Jay Shafer’s Tumbleweed Box Bungalow Video Tour

Recently, I had the opportunity to have a personal tour from Jay Shafer of Tumbleweed Tiny Houses, of his new tiny home. Jay has completed and moved into the Gifford Box Bungalow. This house is one of the designs featured in his latest book called Tumbleweed DIY Book of Backyard Sheds & Tiny Houses.

Jay agreed to do a video walkthrough of the Gifford explaining his thoughts behind the design of his house. These homes were recently featured in HGTV Design Star’s contest but I prefer Jay’s design and I think the designers could learn a lot from him. The video is a little rough as I am still learning, but I hope it will give you a feel for the completed home.

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I have also attached some professional pictures that Jay had photographed of his house in the gallery below. Enjoy the Tour!

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Donatella - September 21, 2011 Reply

Interesting evolution to his design sense. My only bad reaction was to the tub. It only looked large enough for a child and a true ‘wash your hair’ shower for anyone with long hair would make a splashy mess. If he’s going to stay with the ladder/loft idea, perhaps a safer ladder design is in order. I’ve seen ones with hand-hold/slides along the edges which would be safer.

Like the open ceiling area and the use of blinds!
If you could find the space for it, a convection/microwave makes a nice small combo oven.

    freespirit - September 21, 2011 Reply

    I’m sort of wondering about the tub myself as well. I think you could put a shorter curtain across the top to solve the splashing issue. What I’m concerned about is the convenience of stepping over the ledge. He said it was 30″ tall, so those of us with less than a 30″ inseam will have trouble. Think of stepping over a bicycle where the bar is too high for you. You have to lean the bike to one side to stand. You can’t lean the tub, so there is a danger in getting in and out without a bit of trouble. It would make more sense if the bottom was a door that opened,serving as a splash guard when using the space as a sink and a partial shower door when using the stall as a shower. It would be great if it could also be sealed as a walk-in tub, but not essential.

ginmar - September 21, 2011 Reply

Yeah, I have a toaster oven that I use for the summer and while you have to use smaller portions—that’s fine, too—it works like a charm. Some of them come with built in hotplates and coffee pots.

JT - September 21, 2011 Reply

Real nice house, I like it.

( by the way, is it me or did Jay let one rip at 2.39 seconds into the video ? LOL Sure sounded like it ).

    S9 - September 21, 2011 Reply

    Haha, after listening a few times I’m pretty sure it’s just Kent going “Ohhhhh!”

      JT - September 22, 2011 Reply

      At first I tought it was just the stainless steel flex hose going back into the fauset, but then I listened a few more times ( starting at 2:38-39 ) and it sure sounds like someone had gas. LOL Happens to the best of us. :O)

et - September 21, 2011 Reply

nice – does he really live there with wife & child?

    freespirit - September 21, 2011 Reply

    No, while he used to live in the tiny houses, he now uses it for his work space and lives in a “small” house with his wife and child.

      Russ - September 21, 2011 Reply

      I find it lacks integrity for Jay to never say he does not live in the houses he sells. Even the article says he “Moved into” the home.

        freespirit - September 21, 2011 Reply

        Yes, I think he struggles with that a little, since his identity for living in tiny houses has changed recently with his new family. He has, however, stated that he now lives in a small house with his wife and child, but keeps his stuff in and works from his tiny house on live interviews. I’m sure he meant that he moved in, meaning he moved all his stuff from his former tiny house into his new tiny house.

    Kent Griswold - September 22, 2011 Reply

    No Jay does not live in it but lives with his wife and son next door in a 500 square foot home. He does however keep it filled up with everything as though he was living in it. That is what I meant by moved in. He uses the Gifford as an office and design studio and demonstration home.

alice - September 21, 2011 Reply

I find the tub/shower/sink quite interesting. Looks good for laundry too. I imagine you’d need a small stepstool to get up into it, and I thought I heard him say there was a seat inside so you could use that as a step in and out. It’s a bit like something I hope to make for a small ofuro at my place. Maybe you could have a folding step rigged up on the front?

et - September 21, 2011 Reply

It seems it would be so much more efficient space-wise for the door to open outwards.

    freespirit - September 21, 2011 Reply

    It does seem more space efficient, but there are two reasons that I could think to have it open inwards:

    1) If it opens outwards, the hinges will be on the outside allowing anyone who can remove them to take the door off and enter the house.

    2) If it opens outwards, it is easy for the wind to catch the door and bang it against door lights, etc. Screen doors do this as well.

