Which Tiny House Plans Should I Draw Next?

Which tiny house plans should I draw next? I warmed up on some smaller plans and now I’m ready to try something a little more complicated. Each of these tiny houses would sit on a 7′ x 20′ trailer and is about 13′ tall. Each has it’s own character and I think they are different from other tiny houses I’ve seen, although they follow very traditional patterns. Please vote for your favorite from the four designs below.

Sorry, there are no polls available at the moment.

Updated: If you’d like something different than the designs below please post a comment with the suggestion.

Cabin with Porch
8x20-cabin-with-porch

Dormers
8x20-dormers

Solar with Gables
8x20-solar-gables

Old West with Partial Porch
8x20-old-west

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17 thoughts on “Which Tiny House Plans Should I Draw Next?

  1. Carey Huffman says:

    If I were building one, I would make the Solar and add in the partial porch. Although I think the Dormer is the most attractive of the group, I imagine the “open feeling” of the Solar would make living in the house much more doable than the superior appearance of the Dormer’s exterior. I would add the partial porch because I live in the NW and want a spot to stand when I’m trying to get in my house. Add a fold flat chair to the wall without the door and you have a spot to sit and enjoy the outside world from your doorstep.

    Thanks for running the site and providing us with so much to enjoy.

  2. John says:

    First I’d like to say that I enjoy your site. Second although I’d like to go small I couldn’t go this small for a variety or reasons.

    Third and lastly since you seem to be going a little bigger in your ideas how about going even bigger πŸ™‚ Where I’m hoping to build they have a minimum square footage requirement of 700sqft(not counting the basement). Here’s your only other limitations(I think)…I’m wanting to build as much of it as possible and as inexpensively as possible(so 2 stories to reduce foundation and roofing is fine).

    Thanks for considering it,
    John

    • Michael Janzen says:

      Thanks John. I do like a challenge and I think I might take you up on it. While 700 square feet isn’t technically “tiny” I think it is more reasonable for many people with families, etc.

      When I’ve brainstormed ways of lowering cost a few things always seem like a good idea.
      – Open spaces
      – Centralized plumbing
      – Square footprint (most efficient way to enclose square footage without building a circle.)
      – Shorter roof pitch. (I won’t do flat though) πŸ™‚

      Let me noodle over it and see what I come up with.

      Thanks!

  3. John says:

    Thanks for considering Michael. No rush on when you do it as it will be next year at least before I can start building. I’m leaving all the things I’ve thought of to myself because I’d like an unbiased second opinion. I have done a lot of checking out plans online but have found very few that come close to 700sqft and 2 stories. Thanks.

  4. Mark Harrison says:

    Michael, your TH ideas as always are great thought provokers. Though the external design is vital, first impressions and all that, I’d like to see the interior design explored more to really make good use of the internal dimensions. Mobile tiny houses have in effect four external walls and a floor that can be better used when looking at the whole design. For example, why not have storage in the floor with access to wall storage areas from the outside that allow flexibility in layouts/function.

    In addition I recommend the design and use of low energy wiring looms don’t impact on the structure, allowing air tight construction incorporating the use of a service duct to connect and distribute utilities efficiently. Next, I’d take a look at construction materials and methods, use of high perfromance insulation, cladding and veneers to reduce the wall thicknesses (weight) and gain valuable space.

    Heating and cooling the internal space using the roof is also possible by using the temperature differential over the two sides to create a thermal engine that mixes output air with fresh inpot air and ducts it to the ineterior. While were up on the roof, lets harvest the rain/snow water and use it for toilet flush, shower or irrigation water.

    As mobile tiny houses are going to get moved on the highway, lets see what can be done to improve the aero-dynamics of these dwellings, the Old West with porch is nearly there.

    Great job on everything Michael, excellent fun reading and participating with you and the rest of the community.

    Mark

    • Michael Janzen says:

      Great feedback Mark.

      Actually I’d love for anyone to make suggestions in the area of specific materials selection. It would be very interesting to put together a list of green and cost-efficient materials for all to see and use. This could be applied to any project.

      I’ve been thinking aerodynamics a lot more too… even ways of making these houses lighter in weight. Bill at Tortoise Shell Home is using lightweight steel in many of his homes and Stephen at Tiny House on a Trailer is using lightweight panels more and more. Both their approaches are not really DIY friendly although there is a great opportunity for someone to put together a kit.

      I’ll noodle more about the systems. I’ve left them out of the plans so far since I suspect most folks would probably use the plans to inspire/inform their own invention, but it might be good to come up with a couple good approaches for people to build-on.

