Three Barn Raiser Stories

What is a Tumbleweed barn raiser?

It's a partial tiny house that you finish yourself. With it you get the assurance that your home has a secure infrastructure built by our professionals. It's a great way to expedite your build, while still getting the DIY experience. For more info, click here.

    Today we'd like to share a few stories from some of our recent barn raiser customers. You'll be amazed how these three barn raisers are going to become three completely different homes!

    First up, Dani Moore (The Tiny House that Grandma Built)

    Dani Moore's barn raiser. A Modified Tumbleweed Elm

    Why did you choose a barn raiser?

    Dani Moore: I have some limitations. I have severe osteoporosis, some nerve damage and some loss of function in my legs so I wear a brace and use a mobility scooter. I knew the roof framing and lofts would be too much for me (to build). I know I can do the interior walls, but the rest would just be too much for me.

    Dani in front of her eye-catching fuchsia door

    Can you tell us more about your home, the size and design/layout you chose?
    Dani: I have a 24 foot Elm, but my downstairs is actually only 18 foot because I have a 6 foot porch and a 12 foot wheelchair ramp. The porch was important so that I have somewhere to park my two mobility scooters while they are charging. I have a huge sleeping loft, almost 10' x 6.' My interior design isn't set yet. I have a 30 inch front door so a mobility scooter or electric wheelchair can fit through it, but most of the time inside I can use a three wheeled stool to slide around. I will definitely need stairs so that, when needed, I can go up and down them on my butt. I would ideally find someone who has the engineering know how to set up a pulley system that I could use to manually lift myself up and down from the loft with a sling chair, but so far I haven't found anyone. Perhaps one of the readers will have the knowledge I need!
    Inside of Dani's Barn Raiser
    Any interesting elements that will make your tiny home special. How about that pink door?

    Dani: I love my fuchsia door! I plan to paint the fascia boards and shutters the same color, then the rest of the trim white. The exterior walls will be a soft lavender.  

    Dani's roof, skylight and Christmas tree

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    Next up: Jay and Becky Bayne (http://unskilledbuild.wordpress.com/)

    Jay and Becky Bayne's barn raiser in construction at The Shed Yard

    Do you have experience building?

    Jay & Becky: As you may have noticed by our blog name, we have NO construction experience outside of building bird houses and pinewood derby race cars, back when our now about to graduate Eagle Scout was but a Cub. But seriously, we have installed laminate flooring in a previous house, remodeled a bathroom including toilet and tile and done minor electrical repairs.  We are registered for the February Colorado Springs workshop and will be saving a lot of that "technical" stuff for when we get home.  Hope to glean a lot of useful ideas from our workshop peers.

    Jay, Becky and their two sons

    Can you tell us more about your home, the size and design/layout you chose?

    Jay & Becky: We chose the Tumbleweed Cypress 24 with an expanded sleeping loft. The French doors on the side were something we saw on a tiny house post and loved. We enjoy cooking so a near normal size kitchen with full size appliances is a must, as is a tub/shower. There will also be a small staircase to make climbing to our sleeping loft easier for Becky and accessible to our four legged family members.  Jay is looking forward to incorporating his old component tuner and stereo speaker system into the house.  Not exactly space efficient, but the sound is definitely better than ear buds!

    Jay and Becky Bayne's barn raiser in construction at The Shed Yard

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    Last but not least: Jonathon Stalls (https://www.facebook.com/jstallstinyhouse

    Jonathon Stalls's barn raiser 

    Why did you choose a barn raiser?
    Jonathon: I run an amazing, but demanding social business called Walk2Connect and am fortunate to have enough savings to invest in something like this. Time and professional experience without compromising my own creative and desired DIY experience was the main fruit for moving forward with a barn raiser. It was a perfect fit.
    Check out Jonathon's inspiring TedTalk here about his walk across America.
    Can you tell us more about your home, the size and design/layout you chose?
    Jonathon: My home is a 24' customized "Elm" overlook (w/keyhole in loft) design. Its just perfect for what I had envisioned. It has a beautiful long pitched roof and an open floor plan. I wanted the door on the side to have a big front window and a nice sized couch/bed seating area. I wanted an exterior opening door that gives as much space as possible for my 6'4 frame, 90 lb dog and various guests. 
    Jonathon's loft
    Anything you'd like to add about the build experience?
    Jonathon:  I'm beyond blessed by this experience. There is so much joy wrapped up in the planning and building. All of that said, I think I'm in my happiest places when I pull away from a work day and look at the collection of friends and family that have come together to help. Bringing together new and old faces through a tiny house project is inspiring, grounding, and healing. 
    Jonathon's tiny house with some siding installed. His adorable dog will also be sharing this space.
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    *All photos provided by Dani, Jay, Becky and Jonathon. 

