Tiny House, Tiny Living, The Tiny Life.

Posts Tagged Design

Should Tiny Houses Have Bathrooms?

One area of my tiny house that I have come to think about a lot is the bathroom.  Now of course you need a bathroom, a place to use the restroom, a place to shower, etc.  It can range from in your tiny house flush toilet or composting, to an “outhouse” style with a properly designed system or even a flush toilet;  But I am beginning to wonder if a bathroom should be outside the tiny home.  It might be using the extra bathroom of the house you’re parked in the back yard of or it might be like Drew over at Tiny R(e)volution who build his “shower shack” photos at bottom of post.  I’m not saying you should do this, but I think it warrants discussion.

tiny-midwest-tiny-house-07-600x400The reason I’ve been thinking this is because while a bathroom of some form is a necessity, as it is in a tiny house, it takes up so much space and is used so little.  This is a really important factor when it comes to small spaces.  The amount of square footage should be directly proportional to the amount you use it.  So for example your mattress takes up about 30 square feet if you have a queen size bed, which is a lot of space, but you use it for 8 hours every day.  Compare that to the bathroom, about 22 square feet, I use it for maybe 30 or less minutes a day for showering, shaving, brushing teeth and going to the bathroom.  If you simply look at it like a return on investment a bathroom is not that great use of space.

Now you can reduce your space by building a wet bath (frankly I’m not keen on that idea).  You could also setup bathroom and shower outside, using an outdoor shower and bathroom, but there are a few months a year this wouldn’t work well.  You also could arrange for whoever house you park your tiny house behind that you can use their bathroom.   Obviously nothing will beat the convenience of having a shower and toilet in the actual tiny house, but I still struggle with how much space it uses versus how much I use it.


Make Your Tiny House Swoon – able

My good friend over at Tiny House R(e)volution is hosting a tiny house decorating class.  Learn about tips to decorate your tiny houses, explore double duty furniture, and how to effectively use windows to make you tiny house feel big.  It’s Big Style For The Tiny House!  Drew’s course is 2 hours for $10 so check it out!

Here is a photo of his gorgeous kitchen counter tops

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From Drew:

Do you have a flair for the decadent? Does your style read more modern bohemia than Appalachian cabin? Maybe you prefer color over monochromatic. Whatever the case, this workshop is the one for you.

Over the course of two hours you will be part of a dynamic, online conversation that mixes live video/audio, presentation, practical examples, and live Q&A. With Andrew Odom as your facilitator

You can sign up here

 

5 Fly Treehouse Designs

Tiny houses and tree houses go together like shrimp over grits or gravy over biscuits.(Cravin’ some southern food, can you tell?) I have to reveal that I not so secretly wish to live in a tiny tree house community. I actually visited a tree house community in Belgium that consisted of 6-10 people on any given day. They were squatting the land trying to save the last bit of woods outside Brugge. Unfortunately, they lost their battle with the developers and the trees were cut down but it was a really interesting community to visit for a few days. I wasn’t crazy about having to descend ropes every time I needed to tinkle in the night and then ascend back to bed but it was a really fun experience. I would definitely want a staircase as well as climbing equipment to reach my tiny tree house. Options are a good thing. Check out the following worthy pics for inspiration.

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 If I look over and see even a simple platform for some children in a tree I get giddy. I have seriously considered hopping more than one fence to test the enjoyment of a structure in a tree. Tree houses for me imbue this feeling of childlike exuberance and whimsy. What else could you feel when you see a treehouse? Unless you are afraid of heights and then just don’t answer that question.

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I’m not an old school tree house enthusiast who may see a structure like this and balk. I’m all about innovation. How far can tree house design be pushed? How does such a structure incorporate a modern lifestyle with an ancestral habitat? I’ve got similar questions for the tiny house movement. Humans have been migrating back and forth across this planet for so long, I think it’s in my genetics to crave mobility. Carrying your home with you is how the human race lived for millennia until agriculture came along. For me, it a big reason why I’m so attracted to the tiny house on wheels lifestyle but I could be convinced to stay put in any one of these tree houses!

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Ideal aesthetic scenario: my garden starts to overtake my tree house. Ideal tree for a treehouse: Banyan for sure although probably super challenging since it’s branches grow horizontally towards the ground, not vertically from a center trunk.

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The above structure reminds me of my favorite place at Disney World. The Swiss Family Robinson treehouse attraction. I could have spent all day there pretending I was shipwrecked and livin’ it up treehouse style.

