Normal Things In Not So Normal Spaces

Whether your house is tiny or whether your house is ten stories tall, a bed is a normal thing you would expect to find in a house. Everyone needs a place to sleep.

Sometimes, you may find normal things in not so normal spaces…

The mattress in my tiny floating home is a convenient *cough* trapezoid shape with three sides against the wall. The short side underneath the fan is exactly 52″ long. I don’t know what Ted Brewer was thinking when he designed this part of the boat. I’m short enough as it is, but at 5’2″ (60″), I’m still too tall to actually fit all the way over to the edge of the bed. I end up sleeping at an angle, or curled up a bit.

The long side is an awkward 100″ from end to end. Lucky for Peter at 6′ tall, he gets to sleep on the outside. It’s hard to tell from the photos but there is a small overhang where I sleep. If I’m not careful or if I try to sit up too fast, I’ll whack my head on the ceiling. I call it ‘the coffin’. It’s actually quite spacious considering I live in a combined total of 360 sf of living space.

The mattress is much too shallow for us to turn and sleep the other way so for now, we’re stuck with the current arrangement.


Sleeping isn’t the only challenge in this funny little space. When I moved aboard the boat, I had to figure out what kind of sheets to buy that would actually fit on this odd-sized custom marine mattress.

I knew I wanted cotton percale sheets. Unlike sateen, percale is a “tightly woven plain-weave” fabric. Sateen weaves result in lustrous, smooth-faced fabric. I like percale best because of the feel. They never pill up and when line-dried, they finish with a tremendously fresh, crisp surface.

I chose a lower thread count of 450 knowing I would be living in the tropics year-round. The higher the thread count, the less air flow through the fabric itself and I wanted to be sure I wouldn’t be trapping in any extra body heat. In fact, I started out with a light comforter covering my sheets, but now my bed only has a fitted bottom sheet and a flat top sheet. Even this is often too hot.

When searching for percale sheets online, I had to search for California King deep-pocket sheets. You get what you pay for, but Tribeca Living had a very affordable price tag on a 4-piece sheet set. The fitted sheet is only 84″ long but with the deep pockets, I can rotate it a bit and get it to cover the odd shaped mattress of mine. The rest of the sides are far too long so I just tuck them all in around the edges.

The flat sheet or the top sheet covers the entire mattress, boasting a massive 112″ in length. Again, I just tuck the extra fabric in underneath the mattress.


Making the bed on a boat is a decent work out. It’s not uncommon to break a sweat while wrangling the mattress on the inside corners and tucking in all the excess fabric. Maybe someday I’ll pattern out some custom fitting sheets!

Until then, I’m happy to use oversized sheets to make sure I cover all of my tiny trapezoid bed in my tiny floating home.

What is the most normal thing you have in a not-so-normal space?

By Jody Pountain for the [Tiny House Blog]



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TMM - June 26, 2015 Reply

Well, we live aboard a trawler… and the most abnormal “normal” thing I can think of that makes the landlubbers head swim is the electric toilet. We use 12v macerating toilets. you push a button and the toilet “flushes” with a very loud grinding sound.. then every 2 weeks we do a pump out of the holding tank.

sometimes having to give them a lesson how to use the toilet so they don’t destroy it or overfill my holding tank can be almost comical. People react oddly to being toilet trained after they reach a certain age.

    Angela - June 27, 2015 Reply

    I know what you mean. We live in a tiny converted storage building and use a urine diverting, dry compost toilet. Which means you don’t really have to worry unless you have a bowel movement. Trying to explain to visitors about covering their waste with the provided material is just…well, sometimes I’d just prefer not to have visitors. They look at us as if we have 2 heads, 3 eyes and are coming at them with anal probes.

LC - June 26, 2015 Reply

We just began our tiny life two weeks ago. Four of us living in a motor home while building our THOW. (the two kids are adult size, and I’m talking 18′ x 8’living area) the most oddly normal thing we have is a computer desk with a full size desktop computer and two printers….. Or maybe it’s my daughter’s twin mattress placed on top of the kitchen table and bench area? Yeah….. Let me just say that our THOW will feel like a MANSION compared to this!

alice h - June 27, 2015 Reply

Don’t know if this qualifies but my double stainless steel sink is two large stainless steel bowls and the water heater is a tea kettle (electric when the power works, stove top version with propane or wood). I love it, gives so much flexibility. In nice weather I do dishes out in the sun wherever I darn well please. Rainy days I use the outdoor kitchen on the covered deck outside my Boler trailer. If it’s too nasty out I can move indoors. The bowls hang neatly nested outside on the back wall of the covered area and so far haven’t provided any spider surprises. Also great for washing hair.

The little upper cupboard I built out there for dish soap and whatnot had to be abandoned when a rather large and territorial spider decided to make it home, though I think it keeps a lot of other creepy crawlies away so that’s a fair trade.

Daniel - July 6, 2015 Reply

I have a small sailboat that I love spending time on. If I could, I’d live on it, but can’t talk the wife into it.

Love the rocking of the waves on the boat when trying to sleep. I’d recommend spending time on the water to anyone.

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