Tiny House: Initial Design

Tiny House: Initial Design

May 15, 2016 Categories Tiny House

This post may contain affiliate links. If you click one of these links and make a purchase, I may earn a commission at no additional cost to you. In addition, as an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

I’ve been focused on a side-project lately and haven’t had much time to finish up my tiny house design. I’m still not done with it, as there are some things I go back and forth on and other things that simply take time that I don’t have right now to draw out all the details. Nonetheless, I thought I’d share my rough design as it is.

The Shell

The frame of the house will be built using 2×4 walls with a shed-style roof. I’m trying to draw out every 2×4 that I’ll need in the construction so that I can simply count how many are in the design and then go buy that many, plus a couple extra in case I make a mistake (read as: WHEN I make a mistake). I’m even drawing in the fire blocking so my count can be as accurate as possible.


I very much am planning and designing for a modern look, as that’s my personal preference and style. I haven’t drawn the “utility shed” at the front of the trailer, where the hitch is, but there will be one drawn out eventually. The utility shed is where the propane tanks, water heater, and possibly some of the electrical system will be housed. Since I live in a cold climate, I’m still researching outside storage of a tankless water heater in below freezing temperatures. I think all I’ll have to do is wrap the small amount of pipe exposed to the cold in some of that electric heat pipe wrap mumbo jumbo (highly technical term) as well as some pipe insulation and I should be fine. I’m not very keen on the idea of requiring electricity to keep the pipes from freezing and there’s a strong possibility I’ll swap the design and make it so I can have the water heater mounted inside the bathroom area so it’s not exposed to the cold.

I’m planning on doing wood siding, ideally cypress, if more research indicates it will handle well in cold environments. I’d prefer wood siding, despite the higher maintenance it will require, because I feel it will have a more nature-like quality.

Interior Overview

The interior will maintain a modern look and won’t have as much rustic appeal as I was initially thinking. I’m still trying as much as possible to plan around having a wood stove as my heat source, despite the inconvenience of it needing floor space and adequate spacing from combustibles. Obviously going with one of those wall-mounted propane heaters would save space, but I don’t want to have to pay for the propane it would require to keep the house warm during a Wisconsin winter. My goal is to live on a piece of land with an abundant quantity of trees that could easily provide a “free” source of heat.


The kitchen will be fairly minimal, as I’m not exactly what you would call a “chef.” I’m designing it as if I were to have a decent-sized fridge, but in all likelihood, it’ll end up being a smaller fridge to reduce electrical requirements. There will also be wall-mounted cabinets for additional storage, but I haven’t taken the time to draw them yet. All of the cabinets are being designed according to the Kitchen Cabinet Manufacturers Association (KCMA) standards, but I intend on building them all myself.

There will be a small dinning area in the kitchen that can fold away when not in use. The stools will probably end up being folding wooden chairs that can be stored in the kitchen ceiling so that they’re out of the way when not being used. I designed the table in front of a window so that there’s the potential to have a pleasant view while eating. This table could also double as a desk, if you don’t mind the idea of having an “office” in the kitchen.


The bathroom is minimal, much like everything else. I did get a little “fancy” and am planning for a small sink in there. The toilet will be a composting toilet, so as to not require any plumbing. I haven’t drawn the door, but it’ll be a sliding barn door mounted outside the bathroom and slide in the direction of the couch.

There will also be a shelf, or possibly a cabinet, above the bathroom window for storage. Depending on how I design the utility shed, there may be additional storage above the sink, too. The bathroom has a 7 ft ceiling so that I can comfortably stand in there for showering.

Living Room

The living room is obviously nothing more than a couch, essentially. I’m designing it as best that I can to be long enough to also double as an extra sleeping area and I’ll most likely change the design so that it can slide out to become wider. Frankly, the loft is tiny and can’t be used for much more than actual sleeping. When it comes to hanky panky, it’d be nice if the couch could double as a bed.

There should be plenty of natural light in this area with the glass door at the front and large window behind the couch. You’ll notice there’s no TV, as not only do I want to live life free from that stuff to focus on other things, but I also want to live as free from electricity as possible.


There’s not much to say about the loft. It’s a small area big enough to fit a queen bed and has some windows for lighting. There’s a strong possibility I’ll add in a skylight so that I can look up at the night sky.


I have junk that I refuse to get rid of and that junk needs somewhere to go, so I’m trying to build in as much storage as possible without it feeling intrusive or making the space feel confining. The main storage area, where I’ll likely keep clothes and such, is the staircase. Right now it’s designed as open storage, but that’s only because I haven’t designed something I like that has doors and drawers. Yes, I could easily just put doors on the openings as they are, but I’m crazy and it would bother me that the gap between the doors is a different gap than that of the kitchen cabinets.

There’s also a large, open storage area above the bathroom. This is where I’ll likely store all my camping gear and backpacks.

Anyway, that’s my design so far. It’ll be the first or second week of June before I know how much longer my side-project will take and then I can hopefully finish up the design and start purchasing all the materials. I’m a little worried about the wood stove and how long it will take to acquire.

I still have to find a nice chunk of wooded land, too.

Leave a Response

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *