Photos by Hillary Ehlen and Becca Opp
This summer, we caught Gabe and Maia Skarphol right before they hit the road for the first time with their tiny house on wheels. You may remember them from last year’s tiny house issue. Back then, their tiny house was still under construction. To be exact, the exterior was complete, but the interior was bare-bones. Now, you can see how they utilized 172 square feet and find out how it feels to embrace tiny house living.
Part I Recap
After attending a workshop in the Twin Cities in 2016, Gabe and Maia Skarphol decided to build their own tiny house using modified designs and a 24-foot trailer from Tumbleweed Tiny House Company. To do so, they enlisted the help of Gabe’s father, John Skarphol.
Catch Up With Maia & Gabe
After leaving his job to focus on the tiny house for a month, Gabe Skarphol got the interior move-in ready. Then, on Saturday, June 2, he and his wife moved their tiny house on wheels for the very first time. “It’s been here for two years now, and we’ve never moved it,” Maia Skarphol said the day before hitting the road. “We will take the interstate, but we’ll drive slowly,” Gabe Skarphol added.
The couple was on their way to Luther Crest Bible Camp, where Maia Skarphol will be the arts coordinator and her husband will perform site maintenance from June to August. The camp is located on Lake Carlos, just north of Alexandria. Because she is a teacher at Carl Ben Eielson Middle School and has summers off, this opportunity was ideal for Maia Skarphol.
“This will be like our trial run with the tiny house,” Gabe Skarphol said. Before traveling to Luther Crest Bible Camp, the Skarphols had yet to live in their tiny house. “It’s going to be a great adventure,” John Skarphol said of his son and daughter-in-law’s big move.
While the Skarphols are away, a friend is taking care of their Fargo home. However, they will be traveling with their adorable dogs, a corgi and a basset hound named Kimchi and Ole. On June 1, the couple had a small going-away party and a tiny house reveal that was open to family, friends and the public. Richard Wright and Ruvee Chitemere, who were also featured in our Tiny House Issue, attended the gathering as well.
Tour the Tiny House Interior
The interior of the tiny house is 172-square feet including the main living areas and sleeping loft. It features heated, laminate floors and a mini split heating and cooling system for temperature control, as well as holding tanks for sewage and a water heater. Behind the mini-split, the Skarphols have a mounted screen and USB charging station in the sleeping loft. In order to get a bed up into the sleeping loft, the Skarphol’s ordered a queen-sized Casper mattress, which arrived compressed inside of a box and took only a few days to expand.
What They Learned
Although the Skarphols ended up changing the interior, the Tumbleweed Tiny House designs were very helpful when building the exterior of their tiny house. “I think buying the trailer for the tiny house is a really good idea,” John Skarphol said. As they get used to living in the tiny house, the Skarphols will continue to make adjustments. “I think we’ll continuously add things and change things,” Maia Skarphol said.
If you have a tiny house, please contact [email protected] for the opportunity to be featured in Design & Living Magazine.