If you step inside tiny houses, you may be surprised at how many rooms can fit into such a small space. Designers can construct a kitchen, bathroom, and bedroom in an area no larger than 350 square feet. If the thought of living in such a small place causes your claustrophobia to flare up, you're not alone. However, some architects strive to create elaborate plans to make a tiny space feel just like home.
Tiny houses have become very popular in more recent years for a couple of different reasons. Firstly, more and more cities are expanding skywards. Building more apartment complexes and condominiums calls for design strategies geared towards making the most out of small spaces. Secondly, many people have the means to work while they travel. That means that they can take their work and their tiny, mobile homes with them wherever they go. Instead of living out of a trailer, travelers have beautifully constructed yet small homes they can live in comfortably. If you need some inspiration to make your own tiny house feel like home, you've come to the right place.
Inside Tiny Houses
Inside tiny houses is a world of possibilities. Whether you're making it yourself or collaborating with a designer to create the home of your dreams, tiny houses are in a class all by themselves. It's all about making the most of every nook and cranny — every corner has its use, with no amenity overlooked. And once you've settled into your small home, you'll be surprised at how much love can fit inside.
Of course, small houses are not for everyone. Sacrificing square footage means living with just the bare necessities that fit inside tiny houses. Living in tiny spaces means owning as few material possessions as you can so they don't take up space. Having a large family live within the small confines of a tiny home can also pose a challenge. While living in a small home with children is indeed possible, the entire family must understand the limitations of living in a compact house.
Benefits of Living in a Tiny House
Living inside tiny houses can have several fantastic advantages. If you live inside a small house, chances are you've built it yourself or have had it made. Living in a home you own means absolutely zero rent. You are not financing anyone's mortgage, and chances are, you probably aren't even paying for your mortgage either! Of course, this may not be the case. If you live in a tiny house and you don't own the land, you will have to pay for land rights. Secondly, if you needed to take out a loan for the materials and building, you still may be paying for your loans. However, small homes are much less expensive than building a traditional two- or three-bedroom house. Consequently, your debts will be significantly less.
Secondly, the placement of these tiny places is more versatile than traditional homes. For instance, you may wish to tuck your small cottage into a setting no regular-sized house would be able to fit. Better yet, you can have your home built on wheels and bring it with you wherever you travel. This way, you'll always be able to sleep in the comfort of your own bed surrounded by items you treasure. You'll be able to wake up every day, week, or month in a place you've always dreamed of visiting. The possibilities are virtually endless.
The cost for tiny houses varies greatly depending on many factors. First and foremost you should consider if your home is to be mobile or stationary. If you decide on putting your home on wheels, you will have to consider buying appliances and furniture that can withstand movement and are lightweight. This kind of furniture may cost more than stationary pieces. Homes that stay in one place can get away with having less expensive items such as a wood-burning stove instead of an electric one.
Also, consider the materials used both outside and inside tiny houses. Products made of leather, fur, and wood will enhance your home's interior without weighing it down too much. But if your small home is not on wheels, you can cut down on cost by opting for less expensive options. For example, because the weight is not an issue, skip the marble and instead, purchase quartz countertops. Or, if you want to save some money, hand-make contemporary countertops using concrete. The cost of making your small home is mostly dependant on what kind of materials you wish to use.
How We Researched
We scoured the world wide web in search of the most beautiful and intriguing homes we could find. We cannot rate these homes using the traditional metric of measurements (quality, price range, etc.) because they are all unique. Unlike products, we cannot measure them based on their usefulness or functionality. Therefore, we can only assess their advantages and disadvantages theoretically and by using data collected by others.
Alex Scott Porter's Maine Island House
Our first stop is a small home in Maine built to be completely off-grid. It is the perfect place to reconnect with one's inner self and nature. If done correctly, the inside of tiny houses feel cozy and comforting — and that's precisely what Porter's home does.
Porter's inspiration is rooted in Japanese and Scandinavian design as well as the principals of Passiv Haus (or Passivhaus). This ideology is meant to force architects and designers to be as energy efficient as possible. Porter has taken the idea of Passiv Haus and applied it beautifully to this home in Maine. It is not connected to an electrical grid and instead, solar energy powers the interior. It also harvests rainwater and boasts a composting toilet which means there is no septic system in place either. Its 320 square feet of space is easily heated using a wood stove in the kitchen which has a fully-functioning stove and refrigerator as well.
The main floor features the kitchen, living room, and outdoor deck. The kitchen has plenty of working counter real estate, a stainless steel sink, and an island. Past the wood-burning stove and breakfast table is a cozy corner with an L-shaped couch. The living room features a walk-out to the deck, which holds an outdoor shower and has a stunning view of the lake. A staircase adjacent to the kitchen leads guests to a loft-like bed on the second floor with yet another scenic outdoor view.
Elsa by Olive Nest
The show Tiny House, Big Living has been a hit since its creation in 2014. Episode two of season six showcases Olive Nest Tiny Homes' Elsa. This two-piece mobile home sits in Taylors, South Carolina but is portable. Elsa has 323 square feet of living space as well as a separate trailer holding a greenhouse and a porch swing. The exterior features cedar shiplap siding, a metal roof, and a unique front door with four glass panels.
