February 4, 2014

Living Without Sacrifice: Solutions to the Top 5 Tiny House Limitations

by Gabriella Morrison

Do you want to live tiny but are worried about having to make too many sacrifices in space and comfort? We were too but can say with total confidence and from experience that with the right design and house size choice, you can go tiny and still live extremely comfortably. We will assume that if you are reading this article on TinyHouseBlog.com that you share some (if not all) of the same dreams, goals, and values that we do. Living a life that is mortgage/rent inexpensive or free, that is abundant in time for travel, hobbies, family and friends, that is peaceful and harmonious is what we have been working towards for decades. We were so committed to creating that lifestyle for ourselves that we took a risk and built a tiny house (221 SF on a 28′ trailer + 128 SF in lofts) rather than a more conventionally sized home. We were prepared (and willing!) to make significant sacrifices in square footage to achieve our life goals.

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Here’s the kicker: to our surprise we have not felt, at any point, that we have had to make any compromises or sacrifices in our self designed and built home. Not once have we felt that our space was too small, that our needs weren’t luxuriously met, or that we didn’t have enough space to run our home business, entertain, cook, bathe, watch movies, play guitar, wrestle with our dog, or store our clothes and belongings. Not once have we been uncomfortable, hurt our backs in the lofts, struggled on our stairs, felt like our fridge or kitchen sink was too small, or felt that we didn’t have enough space for an item.

Here are the common areas in a conventional tiny house that typically pose significant compromises/sacrifice and how we found a solution for each:

Tiny StairsSTAIRS: I would venture to guess that this is one of the top 3 reasons that someone would not build tiny. We’re youngish, strong and healthy but we don’t want to haul our bodies up and down dinky ladders to get to our bedroom each day. And what if we have to get up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom? Not only do ladders to bedrooms sound miserable but they also seem like a bad idea for someone like me who fumbles to the bathroom with eyes nearly shut at night. We designed our house, which we loving named “hOMe,” specifically to accommodate Andrew’s modular stair system. The ratio between the treads and risers is set up so that going up is as easy and comfortable as coming down (even with my middle of the night fumbling). Further, there is 25 SF of storage space beneath the stairs and even enough space for a washer/dryer combo unit. Personally, we are using that large washer space as our hanging closet as it can easily hang 20 items of clothing. We also store all of our shoes, hats, winter apparel, dog accoutrements, keys, and purse in the modular system. It is a treasure trove of storage. To learn how to build it click here.

Tiny Kitchen 1KITCHEN: We are all for rustic living and have certainly done our share over the years including living in an 80 SF historic, off grid log cabin in the Colorado Rockies, tons of long term back country camping and spending 5 months traveling in a pop-up tent trailer in Baja with our 12 year old daughter. We know we CAN cook in a tiny kitchen with two burners, wash dishes in a tiny sink, and cram all of our food into a dorm sized fridge, but we don’t WANT to. Not in our home that we plan on spending many, many years in. In order for a space to feel like a home to us, there has to be a spacious kitchen. Ours is 56 SF and it is perfect. Andrew and I can easily cook together without bumping into each other. Our propane range/oven is a standard, full size unit which has 5 burners including the center griddle component. Our fridge is a super energy efficient, 18 CF model which we have yet to really fill up, and our sink is a standard, deep, single bowl with a built-in drying rack.

Tiny Kitchen 2We have lots of cabinets and storage galore: frankly, too much of it. More than half of our cabinets and drawers are empty because we have gotten really clear on what is necessary in our kitchen and eliminated unnecessary gadgets. I wouldn’t trade in that extra cabinet storage because we love how much counter space it provides. It also makes for excellent overflow storage should we need some extra space for a special occasion. Further, creating a U shaped kitchen was one of the best decisions we made in our house design as the work triangle is just the right size.

Tiny Bathroom SinkBATHROOM: Again, I know that we CAN brush our teeth in a mini-sink and shower in an 18″ x 18″ stall, but in our home, we really don’t want to. During our build we made a significant and vital design change that increased our bathroom length by 2′. This extra space allowed us to install a regular sized sinkand shower unit. Now the bathroom feels spacious, even with our giant Sun-Mar composting toilet. I mean, that thing is obscenely large and easily twice the size of a regular toilet.

Tiny bathroomWe have an abundance of storage space in two full drawers under our sink as well as a floor to ceiling storage cabinet. All of our toiletries, first aid supplies, vitamins and supplements (yes, we are those types that take about 20 natural supplements per day, so room for all that is no small thing), soaps/shampoos, cleaning and laundry supplies only use up about half of our available storage space. I should mention as a side note (read EXTRA benefit) that both the kitchen and bathroom, which are located beneath the lofts, have ample head room and do not feel cramped at all. That’s easy for me to say, but Andrew feels the same way and he is 6′ tall. Furthermore, our bedroom loft and our secondary loft both have great headroom as well.

