Oct 6, 2014

Wishbone Tiny Home

Here's a well crafted tiny home from Wishbone Tiny Homes, an Asheville,  North Carolina based tiny home building company consisting of a father and son team, Gerry and Teal Brown. 

In the interest of giving credit where credit is due, the photo credits in this post all go to Chris Tack.

If you're a tiny home fan, you'll recognize a lot of the vocabulary of this home as being derived from Four Lights Tiny Homes and Tumbleweed Tiny Homes, but Wishbone has put their own unique twist on it, and some of their contributions are noteworthy.  For example, look at the door in the photo above.  It appears significantly wider than the doors you'll find in end walls of most tiny homes.  It's also handcrafted by the father in this father and son building team with a combined total of more than 40 years in the building business.

It's immediately obvious that the level of craftsmanship in this Wishbone tiny home is exceptional.  One detail that quickly caught my attention is the type and installation of the water heater.  It's a propane fired tankless heater, cleverly mounted in the wall that separates the kitchen from the bathroom.  

Note the tankless hot water heater mounted in the wall to the left of the sink.  Brilliant.
Tiny living requires some compromises, and one of those compromises typically is an RV water heater with a six gallon capacity.  Tankless water heaters will provide endless hot water until the gas source runs out, so if you want to wash some dishes and enjoy an unhurried shower afterward you can, without fear that the hot water will run out before you get the shampoo out of your hair.

The kitchen has ample counter space.  The wall cabinets provide lots of open storage, while the base cabinets provide all kinds of enclosed storage.  The water heater in many tiny homes takes-up quite a bit of  that under counter space, but not in this home.

The bathroom features a full sized shower and a Nature's Head composting toilet.

Check out their site, and learn about their "three step process" through the link below...

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Sep 26, 2014

1,300 Square Foot Container Home

This home is a bit larger than many featured on this blog, but by conventional standards it's still considered small.  Connecticut architect Rob Coolidge recently designed this roughly 1,300 square foot container home.  It's actually two 40 foot containers separated by an enclosed area that includes the living and dining areas, kitchen, and entry.

Front Perspective

Rear Perspective

The two 8' x 40' containers, separated by a 16'-8" clear-spanned space,  house three bedrooms, two bathrooms, the laundry area, mechanical room, and an office.  As mentioned above, the living and dining areas, along with the kitchen and entry, are found in the enclosed area between the two containers.

Plan Perspective
In this experimental prototype design, Rob's objectives were to...
  • Use containers for their strengths
  • Not feel obliged to use containers where they become too problematic
  • Design real, uncompromised living space
Aerial Perspective

When I inquired about what he had in mind for a foundation, he said his initial thought was for a crawl space accessed via a hatch in the mechanical room floor.  Other possibilities include full basement accessed through an exterior cellar hatch, slab, piers, or any suitable foundation that budget and local conditions allow.

Cross Section

The roof would consist of steel trusses and structural insulated panels (SIPs).

View from kitchen toward dining and living areas.

View from the outside, looking in.

As you can readily see based on the interior perspectives, the living, dining, and kitchen areas are open and airy, with plenty of natural light.  

A problem commonly encountered in container home master bedroom design is that the bed itself is simply too large to walk around comfortably in one orientation, or access is limited to only one side, or too restricted in the other orientation.  Rob got around this problem with a simple two foot bump-out that accommodates the the bed and provide comfortable access from all sides.  With that, the entire bedroom now has a spacious feel.

Floor Plan
If you like this design then I'm sure the architect would love to hear from you.  I suspect he'd be willing to discuss modifications, local code compliance, costs, and any other concerns you might have if you're thinking about building this.  Contact Robert T. Coolidge at:

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Sep 9, 2014

Stunning 320 Square Foot Container Home

I'm not often blown away by shipping container homes, but this design by the Australian company Nova Deko Modular Home Solutions is breathtaking. It's remarkable how seemingly spacious, practical, elegant, modern, and livable this design is.  In my opinion, this unit demonstrates that full time tiny living can be elevated from permanent camping trip to a luxurious yet affordable lifestyle.

Click the images to enlarge.

One look at the floor plan below (they call this model the Milan) and you can see that the designers have seamlessly shoehorned in pretty much all the needs and even the wants for a single person, or perhaps even a couple.

