8×16 Free Tiny House Plans

It’s 1:00 AM and I just put the finishing touches on the first version of the 8×16 free tiny house plans. This house is designed to be an inexpensively built passive solar tiny house on a trailer.

In the next few days I’ll draw up a few more interior layout variations that will include floor-to-ceiling shelves where the kitchen is now and a built in sofa that flips-out into an extra bed. The primary bed is in the loft above the bathroom and cabinets. I’ll also add a materials list to the next version but for now take a look and let me know what you think.

This is also ironically my 200th post on Tiny House Design. I guess I’ve been keeping busy; but I’ve also been having a ball drawing tiny houses and blogging on the stuff I find out on the web. Below are a few images from the plans but to see all the details just download the PDF version for easy printing.

Download Free House Plans – 8×16 Tiny Solar House v.1 ( Updated Version Here )

29 thoughts on “8×16 Free Tiny House Plans

  1. SteveR says:

    Hi Michael,

    Good job putting this together and appreciate the effort and the sharing of ideas. I am seriously considering a tiny house but more as an interim to building a slightly bigger, permanent house. The cost should be very low as I own my own forest and have a sustainable harvest plan and my own mill. Of course mine will be finished with wood on the inside!

    I couldn’t use your plans directly as I live in New Zealand and there are too many things regarding building practice, standard material sizes and material costs which would make your plan prohibitive. So, a few of comments and questions:

    1. Does the plywood skin on walls and roof provide the rigidity of the structure? I notice no cross bracing. All ply construction is not cost effective here, also the standard ply sizes are 2400x1200mm so framing is usually 600mm oc.
    2. The lack of overhang on the house means that you will have to have good weatherproofing especially at the roofline on the front and good weather resistant materials. Even still, you will have trouble maintaining the front from sun/rain.
    3. I question the need for a single pitched roof. With such a small structure, the extra height of the front for windows for solar gain may be unnecessary or overkill. My preference would be a double pitched roof. I think that has several advantages: more space in the loft ( because of higher pitch ). An angled roof towards the sun for placement of solar panels ( hot water and PV). If you want more sun and/or space, I would consider a couple of gables on the sun facing side.
    4. Without a gable, I would consider adding a small window on the gable end of the roof in the loft. If it gets hot, you have little relief up there without one.

    Btw, if you are using sketchup for the design, you may be able to make use of my Cutlist plugin, which produces a materials list and a layout of the materials. The layout may not be useful but the materials list can be auto-generated assuming everything is properly labelled and made from components. You can find it here: http://steveracz.com/joomla/content/view/45/1/


    • Michael Janzen says:

      Thanks for the great comment and info Steve! Excellent feedback.

      I’m assuming that the sheathing would be enough to avoid the cross bracing, although one of the reasons I’m posting these ideas here for all to see is to get that kind of feedback. I guess it can’t hurt to add a couple 45-degree 2x4s.

      I put this particular roof style as a result of popular demand. I personally prefer a steep gable pitch with more of an overhang for many of the reasons you mentioned. I suspect in many parts of the world where the sun doesn’t come out for months a wall with many windows would be welcome. In other places where the sun is always out your absolutely right, too many windows.

      I’ll definitely check out your plug-in. Thanks!

  2. Michael Janzen says:

    Yes forgot to add that. I was going to draw in a rack on the roof that pivoted up and down to allow the owner to move the panels into the sun. I’ll be sure to capture that in version 2 too.

  3. EJ says:

    I was thinking that solar panels could go on the roof, but then windows on the north don’t make sense.

    If the windows face south in a warm/hot climate you could perhaps attach an awning to the south facing wall.

  4. Kim says:

    I love the windows, but indeed it is merely from an aesthetic and not practical perspective. I came here to applaud a design that finally had enough windows for me!

  5. bobechs says:

    Like a lot of folks I too prefer the aesthetic and other benefits of a gabled roof. The thought occurs to me that might be acheivable with the addition of a separate, complementary stucture after the trailer foundation is (semi)permanently sited, in the form of a pole-type shed of the same footprint and height set beside the taller, longer wall.

    The shed could be integrated at the ridge, or a complete stand-apart with minimal spacing and could be floored with a boar porch at the interior floor grade, or gravel or poured concrete at site grade- kind of a carport type structure.

    If more protected space were desired the sides could be infilled as a screen room or fully glazed as a solarium.

    If fully constructed as a matching box off-site it could be brought in on the same or same-type trailer used for the principal stucture like making up a doublewide mobile home, and if assembled later could be designed to break down cleanly in order to be able to travel with the house to a new place.

    Well, if I’m so smart why don’t I just draw it up myself? Hah- I wouldn’t want to offend anyone here with my computer drawing skills.

    At its simplest, no modification of the main design would be required. But if it became elaborate enough to become in effect an 8X16 enclosed space alongside the existing design some modifications of the main design might be very desirable. I just can’t visualize exactly what they might be.

  6. SteveR says:

    Hi Michael,

    Just another comment/question. Again, the plywood thing. I know that roof decking is common in N.A. I know, I’m from there. I’m wondering if it’s necessary or maybe even a problem with corrugated metal roofing.

