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Tiny house anyone?
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Ali e
(barefootnavigator) - F

Locale: Outside
What about a tiny boat? on 04/27/2011 15:14:14 MDT Print View

I moved from my 120 sq foot lofted studio to a tipee it was wonderful. I lived for free on the upper Truckee River. Now I live on a new to me 22' sailboat. I pay $238 per month. My boat if fully self contained and can be moved anywhere at anytime for free. Houses are great but I'm not a big fan of regulation so for now I stay on the water when Im not poaching paradise in the back country.Falmouth CutterFalmouth Cutter

Ken T.
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: All up in there
Re:Tiny house anyone? on 04/27/2011 18:02:07 MDT Print View

Welcome back Ali. The Mrs. wouldn't go the boat route. I do like the option of going more places with a house on a trailer. Could always place it on a barge too. I'm thinking of something based on the lines and dimensions of our local historical caboose.


Ross P Hemphill
(rbimli) - F

Locale: PNW
work in progress, like everything else on 04/28/2011 00:23:05 MDT Print View

Not much in the way of details for now, but my indoor space is ~81 square feet. I do have other spaces for other things (a bike shop among them). Some are here, some are in other parts of town.

Oh, forgot to mention there are at least two Tumbleweed (methinks) homes in town, one in my vaguely defined "neighborhood." (And inhabited by a fellow diehard cyclist.)

Ben Tang: don't know if there's been a reply to this, but I'm not sure people are really talking about living in "trailer parks," per se. The wee-little-homes-on-trailers-people seem not to tend to congregate with other "mobile homes," in general. That's been my impression, anyway. Not so much their style, methinks.

(Too many methinkses?)

Helpful bits of info here.

Edited by rbimli on 04/28/2011 01:14:50 MDT.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: work in progress, like everything else on 04/28/2011 01:50:37 MDT Print View

"I'm not sure people are really talking about living in "trailer parks," per se. The wee-little-homes-on-trailers-people seem not to tend to congregate with other "mobile homes," in general. That's been my impression, anyway. Not so much their style, methinks."

I don't ever see myself living in a mobile home, or even a tiny house. I like my big house. But, it would be beneficial to spend some time looking at mobile home designs. Some pretty creative use of space. Since there is such a large market for mobile homes, a lot of people have tackled design and space optimization in them.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
90 Sq. Ft. Good Enough? on 04/28/2011 02:13:58 MDT Print View

Check out this place!

Chad Miller

Locale: Duluth, Minnesota
Re: 90 Sq. Ft. Good Enough? on 04/28/2011 07:41:02 MDT Print View

By my architectural eye that apartment isn't 7' x 12' , it's more like 12' x 12' or 144 s.f. Besides even if the space had a 7' x 12' footprint it's over 91 s.f. due to the loft. Regardless that's a nice use of space!

Realistically for each person in a house (not an apartment, not a trailer, not a tent / urt) you'll need between 350 and 425 sq ft. This takes into consideration space for mechanical / electrical systems and building structure. The gentler the climate you live in will allow you to build your house smaller as you'll need less space for mechanical systems and insulated walls.

I know some will say "but what about a fireplace", "what about passive solar", "I'm off the grid". Well those mechanical and electrical systems take up about the same space as traditional systems. In fact they can often take up an addition 15% more space.

Daryl and Daryl
(lyrad1) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest, USA, Earth
China Comparison on 04/28/2011 10:00:56 MDT Print View

This is old data and things have probably changed by now.

Around 1980 I read that the average American had about 500 sf of living area per person. The average Chinese person had 50 sf.

George Matthews
(gmatthews) - MLife
Re: least space award goes to on 04/28/2011 11:03:08 MDT Print View

Vampires win. They are at about 18 sq ft.

