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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Going Mobile

Time to talk about tiny houses

Judging by what we see in the world -- especially on social media -- the movement to live the RV lifestyle full time shows no signs of slowing down. The #tinyhouse trend seems to be on a parallel path, a journey that promises off-the-grid freedom in a snug space.

While on our cross-country road trip, Leslie became obsessed with these variations on the traditional tow-behinds. She’d binge watch Living Big in a Tiny House, and when she discovered an HGTV show featuring a Portland, Ore., company, she vowed to dig deeper.

Turns out Tiny Heirloom is a huge success, with a backlog of orders and a stack of glowing reviews.

But the acclaimed operation’s beginnings were fairly humble. Jeremy Killian and Ryan Donato were flipping homes, and doing restorations in the Portland area when the housing market slowed way down in 2015.

“We were working on a project to rebuild a home that was basically a labor of love when we noticed a tiny home nearby,” said Killian. “It belonged to a lady who lived in it but also used it as a food cart. She built it by hand. It was so cool.”

After that a-ha moment, Tiny Heirloom was born in 2016. These days, the orders for their custom-built homes on wheels have been pouring in, with a six-month wait once an order is placed.

“It’s a good problem to have,” Killian said. “Our customers realize you can’t rush quality.”

When those Tiny Heirloom homes are picked up, most end up permanently parked, but some hit the road. There’s a very cool story of one trailer built for a family who wanted to take their young twin sons to see the country without sacrificing the comforts of home, a tale told on Tiny Heirloom’s blog.

While the price tag is much higher than the average pull behind -- the “pre-loved” trailer the family with twins once owned is going for $150,000 -- the cost includes a long list of extras like fireplaces, granite countertops and lighting that looks as if it belongs in a designer showroom. But what truly distinguishes this company is the engineering that goes into the gooseneck trailers on which the homes are built.

“There’s nothing worse than driving down the road on a trailer that’s not meant to handle the weight and having it jackknife,” Killian said.

For the time being, we’re going to continue to enjoy using our 23-foot Class B+ to travel. If we ever go in a different direction, a Tiny Heirloom is worth considering. 


Music fest heads-up

A very cool music festival will make its Northwest debut in Walla Walla on Sept.13 and 14 Huichica is a celebration of food and wine that has its roots in California wine country, and Sleight of Hand’s Trey Busch was instrumental in landing this prestigious event in Walla Walla.

Though the final lineup hasn’t been announced, one thing is certain: Only 20 RV spots are available at $100 a night. A glamping option also is available thanks to Shelter Co., one of the event’s sponsors. Maybe we’ll see you there?


This Week’s Going Mobile Question

How far in advance do you make reservations for the busy winter months in the warmer climates? Is there an advantage to saving your spot early? We’d love to hear your suggestions at and we’ll share your tips in the next column.

Going Mobile

Enjoy the ongoing adventures of Leslie Kelly and John Nelson as they experience all the cool things the West has to offer, from wineries to restaurants. In the process they’ll try out different vehicles and give you fun tips to plan your own cool travel journeys. Just for fun, there's additional travel info from Dan Webster.