Archive for the Design Category

How I Would Improve A Tumbleweed


 

We all know and love Jay’s amazing design that truly sparked the imagination of thousands.  When most people say Tiny House, we see in our minds an image of a Fencl or a Lusby, but it is important to remember that Tiny House come in all shapes and sizes.  This is important because by choosing a Tiny House we are breaking out of a mold, but sometimes we find ourselves in a new mold.  The out-of-the-box thinking that started Tiny Houses must be continued to improve an already great idea.   I submit these five improvements of the Tumbleweed Houses, but the face of Tiny Houses isn’t limited to Tumbleweed by any means.

Radiant Heat Floors

radiant floors

The Tiny House is typically heated by a small boat fireplace, which can run close to $1000, must be vented (which means cutting a hole in the roof) and I don’t like the look of the chimney.  Now radiant floors for those of you who don’t know, are wires inlaid into the subfloor to heat from the bottom up.  This gives a nice cozy feeling for your feet and since heat rises, you are heating the space as a whole.  It has been successfully done in the PAD (portlandalternativedwellings.com)

The best part about this option is that it adds about ½ inch rise on your floor level, which is unnoticeable, while the boat fireplace takes up a lot more space.  The downside to this is you will need electricity.  At 50 square feet (remember you don’t heat areas you don’t walk on) running an hour will need around 6 amps at 120 volts for a total use of ~750 watts.  Most folks are going to have power, so this is pretty reasonable when combined with a programmable thermostat.

Lockers

lockers

I came upon this idea over at Jonathan’s blog (http://gungy.livejournal.com) and it just made sense.  Upstairs in the loft he has created small “lockers” that line the side of his bed.  This frames the mattress, adds storage and keeps things looking neat while still having access to it.  He did an excellent job at taking the existing structure and integrating the storage to match.  The added bonus of this is that your mattress will have less room to shift as you climb in and out of bed.  I would take this option one step further by adapting one of the “lockers” near the head end to have a power outlet inside of it with holes to run cables to the top, this would create a way to charge your cell phone and ipod etc. neatly.

On Demand Water Heater

on demand water heater

This one will certainly take a bit more expertise and planning, but there is one thing I would miss after a long day in the garden is not having a hot shower.  These water heaters are really small, can fit just about anywhere and mean that you only expend energy when you are in need of hot water.  Take all that and top it off with tax credits and it sounds like a great idea.  What is the catch?  You will need electricity (albeit a small amount and propane), which I feel is something that most Tiny House people have, either solar or grid.  You certainly can design it so you can bypass this when you are running off the grid.

Integrated Jacks

jack

One thing many people don’t realize is that if you are going to be setting up in one spot with a Tiny House on a trailer is that just letting it sit there can lead to tire shock, which will put flat spots on your tires or break down the walls faster.  It is probably a good idea to jack the trailer up and remove the tires, this way people can’t steal your house. With jacks you also have a more stable floor, it could be argued that it is safer too.

Integrated jacks aren’t anything new, look at trailers and popup campers, but for $100-200 you can get some nice looking jacks that can be integrated into the trailer so you are never without them.  Be sure to take into account what weight they will be holding, 4 tons per jack will be overkill, but you will never have to worry about it.  The added benefit of these are if you ever get a flat tire on the road, these are already in place and are safer because they are welded to the frame.

Flexible Shelves

flexable shelves

This one is a bit of a stretch, but I decided to add it anyway.  Jay’s craftsmanship is nothing short of beauty, the quality is superb, which is why he is a premium brand.  I felt the need to have my storage in these to be a bit more flexible.  With moveable shelves, rolling shelves, etcetera you are able to accommodate a wider range of items and have them tucked away out of sight.  See my photo here and take a look around my blog for lots of ideas.

Not So Tiny Tables For A Tiny House

When it comes to having friends and family over to your Tiny House one thing that I know is that as humans we love to share a meal with those we care about.  My family, sitting down for meals is an important event everyday.   While it may not reasonable to have the whole gang over for Thanks Giving or a game night inside, it might be possible to do it outside, weather permitting.  Here are a few tables that can handle a larger group but don’t take up too much space and are perfect for outdoor dinning.

closed flatpack table

openflatpack table

Below is an inflatable table!  I would never in a million years think this would work, but it is so impresive because he can actually stand on it without it buckling.

inflate table

 

Here is another suitcase style table that folds up in a easy to carry, easy to store case.

suitcase tablevia

Here is a piece of wall art where the frame becomes the legs in this Murphy style table.

Small-Apartment-Furniture-table-01

via

Hiroo Apartment

I had a heck of a time trying to find more information about this apartment. Here is what I know, it is roughly 7.5 meters, it is in Japan, yeah that’s it.    The center block I think mainly consists of stairway, so you simply climb up the middle and exit there to the perimeter of the apartment.  There does seem to be shades for privacy, but the bathroom is still left open.

If anyone know more about this please chime in.

outside

interior

small-space-apartment-exteriorvia

Diagonal Apartment

This great guest house was designed by Wayne F. Tjaden, he was tasked to figure out how to take a awkward space of 100 square feet with 13.5 foot high ceilings and make it a home away from home.  The end result is pretty amazing and the re-purposing of an old mill reduces its impact.

overview

Here is what he had to say about the process of design:

I was inspired by the challenge of converting a 200 sq.ft. former factory restroom plus 100 sq.ft. of an adjacent corridor, all with 13 ft. ceiling, into a guest apartment for the owner/architect’s live/work loft on the floor directly above.  To solve the problem, I introduced diagonal walls, at aspect ratio of 1:4 separating the space longitudinally into principal living spaces and support spaces located adjacent to existing plumbing services. Then, I suspended a sleeping mezzanine within the 13 ft. tall space.  The diagonal walls create forced perspectives which enhance the perception of spaciousness and the floating mezzanine allows the spaces to be appreciated as parts of a single whole.

living room

kitchen

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