Living in the Tiny House: First Week

We’ve been living in our new tiny house for a little over a week now and are really enjoying it!!  The last few days have been great as we’re officially all moved out of our former rental house and our schedules have slowed down a bit, providing time for much needed SLEEP and SITTING AROUND.  :)

I did a blog post a week ago about what was working and what needed… improvement.  Now I have photos to go with that post!  We have already learned SO much about what works and what needs improvement.  If I could live in all my designs… they would become perfect!  This process is allowing us to learn and refine future designs for Clothesline Tiny Homes, which is great.

Things about our Tiny House that work so wonderfully well:

  1. The Bedroom: our roof designwas based on aerodynamics, but also on creating a spacious and useable interior bedroom space.  And it works SO well.  The ceiling is tall enough to walk up the storage stairs and get into bed, the white vaulted ceiling creates a spacious, yet cozy (it’s less than 8′-0 wide) sleeping nook.

    The Bedroom with vaulted ceiling (with closet under the bed platform)

    Another bedroom view. The square side windows are perfectly placed for rolling over and looking outside. the overhead window provides sweet breezes while sleeping.

    View from inside the bedroom. Towel racks and storage loft. I will be making a white curtain to cover the items we have stored in the loft.

     

  2. Storage Stairs: there are built in stairs on each side of the queen size bed with cubbies and drawers.  it’s like a built in dresser!

    Storage stairs at each side of the bed.

     

  3. The Kitchen:  I cannot believe how easy it is to use a kitchen that is only 4′-0″ long x 8′-0″ wide!  it’s a galley kitchen with sink and fridge on one side and propane cooktop on the other side.  There is a peninsula with pantry food storage below.  We didn’t go crazy at Ikea on this house, but we do really like the stainless steel shelves we found for the kitchen.  Great for stacking dishes, hanging a towel, hanging pots and pans and utensils.  And I think the open shelving (though technically “clutter”) actually makes the house feel roomy and spacious.

    The kitchen with open shelving.

    Sink and dish rack for drying dishes. The rack is awesome! the wet dishes drip dry over the sink.

    The dish rack folds up and out of the way when the dishes are dry.

    The kitchen. Cooktop and coffee maker and open shelving for hanging pots and pans. Peninsula stores canned / boxed / jarred food.

    Shane built the kitchen cabinetry / millwork up above the wheel wells (which protrude on the interior of any Tiny House) so they’re about 7″ above the floor. Just enough room to tuck away storage crates that I already had.

     

  4. The Closet / aka Rio’s Room:  We don’t have any full height closets in our plan.  instead we have a hanging rack underneath our bed platform.  (The bed has to be elevated due to the height of the gooseneck / 5th wheel hitch.)  The hanging rack is just the right height for hanging shirts/ pants and also creates a room for our dog’s crate / bed and a laundry basket on top.  And, we didn’t plan for this, but the bottom stair on either side of the bed is the perfect place to sit down and view the closet while contemplating your wardrobe selections for the day!

    The closet under the bed.

Lessons we’ve already learned:

  1. The Incinerating Toilet: the new motor and fan came for our toilet and it’s working now!  Quietly (sounds like a small portable fan) and no odor… inside.  It still has an odor outside where it vents.  One solution would be to vent it up through the roof, instead of straight out the wall.  The odd thing is that the exhaust smells kind of like fireworks – which makes me wonder… what ingredients are in fireworks???  Haha.  We’ll continue to give it a good shot, but I was a big fan of the 5 gallon bucket we used for a few days while the toilet was out of commission.  So simple, no water and no electricity needed.  If we had a safe place to compost humanure, I would totally go that route.
  2. Pocket Doors:   we made ours out of slabs of plywood edged with aluminum channel.  they look so pretty!  I love the plywood grain.  but they have still warped / bowed and one of them doesn’t slide freely anymore.  So.  ways to avoid this:  use an extra 4″ to use a prehung pocket door (they shouldn’t warp).  Or find some alternate material to wood that won’t warp.  (honeycomb construction sandwiched plastic / metal panels?)
  3. The sink in the shower:  the plumbing / faucet is in the corner over the sink and you can’t get your head over the sink to wash your face or rinse your mouth after brushing your teeth.  Shane is going to solve this by raising the knobs higher.  Another solution would be to install the plumbing inside of the interior wall, instead of exposed in the corner.

