Ridiculous Tiny Houses - NOT (but SMALL, IMPROVED version?)

I’m interested in Commentary, Critiques, or Suggestions…

YouTube Fly-through & animated demo of “small house”:

(you may need to hit the ‘full screen’ in the bottom right corner of video to actually see the dang thing)

(I attempted to upload the file here, but it repeatedly only got to about 12% and then just quits - clues? Not allowed? Links only?)

Ridiculousity is in the eyes of the beholder. I do understand why many - nay most - people would consider the current rage of extremely small tiny houses (<200 sqft) to be ridiculous, but there is an objectively (IMHO) non-ridiculous reason for the prevalence of these truly tiny houses:

Many - perhaps most - jurisdictions (at least in the USA) specify a minimum size in order to be a legal “dwelling unit” - and that minimum is often 700+ sqft for a footprint!

This size is far too large for a minimum - especially for a single person. But to go below that, you simply can’t build on a foundation, then legally occupy it in most jurisdictions. So the Tiny House movement has focused on homes built on trailers instead of foundations. And the truly (you would say ridiculously) small size derives from the vehicle dimensions that are legal to tow without requiring a commercial driver’s license or special per movement permitting. The limits vary by state, but 8’ 6" wide by 13’ 6" tall (AS TOWED) by 26’ long will put you within the limits of almost all states. Given that the trailer bed rides 18-36" above the road, these homes simply can’t have a full height 2nd floor. Subtracting reasonable wall thickness and a bit of roof overhang (eaves) and it’s rare to find a Tiny Home on Wheels (THOW) with more than 7’6" interior width. So even at 26 ft long, they still come in under 200 sqft.

I want to go tiny. And I’m currently designing around a 24 ft trailer. Anything more than that and the likely weight goes up enough to need a 1 ton pickup to pull, but with careful design, I can keep the weight within the towing capacity of the trucks I know I can borrow (three close friends each have a 3/4 ton pickup.)

This size will likely be a bit of a squeeze for me. All other considerations being equal, I’d prefer to build around 300 sqft on a foundation. But the laws in the areas I want to live simply don’t allow that.

Do you like to cook? I do. And my first reaction to your interior layout is: Not enough counter space given the amount of pantry space you’ve built.

I’m NOT targeting any area where there are ANY restrictions on what I can or cannot do (that type of ‘unrestricted’ land is still available if you look hard enough) - so the first part is moot for me… One of the comments I saw was “why not a murphy bed?” That was partly where the “ridiculous” came from. Why should I have to fight, fold, unfold, and manipulate things (and wear them out) if I just want to lie down? (and the space to unfold it still has to be available!)
The ‘Cooking’ part is relevant, though - and I’ve already done LOTS of cooking in even smaller spaces. It kinda depends on what you are willing to get used to. There was NO full-size range ON PURPOSE (too big, too much all around) I’ve used one burner induction for a while, no problem. Also, I use a countertop convection oven. Again, no problem. The space in the kitchen I currently use is much less than the new design shown. Storage is always a problem if you allow it to be, and this design is again about double of my current space. AND, then thing I like in the second design I’m working on is the newer 30" depth cabinets instead of standard 24" - the extra 6" of counter in front of the sink does double duty and can make all the difference…

Actually, my tiny home design has a murphy bed - actually a murphy bed desk! But I don’t plan on opening/closing it often.

It’s inclusion in my design centers around two factors:

  1. I don’t mind climbing to a loft to lie down/sleep, but the time will likely come when I’m unable to do so.
  2. I’d like both an office space and a guest bed.

So, until I can no longer maneuver the stairs to the loft, the Murphy bed desk will be primarily a desk with rare use as a bed. And once I can no longer use the loft for sleeping, I’m betting my needs for an office type space will be long gone, so it will be primarily my bed with infrequent conversion to desk.

As far as cooking goes: Everyone is different. If you can do great cooking with limited counter space - great! I can’t. And I’ve already tried by marking out limited space in my existing kitchen and trying to cook and clean within that limited space. It just does’t work for me.

All that being said, my kitchen is likely to end up as compact as yours. But what I didn’t mention is that I want to live in a village of tiny homes with a common building with a full kitchen with lots of counter space!

