If I had a hammer…

I should also mention that I’m a die-hard bargain hunter.  I bordered on extreme couponer for a while.  Knowing that I will not have the space to stock up on deals has been very freeing.  This does not mean I will pay full retail with a smile or that I won’t scour the internet for free shipping and discount codes for things that I need; however, I won’t be buying things just because “it’s a great deal.”

I did need a hammer…


and happened to see an opportunity…

Yay Sears!

Yay Sears!

The Design Process

Currently I live in a 10′ x 11′ bedroom in my parent’s 1500 sq ft house and share the bathroom and kitchen with my parents and grandfather.  It is a multi-generational situation, which seems to be more common these days.  I am very grateful that my parents took me in but it is a full house and I feel bad that I am tying up their guest room.  All my worldly possessions fit comfortably in my room, so I’m thinking a tiny house will be a step up size wise.

Current living arrangement.

Current living arrangement.

I started formally planning in March of this year and I can’t even begin to count how many different floor plans I’ve drawn up.  I’ve changed dimensions, roofs, lofts… you name it, I’ve changed it… and, every day I still come up with a new tweak.  I’ve gotten obsessive about it.  I think, if only I move this over an inch, then I can fit such and such… it never ends.  When you have such a small space to work with, designing feels like Tetris.

I had wanted a loft but, with my trailer frame being 2′ high, I just couldn’t work it out so I had enough headroom.  I would like to have my bed separate from the living area but a wall takes up precious inches and I figure I can use my bed for seating.  I could probably do without a full stove but, by the time I add in a microwave, toaster oven, and induction plate to replace it, I’ll have lost just as much space and it’ll cost about the same.

During the design process I’ve also tried to be mindful of resale.  I don’t foresee living in this long-term.  I would eventually like to have something a little bigger, yet still under 400 sq ft, where I would have room for friends and family to stay with me.  My plan is to either sell the house when I’m ready to build bigger or keep it as a guest house/office.  Thus, I have been trying to keep the floor plan open so it can be switched up by new owners or redesigned for a different purpose.  I took drafting in high school and studied one semester of it in college.  Sadly, that was eons ago and I forgot much of what I learned.  I tried using Google Sketchup, as I know many people have had great success with it, but I couldn’t get the hang of how to make measurements precise and didn’t have the time to figure it out.  I hope to read Sketchup for Dummies or something similar when I have more time because I think it will be useful with other design projects.  I tried several free design programs:

The Sweet Home 3D program is adequate.  My final design was created with the free trial of Home Designer Software by Chief Architect.  It is a lengthy download and the free trial version has limitations on printing, saving, and virtual tours but it is highly customizable.  The full version costs $59-495 depending on which product (Pro, Interiors, etc.) you choose.  Another site I found incredibly helpful was www.blocklayer.com, which has various building calculators and estimators.

My list of wants/needs includes:

  • Sewing area
  • Place to store my fabric and yarn stash
  • Typical bathroom with regular flushing toilet, shower, and sink
  • Washer AND dryer
  • Closet
  • Computer/work space
  • Reliable electricity and wi-fi
  • Normal-sized kitchen sink
  • Full-sized bed
  • Lots of natural light

My trailer frame is 24′ x 6′ x 2′.  The house will be 25′ x 8.5′ x 11′ with a 4.5:12 pitch shed roof.  Roof will be metal and I still haven’t decided on what type of siding would be least costly yet still look nice.

Plan in 3D

Final design (I'm trying very hard not to tweak it!)

Final design (I’m trying very hard not to tweak it!)

Questions, comments, and criticisms are welcome!

Purpose and reasoning

The purpose of this blog is to honestly chronicle the cost and process of building a tiny house.

I don’t have any grand aspirations with going tiny, like reducing my carbon footprint, I simply want my own space.  I chose going tiny because I am still on the younger side (37) and have not put down roots and don’t know what my future holds.  Also, tiny fits my budget!  Even if I had the money, I have no desire to have a 1000 sq ft house, but that’s mostly because I dislike dusting.

This is my first time blogging.  I don’t really know what to expect from this.  I wanted an outlet to share my progress with friends and family.  Also, I have appreciated the other tiny-housers who have shared their journey, inspiring my own, and I hope to be a help to others considering this option.  Tiny living is not for everyone (I may be included in that statement by the end of this… we shall see…) but if I can help someone make that decision, either way, then, mission accomplished!