    Sink / shower combination. Aluminum shower panels.

That’s all I can think of right now…  although I have been shopping for a lift-top coffee / cocktail table.  It would be the perfect dining table / desk while seated at the couch.  We currently have a black crate there, which is great for storing dog food, etc.  We had planned on building in a folding dining table / desk off the wall, but now that we’re in it, the coffee table option would be ideal, because it would provide storage AND a table at two heights!

  1. Lift-up top coffee table. Book storage underneath.

    The hardware for these tables is $210…. a new table is $310.  Hmmm.

    Hardware for lift-top coffee / cocktail table

Thank you everyone for all your thoughtful comments and emails!  Being on the news turned out to be the most awesome FREE advertisement.  For new friends!  ha.  At times like this I adore the internet.  We feel like we have a kindred community in the tiny house world.  Let us know if you have any questions / curiosities about tiny house living… we could do a future blog post on them!

All in all, I am so glad Shane talked me into this absolutely INSANE idea of two people living in 200 SF.  Seriously.  It doesn’t feel cramped – just efficient.  It has everything we need, no extra stuff I THOUGHT I needed.  We’re spending a lot more time outside and in our community (at the library and coffee shop).  We’re talking to our neighbors more.  We’re not buying random stuff we don’t need.  And… it’s a beautifully detailed home that we OWN!  I’ve always rented.  I LOVE it.  :)

take care,

Carrie

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Categories: Living In the Tiny House, Tiny House Design | Tags: , | 51 Comments

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51 thoughts on “Living in the Tiny House: First Week

  1. Carrie,
    I just wanted to let you know that I have been following your blog and am just fascinated by your house! So glad you are writing about your adventures, God Bless you and Shane :) Robin Flores

    • Robin! so good to hear from you, thanks for following the blog!
      looks like you’re back in Loveland? and teaching music? that is wonderful!!
      take care,
      Carrie

  2. Michael

    You mentioned the plywood pocket doors warped. The only thing I can think of that would cause this is a buildup of moisture. What are you doing to vent the moisture outside from the showers and cooking? I love the idea of making a bedroom above the trailer tongue.

    • Thanks for the comment. Well it was just one door, and my fault. I set it in the sun for about half a day it it warped a bit. But I think I fixed it today. Shane

  3. Alexa

    Congratulations! I am in the planning stages of building my dream 404 sq. ft. home. It seems so far away but reading stories like yours keeps me inspired. The thought of no mortgage or rent and having the freedom to enjoy life is thrilling. Cheers to living the biggest life possible in tiny spaces :-)

  4. Allie

    Your house is beautiful! Love the dish rack over the sink too.

  5. Adding a simple hand held shower might be your cure in the shower. If you use a kitchen/sprayer option, it might better adapt as most have a push button for spray or stream. I have a long trailer and a dream of building one of these soon, not as a permanent or portable home but as a guest house. If i build it on wheels, there are no city zoning laws i break by adding the trailer and i want the experience of building one. I have practically all the elements and all the skills, so why not.

  6. lauri

    did you use marine grade plywood for the door? If not, that could fix your warping if your repair doesn’t hold up and give it a try next time. Awesome job on the house, I really like the layout.

    • thanks Lauri!
      I’ve heard that marine grade plywood isn’t the healthiest of products, sort of like pressure treated wood… toxic. but maybe it could be sealed with a chemical free sealant?
      – Carrie

      • lauri

        That’s good to know about the marine grade plywood, i figured they used better woods and didn’t think about that they probably pumped it full of chemical water proofers. Sealing could work, I know someone that did that with OSB but I probably wouldn’t use OSB even if sealed.

  7. Lisa

    You’ve done a spectacular job building the house. Thank you for explaining the problems discovered and most importantly the solutions. The stair storage on both sides of the bed is an very smart idea, as is the storage under the bed. Not an inch of space was wasted. I would have never thought of having a shower/sink combination. Keep up the good work. I look forward to seeing more of your floorplans and tiny houses in the future.

  8. Michael

    So amazing! I’m really far off designing a house but this is so inspiring and will definitely influence my life later when I’m ready to do something like this! Keep living happy!