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Hang me a hammock off this thing and I’m home!

 

Your Turn!

  • What kind of tree would you build your tree house around?

 

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Design Inspiration

P1000589 When Cedric and I started looking for design inspiration for La Casita there were a lot of ideas out in the internet. Thanks to great blogs like this one we were able to implement ideas from other tiny houses on wheels but we also looked to alternative dwellings to complete a design we were happy with. We were especially influenced by the sailing community and we definitely looked to the RV community for ideas on how to implement certain systems. The folks who travel and live year-round in RV’s and sailboats understand the challenge of mobile living and have great solutions to common problems and challenges faced by living the tiny life!

Cedric comes from a boat building background and I always tell people P1000592that if it ever flooded where we live, La Casita would probably float. He incorporated a lot of different styles and techniques inherent in a sailboat. When people enter our home they often mention the fact that it feels like being on a boat, without all the rocking. Our built in furniture was  influenced by the seating Cedric had on his live aboard sailboat and our counter top has a lip to it, a common element on boats to keep items from rolling off. Our electric system is marine-grade tinned copper wire and our electric box is made for life on the water. We have DC outlets from West Marine and pretty much everything about our house is built with sailing in mind sans a keel and actual sails! We love the cozy aspect of boat design, especially in the sleeping cabins so we built our loft with that coziness in mind and angled the roof to give it that cabin-like feel and appeal.

P1000593Sailboat weren’t our only inspiration. I checked out RV blogs and forums as well! I found a lot of insightful and helpful information about keeping hoses from freezing, general moving tips and even wood stove recommendations. This community has been around for awhile and the veterans of recreational vehicle living are full of excellent advice.

Another source of inspiration came from folks living in yurts and teepees. Blogs P1000596were really a great source of information from folks living this type of mobile lifestyle. We entertained the idea of buying a yurt for some time but ultimately a tiny house was a better option for our lifestyle. We didn’t feel like a yurt would be as comfortable in the hot climate of the South and friends up North had said that they were difficult to keep warm in the winter.  Plus, after putting one up for some friends, we realized they aren’t as easy to construct as we thought. They also aren’t built for modern amenities and we (read me) weren’t quite ready to give up a fridge and electricity.

It was infinitely helpful to read about other people’s experiences and get a better understanding of just what these different aspects of tiny living offer. Comparing the challenges faced by different communities living a lifestyle with a smaller square footage was essential if designed what was best for our needs. I recommend reaching out to these different communities via blogs, forums, conferences or just go up to a sailor or RV’er and ask what’s up! Most people enjoy sharing their many experiences and animatedly discuss just about everything from waste management to the challenges of wintering in a mobile structure-trust me I’ve asked!

Your Turn!

  • Have any blogs, forums or other recommendations for design inspiration? 

 

 

Vermont Tiny House

Vermont has quite the tiny house scene. Only two weeks after moving up here we came across our friend KJ’s tiny house and heard about several more! Back in SC, we were pretty much the only tiny house folks that we knew about but it seems Vermonters have had tiny house fever for some time! Today I want to share this wonderful tiny house that our friend built and currently occupies with her bull mastiff!

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The house currently lives on a farm and sits on a 8 1/2 x 16 foot trailer with two bumpouts that serve as storage and sleeping space. She has a hard wired, 20 amp circuit that allows her to hook to a breaker box in the barn next door and although she has a clawfoot tub she recently bought, she does not having running water in the house.

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While taking a permaculture course, KJ was exploring a less toxic, less material based lifestyle. She was living in yurt in Vermont and realized that it was not the best living situation through the long winters. It took a lot of wood to heat it and keep it warm for one person so she nixed the idea of buying a yurt. She became especially interested in gypsy wagons and began researching other small living alternatives, such as school bus renovation, back in 2008. Then she moved in to a tree house on a goat farm owned by a couple of architects. She revealed her dream to build a tiny house and she says their eyes lit up! They agreed to help her in exchange for goat sitting on the weekends. Two months of building and she had herself a house.

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The house is built with pine that was cut and milled from the forest on the goat farm and it was built specifically to her measurements. She’s thinking up new ideas for the house and planning to remodel the downstairs to have a narrower staircase and a space for a table and two chairs. The best things about living the tiny life? The strong sense of ownership and accomplishment is certainly a strong sentiment for her. “It’s mine, I made it!” is the first thing she tells me when I asked her the above question but also living in a non-toxic space and escaping the materialistic bent of our consumerist culture are among the positives to living this life.

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