A few days ago an email sent me on a trip down memory lane. It contained a few questions about the 64 sq ft Limbo Rock, a design concept that we won a contest for at Alex’s site Tiny House Talk about a year ago.
I have a couple questions about your cool little 8 x 8 house design please: http://tinyhousetalk.com/8×8-tiny-house-design-by-kevin/
1) How would the water from the shower drain away from the bathroom floor with this design? Would you have a sill at the bottom of the door so the water wouldn’t go into the rest of the house? Would you put a grate on the floor of the bathroom and have a drain hole underneath?
2) What waterproof material would you use to cover the walls and floor of the bathroom?
Hey Steve, Thanks for the email.
Wow, seems like so long ago!
Great questions, hope this helps…
That is actually a stock 32” x 32” shower pan in the concept rendering, but a person could get an even smaller size online like 30” x 30”.
I try and use all completely stock materials in all of my designs though.
The pan would be sufficient to catch the water or one could simply make a custom one out of cement by the way, then “YES” your sill could be any height. If it was me, I would probably put a standard shower door on instead of a curtain too. Not sure about the “grate” idea? That might be kinda rough on my little feet. However if it was elevated a bit one could capture the gray water easier.
A properly installed tile job uses cement backer board and a water proof membrane underneath and in front. Liners come in prefab, PVC and liquid roll on forms. That’s a more complicated process though. For a DIYer “like me”, I would probably use green or purple water resistant drywall and a solid surface shower enclosure kit… or even material like FRP “fiberglass reinforced panels work great, then caulk with some awesome silicone. Not near as pretty but in an 8×8 space, pretty has nothing to do with it in my humble opinion. I have tiled thousands of sq ft and a really small shower is pretty tough to do.
Obviously, in the Limbo Rock I used a composting toilet simply like a 5 gal bucket that sits in the space when it is not in use.
A few months ago I added some more 8×8’ concepts… If you’re interested their the, Sit Tight, Lay-n-Low and Svelte that has a great bath and loft bed. There all actually pretty different concepts too “which is not all that easy to do with 64 sq ft” and have both pros and cons. AND… All with actual toilets!
Here is a link to Flickr, I now have over 130 different designs in ascending square footage so they will be the first ones. Plus 1,2,3 and 4+ bedrooms.
Don’t hesitate if you ever have questions, just send them over.
P.S. There are a few shots of them in Pinterest too, but not as many as in Flickr…
Many shoppers of tiny or Cozy home plans want to have a sleeping loft available in their new home. Many famous tiny homes utilize the loft idea for not only sleeping, but for storage, design aesthetics and the ability to “nest” inside their own home. The idea of a loft for sleeping is cozy, comforting and a real space saver.
While the benefits of a loft work well for tiny homes under 200 square feet or on wheels, there are some disadvantages to the spaces under the roof. One of the main ones being that they usually need to be accessed by a ladder. This is not easy for older people or the disabled. Another reason that a loft may not work in your tiny home is that they tend to trap heat in the summer and don’t release the heat quickly unless you have an operable skylight or other window. Another reason not to build a loft is that you are not able to stand up in most tiny house lofts. This may appeal to children, but not to a six-foot adult. It also makes it more difficult to make your bed or get dressed.
Cozy Home Plans offers a small home design with an “upmarket” loft. The Cozy Cube has a simple shed roof design that stays classic, but allows for a standing loft that also includes a balcony. The Cozy Cube is 196 square feet with a flexible design plan and includes all the “Tiny House Must Haves” including a fully functioning kitchen, storage space, a dining area, a 3/4 bath, room for another bed and a stackable washer and driver. The loft is accessed by an open staircase rather than a ladder and looks out over the living area. The loft can be a sleeping or office space and also has a large closet area under the roof.
Photo by Rowdy Kittens
The first earth berm house I ever visited was not a tiny, small or Cozy home, but the house stayed at an incredible 70 degrees during 100 degree temperatures in the high desert summer. This clinched the idea that an earth bermed or earth sheltered home is one of the best and energy-efficient ways to go if you live in a hotter climate.
Earth sheltering is an architectural practice of using earth against a building wall for external thermal mass. This reduces heat or cooling lost and maintains a steady indoor temperature nearly all year long. Earth sheltering has long been a part of human shelter. The first home-dwellers lived in caves and utilized the rock to keep the place cool in the summer, sod home dwellers of the American Plains would use the local earth to maintain heat in the winter. Eventually the prairie grasses would grow up over their walls and roof, creating even more thermal mass. These days, earth sheltering is a rare practice and is considered unconventional by most builders. Some problems like water seepage, condensation and poor indoor quality can be addressed with appropriate design, landscape planning and construction.
