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Tumbleweed Tiny House Trailer: Designed Specifically To Improve Your Tiny House Build

tiny-house-trailer-slide-06Introducing our latest innovation! The Tumbleweed Tiny House Trailer! Designed specifically for tiny houses on wheels.

Over the winter we’ve been asking our fans a lot of questions, wanting to know how we can improve your building projects. You’ve told us the most frustrating part of building a tiny house on wheels is finding an appropriate, usable trailer. First locating one, then negotiating a reasonable price and cutting and welding it to size. All this effort can be time-consuming and exhausting. And after all that, you may or may not have a trailer that meets the strict requirements necessary to carry a house on wheels. So we decided we should help you with this laborious process—we developed the Tumbleweed Tiny House Trailer!

The Tumbleweed Tiny House Trailer—designed specifically for tiny houses on wheels!

Made in the US, our quality-built tiny house trailer comes standard with brakes, lights, underside flashing and radial tires. These tires are a significant upgrade from tires usually found on utility trailers and one we feel is extremely important. The tiny house trailer is also available in sizes of 14 ft, 18ft and 20 ft. offering Full Porch, Corner Porch or No Porch and creates a perfect foundation for your home.

And when it comes to attaching your house to the tiny house trailer the techniques have improved greatly. We’ve taken advantage of the latest technology and added threaded galvanized rods which serve as anchor bolts to attach your framing to. Heavy-duty, they are made to withstand major wind-drafting when driving on the open road—after all, you don’t want to lose you house!

Additionally the tiny house trailer allows for an increase of 3.5″ headroom in the house interior. The trailers surface is flat so there’s no need to build up the sub-floor prior to framing—something you cannot achieve on any other regular trailer.

To learn more and purchase your very own Tumbleweed Trailer, click here

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The Other Freedoms of Tiny Houses

The Other Freedoms of Tiny Houses

‘Financial freedom’ is a phrase rooted in the appeal of tiny houses. I used it before I lived in mine because not many people seem to have it, and it was a great reason to give to inquiring minds that must know why the heck you want to build this unusually small house.

It sounds good, ‘financial freedom’, doesn’t it? But though I used the term frequently, I couldn’t know what it would mean to me in real life terms because I wasn’t there yet. Now that I live tiny full time, I am slowly understanding the weight of this, and just how few people really do have it.

The freedom that tiny houses allow isn’t just financial, it’s a full circle of inter-connected possibilities that exemplify the word and absolutely blow my mind. I could write a novel, but here are just a few of the freedoms I find living tiny.

Freedom to Change

I can change things now that would have seemed unchangeable to me with the strings of my conventional life. I can change the position of my house with the seasons or move across the country and take that same house with me.

I have already changed the way I live and think and I’m able to start changing habits that were making me unhappy; I am clean and tidy in my house, I make lists and get way more done. My new part-time job with Tumbleweed that I love is all I need to do because my overhead is so low.

The initial changes of committing to—and building—a tiny house broke the stagnation that held me back and set me on a path of forward movement.

Freedom of Time

If there’s one thing that stresses me out it’s time. Rushing off to get things done on a limit, being somewhere without enough or watching the clock tick by while I had to complete some mindless work task for old jobs that made me wonder what I was doing with my life.

When did you last feel you had plenty of time to do something you wanted to do? To travel, work on a project or spend time with people you love?

The most amazing thing this house has done is that it has given me the time to do what’s important to me. Today, for instance, I sat in the sunshine, called my sister, played banjo in my window seat, swam in the ocean, and after this post I quite think I’m going to make pancakes. Time is potential, how much would it change your life to be the one who chooses how to fill it?

I really could write a novel, because there are so many more. Freedom to explore, to love, to just ‘be’, and I look forward to more and more people discovering and living with their own freedoms in tiny houses.

-Ella Jenkins
Workshop Presenter

Don’t miss Ella at our upcoming workshops:

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Meet Missy

Missy Shenck Green River Preserve Tiny-House-Workshop-Photo Hi, I’m Missy Schenck. In March, I attended the Tumbleweed Tiny House Workshop in Asheville North Carolina. After we talked at the workshop, the Tumbleweed folks invited me to introduce myself and share my tiny house story with you. 

My husband, Sandy, and I own and operate a summer camp, Green River Preserve, located in the Blue Ridge mountains of Western North Carolina just south of Asheville, N.C. Our camp is very unique in that it is located on a 3,400 acre wildlife preserve and the focus of our camp is to connect children with nature. This extraordinary natural setting has inspired sustainability leadership since 1988. Our program offers quality, intentional, experiential learning opportunities that spark diversity of thought and creativity. Our hallmark is to teach children to be better stewards of the land.

