Name of Plan
The Tiny Project tiny house
Number of bedrooms / sleeping areas
160 sf (plus 80sf of lofts)
8’ x 20’ x 13’4″
APPROXIMATE Cost to Build
The Tiny Project tiny house is 8×20 feet and built on a flatbed trailer. It’s approx. 160 sq.ft. with a sleeping loft (a total of about 240 sq.ft. including the loft) It’s a modern design with a low-sloping shed-style roof. The house has a small front porch and a fold-up deck. The exterior is clad in a mix beautiful cedar siding and a metal roofing material for an interesting mix of finishes.
The house features a passive solar design with 10 windows and an all-glass door for tons of natural light.
Inside you’ll find most everything a normal house has, only in a smaller, very well thought-out layout. Entering the house, you come into the “great room” with 10 foot ceilings. This area includes a small sofa, desk, fold-down table, and dog bed. This is where most of the windows are, so it’s always the most light and open feeling area in the house.
After that is a small “hallway” with storage areas to the right and left, for pantry items, outerwear, etc. At the far end of the house is a uniquely designed kitchen space with sink, fridge, range and counter space. Opposite of that is a small bathroom with a composting toilet and shower.
The house features many high-end stainless steel appliances, including a propane range (yes, a small oven too), propane on-demand water heater, counter-height refrigerator, and even a combo washer/dryer to do laundry in the comfort of home.
Sustainable woods and other materials were used throughout to create a beautiful, peaceful environment – I wanted this to be my dream home, albeit a small one. Features include sustainable strand bamboo flooring, beetle-kill pine ceiling and walls, marble counter tops, all-natural, zero VOC paints, hand-made linen curtains, and hand-planed, custom-built cabinets and shelving.
Shower, kitchen sink, and small bathroom sink, all with propane on-demand hot water; Marine-style 2-burner propane stove and oven; counter-height refrigerator/freezer; home-made composting toilet; highly efficient electric convection heater; combo washer/dryer unit; and exhaust fan for odor and moisture control.
Efficient fiberglass, double-pane, low-E coated, argon filled windows; high R-value closed-cell spray foam insulation; rain screen exterior cladding for improved moisture control; metal roof and unique cedar/metal exterior siding; and highly efficient LED and compact fluorescent lighting. A priority was the use of sustainably sourced items and efficient use of materials to minimize construction impact.
The Tiny Project has copious amounts of embedded storage including “his” and “hers” closet space in the loft (both hanging and shelf storage); 2 closet spaces downstairs (for washer/dryer, water heater, plus pantry and coats/shoes); the sofa cushion lifts up to reveal storage underneath (for bulky items, seasonal); built-in shelving throughout (for books, home office-supplies, etc), and an attached outdoor storage shed (for tools, building supplies, etc).
These construction plans offer complete blueprints to build your own tiny house — to the exact same specifications as our original modern tiny house on wheels featured on this site. The plans include almost 40 pages of:
Under 200 sf
Car Hauler Trailer (bed in between wheel wells)
Apartment Size Appliances
Spray Foam (but one can choose any material the like)
Electric flat-panel, space heater
Window Mount Unit
Short End Location
Standard Entry Door
Removable Dining Table
Fold Down Deck
For me, it was a combination of many factors, some being:
The flexibility and mobility issue included the flexibility to follow my partner out to NorCal for her to attend grad school here. Moving to such an expensive place to live, I didn’t think I could afford to buy a house/land until I could save up for a while longer.
With these (factors) in my mind, once I saw the tiny house on wheels concept, I was hooked.
It was a way to build and own my own home (made with beautiful, comfortable materials), at a cost that was more affordable, creating a more sustainable way for me to live, and all of this without needing to tie myself to any particular place or piece of land.