  9. costahomestead

    I noticed you don’t have a backsplash behind your sink, or at least not one that can be discerned from the pictures. Did you seal the wallboard with something? I think I would have used some material like in what you used in the shower to go behind the sink and stovetop for ease of cleanup and to protect the wallboard. What were your thoughts on this and how did you address it. Although I do admit having the plain white walls run throughout uninterrupted adds to the spacious look. I’m just curious.

    • Hello,
      Thanks for the questions. Well as to the back splash I just installed some well sealed plywood trim for now since we found the Formica at a great price. But the main plain in the near future will be stainless steel counter and back splash.

      Shane

  10. Laurel

    Thanx so much for blog. I’ve gotten some great ideas. The step/drawers are wonderful along with the kitchen space.

  11. steve smoot

    I would not dare offer advise to someone with yout talents. You have done a remarkable job.

  12. it looks great, I have one question, what type of material do you have on your exterior walls?

  13. Carolyn

    How much would a home like this run? Where do you have it parked? Love it!

    • Hello Carolyn,
      thanks for your comments. I’m working on building a new page here that will offer this model complete turn key ready. And also a dry-in model so you can finish it out your self. Since I know that the most difficult and challenging part if your not a builder is the framing structure. So stay tuned as I get pricing up this coming week.
      Your friends at Clothesline Tiny Homes
      Shane

  14. Michael Barsczewski

    You might want to try MDO plywood (Medium Density Overlay) I use it outdoors for sign and have never had it warp, or use steel angle iron that might hold the shape if the door and make it not warp, also there are materials like Sintra, Komotex, Intacell, Dibond (all trade names for expanded PVC sheets) they tend not to warp as well especially with a metal edge.
    Good Luck!!

    • cool Michael, thanks for the suggestions. yes, outdoor signage panel materials would be great for pocket doors. I’ve seen this honeycomb construction product that was polycarbonate or something, but I can’t remember who made it. I’d rather stay away from PVC… it’s pretty toxic apparently.
      – Carrie

  15. Beautiful home, well done! I love the master bedroom with the raised bed and the storage stairs on both sides, the ingenius storage closet/pet home beneath. That would work so well for us because my boyfriend is really tall and neither of us are huge fans of sleeping in a high loft and I have a tiny dog that sleeps in a crate that would need a place. Really love the style and idea. The window over the futon is beautiful, love the lighting placement outside the decorative loft and that dark kitchen counter is lovely. The bright white walls with the unfinished trim look very smooth and make the room/house look spacious. Smart idea to put the sink in the shower, great way to save space though I admit that is the one thing I would probably change as I wouldn’t want to have to step into a possibly wet shower every time I needed to wash my hands after using the restroom. All in all though a really beautiful design with thoughtful and creative use of space.

    • Hello Evervescence,
      Thanks for the comments. The way the bedroom turned out has been great, the angles are so nice and a real joy to be in there. We to were not to excited about a loft sleeping area (since I’m 6’4″) and also wanted other rooms that we can close up to have separate rooms when space was needed. The home feel so much larger the 204sq’ and we find our self sitting out on the back deck enjoying the views. Like I am right now with a cup of coffee. On of the best things is that with all the larger windows it feels like your one with out side. Very few larger homes give that feeling.
      As to the shower we to were worried about the we shower if we wanted to wash our hands, but when it’s wet you just use the kitchen sink until the shower dry’s which is very fast here in the desert.

      Your friends at Clothesline Tiny Homes,
      Carrie and Shane

      • Carmen

        I love the idea of lots of window space, but I live in an intensely sunny, hot area and worry about the sun coming through the windows and cooking us inside. Are there special windows to keep the heat out?

