Covet This: Tumbleweed's Tiny Kit Home

Robyn Griggs Lawrence thumbnailWhen Natural Home put out a call for entries in our Natural Home of the Year contest in 1999, Jay Shafer sent in a few photos of an exquisitely built tiny house and an essay about why he chose to live in 89 square feet. He gave all the usual reasons--building small saved hime money, kept junk out of landfills, reduced his overall environmental footprint and allowed him to build a solid, heirloom-quality home. He built Tumbleweed, the 8-1/2 by 17 by 13-1/2-foot home that we honored with a Special Award for Philosophy and Innovation, for $42,000. Its small size allowed him to put five times more money per square foot into quality materials and construction than is allowed for most standard-size homes. This was radical thinking at the time.

“My main reason for building such a little home was nothing so grandiose as saving the world, or so pragmatic as saving money,” Jay wrote. “Truth be known, I simply do not have the time or patience for a large home. I’ve found that, like anything else that’s superfluous, extra space merely gets in the way of my contentment, for it requires maintenance and heating and ultimately demands that I exchange a portion of my life for the money to pay for these luxuries. I wanted a place that would maintain my serene lifestyle, not a place that I would spend the rest of my life maintaining. I find nothing demanding about Tumbleweed. Everything’s within arm’s reach and nothing’s in the way--not even space itself.”

Jay went on to create Tumbleweed Tiny House Company, now the flagship for a tiny house movement that’s sweeping the nation. His superbly designed and built homes can be found from coast to coast. This week I received an email from Jay with photos of his newest model, the Tumbleweed Box Bungalow, which is 7 feet by 14 feet (about 98 square feet). The Craftsman-style microhome is available as a modular kit, with flexible kitchen and bathroom placement. 

Do I even need to say how much I want one?

 bungalow box exterior 
The Bungalow Box has Craftsman details. Photo courtesy of Tiny House Blog.