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    Jenna BioJenna Spesard is currently traveling around North America in a DIY Tumbleweed Cypress with her partner, Guillaume. They are photographing and writing about their adventure and occasionally they will be hosting Tumbleweed workshops and open houses. Be sure to follow their tiny house and giant journey.

     

    Written by Jenna Spesard — December 23, 2014

    Filed under: Amish   Barn Raiser   Cypress   Elm   Tiny home   Tiny house  

    Looking ahead to 2015

    Going forward in 2015, we’ve decided to focus exclusively on our tiny homes on wheels (RVs) and remove the cottages from our website. While we do love the cottages, it’s clear that the Cypress, Elm and Mica are the most popular among our fans and we are focusing our entire company on improving those models.

    The Cottages, comprised of our 9 homes on foundations, range from 261 to 874 square feet and are designed to meet the International Building Code. Most states have unique requirements which we are not prepared to handle and we can not build these models. Therefore, we will be licensing these designs to houseplans.com since they work with architects across the country to help individual builders meet their local and state codes.

    Two years ago, we began manufacturing Tumbleweeds as RVs and now we are devoting ourselves 100% to this path. Since 2013, we've added 100’s of options to our models and made them incredibly easy to understand (see here). Tremendous improvements with financing and insurance paved the way for several customers to obtain 100% financing when purchasing their Tumbleweeds. 2015 is promising to provide even more banks and credit unions for customers looking to finance their purchase of a Tumbleweed with rates interest rates starting as low as 4.5%.

    With all the attention tiny houses are receiving interest continues to grow. Our industry is growing up, and it’s important to recognize our role in making the tiny house RV more mainstream and accepted by governing bodies, banks, and insurance companies.

    Written by Steve Weissmann — December 22, 2014

    Q&A with Tiny House Experts

    We asked three of our tiny house experts to answer a few Frequently Asked Questions:  

    ART CORMIER

    Art Cormier / Tumbleweed Workshop Presenter

    Background:

    In 2012, Art completed his Tumbleweed home using SIPS and reclaimed wood and even posted some videos on YouTube explaining how he did it  And that's how we connected - we asked him if he wanted to partake in our Tumbleweed Construction Video and Art obliged. One thing led to another and today Art is traveling the country teaching others the benefits of owning a tiny home. Read more on Art's blog.

    Art's modified Tumbleweed Elm

    Question: What is your favorite part of your tiny space?

    Art: My favorite part of my tiny house?  The love seat when I want to sit,  or the shower when I want to get clean.  Or do I have those confused?

    Art's love seat, which can convert into a bed.

    Q: Do you have any space saving or downsizing advice?
    Art: See video!
     
    Q: What would you do different in your tiny home if you could build it again?
    Art: If I built it again I would have dormers, got to keep up with the neighbors!
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    EDDIE LANZO
    Eddie Lanzo / Tumbleweed Workshop Host
    Background:
    Eddie and his girlfriend Lacey have their almost complete DIY Tumbleweed Cypress parked in a campground in Austin, Texas. Eddie's background is in real estate and he also recently joined the Tumbleweed team as a workshop host. More about their house and build here
    Eddie's DIY Tumbleweed Cypress
    Question:  How are you decorating your tiny space for the holidays?
    Eddie: We have perched a very wintery wreath on the wall for the holidays. That should do it for us. Next year if we're more ambitious, we want to do a stick christmas tree.
    Q:  Clever storage ideas / space saving ideas?
    Eddie: We plan on adding loft beam storage, installing a leaf table, and putting our compost toilet on tracks that slide out from under the storage stairs.
    Eddie's loft with dormers
    Q: What would you do different in your tiny home if you could build it again?
    Eddie: We would've finished plumbing before moving it to the RV park. It’s all “roughed out” but ABS piping still needs to be finished so we can install our sinks.
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    GUILLAUME DUTILH
    Guillaume Dutilh / Tumbleweed Workshop Host
    Background:
    Guillaume and his girlfriend Jenna finished their DIY modified Cypress since September 2014. So far they've traveled over 7,000 miles with their tiny abode, from California to Nova Scotia to Atlanta, while hosting countless open houses and Tumbleweed workshops. Learn more about their tiny house journey here. 
    Guillaume's traveling DIY Cypress
    Question: What do you do when you and your partner need... space?
    Guillaume: We usually just take the dog for a walk since the front door is never that far. 
    Q: What is biggest benefit of having a tiny house?
    Guillaume: Being able to pursue my passion for photography while traveling.
    Q: What would you do different in your tiny home if you could build it again?
    Guillaume: If I could do it again, I'd have my corner porch on the sidewalk side or I would build a full porch (the Elm). Porches are awesome!

