(Tiny) Homeward Bound

Designing and Building My Tiny House

Trailer decisions

So, as I said in the last post, I have decided to go for a tiny house on a trailer.  But all decisions lead to more decisions to be made.  In talking to friends, they asked why I wasn’t just thinking about buying an RV, ripping out its guts, and refinishing the inside (like Jay Shafer did).  Or buying an old school bus and doing the same (called skoolies).  Then, I’d get a waterproof shell that I knew was good on the road.  No worries about leaks or, even worse, the roof falling off as I drive down the road.  And I could have the same satisfaction of the hands-on construction work of creating my own home.  Also, it may be easier to move around and potentially to tow my little Honda Civic behind it.  My Civic certainly won’t be able to tow any trailer so changing locations may require multiple trips, one to move the trailer and one to move the car.  And yes, I know in the ideal world, I just wouldn’t have a car.  Trust me, I didn’t have a car for 10 years.  But, I kiteboard.  A lot. Which means driving to beaches with several kites and boards and wetsuits.  So, a car is necessary.  Anyway, back to the trailer decision.

But, there are a couple of downsides of using an RV or bus.

1. First, I think it may limit the places I can park.  In certain neighborhoods, I can see neighbors being OK with a cute little house parked in the backyard while they wouldn’t be OK with an RV or school bus.  A cute little house on wheels is easier to put in a neighborhood and have people think its just cute, versus an RV or a school bus.

2. With a school bus or a drivable RV, I run into the issues of the road worthiness of the engine.  Engines are a bit of a mystery to me (perhaps having to do with my not owning a car for 10 years).  So, taking on a used engine, figuring out if it’s a good used engine, fixing it, all that seems like a whole new challenge for me.  I like challenges and am sure I could figure it out, but I have a feeling that house construction is going to be plenty challenging enough for me for the next bit.

3. Insulation, waterproofing, and all of that sounds like it can be a challenge.  Most RVs are not made for full-time living or winter living.  There definitely seem to be horror stories about condensation, icing, leaking shells, and all of that.  There are horror stories on the internet for everything…but these aren’t things I really want to mess with.  Whether my construction will be any better is a question as well, but at least I have some control over that.

4. I really, really want a sleeping loft.  It makes so much sense to me.  Why waste floor space with a bed?  Of course, I’m writing this as I sit on my bed, but part of that is that it takes up the bulk of the room I’m renting.  Anyway, RVs have lower ceilings than my plan, which makes lofts harder.

Clearly, I’m leaning a bit towards a cute tiny house on wheels.  Something like a Tumbleweed House.  But, I plan to tweak floor plans and roofs and all of that.  Because that’s the fun part of building your own house.


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