Tag Archives: Planning

OUCH! This Tiny Home Isn’t Working!

I’m sure many have reveled in the tiny home movement. It has such an energy behind it and I can say with confidence the people involved and interested are amazing souls. On the flip side, the reality of living in a tiny home can be downright laughable to most who haven’t experienced it. The inescapable tiny little bathrooms, or overhead lofts…with no overhead are all part of the mix…or are they?

As an industrial designer and tiny home liaison, it’s quite often that ergonomics and human factors come up. Human factors is a field of study within the design world that entails design criteria for human form, movement, and use. It is also the study of form, placement, and arrangements.

We’ve all experienced poorly conceived products and environments. You could experiencing this when you bump your head or hip on a low overhang, or tight turn in a home, or maybe some product just doesn’t seem to fit well in your hand…or you find using the ‘thing’ to be too cumbersome and awkward. This is the design failure of human factors and ergonomics and why the application of human factors in the world of tiny homes are all the more important.
bang-headBeing constrained to tight spaces can be stressful! When designing a tiny home, moving freely and being able to navigate your environment is a must! For those versed in the habitation of tiny homes, I’m sure you concur.

For first-timers in a tiny home this can be a HUGE adjustment.  Living in a tiny home can be a boon for personal progress, it can also be the bane of your existence if all you do is bonk your mellon on the bathroom lights and trip on your steps every time you want to climb into bed.

Wait, there is hope! All of this can be mitigated, but only if considered from the beginning! Moving walls and shifting layouts in a tiny can be more than challenging, if not unfeasible. Appliances are also something to consider. I may post a continued blog from this regarding additional solutions, however, speaking with your designer/architect about your particular habits, ‘stuff needs’, and general lifestyle can go a long way to creating an environment that’s right for you in every way, shape and form. 😉

Note: If you have questions or are looking for a consultation, feel free to message us on FB at: Modern and TINY

Thanks, Rob


Yet another group jumping on the tiny movement…

Came across this little article. It makes a great case for the continuation of the tiny movement. Here’s the summary…

cityLAB believes that building small houses could make a big impact, and we will begin studying how to bring Tiny Houses to Garfield in late 2013. The idea of Tiny Houses was one outcome of our 2011 6% Place book, which examined how Garfield and Garfield residents could benefit from a systematic effort to grow the neighborhood’s creative capital and attract new residents. cityLAB has recently been awarded a grant by the Pittsburgh Partnership for Neighborhood Development to bring this idea to fruition.

Quick ‘Take Away’ on tiny home systems…

So, I’ve just been told that when choosing mini-split AC/heater units AND propane instant hot water heaters and you live in colorado, or higher altitudes you need to source ‘high altitude’ models! something about pressure regulation and whatnot. That is all.

Mini Split

DESIGN CONDITIONS (Factors that effect system capacity)

  1. Climate of building or home
  2. Altitude of building or home
  3. System configuration
  4. Number of connected indoor fan coils
  5. Length of line-sets (a.k.a. refrigerant lines) and number of 90 degree bends in each line set between the indoor and outdoor units.
  6. Design and orientation of building or home
  7. Location of outdoor unit (can be installed on the interior or exterior of building or home with proper ventilation)
  8. Square Footage of Dwelling
  9. etc…

Top 5 Tiny Floor Plan Designs Considerations

There are innumerable ways to assess how your tiny can best suit your living needs. I could go on personally waxing poetically about aesthetics, or finishes, or architectural provenance, but I’ll spare you for now on this one. Instead, I will do what I do best and wax in strategic technicolor…

Below, I have put together my top 5 topics to help get you started. There are for certain many more obstacles, and personal slings and arrows to address, but this’ll get ya started. Note: You’ll want to grab a pen and paper for this little exercise.

 1. Lifestyle – Do you have an active lifestyle? Do you like to chill after work watching Breaking Bad? In to ripping down a mountain at breakneck speed on your full suspension custom mountain bike? Have pets? Or do you appreciate the finer things in life like cooking and entertaining friends?

Think about who you are, who you will be  in the future and then think about how each of the activities you love to do or will do coincide with needing specific designated spaces and storage. One other thing is to think about how you’re lifestyle shifts throughout the seasons, as your needs/wants will too. Make a list and break it down by season!

cool-interior-design-ideas-with-long-table_Cool-Interior-Design-Ideas-With-Long-Table2. Personality – We all have a pretty good idea of our particular personality traits. If you’re a little foggy on this, just ask a good friend, they’ll tell ya. 😉

Your personality fits into the design and layout mix in an aesthetic way. People like to have their space reflect who they are, whether this might be crazy pillow covers, art, or cottage furniture. Have fun with this one, as it doesn’t relate particularly close to the physical layout so much as the finishing touches and accents. I’d suggest making a Pinterest board for this one.

crazy reading nook3. Hobbies – Are you a tinkerer? Do you like to snowboard? Ride you road bike everywhere? Do you sew, or knit? Acro-yoga fanatic?

Each hobby requires a certain ‘space’ to practice. Think about your hobbies and write them all down. See if you can’t create a space that acts in a multifunctional/modular to accommodate multiple hobbies. Other than that, keep in mind that your hobby most likely requires storage! Make a list of these and if you are coming up a number of them requiring more space than you need, think about numbering them from least to most engaging/fun and go from there to create your space. Remember, you can always take it outside if you need to.

deskE4. Career – This may not effect too many people when it comes to the design of their tiny, but if you’re like me and work the majority of the time from home, you’ll want a nice office.

Take stock of your current needs for work, or the possible near-term score on that dream career! Do you need a large desk to draw on? Using only a laptop. Keep in mind that many times, because this space is not utilized a lot you can create a drop-leaf desk, or build it in to another existing table, instead of designating an entire space to this.

5. Geographic / Locale – Location is a big one. The allure of living in a tiny is of course being able to be mobile whenever you want. The downside of this is that depending on the original climate the home was built in you may find that the vapor barrier has been placed on the wrong side of the walls and will not accommodate your next move. To avoid this, I suggest staying in relatively the same climate type that the house was built in.

Will you be living in a ‘cooling climate’, or a ‘heating climate’? Is it arid, or is it humid, or even tropical? What are the DOT size constraints on trailer sizes (these vary from state to state)? Will you be mostly bouncing around from park to park, or will you be hooked up to utilities and therefore not need to worry about electrical, water, and heating/ac needs?

I could go on about geography, climate and energy needs, but hopefully above thoughts will get you thinking from a productive and analytical perspective.


starboundhouse_zps2be52f8cIn closing, this is a very personal project offering you opportunity to tailor your surroundings toYOU, and who YOU are! Remember, have fun with it and don’t be afraid to make mistakes!

If you’re not prepared to be wrong, you’ll never come up with anything original…or COOL!