Tina and Luke Orlando took their love for outdoor adventure and are now focusing on creating Back Country Tiny Homes.
These adventure seekers decided to downsize their home and live closer to the hiking trails. Originally from Massachusetts, they found themselves spending more and more time climbing mountains and living out of a tent in their adventures to see the peaks of the world.
It seemed freeing and totally livable to only occupy a small space, so using their engineering and construction backgrounds they decided to design and build themselves a tiny home that they could take out to the back country. Now their 204 sq ft (18.95 m2) home is built, occupying a tiny patch of land in Oregon on the west coast of the USA. It has enough space for them, and their three dogs Minnie, Sequoia, and Whisper.
This is the house in its current location parked on a farm in the foothills of Mount Hood, Oregon set up for everyday living. There are acres all around for hiking routes and places the dogs can explore. While for now it’s stowed into place, the advantage of living tiny for the Orlandos is that they have the freedom of moving easily. The home also has a tow frame, to allow for movement and relocation. The house is built within weight, height and width restrictions so it could be pulled by truck along to its next location.
But as it is, the Orlandos have been here for a year or so now, and will probably only move once a year until they find the perfect scenery. Tina explains “I have moved over 42 times in my life and having a house that can come with me as a change of scenery has been a blessing.”
After putting together their designs, they were featured on FYI’s television show Tiny House Nation where a licensed contractor helped them to finally build their home. Now they dream of building more designs to help others realize the tiny home lifestyle.
Tina: “We have an active community of friends and clients. When we have a new idea for a layout or aesthetic we pitch it via our social media or through email to gauge reaction and feedback before we offer it officially! Also, our dogs are our official pet-friendly testers for new space saving ideas.”
Only two months in to making this their full time job and their plans have already been snapped up. There are several tiny homes in construction with licensed contractors, and others who are building their Basecamp model home themselves which will take at least a year to be completed.
As with all tiny homes, space optimization is a must! In this living room area there is a place to stack away all the snow boots, jackets, sleeping bags, ropes and other items used for exploring the outdoors.
Hanging up using a pulley system is a dual purpose coffee table and drying rack. The drying rack is placed directly in front of the heater and allows the Orlandos to dry sensitive mountaineering gear during the wet winter months. It be can lowered down using the climbing ropes and fits sleeping bags, packs, crampons, and boots. But when you lower it all the way down you can pop out its legs and turn it into a coffee table! It’s made of mahogany and black walnut and designed and made by carpenter and presenter Zack Giffin, during their time on Tiny House Nation.
One of the smaller details that caught my eye in this home was the lamps! They wanted to bring in some of the outside, so you’ll notice that most of the finishings are wood and there is an avoidance of drywall, excessive paint or overused synthetics. These hanging tree lamps are designed by John Timberland Lighting and they really match the aesthetic!
There are 12 different types of wood that were used for this home, and it’s nice to see all the different wood grains. As well as human storage there are places for pets, so that they have a part of the home too. Tina and Luke both love dogs, and tend to adopt dogs with behavioral issues. They will dedicate their time to training the dogs and now their husky Minnie is a disaster therapy dog. The tiny homes that the couple are designing will always have space saving options for pets, because it’s important to them that they can bring their animals with them on their adventures.
Upstairs is the bedroom, which has quite a bit of headroom above. It was important to the couple that they are able to stand up in the space, as many tiny homes can be quite cramped! I did ask, however, about getting dressed in the morning and Tina said that while it was totally possible to stand up and get dressed upstairs, it was more typical that they will take clothes down with them to the bathroom and get ready straight from the shower.
The hobbit hole is a doorway that leads out to the roof!
The solar panels allow the home to live off grid, as it were, providing the energy for water heating and electricals. The roof railings are collapsible to make the home short enough for transporting on the road.
This nifty design that slides across the bedroom entryway is a laundry basket, and also a pet barrier. So it can be pulled across to either keep the dogs away at night, or to keep them in when guests are over.
The kitchen countertops are sourced redwood slabs that have been sealed for everyday use. I really like that it keeps the shape of its edging, it’s a reminder that this is a unique build. There is a small hint of maple wood you can see that was used as a backsplash, using leftover wood from another item in the home.
But what I really like in the kitchen is that metal mountain range backsplash!
“The metal mountain backsplash near the stove top was a labor of love for us. I designed it with 3D modeling software and Luke cut it at his work as a manufacturing engineer. The backsplash serves three purposes. We have sealed redwood panels near the stovetop and the backsplash prevents grease from damaging the sealed wood. Also, it is set off from the wall to have it act as a heat shield from the burner. Lastly, I designed the mountain after the peak we were married on in NH. Instead of a typical wedding, Luke and I donned hiking boots under our attire and trekked it up 4,000-ft of elevation gain to the summit of Mt. Washington and were married at the summit.”
When guests come to stay, there is an extra bunk up at the top, accessible by the ladder which hangs nearby. Also a great place to stash things away.
This tiny home fits right in with its surroundings, with its wood exterior and simple design.
The porch area makes a lovely entrance, with the branches as a rail guard.
Here’s a sneaky peek into the back, which shows you where all the generators and things are tucked away, but easily reached for maintenance.
For most of us it’s a big dream to live tiny, and to be able to make your own home is something special. So it’s great to see how Luke and Tina have powered through with their tiny home. Their designs are moving forward in confidence and strength, and it will be great to see what comes next from these two.
The next phase is to make brand new custom designs which they only started doing last month. The Amber is the next model, using redwood accents and once again geared towards tiny living in the great outdoors with plenty of space for hunting and outdoor gear storage. They have teamed up with charity Pets for Vets to create single story homes aimed at veterans who may have low mobility, and making sure that the spaces offer plenty of room for emotional support animals to live there too. The designs take careful consideration for those who may be dealing with invisible wounds, so for example the walls are well insulated to protect against loud noises that could trigger PTSD symptoms. There’s a lot going on for Luke and Tina and their Back Country Tiny Homes, and it will be great to see their new designs later this year.