Could you, would you live in a tumbleweed or other tiny house? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 34 Old 11-21-2009, 07:10 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Could you, would you live in a tumbleweed tiny house, or other similar tiny house?

I have been very interested in tiny house living for quite some time now and have been planning on building a tiny house eventually. Well the time has come where we need to build asap out of necessity. Two of my children have developed severe health problems as a result of living close to a seafood processing plant, they both have severe shellfish allergies, chemical sensitivities, asthma etc... I am a single mom with four children, so I need a sleeping area for the three boys and a sleeping area for my daughter and myself. We would need to build on wheels to avoid the building codes, and need to build tiny in order to spend money on quality healthy building materials. We will be putting our 2500 sq ft fixer upper on the market over the next couple of weeks and do not expect it to take very long to sell. We do not know where we will park it yet, but have people who want to help us build.

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#2 of 34 Old 11-21-2009, 07:14 PM
 
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Honestly, I don't think I could do that. I admire people who can, but I think I'd go nuts with so little room, especially in winter and during periods of bad weather. You have 4 kids - how tiny do you plan on building?

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#3 of 34 Old 11-21-2009, 07:48 PM
 
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I live in a house that most people think is too small for our family and pets. We like it though. I can totally picture your boys piled three high like in a submarine. How fun!
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#4 of 34 Old 11-21-2009, 09:05 PM
 
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Maybe for just myself. But even my hubby and sometimes need to be in different rooms.


And the climate would have to be very favorable to outdoor activities... so you wouldn't feel the four walls closing in on you.
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#5 of 34 Old 11-21-2009, 09:07 PM
 
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In your shoes, I would rather have a larger home, but retrofit a super duper whole home air filtering system, assuming that that would meet your family's health needs. IME, a too small home creates a lot of unnecessary stress and conflict. Of course, "too small" must be defined by each family. We're doing 1000 sf for a family of 4 (incl 2 home-based businesses). That's small enough for me. OTOH, we don't have any private outdoor space or interior "bonus" garage/attic/basement/shed space.

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#6 of 34 Old 11-21-2009, 09:09 PM
 
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I would just worry as they get older they will feel like they don't have enough space... but maybe at that point you could move?

We have llived 5 people in a small apartment, and I personally wouldn't do it again unless I absolutely had to. Though, a house on land is different - especially in warm weather.

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#7 of 34 Old 11-21-2009, 10:49 PM
 
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smaller better, but with land it´s better!
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#8 of 34 Old 11-21-2009, 10:53 PM
 
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We just moved into a 860 sqft this year, and I have to say thats as small as I could go and not lose my mind. Its hard to get away from noise, sleep in when you are sick, get away from cooking smells, etc... We have almost an acre outside, but its cold for about 6 months, and I do NOT like cold, lol.
Now, I have gotten used to it, but I don't think I'd try any smaller after this.

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#9 of 34 Old 11-21-2009, 10:57 PM
 
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I would! It's currently 4 (soon to be 5) of us in a tiny 600 sq ft apartment (if that). I think layout is a huge thing in not going crazy. We're renting another unit in this building for an office and it's about the same size, maybe a tad bigger. The layout is horrendous and feels too cramped.

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#10 of 34 Old 11-22-2009, 12:52 AM
 
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As long as you are okay without a lot of STUFF it should be fine. We are a family of 6 in 1000sqft. In cold weather in feels small sometimes, in warm weather it feels big. We could go smaller if we had to, but it would depend on layout for us. As long as you have a well designed place with enough storage for your stuff (and not too much of it to store) It would be fine. Cozy places make for close families! You are stuck with each other all the time so you just HAVE to get along


 

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#11 of 34 Old 11-22-2009, 04:12 AM
 
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I could not.
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#12 of 34 Old 11-22-2009, 10:15 AM
 
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Originally Posted by FreeRangeMama View Post
As long as you are okay without a lot of STUFF it should be fine. We are a family of 6 in 1000sqft. In cold weather in feels small sometimes, in warm weather it feels big. We could go smaller if we had to, but it would depend on layout for us. As long as you have a well designed place with enough storage for your stuff (and not too much of it to store) It would be fine. Cozy places make for close families! You are stuck with each other all the time so you just HAVE to get along
A Tumbleweed is more like 100-200 square feet.