It’s good to have ‘sounding board’. I have thought of including a murphy bed that doubles as a bookcase in my second design - but it’s definitely an after thought and for guests only.
“Office Space” for me is already a tray on the end table next to me that I pick up and bring to my lap - laptop, drives, mouse all intact, then return whenever I get up. works very well
If I REALLY needed it to bounce down the road and be street legal, I’d just do a 5th wheel camper in the first place, and cook in the club house for groups. (Already sized appropriately throughout and built for the road, for less $$)

I like the idea of a bottom mount farm-style sink, and a cutting board that fits into the counter-sink opening. This expands the counter area when needed. (Many RVs have had these “counter-expanders” that fit over the sink or stove.)

The ones that have impressed me the most are those being built in the Jackson Hole WY area. (They look like they may be on foundations, and not meant to move later. But who cares if you have the right property?)

If I was to build on a trailer, I’d get an old semi trailer and build only one story, with plenty of headroom and high overhead horizontal windows for light (like those shown in the links above.)

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Yes, Dan, absolutely! That’s something that’s on my secret, hidden, ‘list’! The detail (which likely won’t make it into the rendered movie) is exactly where/how to store it when it’s a sink and not a counter. Also, I’m looking at some of the new versions of poured DIY concrete counter tops. From the pictures online, they look cool and like the way to go…

The pics are very pretty - and, if I HAD to build on a trailer, you are spot on about the semi-trailer. But if you look at the $$$$ they are asking, and how “Designer” the interiors are, some of the ridiculous starts to creep in. Besides it’s too cold in Jackson Hole to stay, anyway. If you REALLY have to be on wheels they’re are amazing 5th wheels properly engineered without harassing yourself any. I’ve never managed to get impressed with things that obviously cost too much and involve lots of ‘style’.
B.T.W., I did manage to get a CSV export of materials from my second design “II” (which is very similar in size with the one shown), and then looked up current costs of everything - right down to the sink, fridge, and LazyBoy. When looking at just materials shown in the model (my labor never seemed to be worth much anyway) the cost was UNDER $20,000 including a generous allowance for tools, nails, glue, paint, ect.…

True but the location is not really the issue. (Jackson Hole is one of those seasonal tourist areas to avoid unless you’re a ski geek with a lot of money.)

I just like the size and style.

Maybe that’s my trouble!
I’m NOT a ski geek, and don’t have too much money.
And I actually tried to imagine and envision myself living in the dang thing instead of just enjoying “the style”…

700+ square feet is interesting, because I’ve been living in a 525sf garage apartment for two years now. Granted, it does have a 400sf loft I haven’t been in since spring, and that just to open the window for hot air to chimney out, but other than that, the loft is storage, and the garage underneath is storage for my bike and lawn mower,
I wouldn’t mind having more floor space for martial arts and dance practice, but that would take a lot more square footage; I don’t use all I’ve got right now, but I’d need at least another 240 to put in a serious mat or small dance floor.
Really, the saving grace is the vacant lot behind me; the landlord gives me exclusive use in exchange for keeping it mowed so he doesn’t have to drag his riding mower to town. That extra 180x80 outdoor space gives me lots of room to keep from feeling claustrophobic inside.

It sounds as though we were thinking along some of the same (guide)lines… I included the loft as an option, and envisioned it as strictly bulk storage (at least for me). And the “more floor space” you mentioned is part of the reason for all the deck space. I too lived in a small space for over a year - in my case, it was a 34ft. sailboat. The marina I where I was located before the boat sold had a second-floor deck area where I enjoyed the “sunrise with a view” many mornings. That’s possibly where the concept for the surrounding raised deck came from…

Very cool Robert! A friend of mine told me about Wheelhaus and I am very interested! I went to the 3d warehouse and couldn’t find it and ended up here when I searched for Sketchup Wheelhaus.

Robert, can you please send me you skp file? I want to do some plans of where I will put one of these things on my property.

Heee haw!!! I love the Tiny House concept and Wheelhaus kicks it up several notches!!


I like that Ideal for living place . . the Truck trailer part . . they are really big inside to and move-able also . . Wonder how much they would cost . . Will do some research on this Ideal