Craig W.
(xnomanx) - F - M
Re: 90 Sq. Ft. Good Enough? on 04/28/2011 11:14:26 MDT Print View

That apartment in Ben's link would give me an anxiety attack. It may be small, but she's got absolutely no sense of style or minimalism. All I see is crap piled up the walls on industrial shelving units.

Edited by xnomanx on 04/28/2011 11:15:14 MDT.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: 90 Sq. Ft. Good Enough? on 04/28/2011 11:23:55 MDT Print View


That was my take as well -- what's with all the clutter!?! If I have to contend with such a small living area, my decor will be "monastery Shaker". But then, I realized, she works as an artist -- so that bit of space has to accommodate her "studio" as well.

Each to his or her own, I suppose, and this lady really, really wanted to live within the most interesting part of Manhattan. My take? Considering how almost everything is just a subway ride away in NYC, I would want a reasonably sized apt. at a reasonable distance and a reasonable rent. :)

Edited by ben2world on 04/28/2011 12:26:13 MDT.

Ken T.
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: All up in there
Re: Re: 90 Sq. Ft. Good Enough? on 04/28/2011 15:29:17 MDT Print View

She has obviously never heard of the 100 things challenge. Her place is a mess!

Backpack Jack
(jumpbackjack) - F

Locale: Armpit of California
RE Tiny house on 04/29/2011 00:25:35 MDT Print View

Ken I've been thinking about these for the last 3 years. I have some property in Nevada, and plan on building one there some day. I have a couple of plans I drew up if your interested in looking at them. My favorite is a 10x20 with a loft. If I can figure a way to shrink it down I will email you a copy. My other plans include a 12x16, 10x12 and a 12x24, I have to say, when you go small you get real creative with your space options. My biggest oppsticle so far is trying to find an all in one bath room, like you see on a cruise ship, if I can't find something like that I will just build it. If you have any questions call me. The biggest problem with a trailer tiny house is height, when moving it, I think the maximum height is 14 ft or somewere close to that, this makes for a very short ceiling in the loft area, being 6' 3" that might be rough.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: RE Tiny house on 04/29/2011 01:14:57 MDT Print View

I once rented an apartment that was maybe 200 sq ft, and it had a sliding glass door. Single story. Had a bunk bed with storage under it. Had a combo sink, stove, oven, fridge unit. All very small.

For a bathroom, you put the toilet in the shower stall. Works very well.

The trick is you can't own a bunch of stuff!

Here are some pictures of my tent trailer bathroom. I am not advocating this as a solution, but you might get some space saving ideas. This folds up into a 14' X 7' box. We can live in it for extended periods. We have updated it with 250 watts of solar, 750 amp inverter, 40 gallons of propane, and a 250 aH battery bank. Our only real limiting factor is water and sewage disposal.

folded shower

At the right in front of the bunk is the shower/toilet which is folded down.

open shower

The shower/toilet opens up and includes a mirror.

shower curtain

The shower curtain can stay up when not using the shower, so you can look out the windows, or you can leave it down against the windows, opposite of the door.

shower head

It uses a hand held shower that can be secured to the ceiling.


The toilet is ceramic, with a holding tank below it. Very similar to what is used on sailboats. When you take a shower, the curtain just drapes over the toilet. Convenient place to put your soap and shampoo.

Stove, oven, fridge, and forced air heater run on LPG. No insulation in in :( but we camp comfortably in sub freezing temps, just uses a lot of gas.

More pictures here if you are interested.

Ken T.
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: All up in there
Re: RE Tiny house on 04/29/2011 06:28:20 MDT Print View

Great minds think alike Jack,lol! Max. height is 13'6". That's why I want to skip the loft. Plus the fact that Renee' won't appreciate having to climb up and down in the middle of the night. I like the idea of the curved ceiling too. The Japanese have a w/c designed with a sink on the top of the tank. That would save a bit of room. Also been looking at the LineaAqua shower enclosures. Being tall is not so much of a blessing in this regard. Even thought of skipping a bed and going the hammock route. Would work if I were single;p Would not take up any room when you are awake. Most likely would do a Murphy bed. I just downloaded the free version of Google Sketchup. Will have to play around with that and post my results.

