our plan

We have many tiny house plans on the drawing boards, but here’s the plan of the Tiny House that we designed and built and are currently living in:

The three of us (two adults and a terrier) lived in it full time from May 2012-November 2013, 20 months in total.  We designed a plan that would create a little privacy for each of us with the separate bedroom and great room.

Here are some sketches of the exterior:

Features of our Tiny House:

  • passive solar design
  • super insulated with closed cell poly-iso foam
  • steel roof  {low maintenance, recycled and recyclable, potential rainwater harvesting}
  • grey water collection tank
  • incinerating toilet  {low water use}
  • on-demand hot water heater  {efficient}
  • low-E double paned windows
  • post-manufacturer recycled framing lumber
  • FSC certified manufactured wood siding
  • engineered wood flooring
  • really awesome

We built it on a 5th Wheel / gooseneck trailer, which enabled us to have a lower overall height, a more aerodynamic front end (facilitating less stressful towing), and a more spacious bedroom.

The back deck will be a great spot for hauling a motorcycle and bicycles en route, then we can move them under the covered hitch area when we’re parked.

(read more about construction in our Tiny House Construction blogs, or design in our Tiny House Design blogs)

Stay tuned to our blog for continual updates!


37 thoughts on “our plan

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  4. holly14

    I love the plan! While daydreaming about how I would design a tiny house, I’ve always put access on both sides of the bed, but this is the first design I’ve seen that does it. I just found the blog — hoping there are photos if the inside.

    • hi Holly! I posted finished photos on their own page now (see the top of the screen). Interior photos are also located throughout the more recent blog posts…

  5. Tracy Lawrence

    Hi there,

    I have been living under the radar, so to speak, since Nov 2009. Medical bills and impending layoff forced my hand into downsizing. Since then I went back to work and then quit the rat race by my own choice. I sold my condo that I had to rent out. Paid off medical bills while living tiny, then paid off debt w sale of condo.

    Now I am living on my terms. I have been living in a 40 ft travel trailer and the space is more than enough. However, I still want to downsize even more. I already use a compost bucket and have been hauling water in a 55 gal drum. Use a transfer pump from drum to camper. We only use 110 gallons a week. Myself and 10 yr old daughter, plus 2 little dogs.
    I helped build a 12 x 20 barn w 2 lofts. Post and beam frame w rough sawn pine on exterior. I’d like to make it livable. Using compost toilet, small solar setup, wood fire place for heat. Want to be utility free if that’s possible.

    My motivation for breaking free from materialism comes from a rude awakening brought on by debt caused by inadequate health insurance and my false sense of security that was ripped from beneath me when I was laid off. Now I no longer want to be a slave to things. I want to feel a sense of security that I can help provide for myself. I like stress free living. I want to spend the time I have in a more positive way.

    I would like to get ideas from you on making this little barn into a little home.

    Good luck with your company.
    The Tiny Livin’ community is growing and although I am not in 120sqft I feel very much a part of the movement.

    Tracy Lawrence
    In the woods of
    Chapin, SC

    • Turning your barn into a home is very doable. LOTS of plans online and tiny blogs. I have a 16×24 cabin now and my nephew has a 10×10 cabin and we are getting ready to build a 8×12 volunter cabin with reclaimed lumber. This will be our first build and we are doing it ourselves . I can’t wait.

  6. Sarah

    Hi! I love your design, especially the bed with the storage under it! I haven’t seen that before 🙂
    I would like to know how you like your toilet. DO you have any issues with it so far? I cant decide if i should plan for an incineration toilet, rv toilet, or composting toilet.

    • hi Sarah! thanks! we like the bed with storage underneath too. the dresser stairs are great too – each stair is a drawer / bin.
      the toilet. well. we bought our Incinolet used, for half the retail price and it had all kinds of issues! so after Shane replaced everything and basically rebuilt it, it works fine, except for the odor outside…we haven’t gotten rid of that. it’s only bad for 15 minutes or so, but still kind of a bummer if you use your outdoor space. I think it works okay now, and it definitely reduces the waste to a VERY small amount of ashes, but the fan runs for 90 minutes each time you go to the bathroom, which is annoying to have that much noise. It also requires a dedicated 20amp power hookup so it is NOT ideal for solar. there are propane Incinolets which would be better for off grid, but if I were you, I would check out composting toilets. hope that helps!
      – Carrie

  7. Jimmie Berg

    Hi, we are connverting an old travel trailer into a home. Just started.! I am interested in the little rounded white containers you have hanging from your steel shelves.


