Sarana Park

Sarana Park is a private 23 acre redwood forest refuge in a mountain range that borders California's magnificent Central Coast. "Sarana" is a word from Pali, an ancient Buddhist language - it means "safe place," or "refuge."

Our intention is to offer supportive space for reflection, restoration, and solitutde for our friends (and friends of friends). We think of it as a "re-boot camp" - a place where our guests can take some time to recharge, rest, and experience nature.

Sarana House is a tiny house on a trailer that Juko built (with the guidance of a very skilled carpenter) in Los Angeles, California. It was moved to Sarana Park in the Fall of 2011, and is currently used as our kitchen/living/guest space. Another tiny house serves as our sleeping & bathroom space. Together, the two of us are living in just over 270 square feet.

Our journey to this mountain refuge from Los Angeles was prompted by our desire to respond the Great Recession with grace, bring our lives into greater alignment with our beliefs and values about the greed that caused it, and to explore ways we might use our resources to be of service to others.

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My Experience with Tiny House Plans

I used two sets of plans and the expertise of an experienced builder to plan our tiny house project. I purchased framing plans ($495) for a Fencl from Tumbleweed Tiny House Company, and I purchased complete plans from Dan Louche ($250). The cost of complete plans from Tumbleweed Tiny House Company are presently $859.

If I had to do it again, I would skip purchasing the framing plans from Tumbleweed. I have a lot of respect for Jay Shafer and his incredible vision to bring the tiny house movement to the masses, but his framing plans were not complete enough to really do the framing - actually, the first download did not have any framing on it all. This might be an oversight, but it was missing other really important information (like how to attach the framing to the trailer). Basically, it was just a 13 page schematic and a materials list.

I contacted the company, and I was sent some additional pages that showed more of the actual framing, but it still seemed to be missing some key information. I sent an email and asked about how to attach the framing to the trailer, and they responded quickly, but this is information that should be included with the framing plans. Since I had the Louche plans, and set of Tumbleweed Popomo plans (they were free with the purchase of Shafer’s Tiny House Book at one point, which I bought it a few years ago), we were able to figure out how to proceed.

The Dan Louche plans are very complete (he includes a book with step by step photos, a Google Sketch Up model you can use to make adjustments for your specific trailer, detailed framing notes, and an excel spread sheet with a very detailed shopping list, including his costs). The Tumbleweed plans have a materials list, but it is not as complete.

I just skipped trying to get more information from Tumbleweed, though I am sure they would have provided me with more help if I asked - but I didn’t have the time as our project had to get underway. $500 for framing plans is not chump change, and I was pretty disappointed with what I received for my money. To be fair, I am sure I could get more information from the company, perhaps they are still fine-tuning what they include with the framing plans, but, for that amount of money, it should have been complete and ready to go. My dad used to say he hated paying people and begging them, too, and that is kind of how I felt in this scenario.



  1. saranapark posted this

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