Tiny House OfficeHOME OFFICE: I have worked from home full-time since 2004 and Andrew since 2007. We are both self motivated, passionate about what we do, and wouldn’t trade our jobs for anything. We have tried working outside of our home but have found that we are most productive and love our jobs best when we are working from within our own walls. No commute, we create our own hours, and pay no rent for an office space. Creating a functional office area in hOMe was a necessity and we feel we accomplished that. By creating a Tiny House Office 2paperless office (you can watch a short video on how we did that here), we eliminated 75% of the space we used to require to run our business. We found two folding desks that do double duty between office/work desk and eating table. Our printer and scanner are stored in our cabinets and all of our office supplies fit in just one tall cabinet unit. We also have overflow work space in three other areas in hOMe: our bedroom loft (we bought two bed loungers so that we can comfortably sit up in our bed), our TV/hang out lounge (lots of pillows create a wonderful cradle to prop us up) and the built in sofa. So if one of us is working on something that requires a lot of concentration without disruption, there are choices of work spaces.

Tiny House StorageSTORAGE: The hOMe design centers around a long and tall series of cabinets from Ikea. Even though we have freed ourselves from about 90% of our belongings over our last 3 year downsizing process (you can read more about that here), we still own some material objects. Again, we know that we can live with nothing more than 4 changes of clothes, a couple books, a laptop, toothbrush/floss, and a set of very basic cooking essentials, but in our own home, we need space to store some of the items and heirlooms that we don’t want to part with. Our cabinets provide us with 82 SF of storage shelving surface area, more than enough for our belongings and to house our favorite books, camping supplies, linens, etc.

Tiny Privacy WallPRIVACY: Andrew and I are super compatible. We have been partners in life since 1993, still love each other’s company, and are glad that we don’t work separate jobs in different places only to see each other for a few hours in the evening. That said, I don’t want to hear or see him every single Tiny House Privacysecond of my day (and I’m sure he feels the same about me!). So, we have been happily surprised and delighted at how much privacy we can find in hOMe. Because our bedroom loft is pretty large and has a wall that separates it from the open area below, it really feels like a separate bedroom. When one of us is up here, it feels like we are in totally different rooms. Perfect!

In sum, we have been ecstatic with hOMe and living tiny. Truly it is beyond expectation and our wildest dreams. The months of planning and design paid off and at this point there isn’t a thing we would change. By identifying and addressing each of the common tiny house limitations that we weren’t personally willing to live with, we were able to find solutions that are working. Because we chose to build tiny rather than a larger house, we were able to pay for the materials in cash and now have the security of knowing that we will always have a place on this planet that we can live for free. And being that it’s off grid, we aren’t bound to utility bills and the system. If you are considering making the move to tiny, we highly recommend it. If we can do it, so can you! To view more photos of hOMe and read stories about the trials, tribulations, and high points of our build, please visit us at www.TinyHouseBuild.com.

hOMe

 

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Barbara - February 4, 2014 Reply

This article is an excellent inspiration for those who may still be in the dream phase.
We are actually in the downsizing phase and almost there! It’s been so freeing that I believe people on this site will understand when you get to that point.
Barbara

Sherry Baker - February 4, 2014 Reply

Does your 12-year-old daughter still live with you and if so, how does she feel about living in a small space? My husband and I can pare down our possessions, but I hesitate asking that of my daughter. Any suggestions on how to accommodate a child in a smaller living space such as yours?

    Andrew Morrison - February 4, 2014 Reply

    Hi Sherry. We actually have two kids. A 17 year old son and a now 14 year old daughter. Both are boarding school students in Colorado. When they come home, they love the space. We have created additional structures for them (one built and one to be built this spring) of 120 SF each. Simple structures with no plumbing, just electrical (solar). This provides them a private space and a place to hang out with their many friends. Our house would be too small for that in the winter!

    In the summer and warmer months, we spend a lot of time outdoors. In the cooler months, our tiny house is the main gathering place and the secondary cabins are used when the kids have lots of friends over and/or when they want some privacy.

    The kids both love the set up and our family remains incredibly close. Our communication is honest and deep, which I believe is the basis for this working so well.

      christina - February 4, 2014 Reply

      Thank you for addressing the issue of children in tiny homes. My son is now 12. We will be in our tiny home within the next year. He has trouble envisioning the desire to be away from me, in his own structure, but I know that time is coming soon! Therefore, I have designed an outbuilding connected to us by a deck that will become his own when the time is right. For now, our design includes two lofts, one of which will become guest/storage.

Neil - February 4, 2014 Reply

Safety requires a handrail on stairs, it’s really not optional, unless safety is optional for the occupants.

    Kari Ekberg - February 4, 2014 Reply

    I so agree about the handrail as it was the first thing I saw. Long fall in the middle of the night going to the bathroom. I do like the stairs, wonderful idea. I love the kitchen. Great design layout.
    I am still looking for a home with a bedroom I can stand up in. I like the design I saw a few weeks ago that had actually slide outs like a 5th wheel trailer.