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    Jenna BioJenna Spesard is currently traveling around North America in a DIY Tumbleweed Cypress with her partner, Guillaume. They are photographing and writing about their adventure and occasionally they will be hosting Tumbleweed workshops and open houses. Be sure to follow their tiny house and giant journey.

    Written by Jenna Spesard — December 10, 2014

    Filed under: Art Cormier   Cypress   Elm   Experts   Holidays   SIPS   Tiny Home   Tiny House   Tiny House Giant Journey   Tiny SIP House   Tips   Tumbleweed   Workshop  

    10 Tiny House Tricks to Declutter Your Kitchen Counter

    Tumbleweed Linden Kitchen

    In a tiny kitchen, counter space is a luxury and clutter is your enemy. Bare counters are pleasing to the eye and functional for folding laundry, unpacking groceries and food prep. Bulky appliances such as microwaves, toaster ovens and coffee machines will quickly consume your counters.

    So how do you declutter your counters in a tiny kitchen?

    1). Eliminate any gadget that isn’t essential to your daily life. Ask yourself, do I really need a microwave? Do I need it enough to sacrifice the counter space? Do I need it enough to power it with electricity, which might limit my ability to be off-grid? Or, would it be simpler to warm my food on the stove? Key word: SIMPLER. Tiny living is about living a simpler, more fulfilling life. So keep it simple, and try not to overfill your space.

    kitchen

    Tiny House GJ's Kitchen, which consists of a sink and a 3-burner stove.

    2).  Own gadgets / appliances that serve multiple purposes. For example, choose a pot lid that doubles as a strainer. Do you really need a tea kettle (an item that only serves one purpose), or will a pot of boiling water suffice?

    3). Consider alternative appliances that consume less space. For example, this AeroPress can be used to make coffee instead of a standard machine. The AeroPress uses zero electricity and is only a fraction of the size of regular coffee machine. As a bonus, the paper filters are tiny and more compact for storage. Consider a french press too!

    4). Store “pretty” items high. Having high shelves or hangings baskets can clear your counters and harness the underutilized space above your eye-line. Put your “pretty” items, such as festive plates, wine glasses or Grandma’s pasta maker on a display shelf to double as art. Store your fruits and veggies in a hanging basket. Mount a floating dish rack over your sink. Hang your pots and pans from ceiling hooks

    Brittany's Kitchen. Notice the use of the ceiling space & open shelving

    5). Hide “ugly” items. There’s no room for the word “ugly” in a tiny house. Place large or ugly appliances under the counter when not in use - such as blenders or toasters, unless they are beautiful to you!

    6). Create counter space. Purchase a sink cover, such as a cutting board, that will expand your food prep area. Eliminate the counter space allocated for a stove top by using a portable hotplate that can be stored under the counter when not in use.

    Ella's Kitchen. Notice the high corner shelf, the hanging pans and alcohol stove which can be tucked away when not in use.

    7). Mount items to the wall. Use hooks to hang your cutting boards. Magnetize your knives to a wood magnetic knife holder and use magnetic spice holders on your refrigerator.

    JT's Kitchen. Notice the pots and pans hanging high from a wall mount.

