Tumbleweed Tiny House Company

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Tumbleweed Tiny House Company is a company in Sonoma, California that designs and builds small houses between 65 and 887 square feet (6 and 80 m2), Many are stick-built homes permanently attached to trailers for mobility. The houses on wheels are available to be purchased ready made and shipped to consumers, and are individually manufactured and customized for their buyers. The company also offers construction plans for their mobile houses and larger designs, as well as workshops geared toward teaching people how to build their own cottage or tiny house on wheels.

Tumbleweed is part of the small house movement. In 2002, Tumbleweed's owner, Jay Shafer, co-founded the Small House Society[1] in Iowa City, Iowa. In 2003, he was commissioned by Gregory Paul Johnson,[2] Small House Society co-founder,[3] to build The Mobile Hermitage,[2] which became one of Tumbleweed's first commercially sold homes.

Some Tumbleweed customers use the buildings as extensions to their houses, business offices, or vacation cabins. In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, a few were sold to Gulf Coast residents who preferred them to government-supplied temporary housing.[4]

In 2008 the company reported selling only one house per year, though this had increased five-fold in 2009.[3] As of 2011, the company reported building "only a few houses" annually.[this quote needs a citation] The majority of the houses built to its designs are constructed by customers using Tumbleweed's plans.[5] In 2012 Jay Shafer left the company to his business partner and founded Four Lights Tiny House Company.[6]

In the summer of 2013, Tumbleweed was certified by the RVIA (Recreational Vehicle Industry Association) as RV manufacturers in the category of park model RVs, also known as park trailers. Though the houses are still built using traditional light frame construction they are certified by the RVIA to meet over 500 criteria for safety.

At the end of September 2013 Yahoo Finance published an article in their Daily Ticker blog called Inside Luxury Tiny Homes: Millennials, Retirees Bucking Mortgages and McMansions, about the growing trend toward choosing smaller homes instead of large mortgages. The piece profiles Ella Jenkins, a young woman who attended a Tumbleweed workshop and built a tiny house on wheels. As of fall of 2013 she teaches tiny house building workshops for Tumbleweed and lives in Northern California.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Small House Society – About, Resources for Life.
  2. ^ a b The Mobile Hermitage, Resources for Life.
  3. ^ a b Kurutz, Steven (September 10, 2008). "The Next Little Thing?". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-09-10. 
  4. ^ Cheryl Corley (May 15, 2006), Tiny Houses Find a Friend on the Gulf Coast, National Public Radio 
  5. ^ Jenna V. Loceff (June 20, 2011), "‘Tiny house’ builder Tumbleweed locates in Sebastopol", North Bay Business Journal 
  6. ^ Jay Shafer’s New Venture – Four Lights Tiny House Company, The Tiny Life

External links[edit]