A couple stands in front of a Tumbleweed tiny house on wheels with a wooden exterior. A black and white dog sits at their feet, the scene softly illuminated by the dusk light filtering through the trees in the background.

Shawn and Luise caught the tiny-house-bug several years ago. After attending a Tumbleweed workshop and purchasing a trailer in 2013, it took three years for the couple to finish their “Runaway Shanty.” Last week I interviewed Shawn and Luise to discuss their construction process and personal experience going tiny.

“(The construction process) was a really hard test on both our relationship and our own strength of will.” – Shawn and Luise

Shawn and Luis were faced with many challenges during their build: obtaining finances, resources, and managing construction with their full time jobs. In the end, all their hard work paid off. Runaway Shanty is absolutely stunning! Perhaps the most unique aspect of their design is the gambrel (barn-shaped) roofline.


Shawn and Luise love their gambrel roof, but it did make construction more difficult. For one, they needed to hire professional help and, secondly, it complicated the installation of their wood stove pipe which required a custom boot.

Runaway Shanty

“If we had anticipated the struggle beforehand, it would have influenced our decision against this kind of roof.” – Shawn and Luise

Efficiency was an important factor in Shawn and Luise’s design. They imported special triple pane windows from Europe to increase their overall R-Value. The Kimberly wood stove, known for being extremely efficient, was also installed. Other “must have items” included: skylights, handmade materials such as their barn door from Better Barns Reproduction Hardware, travel souvenirs, Shawn’s collection of books and Luise’s grandmother’s household items.


Using personal belongings, such as family heirlooms, as functional decor will bring joy into your tiny space.

The couple moved into Runaway Shanty just a few weeks ago. New chores, such as refilling the water tank, are becoming part of their daily routine. Meanwhile their dog, Sophie, has enjoyed sprawling out on the couch as Luise and Shawn peacefully sleep in the loft.


“It makes us appreciate everything we have.” – Shawn and Luise

Even though Shawn and Luise thought about giving up many times during their build, they persevered. For some, the journey to tiny ownership can be a long an winding road, marked with hurdles that are difficult to overcome. If you’re truly passionate about becoming part of this movement, don’t give up.


Advice from Shawn and Luise:

“There is no shame in hiring someone to help you construct your Tiny House RV. We really wanted to be able to say that we completely built it ourselves, but given our full time jobs and the little knowledge we had, it just wasn’t possible. If we had to start over again, we would probably order a finished home from a Tiny House Company.”

*Click here for: 8 reasons you should buy instead of build

Runaway Shanty

What’s next for Shawn, Luise and their Runaway Shanty?

Now that Runaway Shanty is complete, Shawn and Luise are getting ready to hit the road. They plan on towing their Tiny House RV from Connecticut to California to settle in a community.

*Follow Runaway Shanty on their website and Facebook.