How did I decide on the size and design of my (very) tiny house?

I’ll walk you through my process, it may help you, it may not.  When beginning, don’t worry too much about the size.  The beauty of a tiny house is that you customize it to your life and the size will present itself in the design process.   A lot of people make the mistake of starting with a size in mind but that really limits the level of creativity that can go into the design process.
Here were my steps, I am sure I forgot something but this is for sure a good starting point:
  1.  Document your day from morning to night.  This will help you to identify the must haves.  Don’t limit anything from this list.  It also helped me to walk through my house and look at every nook, cranny and item.  Things that popped out for me here that I may not have thought about previously were things like a place for coats and shoes as I come in the door and little things such as garbage/recycling storing linens, storing books/DVD’s etc.
    On this step go into all of the tiny (no pun intended but still funny) details.  For example…
    Wake up, pee (need a toilet), have a shower (need a shower), get dressed (need somewhere to store clothing), brush teeth (need a bathroom sink), do hair and makeup (need somewhere to store beauty products, list them all), make a coffee (need space for coffee maker, cups, spoons etc), make breakfast (need all the items needed to make and serve breakfast), do yoga (need a spot for yoga and somewhere to store yoga mat), sit down and work (need workspace and storage for all related items)
    1. What things do you do in your home?
    2. What items do you use in your home?
    3. What items are important to store in your home that you may not use all the time but you would like to keep?
  2. How often would you be traveling with your home?
    1. All the time
    2. A couple of times a year (over a short distance)
    3. A couple of times a year (long distances)
    4. Whenever you move it from location to location, which wouldn’t be often.
  3. Are there any considerations to make for animals?  i.e dog beds/food storage, cat litter boxes etc
  4. Would the home be on grid (plugged into water and power) or off grid (running solar for power and trucking in water) or some combination of the two?
  5. Would you want empty floor space available for activities? i.e. yoga space, dance space etc
  6. What would you like for kitchen setup?
    1. fully functional kitchen (full size electric appliances)
    2. fully functional kitchen (full size propane appliances)
    3. partial kitchen (smaller fridge, portable cooktops, toaster oven, small appliances)
    4. basic kitchen (sink, basic storage, bar fridge etc)
  7. How many people will be in the home?
    1. How many beds?
    2. Future growth of family?
    3. A space for guests?
  8. Any personal mobility issues that would need to be designed around?
  9. Loft or main floor bed?
  10. How much clothing would need to be stored?
    1. do you get dressed in the bedroom area or in the bathroom? (I put all my clothing in the bathroom and it opened up a lot more room for clothes.)
  11. Would you like any type of working space?  i.e. office area, craft area etc
  12. When you close your eyes and see your space what sorts of things are there for you that we didn’t catch in this list?

Additional tips…

I personally took this list and made every “required” item out of grid paper.  From there I move things around (a lot) to get the best layout.

Try your best to ensure that as many items as possible has at least 2 uses, for example a table that is also a desk or additional counter space for the kitchen.  This makes your home extremely efficient.

When designing each of my storage spaces, I literally measured everything I wanted to bring with me into my tiny house.  Dig deep into all the depths of your current cupboards and drawers.  Purge, purge and purge again.  There are many things you can eliminate and you’ll feel great doing it.

The process of designing your own home is one that will take you on a journey of self discovery.  In the end, having a home that is completely unique to your wants, needs and personality is the most beautiful thing to come from this process and the final product.

I personally had heard from many existing tiny home owners that if they were to do it again, they would go smaller. So I challenged myself to go as small as possible, for the reason just mentioned but also so I could travel with it easily.  The creative side of me had a blast with this challenge!

Thank you for taking the time to read this, I hope it helps you on your journey!!!  As always, feel free to reach out to me.  I love talking tiny houses and if I can help you work through in any way I would love to.  You can also subscribe to stay up to date, it’s off to the right!

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