Beginning a journey to live more simply…

Evan & Gabby

We are having a blast with this project! Neither Gabby nor I had any construction experience before starting to build our Tumbleweed Tiny Home. We have been blessed with a very supportive community and a great group of friends -many of whom have a good bit of building experience.

We work and live at Camp Ondessonk, a traditional summer youth camp and outdoor education center in Illinois. It has provided us with a great social community, which has really come together to support us in this endeavor. The first week of our project is a great case-in-point: we were able to get the shell up, roof on, and house wrapped all within the first 7 days! It was very much like an old-fashioned barn raising. With many enthusiastic helping hands, it was so inspirational to be a part of.

We’ve found folks to be very interested in getting involved with this unique project, particularly one with such a positive impact in terns of living consciously, simply and intentionally. As we progress, we’re slowly chunking away at the many details and still finding offers of help. It has really brought people (including Gabby and I!) together.

Our journey has changed our lives already, and we haven’t even moved in yet! It has been such a great experience, we’re excited to move forward!

Comments on: "Evan & Gabby" (40)

  1. Lynn and Ron Gamache said:

    We think what you two are doing is amazing! We commend you on your goal of living simply in a modern, complex world. We too have down-sized as we retired and now live in a modular home on our son’s 5 acre property here in Aldergrove, B.C. You have inspired us to consider building a similar Tiny House on this same property where we could offer “a home away from home” for others, especially thinking of our many international friends from around the world. We believe this could also be a catalyst for change as others experienced living in a small but cozy space. We will continue to follow your saga with interest and enthusiasm. Know we are cheering you on in your efforts, and hope to follow in your footsteps someday…..Blessings, Lynn % Ron, Redwing Place, Aldergrove, B.C. Canada

    • Lynn and Ron,
      Thank you for your kind feedback and words of support! We like your notion of small but cozy. You have, indeed, described the feeling we get every time we step foot in the tiny place. It is wonderful. We’re excited for you to experience this feeling as well when you build!

  2. Lynn and Ron Gamache said:

    Yes, please notify us of follow-up comments!

  3. vagabondingparttime said:

    Great to find your link today. My wife and I are currently in pare down process with hopes of moving out of our too big house and into something similar Looks like we found a great spot for inspiration here. We are both very much into back country hiking as well :)

  4. What plan did you choose, I am in the pre planning stage and your home looks so open and roomy, cozy but not claustrophobic

    • We built the Tumbleweed Tarleton. We did, however, create more of a custom floor plan inside. Gabby suggested we move the bathroom to the very back of the house, running side-to-side, then create a kitchen area with counter space on both sides of the house. We then separated the kitchen from the ‘Great’ room with a closet and shelving to make it feel like it’s own little space. It does feel pretty roomy inside! She had a good eye for the layout as far as our own personal needs and tastes go.

  5. I am very happy to keep finding stories like yours. I’m a Tumbleweed fan (nowhere near to have one of my own yet) who also loves the feeling of going about with just the basics; so one day I’ll catch up with the rest of the Tiny House builders and wanderers. In the meantime I just have my backpack, to wander about.
    Congratulations for making a dream come true, because in some way, you are doing it for all of us who love this and still are too young or just too poor ;) to put it in motion.

  6. Evan and Gabby, I thoroughly enjoy reading your blog and watching every detail of your Tiny House unfold! My husband and I became interested in Jay’s houses recently and are dreaming of building one when our “nest” is empty. It’s a little scary for us after living with so much “stuff” for almost 30 years of marriage/raising our family. It is very inspiring to see your progress, and the links you provide are truly appreciated! I wish you all the best as you finish your Tiny House and begin the next adventure of living in it. Thank you for sharing your journey!

    • Thanks Lori, we’ve had such a wonderful time seeing this project come to life. You know, our ‘stuff’ can certainly act as our security blanket, and often times for good reason. The ‘things’ we have, for the most part, have come into our lives for reasons. Many of them even begin to define us. Other things, however, sneak in with the good-intentioned ones. These are the things that can be the easiest -and most rewarding- to start with in the paring down process. Keep up the good work with your ‘nest’, and enjoy taking a good look around at the things that are important. The other ‘stuff’ can get begin to get the pink slip!

