Eric John Jacobs is already living his dream job: as a river guide on the Rogue River near Ashland, Ore. He also has his dream home to take with him—built by him and a high school woodshop class. Eric had seen other river guides living out of vans or trailers, but he knew he wanted something a little more comfortable for his seasonal work.
“I like to balance myself between idealism and realism,” Eric said. “This is kind of a big tiny house, but I didn’t want to live in it for only two years or six months and realize it was not for me.”
Eric is building his new home (affectionately called the “McMansion of Tiny Homes”) with the help of two shop classes at Galena High School in Reno, NV. The students work on everything from framing to electrical and Eric has been learning along with them. Eric’s mother is a teacher at the school and when Eric was looking for a place to build his tiny house, Tom Larson, the shop teacher, opened up his classes for the challenge.
Eric’s home on wheels (to be completed in May 2015) is 172 square feet with two large lofts and a five foot front deck. He used the plans from The Tiny Project by Alek Lisefski and tweaked them to fit his lifestyle. His goal was to have a private sleeping loft as well as a space for guests. The living area will have a custom made couch, a wood stove and the bathroom will have a shower and a composting toilet. The siding will be cedar bevel and Eric has attempted to eliminate any toxins from the house.
The trailer was custom made for the house by Iron Eagle Trailers and Eric will use the tongue of the trailer to store an insulated hot water container, the inverter and other electrical components. He also plans on using straw bales as insulation around the bottom of the trailer and he wants to utilize flexible water storage bladders (used by firefighters) to store water under his home and under the custom couch in the living area.
Eric is still deciding whether he wants to hook up to electricity at an RV park or install solar panels. He’s interested in the new battery technology being developed by Tesla which would save space in his new home. Before any kind of solar option, Eric is planning on spending about $25,000 to build the house. He is currently looking for a permanent space for his tiny house in the Medford/Ashland area of Oregon.
Decorating the tiny house is going to be more of a challenge.
“Everything I own fits in my truck,” Eric laughed. “I actually have to buy stuff to fill this tiny house.”
Photos by Christina Nellemann