Announcing the Amish Barn Raiser by Tumbleweed

by Kent Griswold on February 20th, 2014. 6 Comments

Over the years, we have heard from tiny house builders that it could take 100-200+ hours to complete framing and sheathing phases. Why not provide some help and heavy lifting for builders this spring?

Tumbleweed now offers the Amish Barn Raiser. It’s a complete “shell” assembled by our Colorado-based Amish builders, the Fishers, who also build our ready-made homes. With over 50 years of combined experience in building homes, we honor and offer their experience.

amish barn raising

Barn Raiser details:
Stages of building the Barn Raiser:

The fully-framed shell can be ordered for 18, 20 and 24- foot homes, all built on a Tumbleweed Trailer. After stick-building is complete, the house is sheathed with zip board and a weather resistant roof. It is well-constructed with Simpson Strong Ties, hurricane clips, and engineered wood. The windows are framed but not cut out, while the front door is cut out. Dormers and a complete metal roof are options.

Prices start at $13,000 and there’s a $1,000 discount if purchased by February 28th. The Barn Raisers may be delivered throughout the U.S. except Hawaii (see fees) or picked up free in Colorado Springs, CO.

Buyers may pay with a loan, credit card, check or wire transfer, and will need to complete a sales agreement. We have 0% financing available (up to 18 months) for people with credit scores over 680, and here’s how to apply:

Financing FAQ:

Loan Application:

For spring builders, please consider ordering soon because the lead time is 6-8 weeks depending on trailer deliveries.

amish barn raising 2

February 20th, 2014and filed in Announcement
Tags: Barn Raiser, framing, trailer, Tumbleweed

A Tiny Timber-Framed House

by Kent Griswold on February 14th, 2014. 31 Comments

by Paul and Makenzie Benander

My partner and I have been building a tiny timber-framed house for a little over a year now. We thought you or some of your readers might find it interesting or helpful to hear about our project. When we started our build we had a hard time finding other people in the tiny house community who were doing a timber frame on a trailer. I’ve attached some pictures of the frame raising and some recent shots, as well as a brief synopsis of the project. For more pictures we have a blog at

timber frame and us

Thanks for your time and keep up the good work! We’ve spent countless hours perusing your blog throughout our journey and gotten lots of great info and ideas!

The Project:

We first heard of the tiny house movement during our senior year at college. With so much up in the air in terms of job opportunities and additional schooling we were immediately intrigued by the idea of living simply and taking home with us where ever we ended up.

We got the idea to try and do a timber frame construction after I had taken a timber-framing workshop. We had always loved the look and feel of post and beam construction and after putting together a small shed in the workshop I had attended, we thought ‘Why not a tiny house?’. Two major factors to consider in a tiny house frame are strength/stability and weight.

timber frame raising


As it turns out, timber frames have a long history in New England and are a tried and true form of construction that relies on careful joinery. They are however, traditionally heavy frames. We decided to go with 6×6 hemlock timbers as opposed to the standard 8×8 to save on weight and room. Once the frame had been planned out we were then able to calculate the wet vs. dry weight of the timbers to know exactly what we were dealing with. As another precaution we also opted for a new trailer (as opposed to used) rated for 10,000 lbs.

timber frame assembly

Equipped with a mallet, set of chisels and books, we began construction on our tiny house in October 2012. The winter was spent working on the timbers and preparing the trailer and this May we were able to have a ‘tiny house-raising’ where friends came and helped us to raise the frame.

Since the raising we have spent the summer and fall months closing in, insulating, installing windows and doors, and beginning our systems work.

timber frame crew

timber exterior completed

 Jøtul F 602

OTIS a New Take on the American Dream?

by Kent Griswold on January 29th, 2014. 50 Comments

POULTNEY—When it comes to building a living space, how small can you go? Three years ago, professor Lucas Brown’s students in Green Mountain College’s Renewable Energy and Ecological Design (REED) class built a custom-designed tiny house, a 96-square-foot structure with a sleeping loft “upstairs” and a 300-watt solar powered electrical system.


This semester, his class went one better, constructing a 70 square-foot “living system” that can be towed on a standard 5X8 foot trailer. The pod-shaped tiny house includes indoor plumbing in the form of a composting toilet, a rainwater collection system, and a single 120-watt solar panel to provide electricity. The class has dubbed the structure OTIS (Optimal Traveling Independent Space).

The class of 16 students challenged itself to design and build a living space with enough room for one person, that could be easily towed behind a typical 4-cylinder vehicle, and could provide its own water and electricity.

tiny house towed

Environmental sustainability is the foundation of the college curriculum, and REED students are interested in finding ways to reduce consumption of fossil fuels and leave a smaller ecological footprint. But Brown thinks there is something more at work behind his students’ enthusiasm for the project.

mobile house

“The appeal of living a more nomadic lifestyle represents a new take on the American Dream, especially among students in this millennial generation,” he said. “Lots of writing on the millennials suggests that our suburban growth model perpetuated over the last 50-60 years is starting to come to and end. They (students) aren’t interested in being tied down with rent or a mortgage right after college. Something about having their own living space which is very low maintenance and very mobile suggests a different set of priorities.”

“It’s got its own solar system to power itself, and a bath and kitchen are independently supplied by rainwater,” said senior Mike Magnotta. “At the end of the day, you just need the environment to sustain yourself. You’re not tied down to a piece of land and be stuck somewhere. You can really go anywhere and do anything.”


Students broke into teams to study and develop water, energy, heat, and building envelope systems. Kellin Banks was charged with managing the water systems. “How to turn something that most people don’t want to think about into a valuable resource—that was an interesting challenge,” she said.

compost toilet


student on bed

Silver Tears Camper

by Kent Griswold on December 10th, 2013. 13 Comments

An American Classic

The Davis Design Workshop is dedicated to creating and developing custom furniture, fine pieces, and just about anything you can think of. This same craftsmanship is present throughout each Silver Tears camper.

The teardrop camper. An instant classic when it first hit the American highway in the 40s. Often hand-built in neighborhood garages from surplus war materials, the teardrop was a personal statement. Silver Tears Campers expands the personal statement into a road epic. Unencumbered, you’ll travel light, but smart, with everything you need, and nothing you don’t. Pull it with your Mini, if you like. Maneuver it deftly through the woods to the creek bank. Fry trout in the open-air kitchen. Rub your hands across the figured maple counter top. Read that novel in the light of the kerosene lantern. Fall asleep to the sound of rain on the aluminum roof. Dream of tomorrow’s adventures. Get up and go. Learn more here

Woodie Teardrop






tiny teardrop


December 10th, 2013and filed in Travel Trailers
Tags: Silver Tears Camper, teardrop, trailer