Several Cozy Home Plan designs can be turned into an earth berm home with several different processes. The 320 square foot Granite Mountain for example can be bermed with earth piled up against the back exterior walls and sloped away from the house. The mansard roof on the Granite Mountain will help shed water off the main berm. Another way to earth berm is to build your home into a hill. The house is set into a slope or hillside and the open part of the home can face to the south (Northern Hemisphere) or to the north (Southern Hemisphere) to obtain passive solar light and heat in the winter. The 975 square foot Gypsy Rose can be built into a hill with the appropriate foundation and wall materials.
If you want to learn more about earth berm homes, check out the earth bermed house of Dual Survival’s Cody Lundin.
Photos by Natural Building Blog and Energy.gov
Small adjustments to a room, especially in a tiny house or Cozy Home, can make a large impact. Without spending a lot of money, a few simple projects in a small kitchen can maximize space, enhance the visual aspects and even add value to the home. Maximizing space is essential in a small home and there are several simple tasks a homeowner can complete themselves.
Christopher Toleman and David Silverstein, co-owners of Arocon Roofing and Construction, give homeowners tips on how to improve their kitchens if space is an issue.
“Inexpensive, open shelves can really provide you with the most storage for less,” Toleman says, “Slide-out baskets can also be installed to the underside of wall cabinets.”
Extra storage in the kitchen can also be created by adding shelves to the inside of cabinet doors and by using nails as hooks underneath the cabinets. Hanging pots, pans, lids and utensils from these hooks makes them easier to get to and frees up cabinet space. Increasing the visual appeal in a kitchen can be as simple as updating hardware and adding a coat of paint.
“Updating hardware, like drawer pulls, is a quick and easy way to spice things up,” Silverstein says. “Painting your kitchen cabinets is another great way to brighten up your kitchen.”
If a homeowner wants to add value to their kitchen on a budget, it’s important to choose the most impactful project. Increasing the amount of natural lighting in a room, such as adding a skylight, can add value by making the space look bigger and feel more comfortable. Redoing the flooring is also a great place to start.
“The floor gets the most use, so replacing or upgrading your floors will greatly increase the value of the home,” Toleman says.
There are many types of flooring, each with different benefits. Tile has the most visual appeal and comes in many colors and textures. Laminate is durable and low maintenance. Wood is warm underfoot and quiet. Vinyl is inexpensive and has several colors to choose from. Also, upgrading appliances can significantly increase value of the home. When choosing which appliances to improve, start with the fridge.
“Your refrigerator is the appliance that gets used the most and also has the most visual impact because it’s the largest,” says Silverstein. “Today’s refrigerators really maximize food storage and are much more energy efficient than older fridges.”
Arocon Roofing and Construction is a screened and approved member in the HomeAdvisor network. They focus on creating individualized construction solutions and specialize in roofing, siding, gutters, kitchen/bathroom remodels and more. HomeAdvisor, is a leading website and mobile app provider offering resources for home repair and improve projects. For more tips on sprucing up your tiny space visit HomeAdvisor.com.
When you think of Murphy beds, what sometimes comes to mind is some comical movie scene where someone gets trapped inside this bed that folds out of a wall. In reality, the Murphy or wall bed can be an ingenious space saving option for a micro, tiny, small or especially a Cozy home. The original Murphy bed has been around since the early 1900s, but has come a long way and modern wall beds offer more high tech options and beautiful details.
Most Murphy beds fold up into the wall and disappear into a closet or cabinet, leaving additional space for a living or entertaining area. These types of beds work great in a studio home or in the Cozy Home Plans like the 288 square foot Thimble Peak or the 288 square foot Granite Mountain. These days, Murphy beds also include more than just the bed, you can have specialized lighting, storage and clothing cabinets and office components. Because of the mechanics and cabinet work included with Murphy beds, they do not have box springs and the mattress usually sits on a platform or cordage. The beds usually run between $1,500-$2,000. Some of the ultra-chic beds can reach $5,000.
Because of their multiple components, Murphy beds do need to be installed on the wall of your home. The cradle is the mechanism that makes the bed fold up easily into a cabinet and will need to be put together with the correct distance from the wall. The DIY Network has a good tutorial on how to install a Murphy bed.
Here are several simple Murphy beds at different price points that could work in a smaller home as either a main bed or even a guest bed:
This Queen size Murphy bed is simple, but still includes a small closet, a side table and some storage drawers. It is currently going for $1,727 on Wayfair.com.
This Hiddenbed by BREDABeds is $1,995 and converts from a desk to a bed without having to remove the desk’s contents. It also includes a side hutch.
With this bed you get a living room and a bedroom all in one cabinet. The Dile sofa bed by Flying Beds provides a stylish seating area and some shelving and a fold down bed inside. The price for this bed is $5,710.
Photo by Andrew Sinclair/Flickr
Insects, especially the blood-sucking ones, don’t care if your home is 200 or 2,000 square feet. The only thing they need to live happily and heartily is a warm body. In fact, bed bugs don’t tend to stray farther than eight feet from their human host’s bed.
