A Tiny Home for Big Adventures

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As seen on HGTV’s “Tiny House, Big Living,” Erik Boomer and Sarah McNair-Landry decided a tiny house was the one thing that would take their adventure lifestyle from comfortable to luxury. As long-time NRS Ambassadors, we couldn’t have been more willing to help these two with funding and material. The more expeditions they embark on, the more rugged, real-time testing our gear undergoes. Sarah took NRS behind the scenes, from the planning, sketching and construction to the finale: a look inside their completed tiny home.

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The Tiny Home Idea | Van life is the best life. But what if the van life could be upgraded—to include a bedroom, kitchen, shower and guest loft? This is how the idea of building a tiny home was started.

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The Plan | After much research we bit the bullet, picked up a trailer in Portland and headed to Idaho to start constructing our home (and ski).

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Rob Sickler | Tiny home building, skiing, beer, Idaho—that was the final pitch that convinced our friend Rob Sickler to drive up to Idaho and join our build team. Rob added much of the needed construction and creative skills to our project.

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Floor Plans | The hardest part about building our home was coming up with a good floor plan. With limited space (only 160 square feet on the main floor) we had to plan out where everything would go. We spent an entire day taping off and marking where each window, door, desk and appliance would eventually go.

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Outgrowing Our Space | Luckily our friend Larry Keller kindly offered us use of his workshop, which gave us a warm place inside to build during the Idaho winter. But it wasn’t long until we outgrew that space. Once the lower walls were built we had to pull our home outside to construct the loft and roof.

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Building Small | We built our home to the maximum road limits—8.6 feet wide and 13.5 feet up from the road. This gave us high ceilings and enough upstairs space for two lofts: our bedroom and a guest or storage loft.

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Road to Leadville | Once the exterior was finished, the home went on its first road trip to Colorado, where Rob lives. We finished building it in the mountain town of Leadville, at an elevation of 10,200 feet.

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Custom Materials | With the walls done and insulated, our next step was to finish the inside. Because of limited space in our home, everything had to be custom built and we often had to think outside the box when designing it. Many of our building materials such as our windows, siding and furniture were used. For the stairs into our bedroom, Rob had the brilliant idea to use NRS raft frame. NRS was able to take Rob’s 2D napkin sketch and turn it into a functional 3D handrail.

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A Deck Paddlers Can Appreciate | Not only did we use NRS raft frame to build our stairs, but also to build a lightweight deck. The deck, off the front of our house, folds up against the house for easy transport while protecting our glass door.

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Counter Design | Rob’s specialty is working with copper. He took on the project of building an amazing custom copper sink—first out of wood that he later wrapped and pounded copper around. The copper project didn’t stop at the sink—Rob also built copper counter tops for the kitchen. It took days of designing, cutting the sheets of copper, and hammering it into place.

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Late Nights | It’s fair to say that we had no idea what we were getting ourselves into when we started the project. The tiny home consumed all three of our lives for a little over three months—long days, weekends, late nights and lots of help from friends were required to finish the project.

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The First Backyard | As soon as the home was finished, we moved into our new home and hit the road. Our first stop was the Arkansas River to kayak.

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Packing It All In | Part of the difficulty of building tiny is fitting everything into such a small space. But somehow we managed to have a loft bedroom, bathroom with compost toilet and shower, work desk, kitchen, couch, storage, guest loft and still have enough room to have plenty of friends over for beers.

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The Next Best Guesthouse | Anyone is welcome to stay in our home—as long as they can climb the 5.8 route up to our guest loft.

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Master Adventuring Bedroom | Not only is our bedroom cozy, but it has plenty of storage for outdoor gear. With lots of windows and high ceilings, the home feels much bigger than it is.

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Copper Kitchen | With the help of Rob and many other friends, the home turned out way nicer and much more unique than we could have ever imagined. The custom copper sink and counter top that Rob made is one of our favorite parts of the home.

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Going Above and Beyond a Groover or Pit Toilet | Because our home was too small for a standard shower stall, bathroom sink, etc. we had to think of different options. Our shower is made from a horse feed tub, our sink was a bowl from an antique shop and our under sink counter was bought for $15 from a rebuild store. We had to cut it in half to fit the space.

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Exploring New Backyards | The plan for the home is to park it in the most epic places, where the best kayaking, skiing, and kiting locations become our backyard. This summer it was parked on the shores of the North Fork of the Payette River in Idaho. Next stop, winter in the Tetons!

Editor’s note: Words & photos by Sarah McNair-Landry and Erik Boomer