Can a city boy build his dream homestead on a mountain, by himself and with no mortgage?

Posts tagged “camping trailer

thoughts on the tiny tumbleweed towable trailer homes…

A few weeks ago I drove up to Bodega Bay, CA to see an actual Tumbleweed Tiny House in person. Jay Shafer and his Tumbleweed Tiny House Company have had a lot of media coverage in the past year and I’ve been dying to actually see one of his homes in person. A charming and quite talented couple had built Jay’s “Lusby” model home to sell and they held an open house…see the Tumbleweed post here!

The house was adorable…

The 7500 lb. house is easily towed by a 3/4 ton pickup truck!

Check out the high level of fit and finish, it was stunningly well-built…

The kitchen was small but complete and the bathroom was surprisingly spacious…

The interior was beautifully done, hand-crafted cabinets & doors, solid construction, open airy feel with light woods, high quality fixtures and all-around terrific finish work. The shower was unexpectedly roomy and the upper loft area would be a magnificent place in which to wake up!

For some great pictures, scroll down through the blog post on the Tumbleweed site and on the Pepper Clark’s For Sale page here! 
It was a brisk (ccccold actually) and windy day at the bay. A crowd had formed as soon as the house was opened so I only had a few minutes inside. The thought that kept going through my head was how well-designed and built the home was and at the same time, how tiny it really was.
I know there is a lot of downsizing going on now and these popular trailer houses are definitely much more solid than a standard RV trailer but it was reeeeeally small inside! I suppose the weight limitations would make a larger/longer house too heavy to pull with a pick-up truck. Still, I’d love to build a larger main cabin and be able to move it where and whenever I wanted.  I’ll have to give this all some thought.

Great job Pepper, Jay and that shy guy who did the finish carpentry!


keeping the down low nice and low down

I was corresponding to a fact-checker from Westways Magazine yesterday, they’re including my cabin and this blog in an upcoming article on tiny houses. I told my good friend Garzo about it and Garzo brought up a great point.

Westways Magazine is circulated and read by pretty much anyone in California with a AAA membership and that’s a heck of a lot of people! When I started this blog, it was more of a cathartic experience, a “real-world hard-copy” record of my cabin construction.  It would serve to keep me motivated and on track. Heck, if I opened my big yap and told the Internet that I’d do something, I sure better get it done!

In the past year or so, my regular readership has grown into the thousands. I get a decent amount of email and so far, ALL of it has been kind and supportive. Now, with the exposure to potentially hundreds of thousands of new readers I want to ask a favor…

Will you all please keep my location secret? My master plan relies on the discretion of everyone involved. While everything I’m doing is intentionally “street-legal” I’d really prefer to stay well below the radar. I’m an extremely private person with a career in the entertainment biz (go figure) and I’d love this whole cabin thing to stay on the down low. My mountain is my refuge from the world and I’d hate to lose my one small piece of serenity.

It was a big decision for me to open up and share my project with the magazine and I’m a little jittery about it. The writer was extremely kind and I trust her to be discrete.

Ultimately as I build more, I’ll reveal more details. For now though, I’m good with anonymous.

thanks guys, I know you all understand.

e.

(hiding under the couch with the cat and a bottle of Cuervo)


so what aBOUT that trailer?

I got an email a few weeks back from a very nice woman asking me if I’d be interested in talking to her about my cabin and my blog. She is from Westways magazine, the SoCal AAA’s monthly. She was doing an article on tiny houses and the folks who love them. I called her back and had a lovely conversation. She asked me lots of questions about my cabin project and also about my lifestyle.

This past week she emailed again, asking me for pictures and my permission to use our conversation for her article. I was VERY surprised but also kind of happy. Westways is one of the magazines I enjoy and I’m a big cheerleader for this new “tiny house” movement that seems to be underway.  Hopefully the next issue will mention me and some of the others involved in the movement! (big shout out to my online hero Michael Janzen!)

In subsequent emails, J (the writer) asked a lot of questions on how I make do with the limited space and how I was transitioning to a smaller, more efficient lifestyle. It occurred to me that although my cabin is only 120 sq ft, a lot of slack is picked up by my camping trailer, parked right next to the cabin.

I never really talked about the trailer while construction was under way so I thought I’d write a few lines about how it is really helping to make my dream life possible.

I think the most important service the trailer provides is hot, running water! There is a 100 gallon tank on board and a propane water heater. I truck the water up in those 5 gallon buckets from the Home Depot. On the outside back wall is a small panel hiding an outdoor shower. It’s an amazing thing that I use regardless of the weather. There is nothing like standing on the side of a mountain naked as a jaybird, taking a hot shower while admiring granite peaks!

inside the trailer is a full kitchen and bathroom. There is a small tub with a stall shower in case the wind is too blustery for showering al fresco, LOL. You can see the bathroom vanity/sink in the rear, the tub and a flush toilet is in that room to the right of the door.

The kitchen has a propane fridge/freezer and a 3 burner stove with a decent sized oven. A double sink and ample cabinet space makes this a completely useable full-time kitchen.

There are 2 bench seats that turn into single beds (for extra guests) and a dining table that folds and stows in the back.

There is a queen sized bed up in the loft and a full 6′ of clearance below. These pics were taken last year, I now have a desk and some filing cabinets under the loft bed, I use it as my office space.

The rear wall is actually a garage door and folds down, completely opening up the back with a spectacular view. I installed an aftermarket screen and usually work with the wall opened up.

The trailer is 8′ wide by 22′ long, a total of 176 sq ft.  There are many tiny house owners living in far less than my 120+176 sq ft. I’m a tall guy (6’2″ and 200 lbs) and really need this space. I don’t think I could live comfortably in any less. The trailer has a propane furnace but is not very well insulated so I really prefer to sleep in the cabin.

Local ordinances will not allow me to camp on my own land so I have to be very careful not to camp on my own land. Plus, technically I don’t live nor camp there. It’s simply a trailer being stored in dead storage, parked next to a 120 sq ft storage shed where I keep my extra furniture. Nothing is connected to any utility, water supply or septic system.

There is a fine line that must be walked. Perhaps with pressure from the new growing tiny house movement, we can get local governments to amend their zoning ordinances to make it possible for good folks to live “tiny” and still live safe, clean and legal?

it’s part of my dream.

E. out