February 27, 2009

Gerry Shaw’s Epu

Well, I’m finally getting this post up. I’ve wanted to for quite a while and somehow it got put aside. I had been in communication with Gerry Shaw while he was building his Tumbleweed Tiny House Company Epu, which is the same home that Jay Shafer lives in and wanted to tell you more of his story. Here is what Gerry has to say about his build:

Well the move was a bit hairy as it was full on winter when we started then a huge rain storm when we arrived in Victoria.  The distance was ~800 KM and we did it over a full day leaving at 4 AM.  We had one ferry crossing.  We wrapped the house in leftover home wrap and padded the front and pack with insulation panels to prevent any windows from  breaking and keep as much muck off the house as was possible.  When we arrived everything was intact.


I haven’t had much time to ‘finish’ it but it’s very livable.  My plan wasn’t to complete the bathroom as I’m still not sure how I want to prevent water freezing and what sort of toilet system I’m going to use so that will be a summer project along with the porch roof and some trim.  I might redo the cabinets at that time as well since the ones I built were done in hours on the last day before the move.

The closest thing I’ve built before this was an end table that didn’t turn out that well 🙂  Hiring an experienced friend to mentor and help me was the best decision I made and the house would not have turned out as well as it did without her help.

Living in it has been great.  The proportions are amazing and the layout gives the impression of it being much larger than it is since you have about 4 distinct rooms in the house (great room, kitchen, bath/closet – tiny, and a very private bedroom.

Costs are about $15,000.  Trailer, windows and labor were about 2/3rds of the cost.  I still need to install the bathroom and hot water system.

Here are three galleries that are open to the public to view.  I’ll reply (in time) to any questions people ask me.

To view Gerry’s gallery of pictures go to the three links below.

If you would like to get plans to build your own Epu, visit the Tumbleweed Tiny House Company website.








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Christy Z - February 27, 2009 Reply

A few Q’s…

Is this a cabin or a primary residence?

How much did it cost in fuel/ferry costs to go the 800Km?

How is storage handled (besides the obvious in the bedroom)?

Best of luck with the bathroom this summer…What an ADORABLE house!

Chrystal Ocean - February 27, 2009 Reply

Want a tiny home so badly I ache. In fact, I wrote a post about it a few months ago, which has drawn a fair number of readers. And now I learn of someone in Victoria who has got one! And exactly the model which occupies my dreams.

‘Course, I’ll never realize this dream. Haven’t the land to place any structure on, let alone a tiny house.

Christina Nellemann - February 27, 2009 Reply

Excellent job Gerry! I love to see the process of the tiny house. Great documentation.

How is the heating in the house? Where do you have it parked? On land you own or a friend’s land?

Kent - February 27, 2009 Reply

Hey everyone, I sent Gerry and email to alert him about the post, so hopefully he will get back to your questions soon. It has been a while since we talked, but I’m sure he will get you your answers.

Ben - February 28, 2009 Reply

Stunning, absolutely stunning! Well done documentation and far more, well done inspiration! If a normal somewhat underskilled (initially) woodworker could create such a work of craftsmanship with a bit of help, most normal people could. Well done! For the cost of less than many cars, one can be free of never ending debt and enslavement to the banks. Such a home could change our society and nation!

I’ve been planning on building a tiny home, but thought about reinventing the wheel. Hearing about your satisfaction with Jay’s design is giving me pause. I’d like space though to do my yoga practice (asanas) but am not sure the great room gives me enough space.

Are you a med student? I noticed a couple books in your bookshelf. Anyway… best to you and yours… and thanks for giving us a vision of empowerment and liberation.


BEJJ - February 28, 2009 Reply

I love this, I get to see how it would be like to live in one of these, and it looks so cozy!

ThisTinyHouse - March 11, 2009 Reply

*Round of applause* This is great! I love the photos!

Chris - March 11, 2009 Reply

What a cool little home. You did a great job and I bet living in it is going to be such a relief from so many burdens of the way most people chose to live nowadays. Living in this type of home make so much sense… Way to go!!!

Jean - March 11, 2009 Reply

That looks great! Good job, Gerry! Thanks for mentioning your own lack of experience, and what a good idea it was to hire a friend with experience. I’ve been thinking of doing the same, and it’s good to hear and see how well that worked for you.

Anne H. - March 11, 2009 Reply

Thank you so much for sharing this, with the many interesting photos. I dream of a tiny house but it’s only a fantasy (husband wouldn’t fit!). You’ve done a good job maximizing the space, such as the rod and hooks and the magnetic strip in the kitchen. If it were me I’d build a shelf at the end of your loft so the three plastic tubs could be up off the tubs below them for quicker access.

Enjoy your delightful creation!

Sue - March 12, 2009 Reply

Hi Gerry!
You’re little house looks great! To keep your “pipes” from freezing wrap them in heat tape. I’ve lived in trailers all over Alaska from Fairbanks (at -40) to Juneau (-20 this winter!) and have never had a problem with frozen pipes. A simple 40 watt light bulb under the home and plugged into the same electrical circuit will let you know if your heat tape is on.

Have fun in your little house!

Daniel - April 4, 2009 Reply

I’ve been out of the loop for a while, but looking at this one. It looks pretty good. Wish I could build one now, but I’m going to be living in Germany for a while first.

Love the interior.

Joaquin Trevino - June 10, 2009 Reply

I LOVE THAT WINDOW!!! Did you buy or make it custom? Beautiful house! How long did it take you to build?

Megan - January 24, 2010 Reply

Hi there. The facebook links have expired. Any chance they could be updated?



Sean - February 26, 2011 Reply

So inspiring. Any chance for the Facebook links again as they have expired? Thank you 🙂

There - March 4, 2011 Reply

Oh wow! I have the pattern book for the crocheted afghan he has on his bed. What a coincidence!

Pat - October 4, 2011 Reply

HI Gerry
I live in BC and would love to find out more about building a tiny house too and maybe come and see yours if possible.
Hope to talk with you soon

Denis Berger - February 16, 2012 Reply

Hi Gerry,
Are you still living in Victoria. I’m up island in Duncan. Love to see what you ahve done and where things are at for you with your abode. Can you drop me a line. Many thanks.


whitney - January 22, 2014 Reply

I love your project! My name is Whitney, I am completing a Certificate at Yestermorrow Design Build school in Warren, VT. For my project I am researching the availability of homeowners insurance for tiny homes. If you own a tiny home please take a few moments to fill out this survey. Thank you for your time! https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/DXXW3X3 This project is an effort to help tiny homeowners find ways to protect their investments.

Matt - November 13, 2014 Reply

Anybody know what material that kitchen counter top is? And, what about the desk?

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