Since sharing my intention to build a tiny house on wheels, I got a lot of questions. So I’m finally going to start answering them, beginning with my design and plans!
I designed the plans over several months with the help of Callan (whom I am building with). Callan originally hand drew the plans based on a crude sketch of mine. He was able to draw up the plans to scale using Auto-CAD (Computer Aided Design), which he has experience using from work. Once we had ordered the trailer he was able to correct the plans based on the trailer design, so there were some minor changes. I complained CAD was too technical for me, so he also drew the plans in Sketch Up (a free 3D design tool). It was easy to import the 2D plans from CAD into Sketch Up and build upon them in 3D, meaning the 3D model was to scale.
The actual planning process was over 6 months, as it took me a very long time to nail down the design of the tiny house and decide to commit to the project! As mentioned in the previous tiny house blog post, I spent a lot of time planning and researching. This involved YouTube, Pinterest, reading and visiting tiny houses. I also had an A2 sized brainstorm on my wall with all the things I wanted in my tiny house. Looking over my original brain storm there are a few things I’ve excluded, due to practicality.
Tiny house wants:
- Large kitchen- I love to cook and bake
- Two lofts- a spare one for guests/chill out/storage
- A cat door- I’ve never had a cat door despite my cat being 10 years old
- Stairs- Necessary to the main loft due to night time pilgrimages to the bathroom, and a cat that will eventually lose his agility
- A bath tub- I miss not having a bath tub! Am happy for it to just be a soaking tub
- A spare sleeping spot- preferably a couch that can accommodate a guest
- A comfy place to watch TV shows/movies
- Plenty of storage- I’m not a minimalist and I have tramping/camping gear to stash
The trailer is 7.2m long by 2.4m wide and the total tiny house height is 4.25m (from the ground). This size is based on legal trailer requirements for NZ. I could have made the trailer longer, up to 8m, but thought 7.2 was sufficient. The bigger the trailer is the harder it is to keep within the total weight allowance of 3500kg (3.5 tonnes). All up this gives about 25m² living space, including the double lofts.
Windows and door had to be bought before the plans could be finalised, this layout was decided on that day at the demo yard. I picked the most affordable and practical second hand windows that were available at the demolition shop. Originally we wanted two external doors, including a ranchslider. We settled in the end for a larger standard door, mainly due to price and usable wall space (as there will be stairs along one wall).
Here is the tiny house 3D model (excluding the trailer):
With tiny houses there are really only so many layout options you can do. The layout is currently still a basic outline, as it depends on what materials I get inside. The size and window location are accurate, but the internals and colour are likely to change slightly. There will be cabinets and shelving inside, the internal plan is still very basic at the moment. The main sleeping loft is really large, like 3m wide large. Ideally I would have liked the stairs to step through to the loft, or create an area you can stand in, but because the fridge had to be located over the axles this dictated the main loft. I plan on putting a bit of storage up there seeing as it is so large. For the external cladding, I’ve just purchased the corrugated iron, it is a lovely dark grey/green colour (I haven’t updated my Sketch Up plan). A utility box/shed will be built on to the front of the trailer over the draw bar also.
As I have no building experience and am currently building in the front yard of my rental property, the design is simple. The layout and materials (such as the framing and cladding choices) are all fairly straight-forward. As such I don’t have dormers or fancy bay windows, as much as I love the look. The roof is an angled shed roof, instead of gabled (the cute triangle profile), due to practicality. The time and lack of experience factors also contributed to the materials I will be using, I’ll explain this in another post though.
Lastly, I’m always asked “where are you going to put it?” I actually don’t know yet! I’d like to stay fairly urban and I also have to consider my cat, so no busy roads. I have a few leads in Auckland, but it depends on when the build is finished and what I have decided to do next (I am wanting to go traveling!). The house will be able to go both off-grid and on-grid. Ideally I would want to be fully off grid (that’s the dream)! I am checking this recent resource: Landshare.nz. Asking in local online community groups is also an option, it does help having an estimated date and photos to share. I am grateful I have a large enough yard to build in, although I don’t think my landlords are very keen, which is why I need to hurry up!
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Was hoping to get some building down this Labour weekend but I messed up and the materials arrive next week, whoops! Here's where the build is at currently, floor, frame and roof is on. Might spend some time fixing the sills on the reclaimed windows I bought, plus I still have a heap of screwing and bolting to do! I might also get around to writing a blog post about my tiny house plans…
If you’d like to see my tiny house inspiration board, follow me on Pinterest!