    Andrew Morrison - February 4, 2014 Reply

    I hear your point Neil and I appreciate where you are coming from.

    I designed the placement of the windows to offer stability when using the stairs. We can use the windows sills, which are attached firmly to the wall, to hold on to if needed.

    We have considered a handrail and may even choose to install one in the future. For now, we love it “as-is” and feel we are safe because we know there isn’t a handrail and thus walk the stairs accordingly.

      Donatella - February 5, 2014 Reply

      Please, for the love of god, install a sturdy handrail; the windowsills won’t provide enough to hold on to in the event of a stumble, a trip over the dog or some sort of emergency needing to get down the stairs in a hurry while half asleep. One fall can change your life forever.

      Everything else about the house is wonderful but this just gives me the heebie-jeebies looking at those stairs.

      David - February 7, 2014 Reply

      I can see both sides. Your stairs look more stable to me than many I have seen.

      I was thinking about how a handrail could be accomplished.

      Although I am not satisfied, the thought currently swirling through my head is a framed 6″ by 6″ concrete reinforcing mesh, running stair to ceiling on the open side of the stairs. It would not be overwhelming, would not block the light and would give you something to hang things from if you needed to. While not a standard slide the hand along the rail it would give some one of any height something to grab, if your balance started to go.

      Just a thought.

    Stan - February 6, 2014 Reply

    My sister’s husband has an uncle (is that an uncle in law?) that took a spill down only 5 steps and he’s wheel chair bound for life. I never thought handrails were that important until I learned about him. It is pretty scary that the one side of your stairs is open, that would be quite a fall. I also think it would look more ‘finished’ with a handrail, it wouldn’t look out of place at all on the open side. The Window placement on the other side might make it look a little off if it was on that wall though.

Eileen Levitan - February 4, 2014 Reply

I love everything about this, including your design. Do you sell your plans?

    Andrew Morrison - February 4, 2014 Reply

    Thanks Eileen.

    We will be selling the plans with the materials list, and a comprehensive, step-by-step instructional DVD on how to build the house (or really any tiny house) in the coming months.

    Stay tuned to http://www.TinyHouseBuild.com for more…

      Anna - February 5, 2014 Reply

      This is by far, my favorite tiny house I ever seen. I can’t wait to get the plan and dvd’s and built one myself!

        Eric - February 7, 2014 Reply

        Ditto! I will definitely be buying these plans when available! Awesome work guys! Been waiting for someone to get everything right!

Bob Ratcliff - February 4, 2014 Reply

No doubt the smartest design I’ve seen yet – while at the same time admitting issues such as using the bathroom in the middle of the night, separate work areas and even what it’s like when you have mobility challenges. I REALLY love your home. (With the way you created the stairs, you could “almost” handle a chair lift by the way). This is a home for the future – now if only people would be smart enough to realize it:)

Carrie Boelter - February 4, 2014 Reply

Hi, I love these homes! This one is very beautiful,and clean,and done in very good taste!
I have been looking at these homes for a couple of weeks now. It has been my dream to buy one of these beautiful homes,and put in on some land we own,in the woods,not to far from our home.
I have talked my husband about selling our BIG home and down sizing. I would SO much love to do this!Our home is already paid off, so we could pray our home sells in these bad times,(we live in a very small town) and have a huge rummage sale and sell..sell.. and sell some more, and only take what we need. I so am into this.I’m ready to do this now.I stumbled onto these “tiny” homes about a month ago. I’m addicted to these! So beautiful. Though we have been looking at a “log cabin” type of home for us and our animals to finally call home,as to I never felt like this was home.
Thank you so much for sharing your beautiful photo’s with us all.
God Bless you all for the wonderful work you all do!

Hazel - February 4, 2014 Reply

Beautiful home! So well-designed and so livable long term.

2 things I would worry about: 1) those little tires holding up that weight for years on end;
2) no railing on the stairs.

    Yojimbo - February 4, 2014 Reply

    Agree. Smart points.

    Andrew Morrison - February 4, 2014 Reply

    Hi Hazel. Thanks for your comment. I replied about the hand rail in a comment above, so you can see my thoughts there if you like. Quickly: a handrail could certainly be installed on the stairs without issue.

    The tires are not holding that much weight as the trailer is supported by the jacks and blocking at different points of the frame. In fact, the wheels are not even on the ground on the back side of the house. It is completely blocked to the frame and jacks.

    Cheers.

Beth - February 4, 2014 Reply

I really love your hOME. One improvement I thought of was – put slideouts in your smaller stair boxes. It would make it so much easier to get to the stuff at the back of the box. I abhor having to move stuff in front just to reach the stuff in back – then replacing all of the front stuff… lol.

