Evan and Gabby Coulson have always loved the idea of just living with everything you need, and nothing more. The two of them live at Camp Ondessonk in Illinois, in which Evan works. While they already had an extremely sustainable way of life, about a year past Gabby was motivated by a story about tiny houses she read Tumbleweed Tiny Homes. The story stuck with her, and she determined that she wished to downsize dramatically.
“When she said we should look more into those very small houses for our own life, I believed she was completely nuts,” says Evan. “But as I started to really hear what she had to say, I started to get on board as well.” Now the couple is in the last phases of building their Tumbleweed Tarleton home. At about 117 square feet, the home has everything they need — and nothing more.
Watch the home which motivated them
After they complete their home, Evan and Gabby will register it as a custom-built RV. Since it’s on wheels and has been built to be adaptable to an RV park or possibly a friend’s garden, it’s completely portable.
Evan and Gabby intend to maneuver across the country, staying in campgrounds that offer year round prices. “we would like to purchase some land one day and operate utilities for the very small house in a place with housing and zoning laws which are compatible with this kind of living,” says Evan.
A small storage nook over the entrance is one of the home’s many smart storage solutions. Although Evan and Gabby carefully planned out the storage alternatives, they know they’ll still need to eliminate quite a lot before they move in permanently.
“Paring down our belongings and determining what to carry with us, everything to keep for later use and everything things to expect will be difficult,” says Evan. “But it’s also the part we are excited about the most.”
The sleeping attic is over the kitchen and toilet, opposite the property’s entrance. Customized cupboard doors in the attic swing open to provide a feeling of privacy. This region is one of Gabby’s favourite parts of the home because it’s so tucked off and cozy.
Gabby and Evan intend on installing a full sized mattress by putting two latex rubber mattress cores inside a custom organic and cotton wool mattress cover.
Both sleeping-loft cabinets, displayed here with the doors closed, are what Gabby is most proud of. “The concept that I will be scaling down my wardrobe to fit in this tiny space is quite gratifying,” she states. “it is a feat that I believe few women would be brave enough to do.”
The interior of every cupboard door is covered in cork board, which Gabby plans on using to tack up stains she’s gathered from journeys and adventures.
Evan afterwards installed his Christmas present from Gabby — a coaching board for rock climbing — only under the attic entrance. Both love being outside, biking and biking. “One thing that actually captured me was the similarity between living and living in a very small home and the notions that are put into practice when backpacking,” says Evan. “It’s about just taking what’s truly necessary for basic daily needs.”
The electrical needs of Evan and Gabby’s home are extremely small, because they simply have a few lights and tiny appliances — such as the stove, refrigerator and washer/dryer — to electricity.
The galley-style kitchen has been carefully created for storage and space efficiency. It has four feet of stainless steel counter space on both sides along with a two-burner gas stove, a toaster oven, a bar sink, plus a small refrigerator and a combination washer and drier.
The main “great room” is Evan’s favourite part of the home. It has plenty of excellent nooks and crannies for storage, but still feels rather large. The combination window seat and storage trunk is a superb illustration of how the couple was able to use every piece of square footage.
For the floors, Evan and Gabby installed natural bamboo floors from Bare Naked Flooring.
A tiny desk/table has been built in the excellent room so both could operate or share a meal. The corner location and also using a wall brace rather than legs keep it compact.
The alloy panel on the right side of the desk is the home’s heating system. Evan and Gabby chose to put in a marine vessel heater, powered by propane, to maintain their small home warm in the winter. The whole home isn’t much larger than a walk-in cupboard, therefore it won’t require much energy.
From the restroom, both built a custom 32″ x 32″ stainless steel shower. The stainless steel panels have been applied to mould- resistant drywall using heavy-duty silicone caulk.
A composting toilet system from Biolet enables Evan and Gabby much more freedom when choosing somewhere to live because they do not need to worry about the disposal approaches that a standard system requires.
Venting the bathroom system was one of difficult facets of building, but they were able to put in a pipe via the toilet wall. The whole home is produced with sustainable and natural materials as Evan and Gabby were insistent on getting as much of a plastic-free home as possible. Natural wool insulation and copper pipes are only a few of the materials they used.
The couple is quick to mention that they couldn’t have possibly built this home with no assistance of the family and friends. “It’s been like an old-fashioned barn raising,” says Evan. “People have come behind us with this project.”
“This lifestyle shift will be part experience, part social experiment for us. We all know we can make something so intense work for a couple of years, if nothing else,” says Evan. “But we do think that this simplified lifestyle will be both rewarding and liberating. We are hoping that we opt to continue this manner of living beyond our first time period. Time will tell!”
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