Simply put: Though it’s mobile so may seem similar, with this house I wanted the opposite of a travel trailer. The Tiny Project house was intended as my full-time home (and will be for some time), and for that reason, having something that felt like a nice home was my primary concern. I did not want to live in an ugly metal box, with little to no insulation and lots cheap plastic materials. I wanted a fully-insulated, 4-season house with real windows and doors; natural wood floors, walls, ceiling and storage (all custom made); and to be able to customize the space for me needs and to choose natural, sustainable materials to surround myself with.
This house is not meant for constant travel, like an RV. I can move it if I need to, but while it’s parked I want a natural, peaceful, comfortable home in which to live and work.
We just experienced a 6.0 earthquake recently, with the epicenter only 40 miles from us. It was a bit frightening, but not a problem at all for our Tiny House. Luckily Tiny Houses are great in earthquakes, since they can bounce and move with the land. This is one way in which building a trailer instead of a foundation is an advantage.
The construction process took me about 7 months. Most of that time was just me working alone evenings and weekends (nearly EVERY evening and weekend). I was handy and knew how to use tools when I began, but had no construction experience at all to begin with. Along the way I did a lot of internet research to learn building best practices to make sure I was doing things the right way, and I also consulted with a few friends and local builders when needed. Towards the end of the project I got significantly more help to get the interior finishing and woodwork done more quickly.
If you count the many hours of research, planning, design, etc. done before construction began, the whole process was a about a year in total.
I spent a total of about $30,000 on my house, including the trailer, tools, all the nice stainless appliances — everything that went into it except for my labor. This is a lot compared to what others have spent to create a similar sized house, but it was because I chose materials for their beauty, sustainability and durability, not just on price.
I also did not have the time to hunt for salvaged materials as many do. It think it would be a reasonable estimate to say that a very similar house could be built from my plans for closer to $20k, but of course it depends on what materials you choose and on your local prices. Price is one of the things I try not to talk about too definitively, since there are so many options and it can vary so much depending on what your budget is. My house was built as more of my dream house (albeit tiny!), than it was out of economic hardship or the desire for the cheapest possible option. But I totally understand how others may have different motivations. I think in nearly every case there was a cheaper alternative to what I chose, so I know for sure that it can be done for a lot cheaper if that is your concern.
The footprint of the house is 8×20′, so that’s roughly 160 sq.ft. (not subtracting wall space, but let’s not get too technical). The loft is half again that big, so if you count that as additional square footage, you could say the whole thing is more like 240 sq.ft.
The house is about 13′ 4″ tall and 8′ 6″ wide. Our house has an 8×20′ basic footprint, with three feet added for the porch, for a total length of 23′. Including the tongue of the trailer, the entire thing is roughly 27 feet long.
In order to travel down the highway (or any road) safely, the height of a tiny house cannot exceed 13′ 6″ and the width cannot exceed 8′ 6″ — The Tiny Project house comes in just under these maximum dimensions. Length is less regulated, and could be extended to 24′ or even 30′ if desired (though 30′ would be very difficult to tow!).
You’ll need a full-size truck, at the very minimum, something like a Form F-250 or Chevy 2500 series. Better yet is a heavy duty truck like an F-250 Super Duty or F-350 (or Chevy 3500 or 3500HD). A diesel engine is much better for towing, but a large v8 or v10 gas engine will also work. Your truck should be rated to tow at least 15,00o lbs. Along with a standard bumper mounted tow hitch, it must be equipped with a brake controller to communicate with the trailer when to apply the electric trailer brakes.
Though I regret this decision now, I actually never weighed it so I am not sure (I was in a big rush to leave town just as soon as it was finished). I do know that it is safely under the 10k GVWR of my trailer. We towed the house 2300 miles half way across the country with absolutely no problems. My educated guess is based on the estimations of various contractors and people with building experience who came by to look at it during various phases of the construction. I got some weight estimates from them just based on the size and materials used up to that point to make sure I was staying at a relatively low weight. But I cannot say as absolute fact what the final weight is.
