North Bay Business Journal

Monday, June 20, 2011, 7:22 am

‘Tiny house’ builder Tumbleweed locates in Sebastopol

One of a number of firms making energy-efficient spaces as homes, studios


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    Jay Shafer with his tiny home

    SEBASTOPOL — Tumbleweed Tiny House Company recently leased a small warehouse at 400 Morris St. in Sebastopol.

    Tumbleweed offers consumers plans for tiny homes from 65 to 864 square feet. The homes sleep from one to four people. The home plans range in price from $99 to $849. Tumbleweed often offers specials for bestsellers and some of the smaller units.

    Tumbleweed, in addition to the plans, offers prebuilt homes that are put together in the warehouse.

    “We don’t do prefab yet,” said Brett Haynes, spokesman for Tumbleweed (tumbleweedhouses.com). “We build complete models of our houses on wheels and then ship them to the customer. We only build a few houses a year. Most are built by our customers.”

    Homes are delivered to a site on a trailer.

    Since 1997, Jay Shafer, founder of Tumbleweed, has been living in an 89-square foot home. He calls that home “Tumbleweed” and he said he has comfortably lived in it since that time.

    Since that first home, he has continued to make small buildings.

    Employees putting together a model home in the warehouse in Sebastopol

    “How each house gets used depends on the occupant’s particular needs,” said Mr. Shafer. “What one person would enjoy as a quiet studio in their backyard, another couple might choose to inhabit as a full-time residence,” he said.

    “My houses have been composed with meticulous attention to light, warmth, energy efficiency, and proportion. I have made the most of each cozy interior by minimizing transitional areas like hallways and stairwells and by using otherwise unusable space as storage. The simple, formal designs that have resulted are the best way I have found to order most any space and make it beautiful.”

    Mr. Shafer travels the country giving two-day workshops on his homes, the tiny home movement and how to design your own. The Tiny House Workshop aims to teach all the detailed information on tiny home building and design. Upcoming workshops will be held in Washington State, Washington D.C., Chicago and Los Angeles.

    Tumbleweed Homes is one of a number of tiny home and premade home ventures in the North Bay. Tortoise Shell Homes and M4 Homes are also locally headquartered. HybridCore Homes makes factory built modular homes that are typical sizes but put together onsite.

    Mr. Shafer has been interviewed by CNN, Oprah, The New York Times and CBS about Tumbleweed and the tiny house movement.

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    1. June 20, 2011, 9:26 am

      by Barbara

      I have a small farm with beautiful trees and want to put the tiny houses on it for a get away in the future. Aiken,SC

    2. February 16, 2014, 9:11 am

      by Rick Mozer

      Am I correct that the tiny house is classified as a manufactured home built to HUD standards? They are not considered an RV. Before you can install one on your property the necessary zoning and permits are required.

      Please let me know as I am starting to get inquires from clients. Thanks

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