paring down

I've been blogging for almost six weeks about my tiny dream and the realization that I must get rid of my stuff is finally sinking in. I once said something to the effect that I would miss seeing my things in this house, but I finally realized, that even if we never make it to a tiny house we can live much smaller than we are in our 800 sq ft house. We have a lot of things we never or basically never use. If they were gone, after the work of getting rid of them, I'd never notice.

There is in fact a sizable amount in our basement that we are holding for a big garage sale next May. Since we have an abundance of free time and a shortage of money we are considering getting the jump on that with craigslist/ebay/jbf. It might help get that debt down and keep us floating a little longer.

Also the idea that we may need to move into our in-laws house and rent ours to avoid undesirable financial effects really has me thinking about what I would need to take with me, and by extension what will actually fit in the tiny house. Aside from some crafting things for me and some woodworking things for David if it doesn't fit in the tiny house we don't actually need it. I'm loathe to store a great amount of unnecessary things so why store them now?

If the best I can come up with is, "Because it's work to go through everything" well, that's just not good enough is it?


reflections on moving

Sorry for the posting break, but it's been a busy week. David's brother is entering a phD program two states away. So with a family of four, the youngest being 3 weeks old, obviously there were some things he asked for help with. So this week I've been hip deep in toddlers and babies, plaster repair (I'm the best drywaller in the family), trash picking up, carpet cleaning, screen replacing, etc..

And in the midst of it all I was thinking about my own home and the little projects that build up when you own an old home. I think about all the awkward spaces and scraped together solutions. Those add charm and character. One of my problems with new development these days is the lack of quality in the finish work, but also the squareness of it all. Homes today are built like the big box stores they come from, because darn it that's easy.

Easy perhaps, but never interesting. Oh, they may try with crown molding and tray ceilings, but true character in a house is hard won from people living in them and working solutions around problems only to create a new problem 20 years down the road, which may make them question why they ever put that there... You see? There is an organic life to old homes that I cherish.

Without wasting too much space, how do I achieve that feeling in my tiny home from the start?


saucer v3

Since my last post I have been hard at work to give David his stairs, and in so doing I also fixed the head space issue and moved back to the bench with trundle, and shrunk that entertainment center down to a less obscene size.

So by moving the stairs into the bathroom area, I will indeed lose space in the loft, but as long as my trusty graph paper can be believed, my queen sized mattress will fit in that nook, snug and cozy. As shown in the sketch of our elevation from a few weeks back, you can see we always planned to have a gentler roof pitch over the loft, so adequate head space in the upper half of the staircase is also solved. We lost a little closet space, but reason that a fair amount of  it will be made up under the stairs. We may even consider moving the staircase back into the main room by 3 treads or so in future layouts just to see the effect and to give the toilet area back some stolen elbow room.

Another change new to this plan over v2 is in the kitchen. It is no longer linear, with the dishwasher turned and a storage cabinet open to the dining area added for, well whatever ends up being needed.. probably shoes and bedding right off the top of my head.

Please don't ask about the table. Originally it was going to fold up like the picture frame table or a Murphy bed table, however they won't work for us.. Why? Because the only good place for windows on that whole wall is right there and I haven't figured it out yet. We will have to build something and I am still mulling over variables in my head. Not the least of which is more windows.. Otherwise this house will be a cave.


one step forward

After yesterday's creative aside I'm back to getting the saucer section right. Husband looked at it, and you remember that look I was talking about. Anytime "ladder" entered the equation he got that look. He much prefers the stairs we saw in the park models, steep - but functional. He likes the way they were sandwiched on either side in this model (and many others), but I don't think I can pull it off at this width.

I played around with this stair calculator and for our tiny home it is going to take about 6 linear feet to get up to the loft. That leaves only 18 inches for the landing, which in my world is 12 less than optimal and if it were side ways, well then you have a 9 inch landing at the bottom and top, uh huh sure.. So anyway, if we need stairs they are going to run the long way.

You'll notice my beloved pocket doors are gone. I'm pulling a page from the other pod(om) and simply plan to add in the doors when the shuttle is built. I will frame the rough opening such that there are no mechanicals in the way and it should be an easy weekend chore later.

The tiny bench/sofa/trundle kid sleeper has also gone and the bathroom has shrunk down to a less indulgent size. On the bathroom, it is my thought that the saucer is a functional space, not indulgent. a small tub is adequate for bathing the kids so we should only have a small tub. Likewise, if this is to be our home for the next few years, we need semi comfortable day space, i.e. the sofa.