    If anyone knows how to mount a door so it opens outward and is theft preventive, please share.

      et - September 21, 2011 Reply

      Wouldn’t using a deadbolt to lock solve this?
      I’m sure a professional locksmith has answers.

      et - September 21, 2011 Reply

      Wouldn’t using a deadbolt to lock solve this?
      I’m sure a professional locksmith has suggestions.

      Lisa - September 21, 2011 Reply

      Bill at Tortoiseshellhome is building my husband and me a tiny house and he’ll be using an outward-opening door. I changed my plan when I realized it might be a security risk, but Bill assures me there are some outward opening doors that have different hinges so aren’t a risk. We don’t like lofts so will be sleeping on our futon couch, and when the bed is down an inward opening door would be blocked. I’ve read that the inward opening kind are better Fung Shui, but there are probably other aspects of a tiny house that might be considered negative Fung shui so we aren’t worrying about that. Bill will be posting pics on here as the build progresses

        Irene - September 23, 2011 Reply

        I would love to hear more when you are living in your Tortoiseshell Home. I love Jay’s designs but I also really like the simplicity of the Tortoiseshell, and you don’t read much about them on here anymore. So glad to see someone from here will be living in one; if you care to ever update us, I for one, would love to hear about it!

      Stan - September 22, 2011 Reply

      You could use a continuous hinge, you see them on aluminum doors quite often. Getting those apart is near impossible since they are basically gears that go the full height of the door. I’m only seen them in aluminum color though, don’t know if they come in brass or steel.

      Benjamin - September 22, 2011 Reply

      You can get hinges with set screws that hold the pins in (the set screws are only accessible with the door open). You can also get hinges with non-removeable pins, but these make mounting the door more of a hassle.

      Both these solutions have one minor weakness, if the burglar is patient enough to actually saw the hinges off with a hacksaw, but this is noisy and very time-consuming. He’d be more likely to break in through a window.

      A door can be made very secure by having sturdy pins on the hinge edge that go into the frame as the door is closed, but I don’t know if such gadgets are actually manufactured.

    alice - September 22, 2011 Reply

    In heavy snow country you definitely want your door to open inwards because if it drifts up in front of your door you’ll have a hard time opening it. I once opened my door to find the entire doorway filled with hard packed snow. You just grab your shovel from beside the door (inside!)and start digging your way out. Sometimes you might have to exit from an upper window depending on the drifts.

    GRandall - September 27, 2011 Reply

    Hinges designed for outward swinging doors have concealed allen screws that fit into a groove on the hinge pin. The small screw is only accessible when the door is open at least 90 degrees. This is the same sort of hinge that is used on outward swinging French doors

Cathy Johnson (Kate) - September 21, 2011 Reply

Loved the video, as well…

Mary - September 22, 2011 Reply

Jay, Where is the closet for your clothes? If there is no closet then where do you keep your clothing?

    Kent Griswold - September 22, 2011 Reply

    Jay’s closet is right inside the front door, next to the kitchen. It is in the still picture with door closed.

Josh - September 22, 2011 Reply

He says he doesn’t need a range because he’s not a big baker… I guess it would be difficult to be a baker when you so clearly don’t understand what baking is.

    Irene - September 23, 2011 Reply


triangles and curves - design+technology by jenna fizel - September 22, 2011 Reply

[…] flowers. And breads. And cakes. And pastry tongs. All of which could easily fit in tiny-house OG Jay Shafer’s new Box Bungalow. Getting too attached to tiny food, though, could cause loneliness — as could all unusually […]

Laura - September 25, 2011 Reply

He says that Tumbleweed makes the kitchen and bathroom “components” for the Box Bungalows…when will those be available on the website, I wonder?

    Kent Griswold - September 25, 2011 Reply

    They are not available yet and I don’t have a date when they will be. Jay sometimes lets information out before things are ready for production.

Lynette - April 21, 2012 Reply

I love the tumbleweed designs/look but there is one aspect I’m not comfortable with, which is the bathroom opening up in the kitchen. I would want a bathroom in another part of the tiny house or at least opening up elsewhere. Also, don’t think my frame would fit in that tiny bathroom space. 🙂 Would be nice if he built a larger version of this style.

Alice - August 18, 2012 Reply

Your box-bungalow is efficient and organized, but, in 1920 Buster Keaton was doing his own tiny house. You may appreciate his ideas. The movie is called “The Scarecrow”. Here’s a link: http://archive.org/details/BusterKeatonthescarecrow

La mini casa de madera Gifford por dentro (Vídeo) - November 12, 2012 Reply

[…] la experiencia en modelos de viviendas precedentes.Este vídeo e imágenes lo encontramos en Tiny House Blog. […]

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