  7. Hey you two! I’ve been thinking of this while looking at tiny house pages for the past ten years (I’m now 53). We recently became “empty nesters” and have scaled down considerably. For some time I felt that I was actually serving my stuff (moving, cleaning, maintaining, protecting). If I can just persuade my dear wife to go a bit further, we will do something similar to what you have done. It is very liberating to get rid of things. One just has to take that first very tough step. It also means developing a whole new way of streamlining/simplifying thinking. My old (rarely followed) rule was “if it hasn’t been used in 18 months–out it goes.” My new rule- “Don’t bring it in to start with.” All of my music, photos, and books are now digitized (and backed up). That alone saved a lot of space. Anyway, best wishes. Check out John’s Field Lab blog from Southwest Texas for my current inspiration. Taking it one step further and living off the grid is my dream.

    • Hi Jim,

      We like your new rule- “Don’t bring it in to start with”! MUCH easier said than done. And, as the US economy lags, this way of thinking/acting has other implications. BUT- intentional thinking about our ‘stuff’ is both liberating and timely.

      Good to know that others are enjoying the same effects of paring down. It is simply insane how much stuff a few people can acquire when not looking. I am often reminded of how Henry Thoreau said he went to the woods to live deliberately. We hope to take that cue and apply it to our everyday lives. Bring some of that ‘Backcountry’ simplicity to the ‘Frontcountry’.

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts. Looking forward to checking out your blog.

      Warm regards,
      Evan & Gabby

  8. Theresa McCune said:

    Hello. I’ve been studying your photos in depth and wonder if the plans you purchased were more detailed than the Popomo plans I’ve got. They don’t seem detailed enough for a non-construction person to succeed, using only the plans and their elbow grease. Did you get advice from a skilled carpenter?

    • Hi Theresa,

      We purchased the Tumbleweed Tiny House Company Tarleton plans, and they were very detailed regarding the framing of the tiny house in terms of precise measurements and exact placement of the lumber. As far as knowing how to actually do what the plans showed, this is where we were very fortunate to have such a great network of skilled help. Several of our friends showed up for an old-fashioned barn raising of sorts, and we had it all framed in a week. Having no experience, we would have been hard-pressed to have even know where to begin without these great folks. This is why we quickly began calling our project “Built by Friends”, after a great song by the folk duo Carter & Connelley.

  9. Thomas Dixon said:

    Hi..Your Tiny House looks awesome. You’ve done a great job. I am still trying to convince my wife to let’s build our own little house. Luckily i am a carpenter by trade. Would you please tell me the dimensions of your trailer (width)from outside frame to outside frame and the same for length, but not including the tongue portion..basically the length and width of the actual rectangle?? I would rerally appreciate it..Thanks, Tom

    • Hi Tom,

      We purchased a 20′ car hauler trailer. I’ll see if I can’t get out there and measure the exact dimensions for you this week.

      Thanks for your kind feedback!

  10. Hello!

    I am in love with your little house and am following your progress closely. Where are you putting the washer/dryer, and is it a combo unit? What size water storage tank do you have, and how often do you think you will have to fill it?

    Thank you for your willingness to answer questions and to share your tiny house adventure!

    Amy O. Davis

    • Hi Amy,

      Thanks! We appreciate you saying that! We are placing the compact washer/dryer combo unit under the sink-side counter top. We’re looking at an LG model that washes and dries all in the same bin. There are some pros and cons to these types of systems, but we think the pros will win out…

      Our potable water tank is aprox. 30 gallons. We had it custom made from a tank manufacturer in Sand Point, ID. Not sure how often we’ll have to fill it yet. That will be part of the adventure of figuring this thing all out…

      Take good care!
      Evan & Gabby

  11. Luke Wilson said:

    Hi Evan and Gabby!

    I have been reading about tiny house stuff for years and years, but you are the very first that I have seen in SOIL – got here from the FB link from Tiny House Design. My wife and I live in Carbondale, and are planning on building a tiny house, possibly in the late summer/early fall.

    Obviously from the pictures it looks like you are close to being done, but if there is ANYTHING we could do, we would love to pitch in, or just get a cup of coffee and talk about simple living and tiny houses! Email me anytime!

    Luke

  12. [...] Evan & Gabby are building a beautiful Tumbleweed of their own. We’ll be sharing more details from their well-designed blog in the coming days. Until then, read all about the day they took the next step here. [...]