The entertainment center is large.. but I feel like the tiny home is taking my previous bad habits with it, so that's going to get changed. I might go back to the bench too, what do you think? One important thing I learned from this one is that the roof pitch change has to happen before the loft, in order to allow adequate head space when the entrance is on the side instead of centrally located.

I'm also missing a porch. There is ample space for a swing in, if you don't see all the toys and kids all over the floor like I do. My solution, well also not my idea, but its such a great inspiration - a fold down deck.. easily bigger than the deck I had before. They also have a video tour of this home, which is where I had my realization about the head space issue. I would have caught it in the elevation mockup later, but better to think about it now.


tiny home v2

So this began as shuttle #2, also known as the escape pod which was really supposed to be a dining room/en suite but it took on a life of its own and here it is. My first run that I'm happy with the bathroom and kitchen, but I drew in my current sofa (a queen sleeper) and it dominates the little space left.

I try again with a smaller but still roomy sofa and it works out.

This is a 24 ft trailer, and there would be a loft over the kitchen and over the bathroom. Separate closets for grownups and kids, toys in the ottoman, good sized pantry and utility closet space. I figure my son can sleep on the sofa and we can store my daughter's crib sized mattress under it during the day. By any realistic stretch she will be out of the crib by the time the tiny home is built. I like the side entrance to get away from the corridor effect. The entertainment center will have to be very functional, this is what I had in mind:

After looking at it, it won't actually work with full size appliances, but with more standard tiny home sized stuff it might work out. I don't have time for more drawings tonight, so until next time...


saucers, shuttles, doors.. oh, my!

So here are some preliminary designs for the saucer section (24') as well as the shuttle #1 and shuttle #2, which I will likely call the escape pod (this first design is tarleton-esque, it was unintentional). You'll notice that the saucer and the shuttle both have 2 sets of patio doors. This is key for the docking, the door openings must be the same size so that the weatherstripping on the exterior trim can make a solid connection. We considered smaller door openings, but the feeling of space with the larger opening is just too big a lure in the planning stage, we'll see how it goes when I get to the price quote stage. I've also dreamed big here. You'll see that on the saucer the patio doors are actually pocket doors (I have them drawn that way on the shuttle too, although that is definitely excessive, which my dear husband helped me realize).

This first saucer has the full tub and I've switched to a humanure toilet. I've also scaled my kitchen appliances down to tiny home sizes. The desk and chair I have, the desk doubles the size of it's top, so it's big enough for us all to eat at, barely. I've seen some clever ideas on pinterest so you may see them included, just ask. I really want a porch but it really cuts into the usable space in December, and this one really doesn't have a place for the kids to sleep so..

Basically the same bathroom but I've moved the pantry and make the deck just big enough for the out swing of the door (which is allowed in some codes if there is an adequate step, your mileage may vary). This gives us room for a bench, which just so happens to be the same size as a crib mattress. If the table folds up and the two chairs are really ottomans with toys, and I put a trundle with a second crib mattress in the bench, well then I've done it sure enough, we could live in this. At least for a year or two while we get enough together for the shuttle, shown below.

So now you have a saucer and a shuttle. With the furniture arranged as shown they would be sitting side by side, like a double wide. If this was the only intended upgrade, you could do the roof like a double wide too, half pitch on either trailer and put down on a ridge cap when docked. it would be a nice simple, roof line for construction purposes as well, if slightly modern looking when the saucer is separated.

You could also arrange them in the L shape I originally intended. The living room furniture would need to move some, and possibly be sized down for scale. As I stated earlier, the doors would not be pockets due to prohibitive expense. But no worries. Most properly installed patio doors can be removed in about 10 minutes with only a screwdriver, leaving a nice big expanse most of the time. I'd probably build a custom crate to stash them in securely under the trailer when docked.

Last but not least is the escape pod. It's main function by day is a dining room/craft room/homework/office.. basically anything you typically use your dining room table for. By night it's a master suite, thank you Murphy bed, no more loft climbing (by the time we get around to building this addition the kids are really going to need a place to entertain their friends, the old loft will fit that bill.. at least if the weather is iffy enough I can't make them go outside).

Yep, an en suite, we've definitely entered the luxury stage folks. The bath is purely functional, honest. Remember I was happy about being able to close the doors when I'm cooking? If I have this beauty I can lock them out and not even feel bad. The kitchenette will probably hold drinks and snacks, nothing vital. As far as attaching to the rest of the house, it can attach to the shuttle making a U shape or if I put some more doors on the saucer in the T shape or some strange shape by pulling up along side one or the other... oh my I think I've hurt my brain. Sufficed to say I keep shuffling my pages around looking for my optimal blend of form and function.