ft. / Dimensions: 33 1/2" H x 19" W x 19 3/4" D
  • Weight: 57 lbs.
  • Power: 115 V/ 75 W/ 0.64 A
  • Separate refrigerator and freezer compartments 

2). Avanti - Model # RA7316PST

Photo of Tumbleweed Cypress-24 Equator with Avanti 7.4 cubic ft. Refrigerator

  • Retail: $449 (as of 8/22/2014)
  • Size: 7.4 cubic ft. / Dimensions: 56" H x 21.5" W x 23" D
  • Weight: 92 lbs.
  • Input Voltage: 110 V/60 Hz
  • Separate refrigerator and freezer compartments

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Those are our two favorites! Below are a few more compact options used by tiny home owners.

 

3). Dometic - Model# 2354

  • Retail: $749 (as of 8/22/2014)
  • Size: 3 cubic ft. / Dimensions: 29-3/4" H x 20-1/2" W x 21-3/8" D
  • Weight: 71 lbs.
  • Power: 3-Way (12V DC/110V AC/LP Gas) *
  • Separate refrigerator and freezer compartments

*Propane power allows for off-grid usage

Photo credit: Dometic

 

4). Danby - Model # DAR195BL

  • Retail: $139.99 (as of 8/22/2014)
  • Size: 1.8 cubic ft. / Dimensions: 19.7" H x 17.5" W x 19.6" D
  • Weight: 48 lbs.
  • Power: 90 W/1.2 A 
  • No freezer 
  • Photo credit: Compact Appliance

     

     

      

    5). Chest Refrigerator - Multiple Models & Manufacturers 

    Art's Chest Refrigerator / photo credit: Tiny Sip House


    It's difficult to detail the specs on this particular option, as there are so many varieties of chest refrigerators. Tumbleweed Workshop presenter Art Cormier's tiny home is outfitted with a Dometic chest refrigerator (pictured above). He has also cleverly secured a cutting board to the top lid, effectively hiding the unit.

    Art's Tiny Kitchen / photo credit: Tiny Sip House

    As always, we hope this list if helpful. If you have any recommendations of your own, please comment below!

    Check back soon for more Tumbleweed appliance recommendations.

     

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    Jenna BioJenna Spesard is currently building a Tumbleweed Cypress with her partner, Guillaume, who is a professional photographer and Tumbleweed Workshop Host. As soon as their build is complete, they will travel around North America with their tiny house blogging and photographing their adventure. Click here for more info on their tiny house and giant journey.

     

     

      Written by Jenna Spesard — August 25, 2014

      Filed under: Appliance   Art Cormier   Avanti   Chest Refridgerator   Compact Appliance   cubic feet   Danby   Dometic   Edgestar   Fridge   Refridgerator   Tiny Home Appliance   Tiny Home fridge   tiny homes   tiny house  

      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

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      *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.

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      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  
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