  5. Kieran says:

    You certainly are a tenacious man, Michael! But if it’s your passion, then kudos. Sincerely, I believe I like all four, especially the first three; however, I kept with tradition and voted on the solar with gables. It seems to solve the problem of not knowing where/how to place a possible PV, no? haha.

    If you don’t mind my making a suggestion for a future possible design, I really like this design that I saw for the idea of self-sufficient/self-contained usage:

    http://www.powerhouse-enterprises.com/ph_powerpods.html

    A trailer-based home, as usual, but with that “butterfly” roof for water collection and solar positioning would be interesting.

    What sayeth ye?

  6. Tim says:

    I think the designs look great! The problem I see with all of them is the loft area. With such small houses, having a loft area above the bath/kitchen is imperative. The roof angles here all seem to work against lofts.

    I’d vote for the pitched roof with the gables over the rest, though.

  7. Michael Janzen says:

    Kieran,

    You know those butterfly roofs are really cool but they seem like they ask to leak. I realize it would need some kind of metal flashing is all but it would eventually be a weak spot for leaking. But I agree it would make rain water collection super easy.

  8. Michael Janzen says:

    You just described the book I’ve been trying to write… The Tiny Simple House… while doing all this other stuff too πŸ™‚

    I think to do it justice I’d need to write the book around the actual construction too. The photos and actual work to make all the systems work on a mobile platform would really require a working model.

    But I do have plans to tidy up the 3 existing plans to a level where someone would have enough information for the basic structure. But eventually I agree with you 100%… I’d love to take it all the way so there would be a single resource to empower someone to build a tiny mobile affordable green house.

  9. SteveR says:

    I think it might be instructive to take one of the existing plans to the point where someone could actually build them.

    The challenge in a tiny house that is also mobile, is to design the systems of a house in a way in which it is flexible, lightweight, least cost and fully integrated. What do I mean by that?

    It’s one thing to design how it will look like on the outside so that it’s attractive and weathertight, quite another to make the inside floorplan livable and efficient and quite another to have the plumbing, wiring, utilities fit into it with efficiency and greatest utility. And yet, I think in any tiny or small house, the secret is to make all these things work together and essentially to design them together.

    Large houses, to me, look like all these aspects were designed by different people so you end up with some ridiculous things ( oops, part of the window has to end up in the shower space so that the front of the house is symmetrical).

    You know, architects pleasing themselves but not designing for humans.

    I think if some time was spent thinking how to integrate everything, then some ideas would come out which can be reused in any design.

    Seems a lot of what I find on the net are people’s showing off their finished product – but being curious me – and hoping to be able to reproduce the best ideas, I want to know the nuts and bolts. How did they do it? How did you handle hot water for the shower, where does the gray water go? How do you collect water from the roof? How do the walls go together? Did you nail that sill plate to the frame or bolt it? Where do you run the wiring? How is it weathertight to road spray? and so on..

    Might even be fun to start designing from inside out. What do you want in a tiny house? What’s the best way to do that? Permaculture has this idea of zones that radiate outwards. The closest zones are for things you use every day, the farthest zones are for things rarely used or visited but necessary. A house designed this way may end up looking entirely different than any of the ‘traditional’ house looks.

  10. SteveR says:

    Michael,

    Sounds like it will be a very interesting book! but of course I wouldn’t want you to reveal your book via the online blog as I assume it is meant to assist with your financial independence.

    On the other hand, I know several people now who have formulated books based on the input of the online community, with the blog leading the direction of the discussions. So, maybe a suggestion is to direct the blog to the tiny house design topics to be covered by your book. Throw out a teaser idea, solicit feedback and ideas. We all learn together. Your book is the refinement and weaving of those ideas into a contextual whole.

    That way your ‘other stuff’ and the writing of the book are happening at the same time!

  11. Kieran says:

    I was skeptical about that, too, actually; I suppose wishful thinking is always nice, haha.

    I’m a little more anxious to see how your design for this turns out, as no matter which you choose to create, it will allow slightly more room for some of the conveniences you had to “squeeze” into your last interior design.

    Your book sounds fascinating.

  12. Kieran says:

    I like that better than the other design! I also like that the overhanging end isn’t very tall. Do you think something like that is plausible for a tiny house on wheels?

  13. Greg says:

    I’m still waiting for the “Cabin with Porch” drawing. I like it the best of all. I would put a screen porch on the front.

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