My Tiny House and downsizing

This is the design for my Tiny house to be. I am utilizing interior space by making the frame itself 13'5" tall [including the trailer] and having the roof attach to the box.

For those of you that don't know, the maximum road height for a trailer without a permit is 13'6". The maximum width is 8"6' from the widest point to the widest point [this includes the wheel wells]

What I did was to have the roof come off for travel to maintain those dimensions, and bolt on when you arrive. The top roof will be corrugated roofing and bolt on to a square tube frame. During travel the roof can be removed and stored either inside the house, vertically on the tongue of the trailer, whatever.

The trailer will be 8'5" from widest point to widest point, this will cover most of the wheel well and allow us to add more insulation. As I mentioned in my energy post, HVAC is the greatest consumer of electricity. If you insulate well you can bring this usage down so we need as much space in the walls as we can get. This is also one of the reasons for the double roof, The first roof blocks heat through conduction [metal conducts heat very well] and leaves a gap of air between it and the second roof. The open end of the roof is going to contain a solar powered fan what will vent the hot air out, and replace it with cooler air, this will keep the second roof cool from convection.

The door is on the side of the house as opposed to the back to maximize usage of space inside. In many setups a side door would cost space, but the plan is an open concept with seating and desk space against the walls to maximize the floor space. There isn't going to be a wall between the living room and the kitchen to make the space look bigger. Instead there will be shallow cabinets along the walls if the space is even needed.

I have gone through a massive downsizing right before I moved and consolidated all my stuff to 6 18 gallon Tupperware containers Its actually easier than you would think, just pretend like you are being have to leave from your house in 24 hours for some reason [Zombies?] and take only what you need. Then take that stuff and leave for a week or so and resume life as usual [it helps if you have a friends garage to crash in, or a tiny house shell if you already have one!] during that week think of things you need and go back and put them on the list, also think of things that you brought with you that you wont actually use and put those on a separate list. When you finish your week you are done! That is all the stuff you need to move in to your tiny house!  If you still feel like you have too much stuff, do it again. take all of your boxes and say you have to move again, but you can only take X number of boxes. Now do it.  In my case I went from two Uhauls FULL of  stuff, to five 18 gallon containers. I have been living out of those five containers for the past month with zero problems whatsoever.

When I designed my tiny house I looked at all the different tiny houses that people had built and saw what I liked and what I disliked about them. My main concern was space upstairs, I didn't like the thought of having to get up in the center of the bed, and if I didn't that I would hit my head. I saw one guy who made a slanted roof but even he said he didn't like the slant, So I made it a flat roof. the problem with a flat roof is sucks for drainage and is prone to leaks and sagging, so I needed the interior space but I also I needed a roof that wouldn't fail on me. Essentially I needed a removable roof.

When I was thinking about solar the best way to have it is at an angle so they caught the most sun. Most people who mounted them on flat surfaces used a simple metal bracket to mount them is position. I took that thought and ran with it. What I came up with was a curved metal roof on brackets, the solar could then be mounted to the roof. I like a curved look better than a flat angled roof because it looks better in my opinion. If you were going for simplicity you could do a flat roof at the optimum angle for your solar panels [it varies with your location] that way you could just bolt your panels to your roof and be done with it. I wanted the curved look so I went with it.

The framing is going to be done with 2x6's at 24 inch spacing. While this will add weight it will allow me to add more insulation than if I were to use 2x4 construction to save cost and weight. My theory with this is that I will pay for the insulation that I put in, weather I pay at the beginning or I pay over time with utility bills. My 800 square foot house wasn't insulated well and our utility bills were THROUGH THE ROOF! So I'm taking my insulation seriously. Although I am debating whether I should do spray / pump in insulation or extruded polyurethane foam. The R Value is 1 per inch greater which is the difference between R-36 and R-42 in the walls but the cost is substantially more. [35%-55% more cost depending on the kit or installer] so I may just end up with the extruded board and if I need more insulation I can install an extra inch of board on top of the framing and attach the drywall on top of it with longer drywall screws. That sounds like the best plan right now. THANKS!

I would like for the exterior to be solid like 4'x10' hardyboard with chrome fasteners. I like that look alot better than the conventional plastic siding. Hardyboard would crumble during travel so I can't use it but I will find something similar to use. I would like to paint it a dark color with light green trim, although with the Texas heat I may flip it and do a light green exterior with dark trim so I don't cook myself in the summer!

The interior is going to be standard drywall with a faux brick wall on the back wall [from the front of the trailer] I would like to paint the walls a medium slate grey with that light green trim that you see on the outside.

The kitchen will utilize chest freezers, one as a freezer and one converted to a refrigerator to optimize energy efficiency [If I didn't hunt for my meat I could get by with just the refrigerator and not have a freezer, or have a small 1.1 cubic foot one for whatever I did need. On top of the freezers will be the counter along the front wall. On top of the counter will be a convection microwave oven combo and a 2 burner induction stovetop.

The bathroom will be to the right of the kitchen area and consist of a shower unit and a solar dehydrating/incinerating toilet, The room will be a wet bath to save space, meaning the toilet will be in the shower, however the toilet will be on rollers so it can be removed  to make space to bathe.

The living room will be set up in a U shape with couches along the walls. The couch will be custom built with storage space underneath. A desk would be mounted to the wall and could fold down when needed, and folded away when not needed in order to save space. The couch will be able to fold into a bed if I have guests over, or just feel like sleeping downstairs.

That's it! That's my Tiny house to be! All I need to do is build it! [of course I can't build it until I have a place to keep it, like if I were to get funding for my Tiny home community.] so for now I am working towards that! but I can still plan for my house while I do it :)

5 comments:

  1. I like your idea about a U-shape style living room. With the right blend of contemporary furniture, your living room will look fantastic! With all these plans you have in mind, are you ready to spend extra cash for that? =)

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  2. Your blog post is so amusing, entertaining, and informative. However, I just can’t help but think about the your plan for the roof. Why do you want a removable roof? What if the rainy or winter season comes? Heavy winds might tear the roof apart and expose the house to the elements.

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    1. I was a bit ambiguous in my description. The removable roof is the second roof [the first roof is 13 foot 5 inches from the ground] keeping the trailer legal for travel. The second roof is to drain water and capture it/host the solar array.

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  3. I had the same curiosity with Chassidy. But since you responded to this issue, what are your plans to keep it secure? Of course we cannot control the weather, and the sun doesn't shine every day. Strong winds are also there even without a storm.

    Simone @ ABImprovements.com

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  4. I think that 8'5" from widest is a professional size to build up a tiny high quality trailer home. I have one concern about your roof. It seems that you will face some problem for your new roof system. Thanks for sharing this great lovely post.

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