This is something I cannot help with. I am not an expert in this area, and even if I was, no single person could possibly understand all the differing rules and regulations that exist around the world. Please do your own research to see what legal requirements you need to navigate in your own city, county, state or country.
The small range is a Seaward Princess 2-burner model. It’s a range designed primarily for marine use, but they also offer a “built-in” option (instead of gimballed).
The wood used on the interior of the house is blue stain beetle-kill pine. It comes from 100% sustainably harvested dead standing old-growth Ponderosa pine tress killed by the recent pine beetle outbreak. I used lumber cut as flooring because I preferred the flat appearance as opposed to a paneling that had beveled edges. The variation in color from tan to gray (with streaks of blue and even magenta!) is totally natural. I left the wood completely unfinished.
I chose to use a carbonized strand bamboo flooring from a local sustainable building materials supplier.
I liked that it was a sustainable product (bamboo is fast growing and can be harvested sustainably), and that when compressed is harder than hardwood. It’s very durable, and I love the way the darker color of our floor contrasts the lighter white walls and unfinished wood in our house.
With 2×4 walls there is a limit to the amount of insulation that can be used. For this reason, we used closed-cell spray foam insulation, which offers pretty much the best R-value per inch you can get. With about 3 inches of spray foam, we get about R20 in floor and walls, and slightly more in the ceiling.
I think closed-cell spray foam is excellent for all climates, including very cold weather. It also serves a second purpose in that it acts as a vapor barrier, so no additional moisture barrier is needed if closed-cell foam is used. This foam fills all small cracks and gaps so is an excellent choice for a very tight envelope – which when used in conjunction with a good exhaust fan is helpful to maintain comfort in all climates.
Because the house is so small, if constructed well to create a very tight envelope, it house should perform quite well even in cold climates. I make no guarantee that it will work in your climate, but with such a small space, heating is generally less of an issue than cooling. We find that one efficient electric heater (plus our body heat) is enough even on very cold days. Our main source of heat in the winter is the sun – solar gain from our many, large windows is a free way to heat the house!
We do not have a fresh water storage tank and rely on pressurized city water. This greatly simplifies the plumbing process and removes the need for a pump. All RV parks and all “backyard” parking situations (like we have now) will have pressurized water, so we felt water storage was not necessary for our chosen living situation.
We do not create any sewage or black water because we compost all our waste through a simple home-made composting bucket toilet system (see The Humanue Handbook). We also do not have a graywater tank and currently just filter our graywater through a simple french drain and/or reuse it to water trees on the property.
Your locality may have particular laws for graywater management, so please check with your local authorities to make sure what you plan to do it legal in your area.
Our house is built to be grid-tied, but we intend to make it completely off-grid in the future by adding a solar array and battery bank.
For the time being, the house is nearly net-zero when incorporating it into it’s current location. Our “hosts” generate most or all of their power needs using solar PV. We use so little power compared to a normal-sized house (size being it’s own form of greater sustainability), but what we do use comes from their grid-tied PV system.
Our water is from an existing residential well on their property, and is filtered via a simpler RV filter and then a second drinking water filter at the tap.
When it comes to design, and basically everything, your Tiny Project is simply another level. Thank you for pushing the limits!
Really nice craftsmanship, and well thought out plan!
It is with great confidence that I recommend Alek as an up and coming professional in the creation of Tiny House living. His due diligence, drawings and construction abilities are excellent. As a licensed construction professional for many decades I have rarely taken notice of such young exceptional talent.
The whole house is a masterfully designed space! Beautiful, bright, cozy, organized, practical with a touch of whimsy. Well done, guys!
It's the best tiny home I have ever seen! Modern, clean, smart.
I’ve been really interesting in tiny and small homes for a couple years now and this is by FAR the best layout I’ve seen. The untreated wood gives it a nice rustic feel, but it’s polished enough to not feel like a log cabin. And the storage solutions are brilliant!"