  13. Hey Evan and Gabby! Sorry to comment here — but I couldn’t find an email address to contact you guys at. I’m a staff writer at Houzz.com, and would love to write a piece on your home! Shoot me an email if you get a chance, and I can fill you in on the details. It’s super easy, and I know our readers would love it!
    -Vanessa
    vanessa@houzz.com

  14. Jennifer Tekiela said:

    Evan and Gabby, I loved seeing your tiny house last weekend. I am sorry that I didn’t have time to tour the inside. I think it is so cool. I have been reading about tiny houses and was delighted to actually see one. I was telling Gabby about a website called rowdykittens.com. The site talks about simplicity and there is some mention of tiny houses. Check it out. Hope to be back to camp soon. Heepwah!

    • Thanks Jen, we’re so glad you stopped by! Perhaps next time we can offer the full tour. It doesn’t take long. :)

      We appreciate the link! We’ve followed these folks from time to time and think they are pretty neat. We’ve even noticed that they link to our blog when they discuss using natural wool insulation. We utilized Oregon Shepherd for our wool, and it looks like they are considering doing the same. GREAT folks at Oregon Shepherd. We cannot recommend them highly enough!

  15. Michele Dawson C. said:

    I have been following your blog since you first started and was hoping to see the end results of the inside. I logged on today and it was formated differently and I couldn’t see the progress since you installed the cubbies beside the sitting area. Hope all is going well for the two of you. Michele Dawson C. in Joshua, TX

  16. Hello Evan and Gabby. This is Christina of the Tiny House Blog. We would love to do a post on you and your wonderful tiny house. Would I be able to send you a few questions?

  17. Hi, there. I saw the article about your home on the Tiny House Blog. I admit to being fascinated by the idea of a cat box cubby! Perhaps you could do a post about it (if you haven’t already?) I have read a lot of your blog and searched a bit, but I didn’t see anything. If you could point me in the right direction or share stuff about it, I’m sure other cat owners would love to see it.

    Thanks!

    Tara

  18. Rhea Patrick said:

    Could you give us a follow up on life now-1-1-2012. Would be interested in hearing what has happened in the last few months. Thanks ,Rhea

  19. Please tell me where you got the tiny house christmas ornament or how you made it?
    Love it. Hope someday to build my own tiny house. I am in love with tiny house living..
    Thank you for your blog, enjoy it very much…
    Anne

  20. where did you get the tiny house ,looks like an ornament?

    Love your little house….

    • Hi there Anne, thanks so much! Gabby’s Mom made the tiny house ornament for us as a Christmas gift! She carved it out of a block of wood, cut up a tin can for the roofing, and glued on some little wheels. She’s very creative and super clever. We love it!

      Best regards,
      Evan & Gabby

  21. Hi Evan and Gabby,

    Congratulations completing your tiny house and reaching a dream you set out to accomplish. I’m considering building a tiny house and am curious what yours cost to build. Please let me know when you have a moment.

    Thanks so much,

    David

    Camden, Maine

  22. hi evan and gabby,
    first off, so jealous you get to live at the youth camp at which you work. i worked at an outdoor residential camp (much like yours) for seven summers. i would love to live out there as well! haha :) i was just wondering what the initial cost was for your project. i’m trying to calculate how much we will need to have saved (approx.) and was wondering what your upfront costs were. i’m anticipating putting some funds on my credit card, but i’d like to know a ballpark for a starting cost. if you don’t mind sharing a price breakdown, i’d be very appreciative. my partner is a stained glass artist and i’m currently a journalist. so money isn’t coming in droves (i wouldn’t want it that way at any rate). and i’m originally from washington state and we live in virginia, i’m close w/ my family so i fly home often, and that’s pretty much where all my disposable (and not so disposable) income goes. i would love to be able to ask a few questions of you in the future if you wouldn’t mind as we start on this process. i think we’re a bit away from really beginning, but i want to know what obstacles others faced in their journey. thank you so much and take care!
    -colleen

  23. Joel Fadness said:

    Hey Guys, just wanted to say thanks for posting your process. It has helped my Freedom Machine house project at many steps and showed me that I have a lot of work to do yet! Also, the sheep wool insulation is going great! Best of luck to you both!

  24. [...] Evan & Gabby are building a beautiful Tumbleweed of their own. We’ll be sharing more details from their well-designed blog in the coming days. Until then, read all about the day they took the next step here. [...]

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