Walter Carrington
(Snowleopard) - M

Locale: Mass.
Sleeping lofts and light bulbs. on 04/29/2011 08:40:29 MDT Print View

There are some interesting ideas in this thread.
We built a small sleeping loft in one place I lived. It was perhaps 5' or 6' wide and 10' long with a sloping ceiling going from 5' down to 3'. The room had 4' high windows at the height of the loft, with two next to the head of my mattress. There was a small tree right next to my head outside the window. It was the nicest, most cozy bedroom I've ever had. It was such a pleasant space to sleep, to sit and read or to sit and talk with one other person. The key was the windows, which made a small space seem expansive.

However, there was one design flaw. The lights were bare bulbs. I broke a bulb with my head once and spent an hour or two getting glass picked out of my hair.

Brendan S
(brendans) - MLife

Locale: Fruita CO
"Tiny house anyone?" on 04/29/2011 09:03:03 MDT Print View

I HIGHLY recommend this book (if you can find it...looks like there're lots used on amazon) for some incredible tiny houses. There's a similar one that's called Woodstock Handmade Houses that's pretty cool as well. A google image search for "handmade houses" shows several of the featured homes.


Authors are Art Boericke and Barry Shapiro.

Edited by brendans on 04/29/2011 09:04:23 MDT.

Joseph Reeves

Locale: Southeast Alaska
Re: Tiny house anyone? on 04/29/2011 17:16:38 MDT Print View

$45000 / 2br - COZY Houseboat Hideaway (Juneau, AK)

I saw a for sale sign on a float house on my way in to work this morning. It's 12x30 in the downtown Juneau Harbor. $45,000 plus around $2500 a year expenses. Here is the link...

Earlier this week I worked with a woman who lives on a vessel in Pelican. They get kind of funny around April. Still, the views are nice.

Ian Gibbs
(modernheretic) - F
Re: Tiny houses on 11/21/2011 17:42:23 MST Print View

Hey Kathleen, my fiance and I also live in the PNW, a little to your South. We've been interested in building a Whidbey for quite a while and I was wondering if you've had any progress on your build? If so, would you be up to posting some photos? An update post with any challenges? Also, when you're finished building (or change your mind), if you don't want your Tumbleweed plans, we might be willing to purchase them from you.

/A .
(biointegra) - MLife

Locale: Puget Sound
Re: Re: Tiny houses on 11/21/2011 17:52:57 MST Print View

@Ian - send me an email to: biointegra [at] mac [dot] com

I specialize in designing small energy-efficient healthy homes and just finished a custom on Whidbey Island earlier this year.


Kathleen B

Locale: Pacific Northwest
update on tiny house on 11/21/2011 19:18:55 MST Print View

Hi, Ian. If you looked at a blank piece of paper, that would pretty much sum up my update. In other words, I'm having a hard time selling my condo, so I haven't been able to build the tumbleweed. I've lowered the condo price twice. The big problem is the condo association's FHA approval expired in July, and the handful of interested people want FHA loans. The HOA president keeps sending in the next batch of required paperwork, and then the dear FHA folks ask for more. No FHA approval, no buyers. So there it sits. There my money sits for building anything.

I did get a quote of about $23,000 from a builder on the west side of the Cascades to build the Whidbey. Then there's the land and power hookup and water and.... However, I've pretty much moved mentally and physically to the eastside (Mr. B and I live in a log cabin in the mountains), so I'd need to get another quote when I can do something about it. Why not stay in the log cabin? It's too big, we're old and getting older, so maintaining it is a chore, we're snowed in 7-8 months of the year and dependent on a snowcat to get in and out, which makes getting emergency medical care a challenge, etc. Besides, I really want that tumbleweed house!

Aaron sounds like an interesting source to check out.