Little House in Alaska

Once upon a time, Arianne and Sean lived in two separate houses in Las Vegas. Between the two dwellings, the couple had over 4,000 square feet combined. So how did they end up spending “happily ever after” in an Alaskan abode surmounting to no more than 150 square feet? Well, it all started with a newspaper clipping…

Arianne had always considered downsizing and living tiny, but it wasn’t until her mother sent her a crinkled photograph of a Tumbleweed featured in the Denver Post that she truly fell in love. “I used to dream about it.” Arianne admitted. “Sean and I wanted to live a greener lifestyle.” Her partner is an engineer in sustainable and renewable energy. Minimizing would help open other doors for the couple as well, including a big move to a certain beautiful and adventurous state.

With an Alaskan tiny house on the menu, Arianne and Sean teamed up with Tumbleweed to design their perfect abode – an Elm. The couple knew the main course of this particular tundra was best served cold, which meant a higher R-value insulation and electric heating in the floors. They also customized their house to have four skylights, and two lofts!

But once the house was complete, Arianne and Sean faced another challenge – getting their house from the Tumbleweed build site in Colorado to Anchorage. Their journey began with a cross-country road trip, including a stroll up the gorgeous Pacific Coast Highway.

Next the couple took to the sea, as they boarded the Alaskan Marine Highway Ferry. “Most people were boarding cars, but we pulled up towing a house!

The workers were surprised to say the least.” Arianne chuckled, remembering. “They said it was the first house they ever loaded onto the ferry, and it barely fit!” She recalls seeing numerous whales along the swaying careen up the west coast of Canada and Alaska. Finally, they docked in Anchorage, and set out to begin their new life.

Now, half a year later, Arianne works locally for the Air Force piloting C-17s – a plane that could fit six Tumbleweeds inside! She and Sean are enjoying their new house, new location, and new neighbors – most recently a curious moose greeted them one morning, resting his head on their front porch!

Who knows, maybe he is interested in a tiny house with a little extra antler-room?

*All photos provided by Arianne and Sean

By |2021-12-09T09:54:27-07:00June 11th, 2014|Categories: Tumbleweed Owners|Tags: |2 Comments

About the Author:

Jenna Spesard built a Tumbleweed in 2014 and traveled with it for one year. She clocked over 25,000 miles, and now parks in a Tiny House Village. She writes about the Tiny House Movement on her blog Tiny House Giant Journey.


  1. G.A Hart May 17, 2021 at 5:33 pm - Reply

    The state ferry has never docked in Anchorage, maybe they got off in Whittier or homer.

  2. Suzy Brown September 10, 2022 at 10:17 am - Reply

    Dear Jay: Wide trailer, left side porch open, right side porch bedroom. Loft living room to large bathroom, entrance to bathroom in hallway to the right or left, window at end of hall or back porch. Stairs to upstairs loft in front of bathroom. End of upstairs – one side bedroom, one side bathroom, kitchen on side. Fireplace on other side of upstairs loft. Tall house upstairs and Navy Blue roof, maybe. Upstairs kitchen Rust with Navy Blue and Almond and Tan, maybe. Bathroom tile with heater and sliding door so that heat can escape (heaters in bathroom. Bathroom shower has stairs and trays to catch the water that are in hallway. Kitchen has propane oven/stove and sink that empties in to bucket. Counter, sink, counter, oven. Toilets are 5 gallon buckets, two seats – one with garbage bag. This house has fire for heat, propane for heat and oven and electrical hook-ups (if available) for electronics. All sinks are buckets and so are toilets. I wanted to share this design for the wide trailer. I’ve had some help and worked on this for years. Please use my ideas. Thank you, Suzy

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