In December of 2011, my husband and I went to visit our daughter and her husband in Silverton, Colorado. Our son-in-law, Stephen Mead, is an Ambassador for Outdoor Research. OR was in Silverton that Christmas to film him skiing in the back country. We met OR’s Alex who built a Tiny House to travel for OR in search of big snow and skiing ambassadors and his girlfriend Molly, the writer behind their adventures. They all spent Christmas with our family and we felt we had adopted a new set of children. We fell in love with all of the OR crew and their Tiny House. I knew the moment I set foot in their little house, I had to build one at camp.

When we returned from Silverton, I immediately searched the web for Tumbleweed and joined your blog. I also began a Pinterest board for our camp and have a board for Tiny Houses and have Tumbleweed as a like on our camp Facebook page. When they announced the workshop in Asheville, I decided to give it to myself for my 60th birthday which was the Tuesday following the workshop. It was a great present – thank you Tumbleweed! I posted a photo of me on the porch of the Lusby at the workshop and within 24 hours, we had over 7,000 people see it from our camp Facebook page. It was a hit.

This winter there was a big ice storm in our area. Many trees either fell or died from the storm. Yesterday, we began the tough task of the storm clean up on our 3,400 acres. Every building on our campus has been built from wood from the Preserve, so when we do harvest trees, we put aside the wood for future building. We began the harvest yesterday of the storm trees which include pine, oak, hemlock, and maple trees. We will be using some of them to build our Tiny House.

Girls in the CreekWe also began our Tiny House Documentary. We are very fortunate to have both a professional photographer and a film maker on our staff, so we are in great hopes of making many small videos as well as a documentary of the entire Green River Preserve Tiny House. Posts on all of our social media networks will include the GRP Tiny House Journey or as we have nicknamed it at our office, “Camp to Go!” – a mobile Environmental Education Classroom. Having the campers participate in the building of it this summer is a key objective, but we also plan to use the project to connect kids with nature, teach sustainability, and inspire a sense of wonder and curiosity. Our goal is to have the trailer and framework completed by the opening of camp in June and to allow campers to help with some of the building this summer. We are going to have our artist in residence design and paint with the children an interior mural of the map of the Preserve and on the exterior of the house we will also have a mural.

I’m so glad I stumbled upon this amazing movement, and I hope sharing our story will spark something in others as well. We’ll be updating our story as it progresses and we look forward to sharing the magic that grows from this project with the enthusiasts out there, as well as people who haven’t yet heard of tiny houses.

-Missy Schenck
Green River Preserve

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Punch! Home & Landscape Design Professional

An Affordable Drafting Solution;

I took drafting for a couple years in high school. Later I took printing classes at the same high school, and landscape drafting and a couple introductory AutoCAD classes in college. Just enough to get simple computer drafting basics down, and appreciate how deeply complex big architectural drawings can be. And let’s not forget how hard it is to get something printed properly!

Since I began designing houses as a kid I’ve sketched them on paper, but they get lost and tend to lay around unfinished. Sometimes I need to make changes but if I change anything it looks a mess and I can’t stand it so I just start over. Plus there’s the limitations on sharing and sending paper documents, and storing one of a kind originals safely. I needed to capture my ideas in finished form electronically, so I could tweak and refine endlessly and share the results. I needed something simple enough to get me through the process a lot faster than sketching, and affordable enough to make sense in my budget.

 

A floor plan for a simple food cart.

A floor plan for a simple food cart.

I shopped around, read reviews, and  in the end I bought Punch! Home & Landscape Design Professional NexGen3. I had used an earlier version of their affordable architectural drafting program years ago and found it functional and a million miles easier than AutoCAD for quick projects. The only reason it wasn’t working for us anymore was because of incompatibility with our current Windows operating system, which caused it to run slowly. This newer version is quick, simple, and does most of what I want it to, and I’m happy I spent the money. Roof-lines are hard to get exactly right and I’m still having trouble with 3D; changing the color of objects, making built in cabinetry, and creating good 3D views that show interior details well. I also played around with exterior house trim but I couldn’t get it to go where I wanted and I couldn’t take it off once I put it on. I’m still tinkering and learning a little each day.

Here's a mockup of a larger portable kitchen design.

Here’s a mockup of a larger portable kitchen design.

The only major issue I’ve had since I began using this newer version is printing. In the old version, you could export your drawings as a bitmap. It wasn’t ideal, but I could open the bitmap with photo editing software, save it in a more compact and common file type and print and share it as needed. Now I can only export into .dfx or.dwg drawings, or VRML or 3D still images. As I understand it, .dfx is an open source CAD data file format developed by AutoDesk, and .dwg is the native file format in AutoCAD ( feel free to correct me if I’m wrong, my information is years old and may be out of date). To print those without sending them to my local architectural printing service to be run on their plotters, I’d have to run them through a converter, like AutoCAD DWG to Image Converter, one of many that can be gotten free from CNET and other download sites. Otherwise I’m reduced to taking screen shots of my drawings, which is how I produced my sample images.

