Playful and Themed Tiny House Design

269 sq. ft. does not seem the most advantageous space for any sort of theme in design. In fact, it seems barely enough space to eat and sleep. Yet somehow designers and architects like Alan Chu are finding playful and inventive ways to give a fresh and fluid look to small spaces.


Separating the micro apartment into a 2-story unit the blueprint allows for an open floor plan with the kitchen and living space on the bottom floor. This isn’t at all unlike the basic premise of a tiny house trailer. The similarities continue when moving to the bedroom (and bathroom) which is situated on the second floor and accessible by a spiral metal staircase. This plays in directly to the steadily revisited argument of loft -vs- no loft and steps -vs- ladder arguments in the tiny house community. Chu’s space – named Apt 1211 – also owes much credit to the large window that literally floods the apartment with daylight and natural ambiance. On to the theme of the apartment though.


The custom cabinetry takes on a look for industrial or warehouse crates which all at once keep the design fluid and organized. The boxes were built from certified wood pine and feature red interiors. Because all storage spaces including those for media, clothing, and kitchen items, all use the storage crate look even though they range in size they keep a continuous look and feel. To top it off the flooring on the second floor is made with reclaimed demolition wood truly incorporating the warehouse aesthetic.


There are some elements that seem less obvious than others in the apartment. One is the framework itself. The second floor seems to hover and lack a certain amount of traditional framing while the downstairs flooring is cement without any mention of whether or not the apartment is on the ground floor or has additional supports for weight integrity above the downstairs unit.

Perhaps the pièce de résistance of the entire unit though is the absence of hardware on the storage containers. It seems as if doors open using finger holes and hinged doors open just by pulling the door and drawers seem to have a notched out handle, all giving a uniform and clean look.

Your Turn!

  • Do you prefer a mixed cabinet look or do you like the themed approach?
  • Would you build with cabinets that lack traditional hardware?


  1. Love-love-love this design. I’m a big lover of red mixed with black and naturals. The only thing I’d do differently is stencil some red (oriental) floral on the stair railing. Other than that, absolutely love it!

  2. Don’t care for the stairs or the space they take up. Otherwise the plan is nice.

  3. I liked it, it seemed as though it was bright and would be easy to keep clean and tidy. The stairs are definitely featured, possibly a tad too aggressively for my taste, I’m not fond of black, but they are taking the place of artwork on the walls as well as being functional so bravo.

    As to the discussion of stairs vs no stairs, the problem is that for a lot of us stairs are difficult to manage.If you have to have everything on the same floor because of mobility issues it makes tiny house design much more complicated.

  4. I have seen some really nice Tiny Homes but this is not one of them. To me this looks like they used all different elements and none of them make sense.

  5. So,11X12, times 2? Why no view of the upstairs? The retro fridge is cool but I am not buying the rest of this interior dec. A tucked away island cook space/table ?. The pictures/angles give a look of spaciousness but going from view to view you can see that’s not so true. I’d prefer an open spiral. Otherwise for a Small living space not bad.

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