Gooseneck Tiny House

A River Runs Through It

Greg Parham from Rocky Mountain Tiny Houses let me know about a recent house he custom built for a customer and asked me if I would share it with my readers. It is called “A River Runs Through It” and is built on a gooseneck trailer. I’ll let Greg tell you all about it.

A gentleman that I went to college and used to race bikes with back in my days of collegiate cycling contacted me last year. He and his wife Krissy were interested in having me build a tiny house for their young family to live in so they could simplify life, pay off their debt quicker, and start saving up for their ultimate dream of buying a sailboat and sailing ’round the world. With a toddler, a dog, and a cat comprising this family, as well as a second child on the way, they knew they would need something on the larger end of the tiny house spectrum, preferably 32? or longer.

While the 30? bumper pull tiny house was completed back in December ’14, I wasn’t sure how I felt about doing a 32?, especially knowing that they would eventually be towing it themselves from their current location in El Paso near Ft. Bliss to some place further north where Steve could be a park ranger after his time in the reserve was up. I asked if they would be open to a gooseneck design, partially because I had yet to do one and really wanted to, but also because I knew it would be easier to tow than a bumper pull of equal length. After drumming up some quick sketches, they said “sure!” And so started another fun, innovative, creative tiny house build here in the San Juan Mountains.

loft and stairs

I like to name all the houses I build, as does most everyone else, so I asked them what they wanted to name the house, and after a little thought Steve got back to me: “Rio Grande”. It was a fitting name in so many ways. The headwaters of the Rio Grande lie only about 70 miles away from Durango in the San Juans, just on the other side of the Continental Divide. From high up in the alpine, snow melt travels south into New Mexico, meandering by Sante Fe and Albuquerque, before paralleling I-25 down to Las Cruces and then to El Paso. Most of the drive from Durango to El Paso follows the river closely. The river is always ebbing and flowing, changing with the seasons, reacting to the demands we humans have placed upon it. Just like life.

loft

We took this river theme and found ways to artistically incorporate it into the design. The overall shape of the tiny house with the gooseneck, the changing rooflines, and a shed roof that gently drops off towards the aft invoke a feeling of flow. We took a propane torch to the cedar siding to brand on the shape of a flowing, growing river. Making “water” with fire. It’s awesome. Steve and Krissy collected river rocks, which we inlaid into a “river” that we let into the wood countertop and then applied epoxy over. I was ale to collect some river willow and use it for the guardrail over the gooseneck bedroom. Everything really turned out great.

I will stop babbling let the pictures and video do the rest of the talking. First, here are some quick stats:

  • 24? deck with 8? of floor over gooseneck for a total length of 32?. Typical 7?-5? width
  • 13?-6? tall at ridge
  • (2) 7000# axles with brakes, GVWR 14,000#
  • actual dry weight 11,500#
  • 218 sq ft main level living ( including front gooseneck), 70 sq ft of sleeping loft
  • 36? reclaimed front door with a fold down porch, 24? rear door made from reclaimed
  • wood and glass
  • Custom river rock inlaid counters at 41? height for tall people!
  • reclaimed picture windows in the main loft
  • propane range and on demand water heater
  • full size fridge, full size bathtub, washer/dryer combo
  • 110v shore power
  • on grid water system with hose hookup
  • Nature’s Head composting toilet
  • grey water drain system
  • Full size 30×60 bath tub
  • Wood stove primary heat
  • Mini split A/C (not shown at time of photography)
  • approximate sale price: $60,000
  • time to construct: 6 weeks (from day of trailer arrival)

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mike - February 28, 2015 Reply

whoa, that thing is huge!

Otessa Regina Compton - February 28, 2015 Reply

What I like, is that it has safety stairs for seniors, plus a nice bathtub for a lady to take a bubble bath, and a second loft that can be used as an office for computers. amazing!!!

Kate - February 28, 2015 Reply

I don’t know that this, although beautifully designed, counts as a tiny house. I feel it is more a custom built travel trailer. It cannot easily be placed anywhere. Nor does it count as simplified living – something I feel is an important parameter in the tiny house movement.

