Big Dreams For A Tiny Movement — How Nicola Marchi Came To Design For Tiny Tumbleweed.
“You can design your way out of any problem, given enough notice.” These are the sage words of Italian native and the newest addition to the Tumbleweed design department, Nicola Marchi. Solving just such a problem as part of a study assignment at the Illinois Institute of Technology led Nicola to discover Tumbleweed. He was immediately struck by the houses, “I thought they offered solutions to so many of the issues we encounter in our modern society today.”
Soon after graduating, Nicola attended a Tumbleweed Workshop in Seattle, and was immensely impressed by designer Ross Chapin, who presented there. At the end of the workshop Nicola approached Ross and asked if he knew of any architects in the area looking for interns. As luck would have it, Tumbleweed’s President, Steve Weissman just happened to be standing 5 feet away and he was looking for a Tumbleweed design intern!
The rest is history…Nicola moved to Sonoma, CA to join the Tumbleweed design team as an intern in February 2013 and was immediately given a heavy-duty assignment: design a purpose-built trailer specifically for Tumbleweed’s houses-to-go. It was an overwhelming assignment but Nicola worked diligently to bring it to fruition. And now Tumbleweed can claim the “first” purpose-built trailer for the tiny house-to-go market.
Nicola’s brilliant trailer design is now offered in 3 lengths with 3 different porch configurations and is built to the highest standards of strength and durability. The custom trailer eliminates the aggravation of locating, purchasing and converting an existing trailer on which to build a house—and you can rest assured that the strict requirements necessary to carry a house have all been met and exceeded!
Nicola is now working on his next top secret project—one that’s sure to take the tiny house movement by storm yet again.
When not designing for Tumbleweed, Nicola loves to hike, ski, snow-board and is an avid reader, with a special affinity for science fiction. Nicola lives in a 14’x7’ space near Tumbleweed’s HQ in Sonoma, which fits well with his passion for sustainable living.
[62 mins] What is home? And how do we find it? TINY follows one couple’s attempt to build a Tiny House from scratch with no building experience, and profiles other families who have downsized their lives into houses smaller than the average parking space. Through homes stripped down to their essentials, the film raises questions about sustainability, good design, and the changing American Dream. Fresh off its premiere at SXSW 2013, TINY, will feel perfectly sized for an outdoor screening in the street-turnedpedestrian plaza atmosphere of Annie Alley. This sneak peek of the 2013 San Francisco Green Film Festival will be followed by a panel discussion with the filmmakers.
Co-presented by the San Francisco Green Film Festival and generously sponsored by the Yerba Buena Community Benefit District.
Write A Bumper Sticker And You Could Win A Set Of Cypress 20 Plans (a $759 value)
When you’re cruising the open road towing the Tumbleweed Tiny Home of your dreams what would your bumper sticker say? What would you like to tell the world about your tiny lifestyle? Why do you love small?
Get creative, write something brilliant and tiny home/lifestyle oriented and you could win a set of Cypress 20 Plans! PLUS we’ll produce your winning bumper sticker for everyone to buy on our website! You’ll be famous, you’ll be able to point and say “I wrote that!”
How To Enter: Post your entry as a comment on our blog titled “Write A Bumper Sticker Competition” and we’ll choose a winner on Friday May 31st 2013. You can enter as many times as you want! Winner will be announced on our blog and contacted via email no later than Monday June 3rd, 2013.
Legal Stuff: Winner will receive one (1) set of Cypress 20 building plans (value $795). Tumbleweed Tiny House Company will own the winning entry outright. Winner will not receive any monetary compensation. Winner cannot substitute Cypress 20 plans for any other plans.
When looking at pictures of tiny houses with tiny porches, there’s often a part of the mind that wonders whether this space wouldn’t be better made use of inside the living area instead of out. It is a logical thought when considering every ½” of your design, but I want to highlight some of the saving graces to tiny porches that I believe make them worth it.
Using Your Tiny Porch As An Exterior Work Surface
During construction, I quickly got over my uncertainty about the Fencl half-porch when it became one of my primary work surfaces. Being level and close to the project, I clamped, cut and sanded lumber, and put together countless small sections of my house there. Now the build is done, I still use the tiny porch as a work surface whenever I have projects I’m likely to make a mess with.
A Transitional Place to Sit
I love to sit on my tiny porch when the weather is nice. Out there I’m not quite in my house, but I haven’t really left either. Even though I have places for sitting further away, I always prefer the tiny porch.
Your Tiny Porch—A Shelter From the Storm
When you come home in the evening and it’s raining cats, dogs and small hamsters, having a covered area to hover in for the moment it takes to get your door open is quite the relief.
The Classic House
Aside from functional benefits, porches are a familiar aspect of the classic house image. Small as they are on a tiny house, the attached exterior space still imparts the distinct look and feel of a complete house.
So there you have some reasons why tiny porches can be practical even in tiny spaces. Anyone considering going porch-less?
This series discusses the “What”, the “How” and “Why” of Tiny House Living
The tiny house living concept raises a lot of questions for tiny house visionaries on their quest for freedom, simplicity, and personal fulfillment. In this series we answer some of their queries and explore the lifestyle a little more deeply.
We hope you find this series enjoyable, thoughtful and thought-provoking!
Tiny House Living: Cost Versus Lifestyle Value
At some point, people new to the tiny house living always ask the same question: “Is it cheap to build a tiny house because it’s so small?”
In a word, no. It’s true that it’s much more affordable to own and maintain a tiny house once it’s built rather than a conventional house, but the most expensive parts of a habitable dwelling are the core systems; climate control, plumbing, electrical, and appliances. All those systems provide a quality shelter. In a tiny house those systems are used and viewed at close quarters and often need to be specialized. For example, Tumbleweed’s plans call for the smallest, safest propane fireplace designed for use on boats, so there’s very little danger of fire. It’s a beautiful little piece of clean modern design, and it also happens to be quite expensive!
Other appliances offer similar challenges. I buy bathroom ceiling fans for my tiny houses because I value the active ventilation they provide. But I spend a good bit of money on them because I prefer extremely quiet fans. In a big house you can flip the fan on and walk away. However, in a tiny house, if the fan has a high decibel rating it will be roaring away in close proximity.
Further, many tiny houses are beautiful gems of custom construction. Created with an exceptional level of quality throughout the build. Cedar plank siding, stainless steel siding nails, all plywood sheathing, rigid foam insulation, solid wood floor and wall coverings, premium low VOC finishes and more.
There are some moments when it feels like it’s cheap to build a tiny house. When buying flooring, for example, it hurts a lot less to multiply your cost per square foot by 120 than by 2000. This is delightful when you price materials and do the math, but it can get you in trouble. If you’re like me, you might have a tendency to shop higher end because of the smaller figures involved. I have to watch myself and make sure I’m selecting upgrades that are more than simply cosmetic. I stick to options that provide superior performance or meet my personal environmental impact criteria.
In the end, you might be startled to find out that the tiny house is amazingly economical, until you calculate the cost per square foot.
In our next segment we’ll go into more detail on all the upsides to the tiny house lifestyle; quality, control, financial freedom, environmental benefits, and the profound relief of simplifying our lives.