My buddy Drew over at Tiny Revolution has just put out this video of his new roll out guest bed that is really neat! Basically he built a dual wooden accordion mechanism which opens up to become the bed platform and then the other one opens to be the bed support. Check out the video and if you go to his website here you can download the plans for free!
So I thought I would tell a little bit about my planning process before I even picked up a hammer. This is a very important step in building your home and shouldn’t be overlooked.
Before you even think about what your Tiny House is going to look like, how you are going to organize things, colors, etc. You should sit down and list everything you do in your home right now. Think about what you do in your home every day and those things that happen every now and again. Take this list and order it in terms of priority and then start to think about what you will need to achieve those things. From this line of thought the form of your house will emerge.
At that point start sketching various floor plans until you come up with something you like. Once you have something that seems reasonably close to what you want, grab some masking tape and map out the entire floor plan to scale on the floor. From there act out an entire day of your life and see how things work out. Consider things like where your trash or dirty laundry goes, clearances for doors, how wide doors and passage ways need to be for you to pass through them comfortably.
It is at this point that you will discover things that don’t work and need to be changed, make them and start the process over again. After you have worked out a solid plan, set them aside for a while and then after a few days, revisit them. It will be surprising what things jump out at you that you were blind to before. You can even enlist friends to get feedback from them on the design; sometimes a fresh pair of eyes will be useful.
At this point I would take a look around at some of the plans that are out there and see if one of them is close to what you have come up with. It might be worth purchasing plans if you are new to building if it matches your needs and budgets. If you opt to come up with plans yourself then be prepared to do a lot of research and work to come up with a solid plan. I would strongly suggest learning Sketchup which is free and pretty easy to learn. Once your plans are drawn up consult with other Tiny House builders to get feedback on your plans, they will also be able to advise you on certain aspects that even experienced home builders will not have experience with because they are unique to Tiny Houses. Finally draft a parts list of everything you will need.
Once the plans are pretty firm and you have had them reviewed by someone who has experience in building, set a few hours aside to mentally work through how you will build the house. Think about the process of building, envision it, where do you start, then what is after that and after that? You will inevitably find some things that need to be rethought or given some thought when you discover the order will impact other parts.
From there consider work flow and your building site, where will you build? Where are your tools stored? Where will the materials be stored? Is there power on the site, if not how will you get it there? How will you handle trash? Where will you setup your work station? How will you get the trailer in and more importantly think about how you will get it out if you do have to move it? If you need to get materials brought to the site in the back of a truck or a delivery vehicle, can they get close enough to where you need them to be? There are a million things to think about, but take the time to work it all out.
Next consider where you are going to source your materials. The big ones are your windows, trailer, roofing, dimensional lumber, siding and any specialty items. Windows, trailer and roofing often take a few weeks to get delivered if you are special ordering them, so consider the time line on things. I would take your parts list to the store where you plan to purchase the bulk of your stuff and get prices and lead times on it all. If you are trying to use reclaimed materials then hit craigs list, restores and other sources for the parts.
So that is quite a bit to chew on, if you are about to begin building your own home and want guidance feel free to contact me through the “contact us” page here