With four children, no, I do not think that I could. An RV is about 300 square feet, and I think that I probably could squeeze them into that if absolutely necessary-- especially with a yard. If you are talking about one of the bigger tiny houses, then, yes. But I would prefer not to!
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#13 of 34 Old 11-22-2009, 11:00 AM
 
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A VERY small house,yes, absolutely. We have about 770 for dd, dh and mysef and we could live in something much smaller.

However, the Tumbleweed models I am thinking of are meant for one person, who has very few things (including clothes). No way could anyone live in those with a bunch of kids. The company has bigger models, but I don't think those are on wheels. Even to founder of the company moved out after he got married.

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#14 of 34 Old 11-22-2009, 11:48 AM
 
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I would not mind 500 square feet or less - for child-free retirement living.

There has been lots of attention paid to "healthy building materials". I am all for low VOC paints and carpet-free homes, but I think prioritization is important. I recently watched "building green TV" - a program you will find very interesting. Available here or on HULU http://www.buildinggreentv.com/bgtv.

That being said, the biggest indoor air quality issues in most homes are:
* Carbon monoxide (from older furnaces not working properly)
* mold/humidity issues (bathrooms not vented properly after showers)
* cooking fumes/particulate in the home (recirculating vent fans )
* Radon
#2 and 3 on this list will be critical with many people in a very small house.

On Building Green TV, they spent $1.2 million dollars making a "healthy" home with all the fashionable bells and whistles... while I am sure they have vent fans in the kitchen and bathrooms, they missed a big opportunity to educate those of us with significantly smaller building or rehab budgets.

Other posters have mentioned indoor air filtration. One step farther is heat recovery ventilation OR energy recovery ventilation. (google HRV/ERV) If you can move away from the shellfish, your children may be just fine in a small carpet-free older house, with appropriate affordable IAQ measures.

If you HAVE to go Tumbleweed style, make 2 and have a way to connect them for double the square footage.
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#15 of 34 Old 11-22-2009, 02:32 PM
 
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I thought they made some slightly bigger ones, but maybe they aren't on wheels (I know their biggest, the 800sqft one isn't).

Still, lots of families RV it and do just fine. People don't take up much room, stuff does. I think a well designed space would be just fine as long as you make the most of what you have and didn't have a lot of unnecessary items.

I love the tumbleweed house!



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A Tumbleweed is more like 100-200 square feet.

With four children, no, I do not think that I could. An RV is about 300 square feet, and I think that I probably could squeeze them into that if absolutely necessary-- especially with a yard. If you are talking about one of the bigger tiny houses, then, yes. But I would prefer not to!


 

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#16 of 34 Old 11-22-2009, 02:44 PM
 
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After checking out the website again, I totally think the biggest one on wheels would work for the right kind of family. A sleeping space in the loft for the 3 boys, a sleeping space in the great room for mom and dd. As long as you parked it in places where you could all get some space from each other it wouldn't be a problem.

I would so prefer this rather than an RV, but I have a problem with the idea of living in trailers of any variety. It makes me feel claustrophobic. Weird, I know A small wooden house would just feel like a cabin on wheels!

It would depend on the ages and personality of the members of your family though. They would either need to be young enough to grow up with the idea or be willing to live the simplistic life necessary to make it work. And they would need to get along well enough to live in close quarters!


 

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#17 of 34 Old 11-22-2009, 02:52 PM
 
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Most definitely NOT. We lived in a very small apartment for the past year. (2 adults and 2 children) Not sure how small but it was teeny tiny. I know if wasn't good for my children not having their own space and I absolutely HATED it after awhile. We were all very glad to move back to a larger space where we each have our own room at least.. Never again!!!!!!! Though, that said, if I had to live in a small space again though I would go with a yurt hands down.

