Having no experience designing and building a home, we needed a jump start. We each have some limited construction experience- building a deck, interior room framing, electrical, and plumbing, but building an entire house, we certainly have not done. During our initial search for tiny house plans, we found a lot of different plans and tips for layouts, but no good guide for the actual construction.
Finally, we stumbled upon the Morrison’s website, where Andrew and Gabriella sell plans for their house, along with a complete how-to video series with in-depth instructions on the construction process. Their videos have been a lifesaver during our build. We loved their design and how they managed to use alternative construction methods to squeeze some extra space out of the footprint of the house. We wanted to modify the layout a little to better suit our needs for how we plan on using the space.
The initial layout of the Morrison’s hOMe included a full-size kitchen on one end, the bathroom on the other end, stairs to the sleeping loft, and copious amounts of storage space. The full-size kitchen was a must have; Chris loves to cook, and we both love to eat. The workspace and dining area provided by the Morrison’s plan seemed a little small for our us. We are still taking classes and we both do a fair amount of work from home, so being comfortable with a computer is a must. To fix this, we shifted the kitchen towards the center of the trailer and moved the workspace and dining area to the end of the house. Our plan is to have a bench seat along the end wall and hinged tabletops that will allow use to change the configuration as needed.
The sleeping loft we extended by about a foot to give us a little more room for clothing storage. The bathroom we kept roughly the same, although we made the shower larger. We are going to be using a composting toilet, starting with the bare bones, basic bucket with cover material. This will be a big change for us coming from a standard flushing toilet, but we aren’t expecting too much trouble. Windows were a big must-have too. We loved the gliding windows the Morrison’s used in their house. We added some extra windows to their design as we wanted as much natural light as we could possibly get.
We have been trying to design everything around being eco-friendly, with a balance between recycled materials and energy efficiency. For the interior finish, we are spending some extra money, using a material called ReWall instead of traditional drywall or wood paneling. This wallboard is made from compressed juice cartons that provide a drywall like finish and put a wasted material to good use. In addition to recycling, the material is moisture and mold resistant, allowing us to use the same material all throughout the house, including the bathroom. For the exterior finish, we are looking at using reclaimed barn board siding. Not only do we love the aesthetic of the barn board, we are happy to put some old material to good use. For some of the insulation, we are using repurposed denim insulation.
The trailer we purchased new and the roof will be metal, for longevity. The windows we chose to go with are energy efficient, strengthened with tempered glass. The remaining insulation is rigid foam board insulation.
We took delivery of our trailer late in February, 2016, and started construction shortly thereafter. For updates on out progress and pictures and videos from the construction, check out our story.