Bed bugs make their way into homes a number of different ways and they will stay there, unless you are aware of the situation and take action.
Bed bugs have been common throughout history, but the U.S. saw a considerable drop in populations during the mid-20th century. They are back again, an epidemic plaguing Americans. In a 2013 survey conducted by the National Pest Management Association (NPMA), 99.6 percent of pest management professionals interviewed have encountered bed bug infestations.
The small, flat, brownish insects don’t discriminate when choosing their homes, and they love to travel. Pest professionals say they treat bed bugs 98 percent of the time in apartments/condos, 96 percent in single-family homes, 75 percent in hotels/motels, 47 percent in college dorms, 41 percent in schools and daycare centers, 33 percent in hospitals and 21 percent in transportation.
Being small and covert, bed bugs can slip undetected into the smallest space and stay there for extended periods of time. They hide in the seams of luggage and depths of overnight bags. They camp out in furniture and live in bedding. They are transported from place to place when people travel. In a small home, they can hide anywhere—in cracks and crevices, in the folds of clothes, between a mattress tag and its crease & mdash; because your blood is always close by.
Clutter, according to the professionals in the survey, accounts for two-thirds of the biggest customer-oriented challenges in treating bed bugs. Once they get in, it’s difficult to get rid of them. Keep your place neat and tidy and look for signs of these pests.
Fortunately, they are not known to carry disease, but they can give sleepers nice-sized welts across their body. They survive on blood.
Detection is possible, as there are tell-tale signs of infestation. Red, itchy bites, like mosquito bites, will appear on your face, neck and body and can take as much as 14 days to develop.
Other clues include: exoskeletons in the seams of your mattress; live bugs in the the folds of the sheets; cracks of the headboard, corners of the bedside table; a sweet, musty odor; small blood spots on mattress or nearby furniture (blood-filled fecal matter).
To prevent infestation, take a good look around your home. Seal cracks and crevices critters might hide in and keep clutter to a minimum. When traveling, check hotels for signs of bed bugs before you put your luggage down in the room. Leave bags in the bathroom until the room looks clear of bugs. Even 5-star hotels can have bed bugs lurking. When home, check luggage thoroughly and launder clothes in hot temperatures.
If bed bugs get in, contact a pest control professional to treat with insecticide.
Guest Post for Cozy Home Plans
Marriane is a mom and health and wellness writer originally from North Dakota.
The western U.S. is currently suffering from a heat wave and even people in Cozy, small or tiny homes are feeling the heat. Some locations around the U.S. can go without any kind of air conditioning (you lucky people up in the mountains), but many homes need some sort of cooling during the summer months.
However, there are ways to avoid the expense of central air conditioning when building your Cozy home. According to the Rocky Mountain Institute, central AC units and installation can cost between $3,000 to $7,000. These units do end up lasting around 20 years, but air-conditioning is one of the heaviest burdens on the power grid and causes more greenhouse emissions. Having a smaller home to cool is the first benefit and there are several others.
1. The placement and insulation of your Cozy home can have a huge difference in how easy it is to keep cool. If you place your home with most of its windows, or the largest windows, facing West, the home will heat up faster. Design and place your home so that the windows face south if you are in the Northern Hemisphere. Good insulation will trap the cooler night air in a home and will let it out less gradually than a home with sub-par insulation. Also take into consideration the color of your roof, a lighter colored roof will reflect back heat.
2. During the summer, reduce the use of home appliances and electrical equipment. When these appliances or lights are left on, they heat up the home from the inside. Avoid using your oven and cook with an outdoor grill instead.
3. Choose some air-conditioning alternatives. These include swamp or evaporative coolers, geothermal heat pumps, solar-powered AC and ice power. Swamp coolers cool air through the evaporation of water; geothermal heat pumps use the earth’s steady temperature to cool and heat water, and each system has an indoor and outdoor unit that transfers water into the ground and pumps it back inside; solar-powered air-conditioning contains an AC unit connected to solar panels and helps reduce energy bills without the commitment of extensive rooftop solar panels; ice power works in conjunction with conventional air-conditioners by making ice during the night, when energy demand is lower. During the day, it uses this “ice battery” to deliver cooling to the AC unit, which offsets the energy usage of the system.
If you are interested in installing a small window AC unit in a tiny house, there is currently a great article by Logan Smith of Smalltopia in the Tiny House Magazine, Issue 7 about how he and his wife, Tammy Strobel of Rowdy Kittens, installed an air conditioner in their tiny house on wheels.
Photo by Justin/Flickr
Anyone who lives in a Cozy or small home knows full well that cleaning a tiny space is much easier and quicker than cleaning a 3,000 square foot home. In my small home, it really only takes me about half an hour to dust, clean the bathroom and run the vacuum. I can get it done on a weekday afternoon and have the rest of the weekend to relax and have fun. However, when you have a smaller home, there are some tips that can come in handy when keeping a small space clean.
