(Tiny) Homeward Bound

Designing and Building My Tiny House

Appliance Planning

As I play with floorplans, I realized I needed to have a good sense of what kind of appliances I want in my tiny house (so there is room).  It also makes sense as I try to think through the plumbing and the electrical (especially this one because I have no real idea how this works).  Anyway, here’s the bucket list of potential appliances:


  • Refrigerator/Freezer – Yes please!  The plan is to go small-ish sized (somewhere between 3 and 4 cu ft)  I have been known to use my freezer to store yarn (very moth proof) and my fridge to store pots and pans, so I know I don’t need a ton of space.  At the same time, I do like to cook some times so don’t want to go too tiny and definitely want a separate freezer compartment (ice cream is a priority).  Right now, I’m playing with two models in my floorplan – a 3.2 cu ft under the counter, Energy Star model (like this one) and a slightly larger 4 cu ft Magic Chef one.  The Magic Chef one is a bit bigger so doesn’t fit under the counter but has a nice little profile.  Unfortunately, I can’t find one that size that is Energy Star.  And, I keep going back and forth over whether the extra fridge space is worth less countertop space.
  • Stove/Range – I’m looking for 2 burners, probably propane but potentially electric.
  • Oven – I’ve gone back and forth on this (and will probably continue to do so).  I don’t cook a ton in the oven, but I do love to make bread sometimes.  Is it worth it having a full-sized oven?  There are some awesome, small marine stove/oven combos like this Princess model, but they are expensive (around $1000).  I don’t know if I can justify all of that, but maybe I’ll check with marinas to see if there is a used one for sale.  I know Tumbleweed Houses are starting to use this Camp Chef model as a small, affordable stove/oven combo.  However, the reviews seem like the oven is a pretty terrible oven – ok for camping but not what I’d want to use forever.  Another option I’m considering is using a countertop convection oven, kind of a fancier toaster oven.  I think that may be the affordable solution to my trouble.
  • Vent Hood – do I need this?
  • Microwave – I think I may try to go without this.  I mainly use it to heat up water for tea and I can use the stove for this.  Especially if I have some sort of oven, I think I may skip it for starters.
  • Coffee pot – I realize this barely qualifies as an appliance, but it uses electricity.  I love my baby Mr. Coffee and separate grinder, but I might try a French Press so I just have to heat up water.
  • Dishwasher – Hell no.  Not worth it for me.

Bathroom and Assorted:

  • Heater – gah!  This is a whole separate discussion.
  • Washer/dryer – I will admit, I felt like I made it as an adult when I moved into an apartment with my own washer/dryer.  It was awesome to do just one load and not have to stay with the machine while it was doing its thing.  But, there’s no way I can justify having a washer/dryer in this tiny space.  I survived just fine with laundromats, and while traveling, I became quite good at hand-washing.  Maybe I’ll splurge and get something like the Wonder Washer, but I don’ t know if I need it.  And if I go crazy, I could try to install a drying rack in the bathroom ceiling.  And maybe another one outside (that doubles as a chin-up bar in my ideal world which this gets to be).
  • Hot water heater – I will probably use a tankless, on-demand hot-water heater.  I was thinking propane, but I’ve heard the electric ones are more efficient so I will do a bit more research on this.  I may try to rig up a solar hot-water heater as well to at least minimize use.  Part of me says I could survive without this (did without hot water showers for most of my traveling), but for my forever, full-time living situation, I think I would like to have the option of hot showers.
  • Toilet – I don’t want to deal with blackwater so am going to go for a composting toilet.  I don’t know if I’ll make a humanure one or go for a commercial model.  One factor is definitely where to dump the humanure version to compost, given that my current plan is to move every 6 months for at least the first year.

That’s most of the appliances, but since this is close to my list of everything that will use electricity, let me round it out with the rest of that list:

  • Laptop
  • Speakers
  • Maybe extra flat-screen monitor for movies
  • Cell phone and charger
  • Fan (both for getting rid of moisture and for the summer)

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