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Joy, Austin & Baby in Their Oregon 5th Wheel RV Conversion


Joy and Austin decided to downsize from their 850 sq. ft. apartment into a Sprinter 5th wheel so they could start saving money to eventually purchase a home of their own. This “tiny for awhile” mindset has really gained popularity lately, and it can be such a wise way to get started.

Paint goes a long way, and in the 7 months they’ve lived tiny they have really made their once-outdated camper into a stylish home sweet home. The RV has a master bedroom for Joy and Austin, and then a separate room for their baby.

We got to interview Joy about their tiny life, so be sure to check out that Q&A at the end of the post! You can follow the family to see more here.

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Family of 3 and Their Stationary RV Life

Replacing RV furniture with “real” furniture really helps update the space.

Adding some open shelving to the fireplace area.

Family dinnertime!

Love the addition of this little area rug.

The butcher block island is a great way to add counterspace.

Love how they decorated above the cabinets, too.

That honeycomb tile is so sleek!

They say that green is the color of 2021!

Nothing says “home” like family pictures.

The very-tidy Master bedroom.

What a perfect nursery!

They are parked in Oregon on family land.

What a happy family!

Q&A with Joy on RV Life


What are your name(s)?

Austin & Joy Rohm

How many people (and animals) are living in your home?

Us two plus our 1 yr old & our cat = 4

How long have you lived tiny?

Almost 7 months

What do you do for work? Or do you travel full-time?

Austin work full time administration at a local hospital while also going to school full time to pursue a Physicians Assistant degree. I am a stay at home mom. We are stationary in Portland, Or on my parents property.

What are you hoping to get out of living tiny/small?

We previously were spending all our money renting a two bedroom apartment. We wanted a way to save money & buy land to build a small home on one day & this allows for that possibility. After two weeks of looking into this lifestyle we had bought our RV & started the renovation on it. Now we have a place to call our own!

Describe your decorating style and philosophy.

Our style is more modern-boho, it’s a mix of new things with second hand pieces. We try to stay pretty minimal, we like style with function. Less is more.

What inspired you to choose a fifth wheel (rather than say a tiny house or a bus)?

We choose a fifth wheel because we liked the layout options & price. Ours has two bedrooms – with doors! This was really important with having a little one. A tiny home for us would have been too expensive & a lofted bedroom for our baby didn’t feel like a good option for us.

How did you acquire your home? Did you do a lot of renovations?

We found our home through Craigslist locally, the owner parked it for us on the property. We have done a lot of cosmetic renovations, the most dramatic being new floors & paint. We have more plans to do work on our kitchen over the spring/summer once Austin is on school break.

What are bills/utilities like compared to before?

We pay a couple hundred less than we did before. We are attempting to pay off the RV quicker by paying more so the cost may even out with that but we can sell our RV & gain a profit in that way also.

Before going tiny, what was life like?

We lived in a two bedroom 850 sq ft apartment that wasn’t ours in a loud area that didn’t feel like a place I wanted to raise a child in. It was costing us too much & we were craving change. We had lived in apartments since we got married back in 2016.

Is there anything from your old life that you miss?

I miss long hot showers & a dishwasher haha other than that not much.

What benefits are you experiencing after going tiny?

We’ve gained experience in reno work, Austin especially. Much of it he’d never done before. So much knowledge gained we are hoping we can bring into our next home! We have realized how little we need in order to live a full life. We spend more time at the dinner table together.

What about some challenges?

Several projects have not gone as planned, RVs aren’t necessarily meant for full time living & they aren’t built to be taken apart. Uneven walls, staples in the cabinets that were removed, metal where we are trying to nails things just to name a few. Projects just take longer than expected. We also encountered mold in our closet due to the climate so we had to remove the closet doors & buy a humidifier. No issues since though!

What makes your tiny home special?

It’s a home we’ve built together & made ours. Although it’s smaller than any place we’ve lived before, no place has ever felt more like home than this one!

What is your favorite part of your tiny home?

The fireplace area. My dream home would have a fireplace & mantle and I’m so happy this one does! The fireplace puts out electric heat & has been wonderful in keeping us cozy in the cold months. Austin also just put up a beautiful floating shelf above it & it’s become such a statement piece in our home.

What helpful advice would you give to others interested in going tiny?

I would say do your research, watch lots of YouTube videos by the people who live this lifestyle & have done this work. Read blogs on it. Price out your different options. Tour RVs to see which ones you could see yourself living in. If you think this could be the lifestyle for you, go for it!

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Our big thanks to Joy for sharing! 🙏

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Natalie C. McKee

Natalie C. McKee is a contributor for Tiny House Talk and the Tiny House Newsletter. She's a wife, and mama of three little kids. She and her family are homesteaders with sheep, goats, chickens, ducks and quail on their happy little acre.

Latest posts by Natalie C. McKee (see all)

{ 7 comments… add one }
  • LargeMarge
    February 17, 2021, 9:55 am

    a)
    The rug under the couch establishes a sense of foundational continuity and intimacy.

    b)
    Nice choice on the bathroom paint accents.
    Thank you for quitting before it overwhelmed the tiny space!

  • merryl
    February 17, 2021, 10:56 am

    This is one of the cutest RV’S I have ever seen. Well done.

  • Diana
    February 17, 2021, 5:59 pm

    I appreciate seeing this family’s joy. I noticed in the answers comments that indicate they have a wonderful priority of their life together and I suspect when they do build whatever in the future they will keep in mind how tiny living brings people together and maybe not get carried away with bigger is better mentality. I don’t see our world finding that to be the future way of being. I live tiny. I have lived in up to 3000 sf and was not happy with that trap. I have lived in between tiny and that and I can say for certain I never want a large home again. I would prefer to build a cob home maybe around 600 sf at most and do van living as well. I love travel and also like to have my home base. So over all the conveniences, smart this and that. I yearn for the simple life as I have been living now for almost four years. I have wanted cob since I first saw it as I would like to make it with my own hands/feet and sculpt into being whatever would unfold. This family struck me as being very wise for their age. I applaud them and they did do a lovely job on the fifth wheel tiny house. Nice way to live and so cool baby has a room too! YAY!

    • Natalie C. McKee
      February 22, 2021, 8:41 am

      Cob homes are so neat! I totally want one someday.

  • Marsha Cowan
    February 17, 2021, 7:50 pm

    Wow! RVs just keep getting prettier and kitchens just keep getting cuter. Love the rolling butcher block table. That is a dream kitchen for me. I love the little nook in the master bedroom as a “headboard”. Makes it cozy! The bathroom is gorgeous, and the nursery is amazing–about the cleverest baby room design I have ever seen. Great job!

  • Claude
    February 17, 2021, 8:19 pm

    Beautiful interior job, like most trailers, they are not made for cold weather. Unless you remain in the south, there is no problem.

  • Jo-An Weltz
    February 18, 2021, 6:33 am

    What a delightful home Joy and Austin have made together with their son! It’s so tasteful and minimalist: I love it! The interview was really interesting and informative, too.

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