    Jack Kimmich - February 28, 2015 Reply

    Kate- I does classify as a tiny home. It is for a family. The idea of it not being a tiny home or that it is like a travel trailer has nothing to do with the movement. Try sticking a family of 5 in 900 Sq feet- Which is a tiny home versus a young family in 400 square feet. Which is a tiny home…. Its in the ability to simplify and meet their particular families needs. More power to those leaving the mcMansions and moving on to simplifying their lives.
    Jack

      Beth - March 1, 2015 Reply

      Jack – I agree. There is this faction of the tiny home movement that seems to believe that it ONLY applies to homes on wheels and ONLY if they are a certain size. And if your motive is something other than being debt-free and snubbing local building/zoning ordinances then you aren’t really part of the “movement.” It seems to me if you are taking up less space than you used to and using less energy, whether that is in a smaller apartment, a ground-bound cottage, a “tiny home on wheels,” or a cabin-type park model RV, you are going “tiny.” And, of course, everything is relative! I read an article about this and they called it “reverse snobbery” – Now I am NOT calling Kate out as a snob – I am merely suggesting the actual “movement” may be somewhat broader than what is being defined for us by the bloggers. Mainly – tiny living, smaller “legal” domiciles need to be addressed by our lawmakers both at the national and local levels. To me, THAT’s what the movement is about.

        alice h - March 1, 2015 Reply

        I pretty much agree with most of what you’ve said. The only thing is I think there is a size limit on how to define an actual tiny house, though I’m not quite sure what it would be. Definitely not over 500 sq ft, likely under 300, definitely 120 sq ft or under. I don’t think it can be used to describe a larger house with more people in the space, though a smaller amount of sq ft per person can be thought of as living tiny. A house of a particularly small size doesn’t necessarily mean having a tiny footprint, that’s determined strictly by resource use in a complete “cradle to grave” analysis. For me tiny isn’t limited to any type, aesthetic, financial value, particular amenities or any other variable other than actual size.

          Amanda - March 2, 2015 Reply

          I think this still qualifies at 278 sq ft. The number I had heard before was under 400 sq ft. I think a more realistic way to define it might be on a square foot per person basis. The fact is that 278 sq ft is a tiny space for a family of four.

    Skooj - March 2, 2015 Reply

    I think the first two statements about it being a custom travel trailer and being easily placeable could be just as easily applied to anything Tumbleweed sells, or most tiny houses on wheels for that matter. This one is bigger than most, especially when you count the overhang/loft, but I have seen featured houses here that were 24 feet long.

    As far as whether or not it is simplified, it’s a matter of degrees, and a question of how far an individual is willing to pare down. This house is 240 square feet, counting the overhang loft, but not the main body loft. Going to that space from an average size house would most likely require quite a bit of paring down and examining what material posessions you really need to keep. This house should also use far less energy than a typical house.

alice h - February 28, 2015 Reply

Nice setup for comfy living. I especially like the back door area with clothing storage and laundry. Add a clothesline out the back door for sunny days. The only thing I would change is have the toilet in a completely private stall of its own. It looks like someone could walk in on you from the loft or back door or if you can close it off from that area that a person coming down from the loft would have to pass through there to the rest of the house.

Becca - February 28, 2015 Reply

That video had me mesmerized. There would be no compromising in that dwelling. Beautiful.

Linda a - February 28, 2015 Reply

I am extremely interested in tiny house living. This gooseneck house is fantisic! My main problem is I am handicapped, so I am looking for something as breathtaking as this house, only on a smaller scale.

Dorothy - February 28, 2015 Reply

Steps to both lofts—awesome!

Leah - March 2, 2015 Reply

Emailing from New Zealand – we are just getting started on the journey.

Who should we speak with about buying plans for this Tiny House, please?

Stephanie - March 13, 2015 Reply

Looks very cozy and well built…..but I just don’t understand why so many tiny home designers put the bathroom practically in the kitchen and the loft over the kitchen where you’re always standing and then have the open ceiling area where you’re sitting….anyone else feel like this is backwards ?

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