It’s a challenge to fit all the creature comforts of a traditional house in less than 200 square feet; making that tiny space functional AND beautiful is nearly impossible. A good Tiny House RV design takes innovation, patience and, most of all, a creative soul. This week I interviewed Laura Schmitz, designer of our new Tumbleweed models: Farallon and Roanoke.

Tiny House RV Design: Interview with Laura Schmitz

Why did you gravitate to Tiny House RV design?

While in grad school for architecture, I spent a lot of time researching alternative housing.  I was inspired by the concepts earthships, but wanted to focus on something faster to build, less labor intensive, and more compatible with an urban setting. When I came across Tiny House RVs, they seemed very feasible. I decided I would design and build my own and convinced my partner that this was a great idea.  The experience of building something myself after architecture school as well as experimenting with sustainable construction techniques appealed to me.

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Laura’s concept sketches for the Farallon exterior

After grad school, I continued to work on my Tiny design outside of my 9-5, researching building methods, off-grid technology, and land options. I joined a Tiny House Enthusiasts Meetup Group in Denver, where I volunteered on other people’s builds. A friend tipped me off on a job opportunity at Tumbleweed and I was amazed that I could get paid doing what I did in my free time!

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What was your inspiration for the Tumbleweed Farallon and Roanoke?

We began the design process by listening to input from our customers, who were interested in: first floor bedrooms, more storage, updated appliances, new material options, and a modern style. For the visual aesthetic of the Farallon, I drew from Scandinavian designs of modern interpretations of traditional farmhouses. Inside the Farallon, I was interested in providing flexibility with both a loft and first floor bedroom. Tiny House RVs should be able to flex and change with your life over time.

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The Tumbleweed Farallon has a modern aesthetic of clean lines and a rich palette of materials.

The Roanoke is even simpler, with four sides to its profile instead of five. With the door on the long side, it offers an alternative orientation on the same Low-wider trailer.

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Tumbleweed Roanoke design

How did the Farallon and Roanoke get their names?

The Tumbleweed Cypress and Elm designs are named after trees. We wanted to distinguish the Farallon and Roanoke with a different theme but still have them relate to nature.  The Farallon and Roanoke are both islands.  The Farallon Islands are off the coast of California in the Pacific, while the Roanoke is an island off the coast of North Carolina in the Atlantic.

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Plenty of light flowing into a Tumbleweed Roanoke with a traditional pine interior

What do you love about Tiny House RV design?

I love that it’s reasonable, logical and based in reality, yet allows for endless dreaming and creative solutions. Our clients are designing the lifestyle of their dreams, facilitated, in part, by this Tiny House RV which accommodates all of their unique wants and needs – from cat litter boxes to canning jar shelves to kayaks to bath tubs!

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Laura’s tiny sketches and tiny mockup for her own design

How will you design your own?

My partner and I will be building on a budget so the aesthetic may end up being a bit more eclectic, based on what materials we can gather and salvage. The design will have a dedicated space for our bikes and for his music stuff that he uses every day. We do plan on building on a Low-Wider trailer with a shed roof, so I guess it would be considered a Roanoke. We plan to start building in Spring 2017.


*For more of Laura Schmitz’s work and updates on her future Tiny House RV build, check her website


Jenna BioBlog Author: Jenna Spesard is currently traveling around North America in a custom Tumbleweed Cypress. She writes about Tiny House RVs and travel on her blog: “Tiny House Giant Journey.”