This stumbling block is a little deeper than simply an issue of getting a print out or a useable file showing your design. In AutoCAD world, all lines have a default line weight (of .01 back in the day when I learned it). For working purposes, all lines display on the screen at readable thickness proportional to the screen you’re looking at. It’s only when you try to print your work that the near unreadable tiny lines become apparent. As an AutoCAD beginner, you go back and change all your line weights and from then on you start your drawings with a template that establishes weights for all the most common types of objects and lines used in your drawings. I didn’t have to deal with all this on the older simpler version, and now it appears I will have to go back to the work flow of creating templates and always opening them up to start a new drawing.

Ground Floor Sleeping Plans - Back View of Exterior Storage

Ground Floor Sleeping Plans – Back View of Exterior Storage

There’s an animation export option as well, but the menu item is grayed out for me. I imagine that’s because I haven’t seen how to capture an animation, so there are no animation files to export. It implies that if I took the time to go through the tutorials and learn more about this program I could “record” three dimensional animated walk-through “videos”, which would be great.

Punch offers several price points you can buy into for home design software, one with just the basics, one with more of a landscape library, others with more 3D capability, and even a couple of Mac versions,  Home Design Studio for $149.99 and Home Design Studio Pro for $249.99, which I have yet to try. I see they also have specialized software just for bathrooms, kitchens, landscapes, and interiors. I’m still not entirely sure I’m using all the features I paid for at the $179 version I bought, but I was seduced by the idea of the library of 3D objects, ability to edit and create my own 3D stuff, and somewhat realistic 3D rendering. I want to fully decorate and accessorize my designs in 3D because it’s an immensely powerful way to road test design ideas without making so many costly real world mistakes. Obviously the library of objects contains a lot of huge things, but it’s relatively easy to re-size them to tiny house proportions. I haven’t tried my hand at using the 3D object design tool to create a true scale trailer for a tiny house foundation yet. That will be an upcoming project as time allows. So far I just draft my houses 20″ or so off the ground.

To someone who has never had any computer drafting experience at all, this could be a workable solution for you, but expect to use the tutorials, be patient, and take your time. If you’ve used other drafting programs in the past I would say this package presents a nice balance of capability and simplicity. Ultimately, I haven’t yet tried to create a set of plans to apply for a building permit, much less actually build from, and therein lies the true test.

-Pepper Clark
Workshop Presenter
Designer

Don’t miss Pepper at one of our upcoming Tiny House Workshops!

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Finding a Place For Your Tiny House: Renting

 ella-004-M_1024x1024

So let’s say you’ve just built a wonderful Tumbleweed. Construction is over and you’re ready to move in, but where do you put it? Where can you live in your wee house on wheels?

Renting space on someone else’s property may not work for everyone, but it can be a great solution for those who don’t have the resources to purchase property of their own. I currently rent in my tiny house so I’d like to share some tips on how to find the perfect place for you.

ella-049-M_1024x1024 (1)Make a Picture Portfolio


Take good pictures of all aspects of your house and put them in a professional looking format so you can immediately show people what you’re talking about. Not only will the visual get them on the right page but having something organized to tell the story of your house makes you seem that much more credible. Carry it with you everywhere and show it off. Make sure to have pictures of everything you would tell prospective landlords about; water and electric connections, your propane tank, toilet etc. You may want to include some construction shots at the end. See more images of Ellas Fencl.

Tell Everyone

EVERYONE. You never know who knows who, so tell anyone that will listen what you’re up to.

tw-bc-ellaHand out Contact Cards


Give cards with your information to people you talk with. They may not be able to think of anything helpful in the moment, but if they do later you want them to be able to get back to you.

Follow Every Lead

If someone indicates that an acquaintance of theirs might be a possibility, see if they can get you in touch. It might not pan out, but then again it might so be proactive. My landlords are friends of friends of a family member.

Know What you Want

Think about what it is that you’re looking for and don’t leap for an opportunity if it doesn’t feel right. Even though I found a place in the first few days of my search that was happy to have me, it didn’t line up with what I was looking for and I found myself unenthused and nervous about it. My current spot is amazing and I knew as soon as I saw it that I couldn’t wait to live here.

Don’t Give Up

It might feel like you’re getting nowhere, but keep going and try not to let it get you down. I only spent 2 weeks actively searching for my new location but it seemed like ages and I was never going to find anything.

Renting in a tiny house can give you the best parts of the rental system. You own your house so you don’t have to worry about putting nails in the walls, you don’t have to be tied down by owning property, and if you should need to move, you can pick up your house and go. All that changes is what’s outside your window.  

-Ella Jenkins
Workshop Presenter 

Don’t miss Ella at our upcoming workshops:

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