Crossed paths with this video today and love the function of this tiny--- a future amenity for travel, for guests and family, as an AirBnb, etc.
I see many young people designing a tiny house but expecting to sell it once there is a kid or two in the picture... but I think if you design it well there's a huge benefit to holding onto a THoW even if you end up with a separate primary residence.
For more info watch the full vid:
When I was a pre-teen I wanted a loft bed. I figured out that if I had a loft bed I could fit everything I wanted in my room underneath this bed.
I grabbed a lose piece of printer paper and drew a design. Under a loft bed, I put a desk, a dresser, and a bookshelf. There, I said, it has everything I need. I wanted to put all the furniture in my bedroom under a loft bed to make all the empty space in the large bedroom look ridiculous, just open carpet.
Although my parents never did buy a loft bed for me, I was very excited about my efficient, compact design. I mark this as the start of my interest in tiny houses.
Later on, in high school, I found out about tiny houses and was hooked. I later learned that there was an entire movement about them, but first I just knew that a small, compact space would work for me.
I also really enjoyed designing a tiny house and thinking about features I would like in my own.
One year in high school I spent Thanksgiving break pouring over images on a tiny house blog. The blog (I'll link it if I can find it) had hundreds of pages of blog posts and each one contained roughly 5-6 images of a tiny house. Over my break, I went through each post on the site and saved the images I liked.
I also joined reddit groups, watched many tiny house tours, and scoured websites and blogs.
I researched hook-up options, builders, appliances, and other important considerations.
I bought a tiny house stencil kit. It is meant for architects and builders, however when they were going out of stock I managed to contact the seller to see if I could buy one of his last copies. I'm glad I did. The stencil kit has many stencils, to scale, containing all kinds of stairs, sinks, roof slopes, trailers, and various features. It is a great tool.
I also benefited a lot from grabbing classroom chalk from a college lecture hall and drawing my tiny to scale in the parking lot behind the science building. I also borrowed a 2 meter stick (yes, twice as long as a meter stick) from the intro physics lounge and it was super helpful in this process, although a tape measure would certainly work as well.
For the most part, my design was very similar to the early Tumbleweed Tiny House building company's Walden, without the porch, and with some customization.
By the time I started talking to the builder I selected, I was 18 years old (I think, maybe 19) and in college. For now I will keep the builder's name private. They have been beyond kind and patient to me. We discussed the tiny I had designed and met several times. They were able to draw my plans in the Sketchup software and give me an estimate. We were set to move forward... if only I could settle my financing.
And financing proved to be a big problem! It turns out that lenders hate young people. So despite the fact that I had good credit, being 19 I had a very short length of credit history. I had no expensive items to use to secure my loan and my parents would not co-sign a loan. Most lenders expected that my parents would be jumping at the bit to cosign with me, and unfortunately my relationship with my parents would not permit it. It also did not help that I am a college student, working part time for most of the year, and with a low wage at that.
I first went to my bank and they said they could only let me borrow for $5, when I needed to borrow at least 45,000. (They pulled my credit score for this). I researched other banks and credit unions near my college and in my hometown. I made many phone calls. I went in several times to Patriot Credit Union in my hometown to discuss a loan but they were unable to let me take out as large of a loan as I needed without collateral or a cosigner.
My builder found two options, which I tried as well. I believe they pulled my credit again for one of these. Neither worked out, unfortunately. One of these options wanted the house delivered before they were involved where my builder wants payment before delivery. So in short my dream was put on pause.
Since then, I have gone to a tiny house expo (will post about it) and sometimes scan recent tiny house tour videos on Youtube. I am fairly happy with my design although I make small changed sometimes. Mostly, I think about making it a little bit longer.
In addition, I slowly simplify my design to cut out the customization. The easiest way to afford a tiny is to make it more affordable. That is to say that in my first conversations with the builder, I expected a turn-key drop off. I had designed my house to the level of the lived-in homes I saw online, designing how I wanted things to be painted, where I wanted a rug, and all sorts of silly customization. I had seen a mobile desk on rollers I had my eye on (in a Minamalise tiny house tour Youtube video), one that could function as a table at the foot of the bed or a desk that could be used from bed and I wanted one. My builder was going to charge something on the order of $1000 for this project, and the pricetag made me reconsider. So little things like paint and custom furniture I have removed from the build. I certainly want my builder to take care of the framing, electrical, and plumbing, however I also think I can cut 10k off the total by adding my own touches on my own time.
I do plan on using this builder in the future but am saving money where I can in the meantime as financing has proved to be a problem.
Because I am young and cannot secure a loan, I will have to save up almost all of the money for my tiny house and cannot rely as heavily on a loan. So, as I save up money, I am able to tweak my tiny house design.
Here are some tweaks and items which have caught my eye. I'm so glad to get them out of email drafts, paper notes, phone notes, you name it... and share them here instead!
#1. Detatch the bottom step of your staircase so that it can be used anywhere in your tiny as a step stool. (inspired by https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4_N3asjtb6I at 5:30)
Possibly add a flex room at the back of the house. Over the summer, I had a conversation with a friend about accessibility and tiny houses and it make me rethink sleeping options only in lofts. I am planning for a staircase not a ladder, but even still. Imagine being sick, old, and tired and having to climb a staircase to go to bed. So I have decided to make my trailer 5 feet longer to add a room at the back. This room can be a bedroom, office, library, etc.
I think with my specific sensory needs, a closed off office might be essential. I am glad I thought of this!!
Bryn Mawr '21!!!