Instead of retrofitting existing RVs and buses, Fisher built a tiny house from scratch. She started with her trailer, her 7 x 12 flatbed she bought second hand.
“At first I wanted to build a small 200-square-foot house, but I wanted to travel again. A small house of that size doesn’t do well with towing, so it’s called ‘vard,'” Fisher said.
A vardo is a traditional Romani caravan house, typically ornately decorated and painted with horse-drawn carriages.
“I didn’t want to modify a school bus or anything like that. she said. Added.
Fisher was not a professional builder, although he had experience remodeling and carpentry in previous homes.
“I started doing some research online to get a basic idea of the whole construction process and figure out where to start,” Fisher says.
She hadn’t planned a proper design for her tiny house, but her priority was to make it as light as possible.
“I knew I wanted the top to be a little wider than the bottom, so I angled it. I also wanted a rounded roof and a loft to sleep in,” she added.
After putting in the framework, Mr. Fischer started installing the walls. To protect them from the elements, she waterproofed them with wood sealer.
“We were lucky to buy lumber just before or around COVID-19, before it became very expensive,” Fisher said. “We got a lot of cedar and birch plywood, but tried to use as little plywood as possible to keep it light.”
Choosing materials that are suitable for the climate required special care, she said. For example, cedar is a good building material for her project because it handles the humidity of the Pacific Northwest well.
Fisher said all the pieces of wood she used were carefully sawn, sanded and glued or screwed by hand.
“I think I used two gallons of glue. I used only screws. No nails except for the windows,” she added.
She planned to travel and live in a small house while she was out, so the walls needed to be properly insulated.
Fisher created four small windows to ventilate the space, one on each side of the tiny house.
She also wanted her home to be completely off-grid, so she purchased portable solar panels to power items such as rechargeable LED bulbs.
“It ended up simplifying a lot of things because it was so hard to find professional help,” Fisher said. “I had two people bail me out to install solar panels and such, so I used portable solar panels instead.”
Before embarking on the carpentry work, Fisher carefully marked out the ideal floor plan and zoned out the loft and kitchenette spaces for the bedrooms.
“I traveled the West Coast in a small Dodge van when I was younger and know how limited space can be,” Fisher said.
She said that when building cabinets for her small home, she focused on creating enough storage space for all of her items, including the spice rack.
Fisher did not install a bathroom in the house. Instead, she didn’t want humidity in her house, so she decided to use a flushable camping toilet.
She also has an outdoor shower set up for her use, which consists of a portable water heater to which a shower head can be attached, she said.
Fisher maintained the original wood finish on the exterior and created a folding deck for relaxing and enjoying the outdoors.
“We wanted something low maintenance. We didn’t want to paint the outside because the paint always flakes off,” says Fischer.
Nonetheless, her favorite part of the construction process was building the mobile home shell and watching it assembled from almost nothing.
“We progressed much faster on the exterior than on the interior, which was fun too, but I think building the structure itself was the only highlight,” she added.
Fischer began construction of the small mobile home in April 2020 and completed construction a year later in May 2021. She estimates that in total she spent $15,000.
Due to carpal tunnel syndrome, Ms. Fisher could only work from home for about three hours each day, she said.
“My goal was to go to the Tiny House Festival in San Diego, and I actually finished it the day I left for that trip,” Fisher said. “It was my first trip and it was 1,500 miles away. It’s kind of crazy to do that on your first trip.”
Also in Fisher YouTube channel She uploads travel videos and currently has over 2,200 subscribers.
Fisher was able to fit a refrigerator, cooking range, sink, and even a full-size memory foam mattress in a tiny house.
She added a hidden cabinet to the built-in bench seat and created a pull-out countertop where she can eat.
Under the sink is a place to store water containers, including 10 gallons of fresh water and one 5 gallon container for domestic wastewater.
Fischer reflects on her experience building a small mobile home and offers the following advice to anyone wanting to follow in her footsteps. Don’t worry about making mistakes.
“If you build it out of wood, it’s very forgiving, which means you can fix anything,” she added.
Fisher has been traveling and living in a small mobile home with his dog, Ralphie, for the past six months. They have visited locations around Washington and Oregon so far.
“With current gas prices, I’d rather stay local than travel across the country,” Fisher said.
Although she has a house in Vancouver that she shares with five housemates, Fisher says she hasn’t been back much this year.
“After social distancing measures were lifted, I felt like I really wanted to be social, so I attended a lot of events and volunteered a lot,” Fisher said. You get invited to get together with the van guys and stay somewhere with them, and they’ll say, “Oh, I’m going camping. Won’t you come?” And I just go with the flow. ”