TINY: A Story About Living Small

TINY: A Story About Living Small

West Coast Film Premiere

Date & Time: Wednesday, May 22, 2013 / 7:00 pm
Location: SPUR / Annie Alley / San Francisco
In person:Merete Mueller, Christopher Smith

Watch Trailer | Download Program Guide (PDF)

[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.


Competition! Write a Bumper Sticker and WIN Cypress 20 Plans!



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.


Tiny Porch Design For Your Tiny Tumbleweed Home

tumbleweed-tiny-porch-016-MWhen 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?

- Ella Jenkins
Workshop Presenter


Tiny House Living Series: Q and A



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.

Pepper Clark
-Workshop Presenter & Designer


Tiny Houses on Display in Boulder


I’ve just returned from Tumbleweed’s Boulder workshop on tiny houses, along with Joe and Shelby, and I’m savoring some great memories. What can I say? Boulder workshop attendees were just about the luckiest Tumbleweed fans alive. Through a special convergence of events, we were able to see three different tiny houses; a lovely visiting Vardo, the Fencl, and the brand new Cypress 20.

Our weekend started off with local research. On Friday we stopped at the Boulder Land Use Planning Division to ask about tiny houses and cottages. As always, tiny houses are not specifically defined in the existing codes. Cottages should have no problems, but it was explained there wasn’t much available land in Boulder proper. Though we didn’t get any actionable info, the woman we spoke to was friendly and open in her attitude toward our questions, and was very happy to help us track down information. I felt like we accomplished something in the sense of planting the seed in another official’s mind about tiny houses – you never know, she may someday have a chance to influence things.

Then we were off to the Friday night mixer. We all gathered in Coach’s, the sports bar at the Millennium Hotel where the workshop would place. I’d guess about 35 people mingled and got to know us and each other. It was a purely social event, and our common interests and love of tiny houses drew us into great conversations about our favorite topics; cooperative building support, tiny house communities, and the lifestyle shifts that come with downsizing and simplifying.

On Saturday we posted sheets for a mutual contact list, resources and ideas from the audience. Folks were encouraged to put their resources on the list, and their names and info on the contact sheet to be shared among the participants, so they could connect for mutual support, advice and maybe even hands on help. Then we settled down to business and began our step by step tiny houses journey. We started off with the legalities and logistics of tiny house living, then explained about plans and discussed design principles. From there we moved sequentially through the process of building, covering materials and methods for each phase. Just before lunch, we had a short talk from Sarah of Pie it Forward, where she explained her background, her adventures with Chris and their pastry mission. She then graciously allowed the whole workshop group to check out her own tiny house, the Vardo close up. Joe, Shelby, and I fielded a lot of great questions during breaks and Saturday ended with us wrapping up our session on doors and windows.

cypress20-300Sunday we continued our tiny house building journey, and the highlight of the day was the collection of Tumbleweed tiny houses with the Cypress and Fencl arriving in time for the lunch break. It was wonderful to see the excitement in the group observing three different tiny houses at once. Of course the Fencl is a favorite, and it certainly got a lot of attention – but for me the 20 foot long Cypress was a whole new experience and a joy to behold. The new design is lovely; within the popular Fencl exterior it boasts a split bathroom, a great room with a sofa that will soon have a fold down Murphy bed above it, a queen size loft, and a generous kitchen. It includes many of the most requested features we hear about from tiny house fans, and I look forward to seeing how our audience receives and adapts it.

At the end of the say Sunday, Dave Fisher of The Shed Yard in Colorado Springs, Tumbleweed’s approved builder, took over the show for a while to talk about interior finish. It brought a very direct and immediate feel to have a session taught by the guy who just finished building out the tiny houses the audience toured.

It’s always a pleasure to meet tiny house fans, and our audience in Boulder was no exception – we had suggestions, feedback, and participation from so many insightful and passionate people, we came away inspired all over again!

- Pepper Clark
Workshop Presenter & Designer



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