    8). Custom containers. Food packaging can be cumbersome and ugly. Why have a box half full of sugar on your counter? Store your flour, sugar, cereal, etc. in small containers or decorative bags that can reduce in size as the food is consumed. Refill as needed.

    Mica Kitchen. Notice the small containers that can be refilled.

    9). Utilize cabinet doors. An old trick, but a good trick. Mount flat or small utensils to the inside of your cabinet doors instead of using a counter utensil rack. If you have a counter skirt, sew pockets into the material for storage.

    Utilize in the inside of cabinet doors. Image credit: here

    Tiny House GJ's Kitchen. Sew pockets into your cabinet skirt. 

    10). Keep Organized. Keeping your kitchen counters bare and organized should be part of your daily routine. Every new appliance or gadget needs to have an appropriate place in your kitchen. Share your own counter space declutter tips below!

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    Jenna BioJenna Spesard is currently living and traveling around North America in a DIY Tumbleweed Cypress with her partner, Guillaume. They are photographing and writing about their adventure and occasionally they will be hosting Tumbleweed workshops and open houses. Be sure to follow their tiny house and giant journey.

    Written by Jenna Spesard — December 04, 2014

    Filed under: Cypress   Dining   Tiny Home   Tiny House Giant Journey   Tiny Kitchen   Tips   Tumbleweed  

    Thanksgiving in a Tiny House

    Thanksgiving 2013 in Tiny House Giant Journey (under construction)

    Can you have dinner guests in a tiny house? Yes, of course. Can you have Thanksgiving Dinner in your tiny house? Well, that depends. When designing your ideal tiny home you’ll need to plan ahead for such occasions.

    Kitchen Space and Appliances.

    When designing your tiny kitchen, appliances tend to be compact to save space. This might mean that your oven is a wee bit too small to hold an enormous turkey! Of course, you can choose to have full size appliances in your tiny kitchen, but consider the infrequency that you’ll be hosting a large dinner party before cramming those items into your cozy kitchen. Bottom line, your tiny kitchen should be designed for everyday use, not for special occasions.

    I suggest asking your dinner guests to bring a dish pre-cooked or try cooking outdoors! Have you ever tried deep frying a turkey outdoors? It's a lot of fun and delicious! You can rent large deep fryers at your local party rental store. Or how about roasting your bird on the BBQ? That's what we did last year.

    You might need to get creative, but anything is possible.

    Seating.

    As with any home, you are limited on the amount of dinner guests you can seat comfortably. In a tiny home your number will be more intimate than the average home, think party of four. We’ve managed to put on a dinner party for five, but it was tight! Our dinning area has a fold down table, a bench and two ottomans. We pulled in one of our lawn chairs for the fifth seat.

    Photo credit: Guillaume Dutilh

    Embrace your lack of space by making your dinner party informal. It can be fun for some of your guests to eat upstairs, with plates on their laps and feet dangling from the loft. Make your dinner party unique and it will be an event your guests will not forget!

    With the above open floorplan there’s enough room in this tiny house for three to eat comfortably at the folding table, while three others can eat in sitting area of the great room!

    You can always host an outdoor dinner party (weather permitted). Appetizers and pre-drinks can take place in the standing room of the tiny house and the main course can be served outdoors at a comfortable picnic table. How lovely!

     Photo credit: Outdoor Thanksgiving 

    Dinnerware.

    Another obstacle you may face is a lack of dishes. After all, being a tiny houser means being a minimalist! Not to worry, you can always ask your guests to BYOB or BYOP (Bring Your Own Bowls of Bring Your Own Plates) and because they’re about to eat dinner in a tiny house, they’ll surely understand.

    Have you ever hosted Thanksgiving in a small space? Please share your stories and tips below!

    Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

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    Jenna BioJenna Spesard is currently living and traveling around North America in a DIY Tumbleweed Cypress with her partner, Guillaume. They are photographing and writing about their adventure and occasionally they will be hosting Tumbleweed workshops and open houses. Be sure to follow their tiny house and giant journey.

     

     

    Written by Jenna Spesard — November 27, 2014

    Filed under: Cypress   Dining   Dinner in a Tiny House   Dinner Party   Thanksgiving   Tiny Home   Tiny House Giant Journey   Tiny Kitchen   Tips   Tumbleweed  
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