Mary Burns - February 4, 2014 Reply

Beautiful, wonderful, brilliantly thought out hOMe. You two deserve a pat on the back for this design. I’m saving this..it is my goal to build tiny and your design is worth using as a reference. Congrats, well done.

Hunter Hampton - February 4, 2014 Reply

The house is beautiful, but that stairway looks only slightly less treacherous that a ladder for middle of the night bathroom visits.

Secondly, women of a certain age, ahem, have issues with bad thermostats and sleeping up next to the ceiling…. is out of the question… heat rises…

You really should look at the designs of travel trailers… everything manages to fit on one floor.

    Elizabeth Mountain - February 4, 2014 Reply

    Hunter, I believe this is designed to suit them. If you want a travel trailer single level, then go for it.

Yojimbo - February 4, 2014 Reply

Only design element that seems inadequately conceived are the minimum-security-prison-sized windows.

Otherwise beautifully planned, beautifully realized work.

    Andrew Morrison - February 4, 2014 Reply

    Thanks Yojimbo. The window design is actually perfectly scaled for the home. Those three across the top are 5′ wide x 1’6″ tall each. The windows provide a TON of light and views. The ones on the front are 5 (plus the door) of 12 windows in the home. Believe me, we paid a LOT of attention to getting the windows just right. Literally every window has a specifically beautiful view and provides solar gain or indirect light, by design. It may not be coming through in the photo as well as it does in “real life.”

    Cheers.

Joe Murphy - February 4, 2014 Reply

Awesome! You guys killed it! What a model for what the inside of a tint house should be! way to keep the feel so open! I am building my house on wheels now and hope to post to the website soon!

Yojimbo - February 4, 2014 Reply

Customer reviews of that Sun-Mar toilet: nightmare!

A bit irresponsible of these hOMe folks to feature the Sun-Mar name and not engage the negative reviews in any meaningful way.

    Andrew Morrison - February 4, 2014 Reply

    Keep in mind that this article was not a review of the Sun-Mar. We have read the reviews and we have considered our options. So far, we have had some issues with the toilet as well, but we have been able to remedy each one with proper adjustments to our process. In every case so far, it has been a slight tweak from what we were doing towards what the instructional manual states. Even the smallest drifting away from the required parameters can have a negative effect on the toilet. We are learning and improving each day. I wonder how many of the “nightmare” reviews were from people who were not 100% in line with the stated requirements. That has made the difference for us so far.

    We are still new to the toilet and the process of composting human waste. It is a learning curve. Who knows, maybe we will write a review in a year or so stating that we LOVE or HATE the Sun-Mar. It’s too early to say from our personal experience.

Wendy - February 4, 2014 Reply

Looks fantastic. As far as the stairway- a railing would be a simple addition. I also have a theory that if you are going up and down a stairway like this every day (several times a day), that as you age it keeps you in shape. Way different than having gotten out of shape, and then at an older age trying to suddenly access a stairway or ladder. I have an Audi TT (tiny and low car) and will be 60 this year. I have no problem getting in and out of it because I have been doing it every day for several years and have built up the flexibility and muscle required to do it (it’s kind of a yoga exercise). My friends my age who occasionally ride with me find it a bit daunting to get in and out of. So I suspect that simply having to use those stairs daily will keep you able to use them as you get older.

    Andrew Morrison - February 4, 2014 Reply

    Great perspective Wendy. I love that line of thinking. I hadn’t really considered that, but I can totally see it. In fact, I’ve noticed that my body is changing how it reacts to the loft/stairs fist thing in the morning already. Daily yoga without even trying! 🙂

Chas - February 4, 2014 Reply

*Notes Sun-Mar brand name for future reference* I’m hoping to build my own tiny home next year and am in the planning stages now. GREAT pictures of your place! Really showed how the space worked well and how everything fit together!

Beverly - February 4, 2014 Reply

Great article. I am NOT “youngish” so I need a main floor bed very close to a bathroom. As for personal items, I’d be happy to get rid of most of the stuff in this house. I couldn’t do a really tiny home but I would like something in the range of 600 sq feet. Now if I could only find a place that would allow me to build this small home. Building laws require a minimum of 1000 sq ft and that is too costly at this stage of my life.

    Mary - February 6, 2014 Reply

    I understand how an extra 400 square feet could be costly. Does that requirement mean interior floor space? If not, you could add porches (I live in rural Louisiana where we love our wraparound porches). It might be a cost-effective way around the codes. And you’d have places to sit outdoors on pretty days and enjoy the scenery. 🙂

Bunny - February 4, 2014 Reply

This is such a well thought out and beautiful home. I have a sewing business and am trying to find a tiny house I can still sew at home in. This looks like it would fit the bill. Storage is my biggest issue along with space for a washer/dryer combo. Is upcycle thrift store clothing and always wash everything first. It’s all here in this little house.