    Corrugated steel is common here in NZ and Australia (well, common may be an understatement, it’s pretty much the only way roofs are done) but roof decking here is never seen. Again, I don’t know if this is a cost thing or if the use of steel roofing over solid sheathing is a no-no because of condensation and rot.

    Typically purlins are laid horizontally over the roof rafters, then roof felt and the steel roof screwed to the purlins.
    That would raise your roof by the thickness of the purlin but would add extra space for insulation.

    In any case, I hope there are some builders reading who might confirm/deny if there is a issue laying steel over sheathing. (Anyone from Louisiana?)

    It may be a tiny house but it’s subject to the same forces of nature found in any size house!

    As for rigidity, I think I would scrap the ply sheathing, put in braces on at least all corners (probably more on the long side), apply house wrap and then siding. Again, if someone could confirm that this would be sufficient, then it would save on materials, cost and also weight.


    • Alisabeth Buck says:

      I like this plan alot! Am thinking of building this with a friend.
      Re the “house wrap” idea, it is not feasible in the rainy climate of the Pacific shore of the northwest. MOLD and mildew and rotting of the structure occur with the use of house wrap here. Inner wall insulation (Alaska package) is what folks tell me work well here.

      Keep going, great work!


  7. LB says:

    When I first saw the design, my WOW was a lot of YAY for clean modern lines. But honest WOW came before my own predilections.

    As to the concerns of a few above, I wonder if it’s economically feasible to utilize solar panels themselves that might pivot from lying flush on the roof in high summer to awning-like useage in winter when the sun would be coming long and hard at the horizontal?

    Why would I think this even to be possible? Uhm, from watching TVs on multi-articulated arms these days go from flat to far left to far right, etc. (Watching flat screens these days is like watching those huge robots build cars on assembly lines – hey can you plug in my aux cables and wipe down the screen? Thanks, Hal.)

    Before I lose everyone to vertigo as they roll their eyes 🙂 I was also curious as to the idea of solar trees: are they cost prohibitive by comparison? I am really into the idea that you can scootch – sounds so easy – “Honey, I’m gonna scootch the house over here into the shade cause of daylight savings” and then to put your solar tree several feet over into more direct sunlight.

    Either way, free plans are so fantastic and generous of you (and others) so Thank You for all that time and effort, and it is wonderful to witness the give and take with all the folks above who, like you (uhm, compared to me?) really know what they’re talking about! Not only am I learning, I’m digging the camaraderie. Much props to all!

  8. Michael Janzen says:


    Yes I will add a materials list and estimated cost.

    I’ll take a closer look at the wind option. I’ve had a few people tell me about how easy that is to do and I really like the idea of adding ideas for multiple power options to the plans.


  9. Grant Wagner says:

    I noticed on a some of your other designed, you put up a materials list with an estimated cost. Are you planing on doing that for this one as well?

    As for those who keep asking about solar, take a look at some low end Wind systems. With an average wind of 10mph, one of these units can put out about 35 – 40 watts, and costs around $150 to build. Considering you get get a 45 watt panel for that prices if you shop really hard (like the Harbor Freight Tools kit) at that price, you can get a lot more energy.

    This solves the issue of trying to adjustable solar racks when your roof is sloping the “wrong” direction. Plus they are a lot of fun and don’t require to much in the way of special skills.

  10. Michael Janzen says:

    I agree EJ… but truth is neither wind, solar, wood, or fossil fuels for that matter, are 100% reliable.

    I figure the way to go is to offer up as many ways to generate heat and electricity as I can (within reason) so folks can imagine the possibilities build a diverse system.

  11. EJ says:

    Wind is not always an option. Solar works as an alternate to wood, at least partially.

    Keep the interesting posts coming!

  12. Jon says:

    Do you have the sketchup model / SKP file available to download for this plan? Thanks for the reference on the Cutlist plugin too! That’s an invaluable resource.

    • Michael Janzen says:

      Actually the only thing I’m using SketchUp for is the illustration, not the plans. I’m using software called DoodleCAD for the 2D stuff.

  13. Teri says:

    Do you or anyone reading on this site know someone near my location who would assist me on the cheap to design and build a small house for little cost? A house that is also inexpensive to maintain and to heat or cool? I’m seeking a small lot in Saint Paul, MN to purchase to build on. It is time the child who I have been raising had a place to call home. Apartment living gets old. We look forward to a vegetable garden and a dog. smile. If anyone can point me in a good direction it would be appreciated. –A long time ago I live in New Zealand and then Vermont and knew individuals in both geographical places who lived in houses that were about ten by eight feet. Good memories.

  14. Cyndy says:

    Hi Michael, I’m a 70 yr young DIYer. Love your plans. Now to find the time to implement the Tiny House, into a small greenhouse/me space. Oh well there is always next yr.

    • Michael Janzen says:

      Hi Victoria,

      Usually gooseneck trailers are super stout. 44′ is long though and would make a really heave house. I would just do some careful figuring and evaluation of the trailer to be certain the house doesn’t max it out.

      As far as design, I’ve not seen a tiny house built on a gooseneck trailer, but I’m sure there are some clever ways to incorporate it.

      Love to see progress photos if you go for it!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.