Usonian Inspired House Plans

Architect Joseph Sandy has posted a free set of house plans on his website. The interior space measures 350 square feet and provides ample space for one or two people. To maximize the usefulness of the space, built-ins are used throughout and no space is wasted on hallways or bedrooms. For example notice how the bed is tucked into an alcove.

The inspiration comes from Frank Lloyd Wright who used the term Usonian home to describe some very functional and inexpensive homes he created beginning in 1936. These homes were typically L-shaped to enclose a courtyard garden and used many simple tricks to get more value from less space, like small bedrooms, built-in storage and furniture, and ample natural lighting.

I really like Joseph’s interpretation and downsizing of the Usonian theme. None of Wright’s Usonian homes were this small, so it’s nice to see such a good original idea brought back and reinterpreted into a tiny house design. Great work Joseph!

The plans are free to download, just visit Joseph Sandy’s blog to get these Usonian Inspired House Plans.

15 thoughts on “Usonian Inspired House Plans

  1. dorkmo says:

    i like the design but i dont know if i’d want to lay my head down and have to stare at the kitchen

    i think maybe putting the bed above the dining table would be nice. it could lower the ceiling and save space and maybe open up some windows above

    • Beth says:

      I, too, would move the bed and place it along the wall where the closet is, move the closet next to the bathroom and put the desk across from the bed, by the dinette. It would mean relocating the window as it is shown over the desk, but it could easily be slid down so it is over the bed and add another window at the desk’s new spot.

      I also would give up the traditional stove for a two burner induction unit and a wall mounted convection oven and a wall mounted microwave.

      There would be more floor space by removing the built-in dinette and installing a small table with two chairs that could be pushed under the table when not in use. I’ve seen built-ins that look something like a hutch, but when you fold down the door, it becomes your table top, so you have lots of storage and a dining table. Folding chairs could be stashed in the closet, if you want them out of the way, too.

      I might think about taking away some of the living room seating in favor of a wood stove, too.

      Just some thoughts from someone who has spent years of my life living in tiny spaces!

  2. e says:

    I do like this plan!
    But move the bathroom door to enter by the desk, then you wont be able to see the toilet from the living & kitchen.

  3. Kevin Lura says:

    I agree about the bathroom. That or have the door open at 45 degrees from the corner.

    In a plan this size I expect that the bed will be central and visible to the rest of the house. I dont see a way around that.

  4. et says:

    Nice design. But it’s easy to design for a climate where you can use a flat roof (low rainfall, no snow).

    I would not install desk and put a bookshelf on the whole wall instead. Use the table as a desk and put things away.

    Add two windows at the bed – nice to wake up an see the weather. Storage under the bed, too.

    Add a closet/coat rack at the door.

    • Freth says:

      Windows can be nice … but they are also HOT in the summer time. We had to cover the skylights in our bathrooms in the summertime due to the heat. Maybe an awning or roof thing that sticks out enough to not let direct sun in from the windows in summer, but would allow the lower angle winter sun in. That would be nice!

  5. Tink says:

    I like it, but with a couple of modifications:
    1. Swap location of the closet and bed nook so the bed isn’t directly off the kitchen.
    2. Turn the desk against the bathroom wall to avoid crowding the newly placed bed nook. This would also allow for some shelving above the desk.

  6. Nerida says:

    Put it out there and we all nit pick 🙂 including me.

    Firstly I am champing at the bit to put in the garden (horticultrist – cant help myself), I think it is quite lovely.

    Now to nit pick a tiny bit. As others have said, you really need a slightly bigger bed alcove. I would really want to be able to walk around the bed, to change bedding/turn the matters etc and unless you’re sleeping with a cat its a pain to get in and out by climbing over someone else who may not share your sleep pattern.

    Maybe there is something wrong with my eyes but I wouldnt mind looking at the desk/study while in bed (not sure I would be straining around to peek at the kitchen)

    And some space on the other side of the stove, for pot handles and elbow room, somehwere to put something in a hurry.

    Otherwise, good for you, just love that sun streaming in and the view into the garden.

    • Freth says:

      I thought about how tight that bed alcove is … but figured I could add a foot here and there (adjust the plans slightly – these plans aren’t engineer stamped for load-bearing, etc., so we’d still have to do that anyway) … and it would all work out. It’s still a great idea to start from! (then we will all have our opinions and original idea mods) 🙂

  7. Freth says:

    If you use a tankless water heater (maybe under the desk) … and put a mid-height loftbed in the bed alcove it will free up more space for storage … like extra dining chairs, etc. Maybe even allow a bath tub in the bathroom instead of a shower. Great design!

  8. Alisha says:

    I really like this plan. But you can’t sit in the living room and relax watching tv because there is nowhere to put the tv.

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