    Jimmie Berg

    • Hi Jimmie!
      awesome, sounds fun!
      the rounded white containers are from Ikea and are ceramic. I’m not sure the product name… we didn’t use too many Ikea items, but did find their kitchen and bath accessories really useful and cost effective.
      have a great time with your project!

  8. DeeDee

    Hi, read through your entire build process today — wonderful, and very encouraging! A couple of times I saw mention of your intent to post prices for a completed house and for a dry-in, but I’m not finding them on the site. Is that still in the future or am I missing it? Thanks!

    • check out the new ‘shop’ page I just added….
      contact us for dry-in pricing – this would vary a bit depending on how far along you’d want us to take it and the window package,etc. in the 20-25k range for the dry-in though, I would imagine.
      – Carrie

  9. OK. I’ve also read through all of your blog and build and looked over your photos a number of times now. You have me dreaming again. Earlier this year I was dreaming of a Tumbleweed house on wheels, combining the Walden and Tarleton plans making it 2 ft longer (more closet space). I sort of gave up a little on that dream, at least for the near term since my wife is really liking having lots of space (though she does get frustrated at the amount of stuff we have without realizing that’s what she gets frustrated about). Now I’m dreaming of your plan… but, again, 2 ft longer to allow for an upright closet on each side between the storage/stairs and bathroom wall. Now, to convince my wife. Not an easy task and I very well know not to approach her directly about it but let the benefits sink in on their own so she decides to go for it as if it was her idea/decision. 🙂 /bob

    • hi Bob!
      thanks for your comment, that’s a great idea adding some length and full height closets. you might also want to consider using some of that extra length to make the bathroom wider.
      I hope you both arrive at a good choice for you!
      best to you,

      • Thanks for your reply. Do you find the bathroom to be too cramped the way you built it? We visited a B&B this summer that had a bathroom that was the same size as yours, maybe a bit narrower (30-32 inches wide) with the sink out in the room and that was fine. I looked at it as an opportunity to see it fit for us. At least that room anyway. But good ideas. Maybe add 4″ to bathroom and have 20″ wide full height closets? I was also thinking that would extend the loft storage a bit too. 🙂

  10. Re-read through all your blog posts over the weekend again and just remembered something I wanted to ask about. One of the posts mentioned about not needing to use the a/c with cooler temps in the fall but I don’t remember reading anywhere about you having an air conditioner. Do you have one in this plan? What kind is it? Any thoughts about what would be best for a/c in a tiny house?

    Thanks /bob

    • hey Bob!
      the A/C that we used was a portable unit that exhausted through the window. I would recommend an RV style A/C unit that is on the roof. it will be necessary if you live anywhere that gets above… 85? or park in the shade. 🙂
      – Carrie

  11. Steve

    Hey there, I was wondering why you chose to build your home on a 5th wheel trailer frame (with the “gooseneck” hitch attachment) instead of the dovetail frame it seems most tiny houses on wheels use. Why don’t more tiny house on wheels builders go your route?
    I ask because I’m in the thick of designing my own tiny house… one of the first questions being gooseneck vs. dovetail. Thanks!


  12. Was just thinking about tiny homes while at work this week and realized my office cubicle at work is the same size (about) as your living room! 8’x8′ with a 2′ desk/work surface along one side and around half the ajoining side. I was imagining myself living in a house roughly the size of 3 cubicles long.

    • So you think you could live in a 3 cubicle space?

      • That would be 24′ x 8′. About the same as your place. So, sure… if I was by myself that is. My wife is not on board with that idea… yet. 🙂

        I’m still working on downsizing/rightsizing so it may be a while before I’m ready. Time to spend convincing her maybe?

