Jonathon takes a selfie after finishing up building a tiny home

Building a Tiny Home, Making Meaningful Connections

When Jonathon Stalls shared his story with us on social media, we became inspired. Whether walking across the country or building his own tiny home, Jonathon strives to leave a positive impact on the environment and those he meets.

Q:  What is your story?

A:  I’m 32 and I currently live with my partner and one of kind husky-blue heeler, Kanoa, in the Park Hill neighborhood of East Denver. I’ve moved a lot, spent five years playing beach volleyball in California, lived in rural Ireland for a year, and finished my BA in Design and Entrepreneurship from Metro State University in Denver 2009.

Since 2010, my life has taken quite the spin after experiencing an 8½-month walk across the USA. Living out of a backpack and trekking across 14 states completely transformed my belief in and connection to living simply, and allowed me to develop quality experiences with the things I felt mattered most.

My personal pilgrimage and cross-country outreach effort, KivaWalk, also taught me about the kindness of strangers, the healing properties of walking, and the freedoms of living out of a backpack.

Wanting to help others connect, I founded a Colorado-based social enterprise called Walk2Connect — an organization that works to connect individuals and organizations together through the transforming benefits of walking.

Q:  Why are you building a tiny home?

A:  While on my walk, I was inspired by hundreds of families, individuals, communities and travelers who lived part- or full-time in tiny creative dwellings. Many of these smaller structures allowed for only basic accommodations like sleeping, eating and storing.

Some were made out of adobe, hay bales and paper cement, while others were fashioned out of standard framing stock or re-purposed barn boards. Most typically implemented strong “off-grid” practices related to energy use, water and various other functions.

This creativity, sustainability and simplicity stuck with me. I wanted to live in an environment that allowed for more community connection, interdependency, time spent outside, and conservation of natural resources. I also craved to learn hands-on skills related to construction and fixing up a home.

In February of 2014, I began organizing my finances, scouting possible building sites and researching tiny house plans. That summer, I signed a formal contract with Tumbleweed Tiny House Company to plan out a customized “Barn Raiser” — a Barn Raiser is your standard shell that can be customized to have a variety of things professionally completed beyond the frame.

In September of 2014, I put most of my savings into a down payment and I now have a beautiful customized 24-foot tiny house shell named JStalls Tiny House that I’ll continue to build upon until completion.

Q:  What did you look for when you were selecting materials?

A: While I have many stages in front of me with the tiny house build, I certainly plan on moving forward with a handful of energy efficient choices, such as a compost toilet, a very small electric circuit connected to a solar battery system and a small wood-burning stove.

For the interior, I will use mostly repurposed woods and materials for the flooring, cabinetry, stairs and bathroom wall — I found a vintage solid oak door from 1910 on Craigslist for $50 that will be used for the main entrance. I’ll also incorporate eco-friendly materials for stain, paint and other finishes into the final design.

I decided on using Pella double-pane windows to keep the home well insulated and energy efficient. A custom lancet window was also included for support of positive mental, emotional and spiritual energy.

Next Steps

Pella has a custom solution for any project you are planning. Talk to your local Pella sales representative to have your dream window built.

Jonathon and his dog appreciating the mountainous landscape during his 8 1/2 month walk.
Walk2Connect is an organization Jonathon started to connect people through walking.
Interior view of a Pella custom lancet window in Jonathon

This article was written by

Nicolle Picray, Content Marketing & Social Media, Pella Windows & Doors

A self-proclaimed Social Media Geek and DIY aficionado, Nicolle is a member of the Pella Marketing team, focused on content creation and curation. In her free time she can be found pillaging thrift shops for furniture projects, attempting to rationalize with her 4 year old daughter, and editing her husband’s honey-do list.

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