Unlike many homes in this square footage range, this home features a kitchen that actually works, including a decent sized refrigerator, dishwasher, deep sink, reasonable counter space, and lots of storage.  While there is only a two burner cook-top, most of us rarely use more burners at once.  I think the oven may be a combination microwave and convection oven, but I'm not positive about that.

 The home is flooded with natural light and has windows for views in every direction.  I don't think the importance of those two factors can be understated in small full-time living quarters.  The interior living space is extended outside with the help of a large covered deck that also features a privacy screen.

If you looked at the floor plan provided above, you probably noted the 3/4 bath, first floor bedroom, and relatively ample closet space.

Heating and cooling of the space is achieved with a mini-split ductless heating and cooling system, supplemented by ceiling fans. 

The cost of the unit (as of this post's publishing date) is $47,400 Australian dollars.  Naturally land, shipping, foundation, installation, and hookups will cost additional money and will vary from place to place.  Check out the installation photos below.

The company says it is working on developing off-grid versions which won't require any hook-ups for electricity, plumbing, or sewer systems.  They are also willing to adapt the units for use in the United States and Canada.  You can visit their site by clicking the link below.


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Want to see something with a similar aesthetic sense but only 160 square feet?  Click here.

Aug 24, 2014

Architect's Small Connecticut Home

When Connecticut architect Duo Dickinson and his wife were starting out 30 years ago, he designed and had this beautiful small home built.  The budget was limited, the site presented numerous challenges, but the solution is unique and impressive.

The home is located in one of Connecticut's most charming small shoreline towns, and has a very nice view of a salt marsh.  Being located so close to a near shore wetland area, codes dictated that living spaces needed to be elevated ten feet above grade.  This presented an opportunity to create a car port under the house while at the same time saving a little money on the foundation itself.

Overall, the house has about 1,100 square feet of modest yet elegant living space.  It features one bedroom, one bathroom, a two story living and dining area that opens onto a deck, a home office, a small but functional kitchen, and covered parking below.

The two story living and dining room features a fireplace and an unusual indoor bay window that brightens the upstairs hallway while offering views outside and to the interior space below.

Detailed floor plans appear below.  Thanks Duo!

First floor plan
Second floor plan

Check out Duo Dickinson's website via the following link...  

Also see his interesting blog, Saved by Design, with this link...

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Dec 14, 2013

Wood-Tex Prefab Cayuga Log Cabin

If you like small homes, but aren't prepared to go tiny, this one might be for you.  I imagine lots of folks would consider a house the size of a modest two car garage with a loft to be pretty small.  Toward the bottom of this post I'll include links to other Wood-Tex homes I've posted in the past, and a video I shot of this home.

The Cayuga Cabin is a certified modular home with a rustic log cabin style inside and out.  The overall dimensions of the main floor are 24' x 23', making it about 552 square feet.  The loft dimensions are 14' x 23', which adds another 322 square feet for a total of about 874 feet squared (minus the area of the stairs which would otherwise be counted twice).

The main floor features a great room with a vaulted ceiling, and includes the kitchen, living room, and dining area.  Two pairs of sliding doors lead to a deck, and there's enough space to install a wood burning or gas stove between them for supplemental heat and ambiance.  

The remainder of the first floor consists of a bedroom, bathroom, and a hall running between them that has its own outside door at the end.  By my count, the house has four closets, one in each bedroom, one in the bathroom, and one under the stairs.

A nicely finished set of wood stairs leads to a second floor loft.  The loft has about half the area of the main floor, and it's divided into two spaces.  There's a nice open loft space that looks out over the great room, and there's also a separate enclosed second bedroom.  

Loft sleeping area

Second floor bedroom

According to their website, which I just checked today (12/14/2013), this model is currently on sale for about $72,000.

First floor bedroom

Check out my walk-through video tour of the Cayuga cabin below.  Below that, find links to earlier blog posts I've done on other Wood-Tex small homes, and a link to the Wood-Tex website.

To see an earlier post about the Wood-Tex 768 square foot prefab cabin, click here.

Click here to see my post on the Wood-Tex Adirondack Cabin.   And click here  to see my post about the Wood-Tex Adirondack Cottage.

I'm quite sure the folks at Wood-Tex won't mind a bit if you check out their website.  Here is the link:  Wood-Tex

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