My question…how wide is it. It seems wider than the typical 8.6ft.
I too agree on a hand rail. As far as nightly trips to the bathroom, I’m thinking chamber pot in the loft. Add water to it in the morning and dump on a plant outside.

My last tiny house need….a bathtub. It’s my “can’t live without it” thing.

    Andrew Morrison - February 4, 2014 Reply

    Hi Bunny. The trailer itself is 8’6″ wide. The venting for the fireplace and water heater stick out farther than that and would need to be removed when towing the house or a special “wide load” permit would be required. That’s fine with us as we don’t plan to take it on the road where width restrictions apply.

    We opted for a wood burning hot tub instead of a bath. It’s not in the house, obviously, but we use it almost every day. It doesn’t take much to heat up once it has reach temperature the day before. You can see photos of it at http://www.TinyHouseBuild.com.

    Cheers.

Rich - February 4, 2014 Reply

How/where do you do your laundry?

    Andrew Morrison - February 4, 2014 Reply

    Hi Rich. The space under the stairs is specifically designed to house a washer/dryer combo. It is plumbed and has power and gas as well. We have chosen not to use that space for a washer/dryer at this time and use that space as a hanging closet. We go to the laundromat and enjoy the “down time.”

Hazel - February 4, 2014 Reply

It’s so kind of you to reply to everyone’s comments and questions.

May I ask one more? How are you able to have just tiny structures on your property? You mentioned 2 other 120sq ft buildings as well as your tiny house. We own 14 acres but by-laws required a minimum 1000sq ft.

Thanks.

    Andrew Morrison - February 4, 2014 Reply

    You are welcome Hazel. I think it is important for us all to share our experiences when we go tiny. After all, it’s a full lifestyle change, not just a house size, so it helps to hear from people who are already doing it.

    To answer your question about the ability to build several small structures on our land: it all depends on zoning and the building department that works in your jurisdiction. Our property is very rural and there are no by laws in place to hinder us. The building department in our area is not a fan of tiny houses because of minimum square footage requirements in the residential building code; however, because we are on wheels and thus a non-permanent structure, they do not oversee our build.

      Frances - February 4, 2014 Reply

      Just curious, is your daughter’s and soon to be built son’s spaces also on wheels?

Eric Christensen - February 4, 2014 Reply

I compliment your success in merging the practicality of conventional lifestyle with professional accomodation & architectural style.
I will be keeping a lookout for future construction considerations/plans. I would be most interested if you see a way to integrate a combo washer/dryer into the footprint, or do you feel it should be ancillary to the current design in an addition.

    Andrew Morrison - February 4, 2014 Reply

    Thanks Eric. I appreciate your feedback. We will be selling the plans and materials as well as a step-by-step DVD on building this home in the coming months.

    The design actually has space for the washer/dryer combo under the stairs. It is plumbed and has electrical and gas to the location. We simply have chosen to stick with the laundromat for now. It’s a kind of “day break” meditation…

Chrissy - February 4, 2014 Reply

I loved the article. And the tiny home. My husband and I are building our tiny home now and have similar ideas in mind as you did. We are building ours off a 32ft gooseneck trailer for a bit more room than most. Articles like yours have inspired us for a long time. Thank you and happy living!

Gary - February 4, 2014 Reply

I’ve been giving “going tiny” serious thought, being that I’m single, 60 yrs. old and got rid of all my non essential stuff a few years ago. I REALLY like a lot of the ideas here. Two exceptions are, I don’t want mine on wheels (that way I can have my shower, toilet and internet) and, I want the bedroom on the main level. My knees are close to needing replaced and I had heart surgery a few years ago so I’d like everything down low. 🙂 I’m thinking 12’X20′ should be plenty.

Cindy - February 4, 2014 Reply

Well thought out design,color scheme and outside siding. My cats would love sleeping along the top railing 🙂

Michelle - February 4, 2014 Reply

This may be my favorite tiny house yet (I also adore Macy Miller’s)!

I am going to second Hazel’s question. How are you getting around zoning laws or are they non-existent where you are? My husband and I would love to do this. We have money set aside to do the project, but we don’t know WHERE we can legally put a tiny house!

    James - February 4, 2014 Reply

    It’s on wheels and thus registered as the trailer it was built on (although I think some areas might require a change to RV registration), so in most areas its just like parking an rv on your land.

      curiousnomad - February 9, 2014 Reply

      Please be aware some areas prohibit long-term RV parking. I was looking at rural property in western Wisconsin several years ago and was dismayed the county prohibited RVs outside of zoned campgrounds!

    Mona - February 5, 2014 Reply

    There are still townships scattered throughout the counties of western Pennsylvania that do not have zoning laws at all. One specific one not too far away for anyone who wants to play on google is a little fork in the road off of I-79 named Portersville. There is even a sign as you get into the area stating there are no zoning laws.

Erica - February 4, 2014 Reply

This is a beautiful house! Really impressive.