      • hi there!
        our windows have a “low-E” coating (low emissivity) so they keep out some of the UV rays, cutting down on solar gain. there are also triple paned windows (ours are double paned). but the best thing to do in a hot climate would be orient the big windows to the north and add awnings to create shade over the windows. or park under some trees. because of width restrictions tiny houses can’t have large roof overhangs, so awnings or trellises might be the way to go over large windows.
        hope that helps,
        Carrie (and Shane)

  16. Jordan

    I LOVE your raised bed with storage under. I have been working on a design that does something like this or has stairs up to a loft (don’t really want a ladder – I’m too much of a klutz awake let alone half asleep – and there’s not much room in a tiny house for a big inflatable cushion to land on when I fall off the ladder!). I was wondering what your trailer length was – I couldn’t find that information on your site (or just missed it). I like the idea of the 5th wheel style to create a bedroom like yours with the raised bed. Very cool idea! Great job and very inspirational. All you tiny house builders have to stop coming up with so many great ideas! My tiny house is turning into a mini mansion trying to incorporate all the brilliant ideas!! I haven’t been able to start building mine yet because I can’t decide which cool features to include! 8^) And thanks for sharing what you have found that has and hasn’t worked and solutions. That is helpful.

    • so funny! the crashpad under the ladder. doubles as the living room sofa??? haha. I really like the stairs. I could see the loft being really cozy though too. we just wanted our house to have two separate rooms, so that’s why we put the bath and kitchen between the bedroom and living room. two married people together in 200 sf… we figured it’d be nice to have separate spaces. and it works great! Shane can get up early and go out in the kitchen and drink coffee… and I can keep sleeping. :)

      the length or ours is about 24′-0″. it should be on the “our plan” page. good luck with your design! I’m sure it will be great with all the research and revisions.

      take care,
      Carrie

  17. Fantastic post! Now I need to go read EVERYTHING! I’m quite curious about the incinerating toilet, as we’ve had malfunctioning composting toilets and eventually gave up in favor of a bucket of kitty litter (humanure is not an option at our current location, unfortunately).

    • thank you! I put a link on our home page to go back and start reading blogs from the very beginning, when we first got the trailer…. if you really do want to read EVERYTHING. haha.
      the incinerating toilet is working a lot better, but the fan is loud (sounds like a bathroom exhaust fan) and runs for 90 minutes after use. this really makes me not want to use it! but if we shut the bathroom door it’s not too loud. then there’s the issue of exhaust odor. kind of ruins the outdoor space on that side of the house. so. I’m not a huge fan of it. but we don’t have the option of doing humanure right now either, so the ash reduction method works. and living in a water deprived region I feel good about not using water for sewage.
      I’ve heard the trick with composting toilets is to separate liquid from solid waste.
      best of luck!
      – Carrie (and Shane)

      • Y’all are amazing.. this catching up is taking a while, but.. everything is so helpful! And, yeah, the outside smells are unfortunate; when we were using the composting toilet, it reeked horribly in our yard. Sometimes the porch was downwind, too. But 90 mins of a fan noise doesn’t seem too bad overall, though the upfront cost is a bit steep. Thanks for blogging all of this!

  18. Elaine

    Enjoying your posts! We have a 5th wheel trailer and have lived in it for 4 years. Loved it. We are in a bigger house now and I can’t keep up with it:( Thinking of going back to the 5th wheel:) You’ve done some wonderful things in this house. Love the storage steps!

    • thanks Elaine!
      that’s so funny you’re thinking of going back to the 5th wheel! maybe once you’ve gone small you can’t go back? I am already thinking it will be hard to live in a big house again. the tiny house is just SO efficient and cozy.
      – Carrie

  19. Pam

    I really liked the interior walls, which I assume is sheetrock, much better than wood interiors, which is what I’ve seen in most of the tiny houses on wheels. Also the bed a few steps up is fantastic. I too wouldn’t be into a loft. thanks for sharing. Pam

    • thanks Pam!
      we really like the way the drywall turned out. so smooth and white and clean and bright. really needed in a small space! I too didn’t like the wood interiors I was seeing on most tiny homes.
      take care,
      Carrie

  20. I’m glad I stumbled across you blog. This is a very wonderful little house! How fun.

    • Thanks and we are totally in love with living small. We can already notice the stress levels dwindling.

  21. i want to climb into that bed- it looks so cozy!

  22. Hi Shane and Carrie,

    I’m loving keeping up with your blog, it’s useful as my husband and I build our own tiny home. Our kitchen layout is super important to me, as we both love to cook. I am curious, what is the size of your sink, and do you find it to comfortable and large enough? We purchased one that I think is just too large for the space, but I don’t want to trade down and end up feeling like I’m washing dishes in a soup bowl. Any thoughts now that you’re actually using the kitchen sink daily?

