Tiny House Design & Layout

Time for the fun part! YOU get to design exactly where everything goes and how you want your house to flow. What do you care most about? What areas of the conventional home do you deem unnecessary? Do you want a big kitchen or a big living area? Do you want stairs, a ladder, or no loft at all? On that note, one loft or two? This is all personal preference. We started by checking out the plans that already exist and can be purchased online. If you’re interested in checking out a design example from Tiny Home Builders, go here.

List your priorities for your tiny home or your must haves, just as you would before purchasing a home. Are you going to have a washer/dryer, shower or bathtub, mini fridge or standard size? Microwave, stove, or oven? Are you running off solar or grid power? This will determine your ability to use certain appliances. Do you want space for plants? Our second loft was specifically made for plants. Do you want more cabinets or more open space? This depends on how much you are willing to downsize. Where are your clothes going to go? We originally thought well in the bedroom, duh! But, that was not the case at all. Good luck trying to put pants and a shirt on with 3 or 4 feet of headspace while laying down or kneeling. We opted for keeping our clothes in the stairs, a separate “entryway” closet for hanging items, and another “dresser” under the desk.

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I spent weeks drawing different versions of what we wanted our tiny home to look like on graph paper. After we thought we knew how we wanted it, we role played. We taped out the outline of the house and where the walls would be on the floor of the garage. This could be done with chalk on the driveway. We pulled in “stuff” to use in place of key items like stairs, the desk, couch, closet, toilet, shower, the list goes on. This was very useful in visualizing how we would move through the house. We still do a dance every once and a while trying to get around one another, but it actually is quite nice that you “run into” each other. It brings you closer together. You learn how to move together.  Anyway… We finished moving things around, trying multiple versions to see what worked the best. It was still a model so it wasn’t exactly how it is now, but it was definitely helpful.

Note: Plan your windows AHEAD of time! It is easier to build exactly to the size of windows you have, rather than building it and then finding windows to fit your plan. Especially if you plan to go the cheap route and thrift for windows!

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Locate where everything will go: water heater, water collection, light fixtures, plumbing fixtures, plumbing and electrical lines, boxes, outlets, switches, EVERYTHING you own or will have in the tiny house.

This is where the Scaling Down comes into play. We downsized and determined exactly where every item we owned was going to go in the tiny house. We tested our progress by piling up everything tiny house-worthy into one room of our home. Draw these items into your plans. Draw your home from every angle. Measure your belongings to make sure they will fit where you think your putting them. Once you have your design of where you want any interior walls and your doors and windows you can start drawing the actual walls, laying out exact measurements for every board and every angle. Once your confident everything is ready to go… YOU ARE READY TO BUILD YOUR OWN TINY HOUSE! Yay! Be excited! You’re in for a fantastic, frustrating, roller coaster of a ride!

Just a reminder: We used the Tiny Home Builders Design & Construction Guide, but if you want more help, there is also an eWorkshop they offer that would surely be beneficial to a beginning builder.

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