I was wondering specifically about your power. Do you get enough solar power to run the fridge? How many panels of what wattage does that require? And would you have enough to run a washer/dryer combo if you had chosen to have one? I always thought that having those things and remaining off the grid wasn’t feasible. It’s great to see it being done!

    Andrew Morrison - February 5, 2014 Reply

    Hi Erica. We do get enough solar power to run our fridge and, on sunny days could totally run a washing machine as well. We power our well pump with the panels and the entire house as well. What’s more, it is the winter and we are in the shadow of a mountain for many hours of the day. Once the summer sun comes around, we will be able to power all kinds of things! In fact, it’s already starting to happen.

    We will be writing an article specifically about our solar system in the coming weeks. Stay tuned to http://www.TinyHouseBuild.com for that article. We will give full details of the system and the reality of living “100% solar.”

Liette - February 4, 2014 Reply

This is a really well thought out, beautiful hOMe! Your flat roof really makes an incredible difference in the perception of space. I like seeing other tiny homes with stairs as ours was always designed to have them to accommodate our aging pets. I often wonder why many people think tiny houses must have ladders to the loft? We managed to work in stairs as well as a regular sized 5ft “must have” bathtub in a 22ft design. We decided to go with a 24ft just to have a little more storage space. We’re ordering our 24 ft trailer this weekend and can’t wait to get started!!

TomLeeM - February 4, 2014 Reply

I think this is really nice. It is small without sacrificing too much.

Georgia - February 4, 2014 Reply

Congratulations! Your house is beautiful and so spacious. It’s really helpful to hear how you tackled the design process.

I’m curious about what you do when you have gatherings of people, especially for eating. Do you pull out a table in front of the couch?

    Andrew Morrison - February 4, 2014 Reply

    Thanks Georgia! In the warmer months we eat outside. We are planning an outdoor gathering space for this summer’s project. In other times of the year, we just gather around the couch, tables or wherever else we can sit. Plates on the lap are not uncommon!

Lola - February 4, 2014 Reply

There is one thing that I would need to add. And that would railing on the stairs. My husband and I are not getting any younger.

Rose - February 4, 2014 Reply

I love this house !! I want one just like it !

Tammy - February 4, 2014 Reply

I have only been aware of tiny homes for a month and I a so hooked.My husband and I bought a mobile home 3 years ago and we tell every one that this 800 square feet is our retirement home. I think we will talk some more because I found out that I get a home that is so much more to live in.We had down sized a lot when we moved here and am working on paring down a ton left.My husband retires in 3 years and I want one.I saw one recently that the women had a kitchen with a washer/dryer unit,stove,fridg. and everything including a dishwasher.I wish I would have saved that one it had everythind we Had wanted.I we could afford it now.I love this site.Please keep up the fantastic website

Laurie Selvan - February 5, 2014 Reply

Love your home….the best one I have seen yet! I would also love to know where you got those bed loungers…I have been looking all over for one like that!

    Andrew Morrison - February 5, 2014 Reply

    Hi Laurie. Thanks so much for your comment. We love it too!!! We got the bed loungers at Brookstone. We will be releasing a short “tiny house minute” video soon discussing them and some other comfort providing, space saving ideas. Stay tuned to http://www.TinyHouseBuild.com for that video and others. You can sign up for our newsletter too if you are so inclined!

    Thanks again!

B.W. - February 5, 2014 Reply

For starters this is kinda what I have in mind for my tiny home; and the one I think I want for my son to have for himself as well later.

This is roomy and doesn’t scream cramped when I look at it in the pictures.

I’d live in this one. Thank you for not compromising; this let me know I can have a real fridge and stove in mine.

    Andrew Morrison - February 5, 2014 Reply

    Right on B.W.! The lack of compromise was critical for us. We wanted the joys of tiny living, but we knew there was no way for us to really live in the tiny homes we had seen. They were just too small for us.

Jake - February 5, 2014 Reply

What are the interior dimensions of your hOMe? I see that it is a 28′ trailer but what about ceiling height, loft height, and width?

    Andrew Morrison - February 5, 2014 Reply

    Thanks for asking Jake. The specs are below. We will be offering our plans for sale at some point in the future along with a materials list and a comprehensive instructional DVD. For now, check out the details below.

    Overall ceiling height at highest point: 10′ 10″
    Overall ceiling height at lowest point: 9′ 6″
    Interior width: 7′ 8″
    Floor to bottom of loft: 6′ 3 1/2″
    Loft height from loft floor to ceiling at highest point: 4′ 2 1/2″
    Loft height from loft floor to ceiling at lowest point: 2′ 10 1/2″
    Total height from ground to top of roof exterior: 13′ 5″
    Total exterior width (not including vents): 8′ 6″

Elsie Gilmore - February 5, 2014 Reply

Um… where is the shower?

