Big Dreams! How Nicola Marchi Came To Be A Tumbleweed Designer

Nicola-tumbleweed-designBig 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.

  • ferrelljennifer

    Congrats on your new position! You did a fabulous job designing the trailer! I wish you the best.
    Kindest regards,

    • Nicola Marchi

      Thank you Jennifer

  • Holly Maloney Geary

    Congrats! I hope the big secret is a pyramidial house! Perfect proportions, synergetic design!

  • Timaree

    That sounds great! The idea of obtaining and altering a trailer can be a huge stumbling block. Do you have one sized for the XS house?

  • Jody Bearce

    Great job on the new trailer design. Heard about it at the Boston workshop.
    How do you put basement storage under the trailer like they do with RV’s on your trailer? Also from your first picture is the new roof design going to be more air-o-dynamic when driving down the road on your trailer? Is this your next secret project?

  • Tony

    Congrats. In the first photo, what materials are you using to build your stick-frame model?

    • Nicola Marchi

      I built the stick frame out of the miniature dimensional lumber you can find in most modeling stores. I generally go with the basswood instead of the balsa wood because it’s a bit more sturdy to nail into. I am actually using miniature nails, or “track fixing pins” for model railroads, to frame out the house. I even use a miniature hammer to put it all together.

  • Julie Sheehan

    Hi Nicola – The design of the trailer must have been a challenge, but it’s great to know that Tumbleweed now has such a ready-made option for home builders. Looking forward to discovering what your next project is about. Julie
    P.S. – I already like your t-shirt, so appropriate for you.

    • Nicola Marchi

      Funny story about that shirt. I consider it my lucky shirt because I met my current boss while I was wearing it. When I was at the Seattle workshop and looking through the DIY book, I found Steve staring at me, to only then proudly tell me, with a really big smile, that X was equal to 5.

      • Julie Sheehan

        Definitely, your good luck shirt. Thanks for the background story. Keep up the good work.

  • gjg

    Thanks for getting to the bottom of what initially deters many Tumbleweeds DIY projects. Is there manufacturing and availability information?

  • Kristen Guy

    Congratulations Nicola and Tumbleweed for your new innovation! I would love to see a solution that can be pulled by smaller cars, like a smart car or Toyota Yaris for example (I drive the latter). I really don’t see the point in having to purchase a huge gas guzzling monstrosity on 4 wheels in order to pull your off grid house around. I’d be VERY VERY VERY interested to know if there will ever be a solution for this. I am hoping this is the new top secret project you are working on! If not, please say you’ll consider tackling it in the future!


    Like……? A gigantic strofoam cooler on wheels with infatable furniture ! Pulled by a moped



  • Bob

    Дом как бизнес-начни с малого.

    The house as a business start small.


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