Bruce’s Maine Cabin

On TinyHouseForum Bruce from Maine posted a sketch of a floor plan of a 12′ by 22′ backyard shed he’s thinking of turning into a tiny house. He’s experimenting with several novel ideas like combining the bedroom & bathroom and having a cabinet suspented on rollers over the bathtub in order to better use that space. I love the out of the box thinking. Here’s his sketch:

I’ve been noodling over his idea for a few days and really thought long and hard about the bathroom/bedroom combo. Having repaired real water damage from poorly installed showers I really worry that long term water and moisture issues would eventually force Bruce to consider another solution, and an eventual remodel.

I love his cabinet hung on rollers idea. It’s like a big moving wall that slides one direction when the house is in one mode and in another when you switch modes. I couldn’t think of a way to adapt that idea in the concept below but it’s definitely an idea worth keeping in the back of the head for future designs. Good thinking Bruce!

I posted some suggestions and this drawing to help explain my ideas on TinyHouseForum, inviting Bruce to take it or leave it. For me it was just fun thinking through another tiny space. I’m not entirely happy with the layout, especially the kitchen, but I think it solves a few potential problems.

  • I thought it was important to move all the plumbing to one interior wall. This should help prevent the pipes from freezing and will make it much easier to build. A tankless water heater could be hung over the toilet or in a cabinet.
  • I left the bathroom to serve it’s single normal purpose simply because of the moisture issues.
  • I added some floor to ceiling cabinets along the back wall because they provide a lot of storage and appear to take up less floor space then they do.
  • Lastly I added a murphy bed to save space when the room was serving the living room function.

Not sure what Bruce thinks yet. Forums are great places for this kind of open discussion. Over time long threads of comments grow providing a good resource of information and a peek into how solutions were found. I’m looking forward to more design challenges and seeing more dialog on tiny houses under construction.

15 thoughts on “Bruce’s Maine Cabin

  1. Grant Wagner says:

    There are couple more enhancements that I would recommend.

    Looking at your redo, my I recommend an even smaller bathroom. For a Tiny house, a full bath and a second sink are a little wasteful. Trade them both for a nice standing room shower, and only use the kitchen sink.

    Also, think about mounting a cold water thank inside, in the roof rafters. Letting your cold water be closer to room temp will save a lot of money for the light water heating most people use for things like hand and clothes washing, pretty much regulating the hot water heater only to showers and those truly nasty pans. The high location will also make for a good gravity feed system, preventing the need for many pumps on an off the grid home.

  2. Michael Janzen says:

    Carey emailed me this comment… great idea!

    “I love the design and can only suggest one improvement: add a folding table to the bottom surface of the murphy bed and you have your dining room table/desk work space/kids craft table area. “

  3. Michael Janzen says:

    Grant said “I recommend an even smaller bathroom” and “cold water thank inside, in the roof rafters”.

    I agree. It sounded like Bruce really wanted that full size tub though so I assumed it was a requirement. If not a lot of floor space could be reclaimed.

    I love the water tank in the rafters idea. That might really help a lot up in Maine.

  4. Thomas says:

    I thought as soon as I saw the design that the water lines should be all in one place, but I assumed he already had the lines laid since this was a remodel, not a new build. if he is able to put his appliances where ever, then I would say your design is the most logical.

    while I can appreciate pairing down to one sink, for sanitary reasons I would say you should have at least a tiny sink. I lived in an old house with just a toilet in the bathroom, and the sink in the kitchen, and it made me feel dirty. maybe it is just me.

  5. DJ says:

    Do you have any sources for purchasing Murphy beds?

    I’d like to install one that could function as a table/desk when not being used as a bed.

  6. Michael Janzen says:

    “Read up on the aerosol effect to learn why it’s infinitely more clean to keep your sink and toilet separate.”

    Hi Grant. I just read the article. Yikes, Gross, and Thanks!

    But I still don’t understand how this supports the idea of leaving the sink out of the bathroom. The article definitely suggests that an open flushing toilet contaminates the entire room and that the sink is the wettest and most contaminated place, but it still seems better to keep the poopie hands in the bathroom and off door knobs and kitchen sink faucet handles. Right? Probably should clean that bathroom more often too 🙂

    The article also totally backs up the idea of keeping the bathroom a bathroom and not combining it with a bedroom. If the article is right that would mean the toilet vapors would contaminate the bed and anything stored in there.

  7. EJ says:

    What about a sink toilet combo
    I too vote for separate bathroom/bedroom.
    Can the front door swing out and bathroom door be sliding/folding?
    Also I would add window or vent for the bathroom.

    A table could fold out from close/cabinet.

  8. Robin says:

    That sink/toilet combo is a pretty neat idea. And not that expensive either. Too bad I’m thinking of going with a dry composting toilet for my tiny home, but still its nice to see the innovations out there!

  9. Michael Janzen says:

    John… very cute play houses. If you’re looking for business opportunities consider entering the tiny house market. I suspect you’d do well.

  10. Magee Peirce says:

    I prefer the separate bath. I would put in a shower instead of a tub but because I am a senior with back issues, the shower must be big enough for me to bend over to wash my feet w/o my bottom touching the wall. (^_^) The sink in the bathroom… I’m w the other gal.. I’ve lived in a home for yrs with the only – THE only sink was a deep sink in the utility room. The home was older & required replacing all the piping in bath/kit. Funds just weren’t there. Doing dishes, washing hands & face, brushing teeth in one sink took getting use to. Dd a lot of ‘cleaning’ the sink before cooking, etc. There is another option …put the shower and toilet in one section & a wall w the sink on the other side (like a closet). Small sink would be OK. There is company in Europe that makes kit/baths/Murphy beds/LR/ entertainment areas, etc ALL on the Murphy bed slide out/pull out bases. (sorry don’t recall name of site.. one of those you find yourself clicking on as you research) I’m sure they are spend’y but if someone could incorporate a part ofthem in a ‘tiny’ house, like you did here (& yes a table on bottom side of bed would be great) might revolutionize the Tiny House even more. I do like your makeover better ..including the kitchen you don’t like. (^_^) Love the floor to ceiling storage on the one wall. Thank you for sharing. The more designs one sees the more creative we become … and in a way, even though a lot of Tiny homes are for being off the grid,..sites like this keep us connected as a group and ‘on’ grid. (^_^) Have a great year

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