    Andrew Morrison - February 5, 2014 Reply

    The shower is in the bathroom opposite the toilet and next to the sink. There is a 3/4″ cabinet grade plywood “wall” in between the sink and the shower. It is a 2′ 6″ x 2′ 6″ shower unit. We are waiting on the glass door, so for now it has a curtain. The door will make the shower feel more open and spacious, but it works great even with a curtain.

      Quin - February 10, 2014 Reply

      Thanks for answering all these questions. Reading through the comments is like an FAQ and is answering every question I have had so far. Just thought I would add that I thought of this issue with the shower curtain and the way I solve it in any space is to get a heavier plastic curtain. Ikea or any department store usually has an option or two for clear, textured curtains. The texture still provides some privacy but makes all the difference in light. For small stalls the thicker plastic could be easily cut.

MsDawn Burton - February 5, 2014 Reply

I have always hated the front door on the smallest wall of the home. I always thought it should be centered on the long wall. You have NAILED the PERFECT tiny home. I LOVE IT! I will be checking out your blog next, hope it shares your off griding as well. God Bless!

DJ - February 5, 2014 Reply

Great house!

J P Lundell - February 5, 2014 Reply

Pls email link to lil house andrew & gabriella built – want to order plans – and w appreciate other info such as best trailer , best toilt, not like propane stove, & w like $$ estimate to build ty !

Joy - February 5, 2014 Reply

I know you are working on construction plans and DVD, but could you post a simple floorplan. Everything is beautiful, but I need a little visualizing how it is laid out! Thanks!

Rebecca - February 6, 2014 Reply

I love your tiny house. I am too old and creaky for the upstairs but disagree that a railing is absolutely required for stairs. Japanese have no railings and there are no more accidents than here. Ame err icons have been fed safety like pablum as if it is possible. Paying attention and responsibility trump every time. I also agree that having stairs will extend your ability to use them. I bought 5acres of steep hillside and my ability to climb it increases daily.

DeWhit - February 6, 2014 Reply

This build is well thought out and very easy to be backed into a footing and situated on a foundation and would not resemble a trailer in any way.
A nice deck out front and it appears built in place.
The “little house on the prairie” look seems to be popular, but this is a more attractive small house to me. well done.

Tim - February 6, 2014 Reply

Just an awesome built home and I agree its looks totally livable.A couple of things:

1.How high can one legally go and still be able to transport a tiny home on the interstate or other roads?

2.It almost seems like a person would need to have land ahead of time for a tiny home due to needing to know what type(s)of power to use.I mean all solar or solar/propane etc And water is an issue too I assume?

Thanks so much. PS-how do you build land to place home on? ha ha

Tim - February 6, 2014 Reply

Andrew,

Can you please shoot a nice quality longish video of the home? As you can see from the comments you have a WINNER here!

Thanks Tim

Amanda - February 7, 2014 Reply

What about cooling in the summer?

Dee - February 8, 2014 Reply

I have been on the tiny house site for one month and love your design! My fav! I am single retired lady and it is perfect design for me. My question is what is an approximate cost for building a Tiny Home like yours?

Kelly - February 8, 2014 Reply

What brand and make is your propane stove and where did you get it? Love your place!

Kelly - February 8, 2014 Reply

Also where did you get your wood stove and what kind is it?

Jenny - February 8, 2014 Reply

I am in love…. Finally a design that has everything just as I would want it!

Gary M Moore - February 9, 2014 Reply

Can you move it and how tall is it at the front and back thanks

Carolyn B - February 9, 2014 Reply

Love the humor and kindness that exudes from the article and your replies to comments. You two are wonderful.

Michelle Heaton - February 9, 2014 Reply

Hi Andrew and Gabriella! First off we are currently living in Klamath Falls with 3 kids…but my husband and I have a dream to have a couple tiny houses and not to leave our kids with a lifetime and a houseful of crap (: your design here is very inspiring to me as it is life size and so usable. I just have to say I am so impressed and would love to purchase plans of your design if at all possible. Thanks for the inspiration and cheers to you!

Brian patrick - February 9, 2014 Reply

Ok the BIG question, a house of this size, what are your axles rated for and what is your overall gvwr for the trailer and what does your home weigh overall

Brian patrick - February 9, 2014 Reply

Glad to see I’m not the only crazy person trying to move 3 kids into a TH. I’m actually putting bedrooms under living space so there are only a few stairs to climb to the living areas quick to get out and easier all around I think , bonus keeps the sleeping area cool, would be great for the older folks out there to.

    Edie Rodman - April 11, 2014 Reply

    A Very interesting idea, Brian, and one which I have not seen published here before. Some of the stairways I’ver seen pictured look pretty intimidating if you’re a teen ager and the lights are on, not to mention if you’re a granny and it’s dark!

    Thanx!