      • Well Bob good luck on selling the tiny living and you never know maybe with time she will see the benefit of it. But on the other hand I think that if there is no excitement about living small then as a couple it may not work. Both parties really have to be in it for tiny living to come together. It is small for two living in 200sf but it can work if the understanding is there.

  13. Wilhelm

    Hi again…I pretty much read your whole Blog, used all the Measurements you furnished, ruffly replicated your House with my CAD Program and modified your Plan to my Specifications. I converted my Floor Plan into a PDF Document and was wondering how to forward my Design Idea to you so I can get a ruff Turnkey Quote.
    Tnx Wilhelm

  14. Love it! Brilliant design and you are living what I call the Intentionalist’s life 🙂

  15. Jill Pearson

    Hi Carrie,
    I’m just in the early planning and money saving stages of my tiny house dream and I love your design. Do you think the same basic layout could be accomplished with a flatbed trailer instead of a gooseneck? I’m trying to figure out how widely I can cast my trailer searching net! I might be contacting you more formally in the future for some consulting services! Thanks,

    • Hi Jill!
      thanks for your comment. Yes, our design could definitely be accomplished on a flat bed trailer. The space under the bed could be divided into a closet space accessed from the inside (like in our home) and a utility closet accessed from the outside (the space occupied by the gooseneck hitch in our model). A flat bed model would be easier to build and provide more useable space though it wouldn’t be as effortless to tow as a gooseneck.
      please let us know how we can help you with your tiny home!
      – Carrie

  16. How affordable are the 5th wheel / gooseneck trailer bases? (as compared to the conventional ones)
    Do you have a source you would recommend for those? How did you go about finding one? Thanks!

    • the 5th wheel trailers are a bit more expensive than bumper pulls (like $9,000 versus $5,000). they have quite a bit more steel.

      just search for a local trailer manufacturer in your area. the 5th wheel trailers are called car haulers, get dual axles and min. 14,000 gvm. if you order it you can also specify a wider platform for your 8′-0″ wide wall structure.

      hope that helps!

  17. A couple more quick questions about the gooseneck style trailer – How much space does that gooseneck bit occupy, out of the 24 feet total? (I would be using that space over the hitch for storage as I’m disabled & can’t do stairs.) I’m wondering how many feet would be left, down below on the normal flat part of the hauling bed?

    When I see these trailers listed for sale, and they say it’s a certain length, is that the flat part (for hauling) or does the length also include the gooseneck bit & the whole hitch contraption, or what? Maybe it varies by who places the ad?

    It sounds like you got a Great deal on your trailer! 🙂
    Congrats on a fabulous “score” – the trailer seems to be a big ticket item for most folks and even though yours was still expensive, it seems like it was an excellent value!

    • our trailer had a 20′-0″ length on the lower flat bed portion and our house is 24′-0 long.
      I’m sure this varies by trailer though!
      best of luck to you!

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  19. There’s very little NOT to like about your goose-neck floor plan! As everybody knows you have to evaluate your individual need and then find the plan that fits best and obviously, you’ve done just that. The only comment I can make is one of pure efficiency and that is rather than have the stove/refer on one side and the sink on the other as the plan suggests, it would be much more efficient to have the sink/stove grouped together with the refer across the aisle. Actually, you’ll retrieve items from the refer and should spend most of your time between the sink and stove. As the plan shows, the cook will be back and forth quite a bit.
    Aside from a compact washer – which would be very important to me – that is an extremely well thought-out plan. I live in the South and it’s get ungodly hot and humid here in the summertime. What do tiny house folks do in extreme heat? (Besides suffer! 🙂 )

    • sink and stove on opposite sides of the aisle allows for counter space next to each fixture – if you put the sink and stove on one side there would be no adjacent counter space… in a tiny kitchen there is no back and forth! you just pivot in a small 3 foot circle. very efficient.
      extreme weather? you’ll need an air conditioner in hot weather (anything over 90) – tiny houses heat up like cars. maybe a Mitsubishi heat pump, european style. they’re horizontal wall mounted units that typically go over the door to the outside. we had to use an air conditioner in Arizona and New Mexico.

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