(Tiny) Homeward Bound

Designing and Building My Tiny House

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Design fun

OK – so in the midst of the details, scary decisions, and overwhelming new info (aka…how in the world are electric systems set up), is the fun of designing.  I have to say…this has been awesome.  What in the world do I want my dream house to look like?  How many people get to think about this and then actually build it?  All of my friends have bought houses or rented apartments..which means you have grand ideas about your dream house/apartment, then find something sort of close and make it work.  I get to include all of my dream ideas (within budget, size, and weight restrictions…sadly the castle tower I’ve dreamed about since I was a kid is probably out).

Tiny Texas House with Cool Ladder

The first thing I did was to look at all of the tiny houses online I could find.  Tiny Texas Houses are awesome – I love the reclaimed wood and the cool details.  So I definitely want to think about including things like that.  And I have to say, I love the ladder being built into shelves…looks like it fits in better.

Tumbleweed Fenci

But, then I realized I should probably think of more basic design elements (like the shape of the house) first.  Like most people (it seems…based on blogs), I started thinking it would be something like a Tumbleweed House.  Something like the Fenci seemed appealing – about the right size, nice interior, pretty siding, a good loft, but an open great room to feel airier.  But it definitely isn’t perfect so time to think about all of the tweaks!

1. Porch – While it’s cute, it seems silly to waste valuable trailer space on a porch.  Especially the porch on the Fenci which is unusable (other Tumbleweed designs have bigger porches which would be nice to have, but then they use up more trailer space).  If I get super-ambitious, I could design a fold-down porch (maybe on steel wires, or with fold-down legs too) with a roll-out awning and screened walls.  A less ambitious path could be just to buy a camping screen room (like this one) and put it in front of my house.

Steve Newbold's Tiny House with Shed Roof

Ebb and Flow Organic Farm Tiny House with Shed Roof

2. Roof – the Fenci has the extra fancy front roof, which seems like extra hassle, especially given my construction abilities.  A simple pointed roof seems like it would perfectly fine for my needs.  I’m not sure which one makes more sense – if I go for the pointed roof, I’m probably going to lower the pitch to give myself more room in the loft (I want to make sure its comfortable even if you are not sleeping exactly in the middle of the bed.  A shed roof may also work just fine for me – it makes it easy to add in some high-up windows (without needing to mess with skylights).  I would just turn the bed in the loft sideways (maybe more of a hassle if it’s a couple living there, but with just me would be fine).  Something like the two pictured below would work for a shed roof.  I clearly need to do some research about what roof pitch is needed to know how far I can stress the design.

3. Separate Kitchen – I’ve lived in small and tiny apartments, and I much prefer it when the kitchen is open to the living room, not a separate room, like in the Fenci floor plan.  If its part of the living room, then a table can triple as counter space, dining room table, and desk.  It also makes everything seem more open and big – better in my mind than multiple tiny rooms.

Dan Louche's Tiny House with Door and Storage Mods

4. Storage Options – I plan on adding in a couple extra things for storage.  I kiteboard and knit, so I have kites (backpack sized), boards (like snowboards), lots of yarn and fiber, a spinning wheel, and other extra crafty things.  I don’t need tons and tons of stuff, but it seems silly not to maximize the storage space in a tiny house.  So, some things I am thinking about adding include:

  • foot-lockers in loft along side of bed for extra storage or shelves along wall in loft if using shed roof design
  • storage locker over the trailer hitch for kiting gear and other sports gear
  • move the front door to the side of the house (next to the wheels) so that I can put in a window seat at the rear end of the trailer with built-in cabinets and bookcases around the window seat

Jenine and Amy's House with Bay Window

5. Bay Window – This is not a big modification, but I saw a picture of house with a bay window in the kitchen and I love it. Room for some plants, maybe some herbs. A garden window would also work. I know these are expensive, but it may be worth it.

OK – I’m sure there will be more brainstorms but this is enough to get things going for now.

P.S. Click on any pic to see the website from which it comes.

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