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Getting Ready for the Orlando Tumbleweed Tiny House Workshop… And Some Stealthy Van Dwelling

If you’ve been following Tiny House Talk you remember I was invited to go to Tumbleweed’s Tiny House Workshop in Orlando, Florida.

The time has arrived and I’m getting ready for the trip right now. We’ll be driving up there tomorrow morning so that we can meet up with the whole crew that evening.

I’m looking forward to meeting everyone at Tumbleweed Houses (Jay, Steve and Brett) along with those of you who are attending the workshop.

I’m also thrilled about being able to learn about…

  • How to build an effective tiny house
  • The 14 tools that Jay uses
  • Building a house on a trailer
  • Selecting materials; which to avoid
  • Framing and sheathing
  • Siding
  • Insulation and venting
  • Roofing
  • Heaters and appliances
  • Building codes and zoning laws

Plus some more on design related things too…

  • Sizing windows
  • Working with fire codes
  • How to get compact choices for cabinets, doors, and showers
  • Details on the trailers
  • How to draw plans
  • Question and answer with Jay Shafer

I’ll see if I can find an Internet connection while I’m there to keep you updated.

Yesterday I made a new page over at my tiny house living resource website – check it out. It’s about portable homes of all kinds… And if you have one, you can show it off right there too (you’ll see).

If you’re interested in attending one of Tumbleweed’s Tiny House Workshops (with Jay Shafer) click here to go to their site.

Here’s your stealthy van dwelling…

Stealth Van Dwelling

Sometimes when I’m driving around and I see a cool motor home or something, one of us takes a picture so we can show you.

I like this one a lot because it’s stealthy – barely looks like an RV. You can tell it has plenty of features from the vents, windows etc. But overall, it doesn’t look like an RV and can pass as a commercial vehicle. Especially with some logos…

Okay, last thing. Since I’m going to the workshop…

What do you want me to ask Jay?

Speak your mind in the comments!

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Alex is a contributor and editor for TinyHouseTalk.com and the always free Tiny House Newsletter. He has a passion for exploring and sharing tiny homes (from yurts and RVs to tiny cabins and cottages) and inspiring simple living stories. We invite you to send in your story and tiny home photos too so we can re-share and inspire others towards a simple life too. Thank you!

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{ 22 comments… add one }
  • Sherri Robinson January 20, 2011, 8:25 pm

    I am attending the workshop in Orlando with my daughter and my friend. Will there be a tiny house for us to tour?


  • Ellen January 20, 2011, 8:41 pm

    How do his designs hold up to heavy traveling; are they as strong as a well-built dedicated travel trailer? Secondly, will he ever run a sale on his plans?

  • Chris January 20, 2011, 8:45 pm

    Since this is in Orlando, I really would like Florida-specific advice, in terms of local codes, hurricane codes, and issues with tiny homes in coastal areas. I find very little information about Florida-specific tiny home issues, there are much more about cold-weather locations up north.

    Thank you!

  • George Pilotte January 20, 2011, 9:48 pm

    What seems to be lacking is a resource guide for
    plans, appliances suited for a tiny home, solar panel sources, heaters, portable septic systems, and
    cisterns, among other necessities.

    Does a resource guide exist?

  • Alex January 20, 2011, 10:40 pm

    Sherri – as far as I know they are not bringing a tiny house with them. I understand why they wouldn’t because it would require a lot of time driving. And they do workshops all over the country.

    Ellen – they hold up pretty well but most people do not decide to use them for heavy traveling because they are a lot heavier than travel trailers.

    When they have sales I always let you guys know here on the blog and on the e-mail newsletter. I’m sure they have something in store for us soon.

    Chris – I’ll see what I can find for you on Florida specific issues. Being a Floridian I am interested in learning more too.

    George – I think there are resources scattered out there with the information you are looking for. Very good questions. Thank you for your input.

    Gotta start packing for the Orlando trip!

  • Dave Danielson January 20, 2011, 11:44 pm

    I appreciate the opportunity to offer the following for comment-

    As I plan for a tiny house I have been attempting to determine the building envelope heat loss for Jay’s homes. I know that in Jay’s book he indicated that his propane costs were pretty low in Iowa. Based on his design using the foam insulation panels, I was wondering what “R-value” he was able to achieve for the walls. My estimates for a similar structure here in South Dakota (similar to Iowa) indicated that I’d have a rather higher heating cost.