    Thanks,
    Margo

    • Margo,
      We have single basin kitchen sink that works great and not to small. The big thing is that when we use a dish we wash and put it away when finished. But also have a bit larger kitchen for a tiny home, it’s 9′ in total counter top.

  23. La Brice

    how big is your bed?

  24. Lisa

    Absolutely lovely space. The space over the 5th wheel takes care of my only objections to other tiny houses. Being of a “certain age”, ladders and beds that you have to crawl to on your knees just aren’t going to work. The headroom is wonderful, as are the windows and storage steps.

    Have you experienced any problems with the sheetrock flexing or did you factor the joints, etc., into the design? Very well done. Congrats.

    • Thanks for your comments. As to the sheetrock we can up with a method so there are no joints that could crack. And it works great. You’re friends at clothesline, Shane.

  25. Sandra

    Hi, very interesting home blog and life style you have! I enjoyed looking through your blog. I was going to make a suggestion about the coffee table and your living room area. Was thinking that if you could sell your futon couch, find or design/make two single type futons that you could multipurpose as separate large lounge chairs that can be put together or separate, you could build a built in table, that folds up in any space you have. I don’t know what’s behind the futon, but you could pull the futon chairs out fold down the table and it would give you space variety you wouldn’t be wasting your precious floor space on a coffee table, could use the folding table desk as need, maybe get some wooden folding chairs too for company that could be stored along walls or under your bed? Still giving you a guest bed/s sitting space with modular advantage to change the space in your room.

    • hey Sandra!
      good ideas! under the futon mattress is a built-in couch frame full of storage underneath. we like the fact that you can lay down on the couch. but I agree, a coffee table in this small of a space is …cluttery. one idea I had was for the coffee table to roll under the couch, then pull out, they the top lifts up for a dining table / deck. but… we really use all of that storage underneath. we’ll see!
      – Carrie

  26. Bettie Eatchel

    Love the house.Do you have a microwave?Love the $ saving but how/where do you park? Would you need a good family with some property to allow you to use?What about zowning lawws etc? Please show how to save $ with an awning clothesline patio cover combination.Wil be fun to see what you clever dudes come up with next! Bettie

    • hi Bettie, thanks for the comment!
      we do not have a microwave – I’m not a big fan of microwaves and I don’t like how much power they use – won’t work when we go solar / off-grid.
      we park at a landlord’s property where she created an rv site. we’re not sure if it’s legal. zoning laws are tricky for tiny housers – there are codes that limit rv’s and codes that limit the minimum square footage of homes, so it’s tough to find a spot that’s approved by city officials. but, we aren’t doing anything wrong, and we believe that smaller homes are a solution to wasteful use of natural resources, so we’re willing to go for variances when needed.
      take care!
      Carrie

  27. JD

    Hi Shane!
    I really appreciate your blog. My wife and I are about to start on our tiny house. We have windows and appliances already bought, I am curious about your trailer particulars, such as what was the empty weight( no house) versus the finished weight. I want to make sure my axles are heavy enough. What is your overall height? I looked liked it pulled just fine in the video! Keep up the good work, and thanks again on all your blogging efforts!

    • Hello JD,
      Well that is a great question and a huge concern for any building a tiny home. Carrie and I came up with a rough weight figure after we finished the plans so I knew what to look for. What we decided is that we needed a trailer with a 14,500gvw and the trailer weight alone is 2,500lb that would leave us with 12,000lb of use to build. I also did not want to have the house up to that weight because who wants to unload all there stuff before a move. So we can up with figures of about 8,700lb for the house and that would leave us plenty for our personal items. I also bought load range G tires (same as a semi-tuck) because of the weight. On stock tires I was worried that if one tire blew the weight transfer to the other one would blow the tire (at that point the home would go over), since it’s very hard to find insurance on the tiny home I was not taking risks.

      As to the height I did not want to be at max road height, so we came in at 12’6″ loaded on the truck and never felt like I was to close to stop lights/bridges. The home pulled great going down the road at 70mph, but I built it in mind to have a little aerodynamics, well the best a house can.

      Thanks for your comments and good luck on your build.
      Your friends at Clothesline Tiny Homes

  28. Pingback: Tiny Hospitality, Podcasts, and Tiny House Furniture: a Swiveling Table « Clothesline Tiny Homes

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