As promised, for part 3 of this design study I’ve left the world of tiny houses for a moment to explore the cavernous expanses of a sprawling 512 square foot space. After drawing tiny houses, 512 square feet seemed huge. In fact I was able to easily squeeze 3 private bedrooms, a bathroom, and some common living spaces for a family. This first drawing shows how the walls and cabinets all move.
In a nutshell the house transforms into several different configurations depending on the needs of the occupants. It could be reconfigured in minutes or changed over a period of years to meet the changing needs of a family.
I can imagine this approach being useful for a growing family. When the couple is young maybe only a one bedroom house is needed and as the kids grow more rooms are folded out. Then as the kids go off to college, build their own tiny houses and start families of their own, their parents house could reconfigure the home for more open space again.
I can also imagine this as the perfect weekend retreat, vacation rental, or full time rental. The flexibility could support the changing needs of the renters and might make this the most popular rental in the area simply due to the novel and flexible approach. It would be super inexpensive to build since it has only four exterior walls and all the plumbing is centrally located. Here is the most open configuration.
In all the drawings you can see the house has a bathroom and kitchen that are always accessible unless you wanted to lock the bathroom door and the free-standing wall unit in front of the kitchen counter to secure the kitchen during long absences. Anyone who has had a cabin knows that from time to time you might experience a break-in and the less you leave out the better.
The first real tiny house I lived in for a long period of time was a cabin in Mendocino County my parents owned. I can remember arriving one time and finding all the beer my dad left in the fridge gone. The fewer reasons you give a would-be uninvited visitor the better so if the interior of a cabin look uninviting and empty the cabin is less likely to be explored by a curious squatter. That’s why I made sure most things in this little house could be locked up and sealed. The next image shows the configuration for two couples on a weekend retreat.
As I look at these drawings again, as I add them to this post, I’ve noticed that a few of the windows probably need to be moved. But that is a fairly minor issue and they are there just to give you a sense of what can be done. I put a lot of windows on the left side of the house. I was thinking that this would either give the occupants a good look at the best view or could be the south side of the house if the builder wanted to take advantage of passive solar heat gain. This next drawing shows a configuration for a family of five.
Now you can see all the hinged walls folded out. The rooms at the top of the drawing have cabinets that fold out twice. By that I mean each wall cabinet folds out and then from the backside of that cabinet a thin but sound insulated wall folds out. This would be a bit of a tricky cabinet to build and would need some strong hinges and rubber wheels. I also see the house having a flat ceiling so that the folding walls make a fairly close seal from top to bottom. There would also need to be some kind of strong latches where the thin walls meet the solid exterior wall to help provide support and prevent flexing.
In the next drawing I’m showing that the murphy beds in the two side by side bedrooms could have twin murphy bunk beds which are just two twin murphy beds on top of each other. Some kind of custom bracing would be needed for the top bunk but I’m sure something could be rigged easily.
That was fun. I’m not sure what I’ll do for part 4 yet… but I feel like exploring this idea a little more.
Here’s an idea… how about I take requests. What would you like to see next? How about wall sections, smaller design, or roof concepts? Post a comment on this post and I’ll draw part 4 based on the combined feedback. How’s that for community design by blogging?