My Heart Is Where My Home Is: Tumbleweed Tiny Houses

I love well-designed space, which for me marries form and function and is simple, elegant, and pleasing to the eye. I have been following the Tumbleweed Tiny House Company for several years and specifically like owner Jay Shafer’s series of small homes built on utility trailers. They are beautifully crafted and every inch well used. My favorite—the Fencl—is the largest at 130 square feet of living space plus a sleeping loft with a bit of storage and room for a queen size mattress.

Tumbleweed is based in California; they hold open houses from time to time but until recently none close to Charlottesville, VA. So, when I read about an open house featuring the Fencl within semi-reasonable driving distance (20 hours round-trip in two days), I literally jumped into my car and went. My destination: a small town in the foothills of the Adirondacks, Woodgate, New York, where Bill Rockhill of Bear Creek Carpentry was exhibiting the Fencl he built with the intent to sell to a Tumbleweed Tiny home lover.

I attempted to rope others into this trip but was successful in convincing only one: my dog (and really all I had to do was open the car door and say, “let’s go”). We arrived in Woodgate around 1:30 pm, just a half hour after the after the start of the open house, and there were already 20 or so people milling about. I have been imagining what it would be like to live in an 8×19 space—going as far as taping off the dimensions on my living room floor—but nothing compares to the actual experience.

The inside of the Fencl was open and airy and very cozy. The heat was provided by a small Dickinson propane heater (it looks like a small gas fireplace and typically used on boats and RVs). After touring the home, I had only one concern: could my cat and dog exist in the space peacefully?

The cost to build the Fencl yourself is just $23,000, or less if you take advantage of used or recycled materials. I really like the idea of purchasing materials as I can afford them and then building my home along this timeline. Another great feature: you can configure your home to tie into local utilities or adapt it to living off the grid. A home on wheels also appeals to the nomad in me. In my nomadic dream, I envision little plots of land across the US with drive up porches.

More information:

Tumbleweed website

Blog post about the Fencl Open House with photo tour

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