SHRINKING HOUSE - OUR TINY HOME FLOOR PLAN AND THE BUILD BEGINS

Oct 7, 2016 · 6 minute read

By: Colleen Valles

You guys, it’s happening!

The chassis for our tiny house on wheels was delivered and the build is beginning! I’ve been putting off updating you all because the trailer has been taking quite a while to get delivered. The problem came when the one that did get delivered had a 5th wheel hitch instead of a gooseneck one, so the builder had to get it re-done.

I know what you’re thinking. “What the hell does that even mean?!”

Here’s what I can tell you, courtesy of Reese Hitches: “A gooseneck hitch is designed for use in a pickup truck similar to a fifth wheel. The difference is that the gooseneck uses a ball and coupler instead of a kingpin and pin receiver.” Of course.

The point is, it took extra time, but we’re past that and now the fun begins! I got a call this week from the builder asking me about siding and flooring and what colors we want inside and outside. So I’ll get into all of that, but first, I wanted to show you the floorplan. It’s not to scale, but this will give you an idea of what we’re looking at.

image of tiny home floorplan

So my daughter’s loft will be the standard high loft, and it’ll be over the kitchen and bathroom. She’ll have about 4.5 feet of clearance on the high side and plenty of room for a full-sized mattress, bean bag and her army of stuffed animals. We’ll also get her cubbies to keep her clothes and other items, and we’re planning to rig up a pulley-and-basket system so we can get items like her backpack and clean laundry and maybe the cat up to the loft without having to carry them up the stairs. We’re both pretty excited about that.

The kitchen will feature a 3-burner stove and oven, a 4-cubic-foot refrigerator, and the counter will extend under the ladder to my daughter’s loft. That will provide extra counter space when cooking and extra eating space. We’re planning to keep two barstools — or more likely a barstool and high chair — there.

The bathroom will include a 40-inch tub and a small broom closet and will be accessed through a pocket door.

Across from the entrance, we’ll have our table, which will fold down out of the way when we’re not using it, as well as our couch/bed/storage furniture combo. Next to the couch will be some under-loft storage that will include my clothes and most of the other storage needs we’ll have (a suitcase, some holiday decor, mementoes and a two-drawer filing cabinet).

Under the short set of stairs leading to my loft, we’ll have storage and that’s where the TV will go. It’ll be kind of like an entertainment center, except the only entertainment objects we have are a TV and a boom box. Yeah, I have a boom box. I’m old school like that.

Up the stairs will be my loft. I wanted a gooseneck trailer specifically so I wouldn’t have to climb up a ladder or deal with a short space with a baby. My loft is above the living space, but low enough that my partner and I will be able to stand comfortably in it. It will also be walled off, with a window and door in the wall, to allow for privacy and a place to take a crying baby to give the rest of the household some respite.

My loft is the portion of the design that took a lot of extra planning. With a partner who’s a little unsure about the whole tiny-house-on-wheels concept and a baby on the way, there were more considerations to take into account. It’s also why this house is a little longer than our builder typically likes to do — so we could have room for him and the baby. This will be a 26-foot house, and the builder generally likes to keep them to 20 or 22 feet for lighter weight and ease of transportation. Trailers exceeding a certain weight require a special license to move. If, as I’ve said in the past, I need to make a quick getaway, I don’t want to have to obtain a special license.

Choosing colors

My daughter and I knew we wanted a yellow house, and we both wanted it to be a bright yellow. We’re not very subtle people.

However, as this house will reside in my parents’ back yard and will be visible to all the neighbors, we decided to go with a more muted tone. So it’s still sunshiney, as my daughter classified it, but not too bright — more of a banana color than anything.

For our front door, a Dutch door, we’re going with a lighter turquoise called “Tropical Pool.” Both colors are in the pictures above. And the house’s trim will be white. Oh yeah, we’re going to have the cheeriest house on the block.

Inside, we’re keeping things simple. We want white walls and did consider a whitewash, but have opted instead for paint in an eggshell color. The light color will help keep the place feeling open and airy, and although we won’t get the wood showing through as would happen with whitewash, I think the solid paint will allow a nice place for our eyes to rest. It’s a tiny space, and I think keeping things simple will be important in helping us to feel like we have a lot more room. That also means we’ll have to keep things organized and put away, but that’s a story for another time…

Walls and floors

That lovely shade of banana yellow will go on 8-inch wood composite exterior vertical siding. I could have chosen wood for the outside of the house, but I really wanted something that was low maintenance. Wood would have required more upkeep than the siding, and as anyone who lives in southern Silicon Valley can tell you, termites (subterranean and drywood) are just a common fact of life here. I preferred not to tempt fate or termites and go with the low-maintenance wood composite. The siding will be vertical to provide shear strength, especially over the gooseneck area.

To try to keep the weight of the home down, we’re not going with wood floors. We’re going for a natural vinyl flooring that’s lighter, holds heat and is softer to walk on. Sounds good to me!

So we’re pretty excited about this getting under way and we’re looking forward to living large in a tiny space. I’m a little nervous that I’ve still got a lot more to get rid of, and I don’t know what to toss, but I suppose that will work itself out when it’s time to move in. Luckily, I’ll still be on maternity leave when the house is done, so I’ll be able to get more done than if I were spending 9 hours a day at work.

The next update will include a before video of the yard and a few pictures of the RV hookup — I know you’re all dying to know about water, power and sewer!

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Colleen Valles
I'm Colleen, a writer, mother, knitter, pet mama and tiny house enthusiast who truly believes that everybody should slow down and simplify to make room for the things that are most important in their lives. I'm on a journey to do just that, to be able to spend more time with family and friends, riding my bike and working in the garden. Sign up to get awesome content right in your inbox, or follow me on social media.