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#18 of 34 Old 11-22-2009, 04:02 PM
 
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Nope, couldn't do it with my family. I might be able to do it ifitwere just me single, but not even with DH!
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#19 of 34 Old 11-22-2009, 04:04 PM
 
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After checking out the website again,...

Can I have a link please? Google can't find it!
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#20 of 34 Old 11-22-2009, 04:09 PM
 
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I couldn't do it if anyone else came with. That's too much people up in my personaly space.

I'm an introvert. I don't want to sit in a puppy pile.

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#21 of 34 Old 11-22-2009, 04:25 PM
 
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Can I have a link please? Google can't find it!
http://www.tumbleweedhouses.com/

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#22 of 34 Old 11-22-2009, 06:05 PM
 
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I wouldn't go that small with 4 children out of choice! We are in a tiny house with 4 children and we are struggling with personal space and space to do stuff. Just the basic clothing and shoes for six people takes up a bit of space then cooking stuff on top of that and food storage.

Our footprint is approx 21ft x 13ft which is a teensy bit bigger than the Tumbleweed Harbinger. This is the floorplan of a house like ours but we don't have a garage.

The Harbinger has storage space in the loft which is a bonus but finding places to sit downstairs looks trickier. We struggle with this as we haven't got room for big floor cushions or a large sofa or lots of chairs.
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#23 of 34 Old 11-22-2009, 06:24 PM
 
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If that's all I could afford then I guess I'd have to deal with it. But by choice, NO WAY! When I was younger I lived in a tiny 2-bedroom, 1 bathroom house that I shared with 5 siblings and my mom and stepdad. We were always practically killing each other and we all still have the scars to prove it! We had no privacy or room to walk around or just think. I hated it. I don't live in a large home now (by modern standards) but it's split level and penty big for my family. DH has his office downstairs away from the main floor and it's really nice to get away from him Sometimes the kids follow him downstairs and watch DVDs with him and I get the main floor all to myself

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#24 of 34 Old 11-22-2009, 07:43 PM
 
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I lived in a travel trailer with 4 other adults and it was crowded. There was no place to get away. I could live in a tumbleweed if it was just DH and I, but with 4 kids, I could not.
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#25 of 34 Old 11-22-2009, 09:45 PM
 
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Thank you.
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#26 of 34 Old 11-22-2009, 11:47 PM
 
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For both inspiration and for a cautionary tale, watch a wonderful documetary movie called Surfwise.

Not applicable, but my experience: this summer we were 2 dogs and 2 parents and one toddler in a van that would otherwise seat 7. It took a huge amount of constant organizing and cleanup, but ultimately it was great for us all. We keep our van, and we always think: well, if things get too weird, or too tough...

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#27 of 34 Old 11-22-2009, 11:54 PM
 
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Me, no way, when we were a family of 4 we lived in an apt about 700ish square feet, there was just no room to breath. It's not just about stuff, even without stuff there just wasn't a place to get away.

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#28 of 34 Old 11-23-2009, 11:39 AM
 
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Yes. I think you CAN live anywhere. Bloom where you're planted, that sort of thing. However...that would be a little small for me. My brother just built a 900 square foot home for my elderly aunt and uncle -- I could definitely live there with my family of 3, soon to be 4. The space is well designed and there are no dead spaces -- he made use of every single inch. I think we could go as low as 600 SF for a family of 4-6.

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#29 of 34 Old 11-23-2009, 11:45 AM
 
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We live in about 600 square feet now, 4 of us. My main issue here is that it's an apartment so we have no outdoor space. My dream home is the Tumbleweed Enesti with a yard. I think I'd rather the smaller 650 version of it with something like a weebee out back as an office/guest house.

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#30 of 34 Old 11-24-2009, 08:28 PM
 
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I would love to buy a Tumbleweed house when DH and I retire and our kids are older. We would love to buy some land with a view of the mtns. and have a cute little house. For now though with 2 young girls there is no way. Our current place is 2 bed, 1 bath and about 600sqf and it is way too small for us now that the weather is getting cold. We are moving in a few months to a bigger place. Idealy with young kids I like having 1,000sqf. In the summer I don't really care because we are outside so much but in the winter it feels so cramped!

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