I spoke about creating a rough design for a tiny home in my previous post Tiny House Design: Arborion. Now I wanted to find out how practical the proportions of my design would be when scaled up to life size. No more guessing that I had allowed for enough room here and there. I needed to know for sure before I could move on and refine my design further. The following is my effort to find out if I could be comfortable in my design for a Tiny Home built on an 8′ x 20′ trailer.
I currently live in a large house by any Tiny Home standards. So to make use of the largest room in my house, I began to tape out the rough extents of my floorplan using my tile floor as my 1′ x 1′ grid. The outline of the house looked big when finish and took up a large portion of the room. Several items in the room obstructed the overall outline, but it gave me an even better idea.
Where I work we are constantly recycling large amount of corrugated cardboard. Over the next week I took the best pieces home and began trimming them down and taping them together until I had a rectangle slightly larger than 7′ x 20′. Again, while the 7′ x 20′ cardboard was inside it looked huge and I could only unfold it part of the way. I moved it carefully out to my carport and unfolded it. It fit with room to spare and did not look nearly as large. In fact I went back and double checked my measurements to be sure I had not made a mistake. The difference in perceived size from inside the house to outside was unsettling. Was this going to be enough space to live in?
From this point I used a permanent black marker and started to mark off the inside of the walls, porch, interior walls, front door, kitchen cabinets, wardrobe, shower, composting toilet, sliding bathroom door, bench, and position of wheel wells and windows. I walked into and out of the floorplan through the door. I entered the kitchen from the folding table. I sat on an imaginary 4′ long bench and gazed out the imaginary front window. It felt good to find that most of it worked for me. Over the next few weekends I would set the floor plan out on my carport and walk through it as I would imagine living there. Luckily my neighbors did not catch me turning in the 30″ x 30″ shower as I made sure I’d I have enough room to clean myself, and not waste any extra space.
How much space do I need? Through my life size floorplan I found that my design would require a minimum of 7′ of interior space to allow enough room between the kitchen cabinets. Also I would need to allow for toe kicks. As it turns out, a 8′ x 20″ trailer with slight modifications to the extending flanges and supports would yield just over 7′ of interior space from wall to wall. This was good to find out, because without knowing I would need to modify the trailer, I would have had a kitchen that was just a bit too cramped. I also found that the wheel wells would interfere with the bottom drawer of my wardrobe. So that area was converted to storage instead. The folding table and fridge location were in conflict so I am currently considering a second option for the style of fridge. And instead of hinged doors on the cabinets, it was clear that sliding doors would be a better choice for me. Especially in the narrow space of the kitchen.
I still pull out the life size floorplan to check the feel of small additions or changes, but I feel it will be a great help to me again when planning the electrical and possibly the small amount of plumbing.
Next up – Scale Model: Subfloor