    I would also appreciate any input from Jay or others regarding experience in water supply and sewer/septic hookups for houses in northern climates with temps below zero during the winter.

    Once again-thank you so much for this opportunity!

    Dave Danielson

  • Jill Heller January 21, 2011, 12:14 am

    I’d like to know why Jay hasn’t used metal framing to make the tiny houses lighter in weight and thereby being able to use longer trailers, say a 30 footer so as to have more space and a lower bedroom for older folks not able to climb ladders as easy to a loft?

    Would he consider making plans for such a Tiny House?
    Thanks for the Site here also Alex! 🙂

  • Elizabeth January 21, 2011, 7:26 am

    Hi Alex,
    My fiance is considering building tiny houses for a career when we move to Connecticut in a few months. He’s a carpenter and we thought it would be a good time to try a new career direction since we’re starting over in a new state anyway. Is there a decent demand for tiny homes? We think it’s an awesome idea, just not sure if it’s catching on yet.

  • Alex January 21, 2011, 7:42 am

    Thank you Jill, Elizabeth and Dave for your comments. Keep them coming! Heading to Orlando this AM.

  • rick January 21, 2011, 8:06 am

    Have some fun in Orlando. Going to Mickey Mouse House?
    I am building a WeeBee. I am close to completing the floor sanding. Q: Do I put a urethane coating on the floor before or after the walls go up?

  • Deek January 21, 2011, 8:29 am

    Have a good time Alex! Jay’s a great guy- as you’ll see….we’re FINALLY doing the finishing voice-over work on our own Jay Shafer interview episode of “Tiny Yellow House” this coming week. Keep checkin the “RelaxshacksDOTcom” channel on youtube…


  • Eadie Davis Lewis January 23, 2011, 1:34 pm

    Are there any tiny houses that he might know of either in Louisiana or else Mississippi that I might be able to go and see? And I hope he does address the need for a tiny house for older folks…I am not old yet…just older and the climbing of that ladder does not appeal to me…although I would still like the ideal of storage in the loft area…just don’t want to have to go up and down it regularly as getting older isn’t much fun…smiles and thanks and enjoy!!!

  • WOLF James Starkewolf January 23, 2011, 9:41 pm

    I would like to know about hogan style houses, round, eight, ten, or twelve sided in the 8 or 9′ diameter range.

  • WOLF James Starkewolf January 23, 2011, 9:42 pm

    I am interested in round, eight-sided to twelve sided, hogan style houses about 9′ in diameter.

  • WOLF James Starkewolf January 23, 2011, 9:44 pm

    If siding is locked at the corners, could it be built with?out a frame

  • Alex January 24, 2011, 7:00 pm

    Hi Jill,

    One of the reasons that Jay doesn’t use metal framing is because the vibration caused by driving can cause screws to come loose. Plus I think he likes working with wood… It’s what he knows.

    He has a design called the “New Popomo” which is wider than the others and features a single story, so no need to climb ladders. Have you seen it?

  • Alex January 24, 2011, 7:24 pm

    Hey Rick. Haha, no to the Mickey Mouse house. That’s so cool that your building a Weebee it’s a beautiful model. I’m thinking of going with the Lusby.

    I’m not sure about your question on the floor coating but I’ll see if I can find out. If one of you know, please share. 🙂

  • Alex January 24, 2011, 7:27 pm

    Hi Elizabeth. My suggestion is to continue doing research online and in your local area while asking yourself more questions.

    I think most people buy the plans and start the construction project themselves and/or with the help of a contractor, electrician, etc.

  • Alex January 24, 2011, 7:32 pm

    Dave, Jay talked quite a bit about insulation in the workshop.

    He doesn’t worry too much about R values because the spaces are so small that the cost difference in heating wasn’t significant enough to “go all the way” by creating thicker walls, insulation, etc.

    I remember him saying he goes with the white colored insulation versus the others because it’s better for bugs even though it doesn’t have as high of an “R value”.

    Tiny spaces are relatively easy to heat/cool.

  • Alex January 24, 2011, 7:37 pm

    Thank you Deek, I can’t wait to watch your interview with him. I had a great time at the workshop and learned a lot. Now looking forward to yours this summer! And I REALLY want to get started on a project soon.

  • Deek January 25, 2011, 8:17 am

    Oh, we’ll get some building done July 9th- maybe even messing with some free-form ferrocement construction here in MA.


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