From the outside, the structure is somewhat awkwardly shaped. But there is so much space packed inside tiny houses — and Elsa is no different. The kitchen boasts quartz countertops, a stove, an apartment-sized fridge and even a pivoting table that can seat two or four. Past the kitchen is the cozy end of the home with a full-size pull-out sofa and light filtered out of five windows. Upstairs is a full-sized bed with night tables and storage. Multiple large windows bathe the tiny home in light during the day, and recessed lighting shines at night.
Elsa's unique quality is the greenhouse that attaches the main home. It holds a mere 85 feet of space but has the potential to feed everyone in the home. Potted plants sit on the planks and grow to their heart's content. This home took three months to build and sold for approximately $81,000.
Atticus: The mobile home
Our next tiny home is in Mount Hood Village in Welches, Oregon just an hour outside of Portland. In this village are five mobile dwellings: Scarlett, Savannah, Zoe, Lincoln, and Atticus. Any one of these five homes will not cease to amaze as to how much can fit inside tiny houses. All five are available for short-term stays. However, we'll be focusing in on one in particular: Atticus.
Like its old-timey namesake, Atticus' exterior looks rugged and traditional. But inside is a warm, cabin-like escape you'll be glad to call a temporary home. Atticus features a full bathroom, a kitchen, and can sleep three people within its surprising 178 square feet. The kitchen and dining room area combines seamlessly thanks to the use of both natural cedar planks and dark cabinetry. Smaller appliances such as the fridge and stove allow for the kitchen to be smaller without taking away functionality.
Beyond the kitchen is a small bedroom, and full bathroom with a low-flush toilet and full-size shower. Upstairs is a loft-like bedroom which sleeps two. Across the bed is a storage area where guests can place their overnight bags. One feature that usually does not make an appearance inside tiny houses is air conditioning. Fortunately, this home has an air conditioning system in the kitchen as well as a flat-screen television, Atticus is available to rent for approximately $139 per night.
Foy & Louisa Brown's floating home
Imagine waking up every morning to the gentle lapping of water just outside your doorstep. When you sit up in your warm bed, the sunrise lends a warm orange hue to the slow-moving water. This stunning scenery is what homeowners Foy and Louisa Brown can see thanks to their tiny home in North Haven, Maine.
Every May to November, they anchor their two-story home in the middle of the bay. The only way to access the floating home is via a canoe, as the house is entirely off the grid. The exterior features a large deck surrounded by potted plants and covered by the off-center roof. So many amenities fit inside tiny houses that it is hard to believe you would need anything more. The main floor holds an airy kitchen with a full-size fridge, a gas-burning stove, and a double sink. Adjacent is a four-seater round table and a futon for overnight guests. Like most small homes, the master bedroom is on the upstairs loft behind a railing made of salvaged sticks.
This quiet tiny cabin reached completion on the evening of August 2010 — the couple's wedding night. Since then, there have been some minor renovations to fix the roof and build a cradle around the structure. While the couple initially planned to rent out the tiny house, they fell in love with their home too much to share it with anyone else.
Inside tiny houses along Bestie Row
This next set of tiny houses are all about friendship. These four couples and friends of over 20 years came together and decided to build their own neighborhood — and thus, Bestie Row came into fruition. They purchased land along the Llano River which is just outside Austin, Texas, and employed the help of architect Matt Garcia.
Garcia designed four little eco-friendly homes to make their dreams come true. Each house cost approximately $40,000 to build and features one bedroom, bathroom, living room, and kitchen all within 350 square feet. Metal panels protect the exterior sides, and the butterfly roof catches rainfall to supply their water as well as irrigate the surrounding vegetation.
Using inexpensive materials was key to ensuring the project stayed on budget. Concrete lines the floors while bare, unpainted plywood became walls. But just because furniture is minimalist inside tiny houses doesn't mean they are disorganized. These homes have plenty of storage space thanks to built-in cubbies in the bedroom/office area as well as the bathroom. Garcia also built a 1,500 square foot common building so all the friends can gather for group meals and get-togethers. We really can't think of a better retirement plan than surrounding yourself with gorgeous views and great people.
Carriage House by Christi Azevedo
When someone thinks of tiny houses, the first type that comes into mind is mobile homes. The second kind of small home is probably a little box in the sky in a metropolitan area filled with the constant hustle and bustle of city life. The Carriage House is neither of those things. Built in 1908, the Oakland carriage house was falling apart when Azevedo was asked to create a livable space. The result is a quaint little house that anyone would be happy to call home.
As you walk inside tiny houses, you may notice designers keep their floor plan mostly open. An open concept plan takes advantage of as much space as possible. Instead of walls, Azevedo has used furniture as a means to separate room functions. Just past the entrance is a corner of frosted glass which makes up the stand-up shower. The small kitchen flows into the dining room to create a cozy eating corner. A few steps after the table is a living room with lots of storage space thanks to half a dozen wooden pull-out boxes. When its time to sleep, you have a choice of the cozy couch or a comfortable bed in the corner of the flat.
Despite having little to no natural night due to a lack of windows, the space still feels open thanks to the use of white walls. The white siding also provides some much-needed texture to an otherwise uninspiring area.
From conception to completion, creating a tiny house to call home is no easy feat. Between finding the right designer and sourcing the correct materials to build your dream space, it takes a lot of work and perseverance. When you look inside tiny houses, you see that they are filled with the furniture pieces to go about your daily life and the people you want to spend it with the most. But even if the process is arduous, what you'll create are memories that will last a lifetime.
Let us know in the comments below if you have your own tiny house or have some tips and tricks to start your small home project!