Paula Miller - February 11, 2014 Reply

This is one of the nicest “tiny” houses I’ve seen. The planned use of space is great. I live small (<700 sq ft)and love it. I'm always looking for ways to increase my storage space without building on. You have done a great job.

Lisa - February 14, 2014 Reply

This is just outstanding. I LOVE it! I love the kitchen!

There's Plenty of Room In This 221 Square Feet Abode - Randommization - February 15, 2014 Reply

[…] Tiny House Build, TinyHouseBlog, […]

Cosy Burke - February 16, 2014 Reply

I love your home. It’s obvious that you put a lot do thought into the design. I’d do have a question. You mentioned that oh are totally solar powered. How do you access wireless communication ( mobile, internet, etc). That’s my biggest concern about living off the grid. Working from home is nearly impossible without them. Thanks for sharing your lovely home!

Pack Your Whole living into 221 Square Feet! You Can Do That. - February 23, 2014 Reply

[…] not for everyone, but it is an attractive vision. More at the Tiny House Blog and Tiny House […]

gp - February 24, 2014 Reply

Kudos to you both! Love your home! I was curious as to what kind of floors are installed? I know they look like a beautiful wood but I was wondering if they could be the porcelain wood type tile? Gorgeous!

Claire - February 25, 2014 Reply

What kind of dog do you have? I have one that pretty much looks the same as yours but I don’t know what breed he is!

Don't Think 221 Square Feet Is Enough To Live In? Think Again!|A COOL MEME - March 1, 2014 Reply

[…] this ideal off to a tee in their 221 square foot home, and have documented the journey on the Tiny House Blog. In many tiny houses, designers compromise on something – usually the kitchen or the bathroom […]

Kona - March 2, 2014 Reply

Nice feet. 😉

Stylish Tiny Home Boasts Off Grid Luxury Living on Wheels | Inhabitat - Sustainable Design Innovation, Eco Architecture, Green Building - March 10, 2014 Reply

[…] will always have a place on this planet that we can live for free,” writes Gabriella on the Tiny House Blog. “And being that it’s off grid, we aren’t bound to utility bills and the […]

Nick - March 31, 2014 Reply

I have found myself gravitating back and forth. My new studio here in LA (a highly expensive and yet enticing city, though at times, too much) is about $13,000 a year which isn’t bad, but it’s one room. I feel that I have been working on getting myself into smaller accommodations for years.

Now about to graduate and with another $30,000 in debt, I am rethinking the dream “that doesn’t die.” I’ll admit that acceptance is part of it, as I have yet to find a crowd that likes the idea as much as I do well enough to LIVE in it. But the biggest obstacle has been the money and the location. In the city, it seems as though it’s a pipe dream, though working at home may be much better. I need to look into that! After all with much less bills, I may not need to work my arse off!

That being said, studying your tiny house design as well as others again refocuses the drive, and if I have to leave the city, I may just find myself doing so. I guess like many others, I am afraid of work, having enough money, and sacrificing the beauty of where I live. But in studying happiness from my professor’s book this quarter, I was reaffirmed in Matthew Lieberman’s “Social” that indeed happiness stops around the money you NEED to live. It doesn’t get much better, and I see everyday that bigger shinier cars still sit behind my electric SMART car’s bumper, equal in terms of traffic.

What we seek in life doesn’t appear to be the real life…and I’ve never been afraid of sticking out. In fact, I almost built an 8’x8′ cube on my rental patio ($3300 a month with 7 people) apartment in Westwood. I had the plans, and I backed out. I also backed out of building a tiny house on top of a Sport Trac two years ago. It’s never been guts for me-always acceptance of the area I live in. People in LA just don’t get it, though they love millionaire eccentric, cheap or low-end eccentric is just, well dirty and poor. Coming from Indiana, that does’t resonate with me, and I just may find myself moving up North in the state or even in the Pac Northwest.

Any advice you could give me on this?

Michelle - April 20, 2014 Reply

My husband and I are in the design stages beginning to prepare our “retirement home”. He will love this one! A huge issue has been the fact that he’s an Italian chef! He wants a full kitchen and I just haven’t been able to imagine how to fit one in. This is a beautiful design and has me making a bunch of new sketches!

Hayley - January 15, 2015 Reply

Hey! The alterations you made to your house sound perfect and I would love if you would post a picture of the floor plans you have for your tiny house so I could use the same ideas for mine! Also, what is it like to have and deal with a composting toilet? Is it a lot of work?

sara - February 12, 2015 Reply

I can totally see living this way except for one issue that I am struggling with: Kitchen stuff. Ugh. I have paired down but still my cabinets are full. I use everything I have at least once a month. I have tried to think double duty. I really need to have a tiny house blogger do a specific episode on cooking/kitchen. I want to know exactly what items you have in your kitchen. That would be really helpful to me.

Chris - January 31, 2016 Reply

Can you drive this from place to place like a travel trailer? I see the trailer hitch and am curious since it seems way nicer and more luxurious.

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