Exterior Design

A Tiny House Team Part II

Part of the Skarphol's tiny house

This summer, we caught Gabe and Maia Skarphol right before they hit the road for the first time with their tiny house on wheels.

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.

Part of the Skarphol's tiny house

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 Skarphol's

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.

The Skarphol's

At the tiny-house reveal, Richard Wright, Ruvee Chitemere, Maia Skarphol and Gabe Skarphol discussed the process of building a tiny house. Wright and Chitemere shared what they have learned from living in a tiny house on wheels with the Skarphols. “Just make sure to work on your skirting ahead of time for winter,” Wright recommended.

The Skarphol's

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.

Part of the Skarphol's tiny house

Part of the Skarphol's tiny house

In addition to their mini-fridge, the Skarphols have a built-in convection oven and plug-in, single-burners that they plan to use when cooking.

Part of the Skarphol's tiny house

Part of the Skarphol's tiny house

Check out the Skarphols’ space-saving spice rack.

Part of the Skarphol's tiny house

This live-edge countertop is made from a cypress slab. “We have a lot of different kinds of wood in here. The walls are knotty pine, the cabinets are knotty alder and the countertop is a slab of cypress with a live edge,” Maia Skarphol said.

Part of the Skarphol's tiny house

The Skarphols’ tiny house has a copper theme, from the roof color to their dinnerware. Many of these copper pieces were gifts from Maia Skarphol’s birth family from Korea.

Part of the Skarphol's tiny house

Part of the Skarphol's tiny house

The Skarphols commissioned these pet portraits of Kimchi and Ole from local artist, McCal Joy.

Part of the Skarphol's tiny house

Across from the kitchen is a storage area with sliding wood panels that hang on a metal bar.

Part of the Skarphol's tiny house

These wood panels can be pulled out to create a table or desk. They can be also pushed together to create one, large, solid surface. As if these wood panels weren’t already functional enough, they can even be moved and used with the metal bar located next to the seating area. The Skarphols saw this design in a YouTube video and decided to try it for themselves.

Part of the Skarphol's tiny house

Part of the Skarphol's tiny house

Part of the Skarphol's tiny house

The stairs leading up to the sleeping loft double as drawers. Though they have quite a bit of clothing storage, the Skarphols decided not to install a washer and dryer. Instead, they plan to take their laundry to the local laundromat.

Part of the Skarphol's tiny house

Part of the Skarphol's tiny house

This Scandinavian-inspired clock was a handmade Christmas gift carved by John Skarphol.

Part of the Skarphol's tiny house
The main living area is separated from the bathroom by a pocket door. “We left the bathroom very open so we can figure out what we need cabinet-wise or storage-wise,” Maia Skarphol said.

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 becca@spotlightmediafargo.com for the opportunity to be featured in Design & Living Magazine.

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