Like an Amish barn raising, Evan and Gabby’s tiny Tarleton house is going up piece by piece with the help of friends and family. The Illinois couple were inspired by the Tumbleweed houses and decided to downsize their already sustainable lifestyle even more. With no prior construction experience, they have been working on their tiny home for just over a year and plan to move in (along with their two cats) soon.
The couple also plan to move around the country, staying in campgrounds that offer year-round rates. They then want to purchase some land where tiny house living is more acceptable.
Their 117 square foot Tarleton, built on a car hauler trailer, will have a great room, a sleeping loft above the bathroom and kitchen, another storage loft above the door and a bathroom with a custom shower and composting toilet that vents to the outdoors. The kitchen has four feet of stainless steel countertop, a two-burner stove, a bar sink, a toaster oven, a small fridge and – rare for a tiny house – a combination washer and dryer that they got from a family member for free.
The great room boasts plenty of storage space with two closets and built-in “cubbbies”, as well as a combination window seat/storage trunk topped with an organic mattress. A small table/desk is held up by a wall brace where Evan and Gabby can do work or eat. The room also has space for a training board for rock climbing, which hangs just above the entryway to the kitchen. The great room floor is made of cork and the entire home will be cooled by a 5,000 BTU portable air conditioner and heated with a propane marine stove.
The couple have even built an ingenious little cubby for their cats’ litter box that includes a cat-sized entry door.
The sleeping loft will contain two small closets whose doors will swing open to create privacy for sleeping. The couple plans to make a custom mattress for the area and Gabby is proud to be able to winnow down her clothes to fit the tiny space.
Gabby was also committed from the start of the project to build the house with very little synthetic materials. The insulation for the house is made of sheep wool and the house will contain very little plastic. Even the cats’ litter box is metal. Both Evan and Gabby love the outdoors and are avid backpackers. Evan said that he finds nothing in his daily life to be as rewarding as carrying only the things you need for your basic needs and immediate comfort. He adds that the Tumbleweed Tiny Houses merge the two worlds of home and backcountry living: backpacks for everyday life.
Their website, named “Built by Friends”, shows the step-by-step process of their build with excellent documentation and photos. It also has a page dedicated solely to the friends and family who have each lent their skills to different aspects of the house.
“We’ve found folks to be very interested in getting involved with this unique project, particularly one with such a positive impact in terms of living consciously, simply and intentionally,” Evan says on their website. “As we progress, we’re slowly chunking away at the many details and still finding offers of help. It has really brought people (including Gabby and I!) together.”
Photos courtesy of Built by Friends