Q&A

If you have any questions regarding the project please enter them below and I will try and answer them as soon as I am able.

  1. I have received many comments regarding the location of this house.
    A: The home will be on an 18′ utility trailer with a wooden deck. And the construction will take place at my house. *Unless a builder/ other individual offers me a warehouse site or someplace else where I can build

  2. NerdGirl – I have a bunch of questions about this cool project…
    Where does the Lusby get its water? Is there a tank?
    Does the Lusby have a stove?
    Does it have a fridge?
    What does it use for power?
    Can you tell me about the bathroom??

    • “The Small House Book” by Jay Shafer has the best answers to your questions.

      “Water: Tumbleweed was supplied by a simple, gravity-fed plumbing system. A two-and-a-half-gallon pot sat on a metal shelf just above a horizontal section of stovepipe in the overhead kitchen cabinet and drained into either the kitchen sink or shower through a Y intersection in a short stretch of rubber hose. The water was kept warm as long as the heat stove was on, and it could be made hot by setting the pot directly on the stove or a burner. The pot was filled at a nearby spigot. Gray water drained directly into the garden.

      Heating and Cooking: The best source of heat most structures can use is that of the sun. I installed windows on all but what was intended as the north wall of Tumbleweed for good solar gain. A covered porch on the south side kept the heat of the high summer sun out while letting the lower winter rays flood the house with their warmth. A gas heater kicked in on cloudy days and cold nights. I chose a gas stove over a wood one mostly because gas stoves require about one-sixth as much clearance from flammable surfaces. This, in turn, allowed me to have pine walls without having to put my heater right in the middle of an already tiny room. The cleanliness of gas also seemed to make sense in a small space, and I liked the idea of precise control with the thermostat rather than the frequent stoking that a small wood stove requires. The propane tank that fed the heater also supplied an R.V. cooktop. It is upon this same double burner that a camp oven was set for baking.

      Toilet: My composting toilet amounted to little more than an airtight bucket, a can of sawdust and a couple of compost piles outside. Sordid story short, the bucket was used as an indoor toilet and sawdust was put into the mix to absorb odor and balance out the carbon-to-nitrogen ratio. This bucket was emptied onto one compost pile or the other every so often, then rinsed (it can also be taken to a processing center). While the idea of carrying one’s own poop (or anybody else’s for that matter) to a compost pile off away from central living quarters may sound both inconvenient and plainly unacceptable to most Westerners, its appeal for more than a few will be its absolute efficiency. Without electricity, running water, or waste and only small inconvenience as its price, a cleaner environment and soil-building compost are made available.” (12,13)

      I will not give all of the details of the electrical just the basics. It can be charged at a specified location but I am attempting to make some modifications and add a generator.

      Does that help?

      • Yes, it helps…that’s a lot of detail. But, I’m still imagining the toilet. Will it be a bucket? Or will you have some sort of actual toilet?

      • This is to Ellen, about the toilet. What is being described is a humanure toilet which does not smell. This gives an overview of them.
        http://humanurehandbook.com/downloads/humanure_sanitation_paper.pdf
        If you click on the link there is a picture of one, it uses a wooden toilet seat and is just as comfy as a water-using toilet. I have one myself. The user also needs to build a compost bin (again no smell) to complement the toilet and to have access to cover material.
        Go, Kendall! you are an inspiration.

  3. You can and are really doing this! Shelter is indeed a right and you are a true philanthropist in making this dream come true –
    Best Wishes!
    Greg

  4. Hello, I would just like to comment. I think what you are doing is astoundingly wonderful. I pray for a blessing on you in Jesus name. I have been following Jay shaffer and others on these small homes. I have made comments before about what a great solution to homeless people and ppl who can not afford to buy a house. Being a family that is hearing impaired and has disibilites in it I would some time my self like to have a small home .. Just so as I would be able to be a home owner myself one day. My hubby is deaf and my daughter is hard of hearing. ( born that way both of them ) I would love to see programs made that would enable families like mine be able to not have to worry so much about bills. Living on a small income is hard at times. I think this is an amazing story. God bless you.

  5. I just found your site as it was linked off of the main Tumbleweedhomes.com website. I am amazed at how far you have come! I would love to build a Lusby myself, but due to a huge amount of zoning laws in Syracuse, NY and the surrounding areas it is just not possible. I wish I was closer to you so that I could donate my time to your fabulous project.
    Though I am unable to financially support you.. my dreams and wishes are with you. Take care!

  6. I am so impressed with what you are doing!!! I would love to do the same here in Australia!!

  7. I think what you do is amazing. I will be glad to help you with a donation. I would love to help you build but I live in the mid-west. God bless and prosper you. I would love to see what you do with the rest of your life, I imagine it will be something great.

  8. Bonjour from France,

    Looks great so far….

    My questions are – What plans are you using? and Can you make them available to others who wish to do the same as you.

    Keep up the good work,

    Matt

  9. God has blessed you with talent and a love for others,it’s totally beautiful!! I am humbled to see a girl your age doing such great work. Keep it up! You’ve inspired me in Los Angeles.

  10. I`m wondering where you are located! I would love to volunteer if you live close enough to me.I`ve been super interested in these tiny homes for years now and plan to downsize A LOT when my children are older and on their own.

  11. I’ve just looked through some of the photos of what you have done so far, and I’m very impressed. I can’t help you with any of the building, so I’ve made a donation. This is the MOST worthy cause I’ve given to this year. Keep up the good work!

  12. Way to go girl! I had a similar idea as you. For the last 4 1/2 years I’ve been building my own cob house on the weekends with help from friends I’ve made along the way and raising money as I go. I didn’t even know how to use a drill when I started. It’s been a grand adventure and I now have a great house and a lot of new friends from the process..as well as more skills!

    I was wondering what you are going to use the house for when you are done? I’m impressed with your confidence and courage in going ahead with this and your webpage is a great idea. I’ve been doing a similar photo essay of my journey on facebook.

  13. Kendall, Tumbleweed posted on Facebook, the link to your TEDxYouth@Monterey talk, which was excellent. I am so impressed by what you’re doing. Thank you for inspiring me and what I am sure will be many others as well. I will do what I can to spread the word to try and help you reach your fundraising goal.

    May I ask what brand of trailer you chose and where you purchased it?

    My wife, son, and I, now live a 2 hour drive from Santa Cruz, but if you ever need extra labor, my son (a high school senior and born at Dominican Hospital) and I would be honored to help. All 3 of us are fans of the tiny house movement, and we’re trying to shift our lifestyle in a way that leaves as small of a negative environmental footprint as possible. We first want to build a tiny house for our son.

    Keep up the great work!

    Jeff

  14. I’m impressed! And I’ve got to admit, quite awed by your project. The Lusby is the home I would build too. Only I was always too scared to think that I could do such a big project with no construction knowledge at all. I’m seriously proud of you and I’m even thinking of trying it myself now.

  15. Bonnie Fernandez

    Hi Kendall, this is Bonnie, Marisa’s mom. I am so excited and proud of you for all this! Marisa’s dad is involved in the humanure movement, and would be happy to help if you need it. Let us know!

  16. I just watched your TED talk.. WOW! It is inspiring to see a young lady such as yourself doing this 🙂

    Chris

  17. Do you take speaking requests? Would love to have you speak for our big brothers big sisters community.. Thx!

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