It all started with a Sunday drive through an RV park and a for sale sign.
I noticed that many of the spaces contained what looked like little homes, not at all like camp or fifth wheel trailers This was my first encounter with park model rv’s. Little homes just enough under 400 square feet to technically still be considered an RV. However, as I soon learned, they were meant to be moved once and then stay put.
I drove around the park multiple times utterly intrigued with the park model RV’s that were strewn throughout. An idea began to form. Is this something that I could do? I had always loved to go camping in a small trailer or even a tent. However, with medical problems and divorce years ago, I knew this is not something I could ever manage solo.
The following week I had my realtor help me put an offer on 2 side-by-side lots. Luckily the seller accepted my offer and I found myself the owner of these small pieces of property with absolutely no idea of how to go about purchasing or setting up a park model. Most people in the park have single lots, but I really liked the idea of not being crammed up against someone else’s space. The lots are small, averaging 30′ x 60′ so there is not much to work with if you place a park model on them.
So here it is, fall of 2013 and I had done enough homework to know that I needed to start now if I wanted to have a place to go by spring. Weeks and weeks of research ensued. I found a few places scattered throughout the country that sell ready pre-built park model rv’s from a variety of manufacturers, however quickly learned that shipping one of these babies would cost a small fortune! Apparently, the smart thing to do is to find a dealer as close to your desired final location as possible to avoid the huge shipping fees. Here in the Northwest, that proved to be a difficult task. Sure, there are a few and some of them even seem to know a little bit about what they are doing, but I was left feeling very uneasy about the whole thing and starting to question if I could even make this happen. Being picky about some things, ultimately, I was left very unsatisfied with the available choices of features and floor plans. I even considered just selling my lots and scrapping the whole idea.
Enter Rich’s Portable Cabins, a tiny house builder in Oregon. I had come across their website and did not make much of it…to begin with. I started having this crazy idea, I wonder if they would work with me on customizing a floorplan. I started out marking up some of the plans Rich had on his site. I approached him with some of my change ideas and to my surprise he responded that he thought he could work with it. Well, I didn’t stop there, I kept coming up with more ideas and I sketched them out in very rudimentary ways. To clean them up and send to him for assessment, I used some online room planners, guessed at sizes of walls, etc. I had several different plans before I landed on one that I really liked.
This is my own plan that is closest to what the final result is:
This all may look fancier and more difficult than it really is. I used a free online room planner. I drew in what I thought would be the outside dimensions based on other floorplans I had seen, calculated 5″ thick walls (4″ for the studs and 1″ for siding) and then went to town. I obtained standard dimensions for counters, appliances, etc. from home improvement websites to plan the interior. Same with the furnishings. I had to make sure it would all work together. I sent it all off to Rich and once again to my surprise he says “I think we can make this work”.
I went for it. It is now January 2014 and the “cabin” as I call it took about 3 months to complete. Not bad considering I threw a crazy custom loft idea at him the last minute and he made it work. I kept in touch with Rich on all of the details, from appliances to flooring choices, to siding, to colors, electrical, heating and air conditioning options, fixtures, etc. The whole thing went really smooth. I did not personally see it until the day it was delivered to my lot.
396 square feet of cozy goodness! I could so live here full-time!
Full sized appliances including dishwasher leave nothing to be desired here.
Plenty of bathroom storage. Who needs more than this?
Who couldn’t get a good night’s rest here??