Dec 13, 2014

800 Square Foot Home in the California Redwoods.

This unique small home in Gualala, California was designed by architect Cathy Schwabe. The photos in this post were taken by Charles Miller and David Wakely.  They originally appeared in Fine Homebuilding Magazine published by The Taunton Press, Inc.

I'm not sure that the average person looking at this home would guess that it's only 800 square feet.  To me it appears that the strategies employed by the architect to create a sense of spaciousness within such a small footprint were very successful.

The main interior space has a shed roof, 14 feet high at its peak, and is flooded with daylight through large windows and glass doors on all four sides

 The varied wood types used for the floors, walls, and cabinetry blend harmoniously.

The one and only bathroom doubles as the laundry room, and features slate flooring.

The slate floored entry hall doubles as a mudroom with a big, chunky bench.  It provides direct access to the bathroom, study, and main living area.

Here's the floor plan for this very nice 800 square foot home.  The drawing was created by Martha Garstang Hill.

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Oct 26, 2014

Tiny Heirloom Tiny Home

The greater Portland, Oregon area has produced yet another tiny home building company, Tiny Heirloom, builders of what they are calling luxury tiny homes.

Located near Portland in Oregon City, the company consists of three married couples, with about a decade's worth of tiny home experience between them. 

The plans may not be unique, but the level of fit and finish is what sets this company apart.  The home in these photos also contains a nice combination washer/dryer unit, something often skipped in tiny homes.  

Another relative luxury found in this home is the stainless steel finished gas range, which includes four burners and an oven.  Plus there's that lovely granite counter top.

Tiny Heirloom homes are approved travel trailers, and the company claims to have the highest standards going when it comes to details such as the quality of the trailer itself, construction and framing material and details. 

The deep sink, substantial clearance between the sink and faucet, and integral spray, makes kitchen cleanup much easier than in the small bar sinks found in so many tiny homes.

There is a three fixture bath (marine flush toilet, sink, and shower).  Composting toilets are an available option too.

There's a small storage loft above the living area.

There's space for a desk or other items of the homeowner's choosing...

A comfortable seating area featuring a tiny marine gas fireplace/heater...

And a sleeping loft with two shed dormers for increased volume and head room, not to mention plenty of ventilation.

Tiny luxury doesn't come cheap though.  Tiny Heirloom tiny homes start at $65,000 USD.  The price does include delivery though, something many tiny house builders don't even provide.  You can see and learn more by accessing their website using the following link...  Tiny Heirloom

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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.  I understand they were taken at a tiny house conference.  Learn more here...

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.