1. Stay on top of things
When you have a tiny or small house, everyday clutter can pile up quickly since you don’t normally have the storage space or appliances to stash projects, dirty clothes, paperwork or dirty dishes away. In a tiny home, a little time each day should be spent making sure all the dishes are washed and put away, the beds are made, laundry is either being washed or the dirty clothes are in their respective hamper, and books and other objects are in their proper place. This allows you to do your regular cleaning much faster since you are not busy picking up after yourself.
2. Keep your cleaning products clean
According to the Environmental Working Group, many cleaning products labeled “green” are actually full of toxins including phthalates, carcinogens and chloroform. Not only do these chemicals find their way into your food, and your lungs but they are washed down the drain into our water supply, rivers and lakes. Keep your small home even simpler by cleaning with EWG approved cleaners or just doing your cleaning with natural cleansers like vinegar, lemons or salt.
3. Reduce the size of your vacuum cleaner
In a tiny house, there is no need to drag around one of those heavy vacuum cleaners, in fact, you might not even need one. For a simple, small home with wood floors, a broom will be enough to clean the floor. However, if you want a vacuum cleaner, brands like Shark, Dirt Devil and Dyson all sell smaller vacuums that use bags or are bagless.
Photo by Boston Public Library
The trees and grass are turning green and the days are getting longer; it’s time to turn your attention to beautifying the outside of your cozy home. Just like a messy yard will hurt your home value, an above-average yard can increase your property value. That, coupled with the enjoyment you’ll get from a fantastic yard, is worth getting your hands dirty for. A functional outdoor living area can make your tiny house seem bigger without adding the long-term costs of adding interior square footage. Here are seven ideas to inspire you as you contemplate how to upgrade your outdoor areas:
A well-manicured lawn can make all the difference between your yard looking “okay” and “gorgeous.” Fortunately, it’s not difficult, or expensive, to make it look like you have a full-time gardener. By putting in some sweat equity during the evenings and weekends, you can create beautiful flower beds, install a stone pathway and build a pergola over the patio adding both beauty and value to your property.
An inefficient sprinkler system can waste the equivalent of a bathtub full of water an hour, according to MainStreet.com. If that’s the case, now’s the time to invest in a system that will conserve resources. Take advantage of nature by catching rainwater in a barrel that you can make, like the one featured here at Green Building Elements, to catch falling raindrops and runoff from the gutters.
Stay cool and save time commuting to the local municipal swimming pool by installing your own above ground pool. Significantly less expensive (and time consuming) to install than in-ground pools, you’ll add functionality and fun to your yard and have less lawn to mow. If a pool doesn’t appeal to you and your family, a fountain makes a great focal point in your front or back yard. Add a string of white lights to showcase the fountain after dark.
For folks too busy to cut and water grass, a rock garden may be the right addition to the yard. It’s inexpensive, easy to do and low-maintenance. Surround the area around the pool with rocks or put it up near the house to make mowing the remaining grass easier.
Imagine stepping outside every morning and picking fresh berries to for the fruit and granola parfaits you’re making for your family’s breakfast–when you have berry bushes this can be a reality. You can also plant tomatoes, peppers, pumpkins and herbs to create a backyard that multi-tasks for you.
If you don’t have enough storage space in your garage and don’t want to build a small shed to house your landscaping tools, put your building skills to work by creating a couple of benches that double as storage boxes. Get some thick foam from your local home building store and heavy-duty decorative fabric to create custom seat cushions to place atop the boxes, and no one will ever know that the garden hose is hidden underneath.
If you’re eating out–meaning, in your backyard–a few times a week or more, then this little addition will be well worth the time and investment. Adding a counter top and sink will make food prep easy, and a fridge will keep meat at a safe temperature until it’s ready to cook, and the cold beverages will be ready at a moments notice.
Before you begin, decide which of these would make the best improvement to your home and start with one project, rather than jumping into multiple projects all at once. Not only will you be less stressed, it will be easier on your pocketbook as well.
Guest Post for Cozy Home Plans by Joe LaPaglia
Joe is the tech-savviest grandpa he knows, but his first love is his garden. Joe is a retired history professor who loves imparting his wisdom to new generations.
The summer months mean family vacations for many people across the country and many people these days are looking for alternative ways to spend their holidays. To get away from the typical hotel or resort, some people camp during the summer and some people stay in unusual places like river camps, tipis, sheep wagons and even tree houses. Companies like VRBO and Airbnb are making it easier for people to experience these fun and unusual places to stay.
If you have your own tiny, small or Cozy home, you will know about the satisfaction that comes with living and being happier in a smaller space. It would be nice to share that feeling with visitors without having to have them take over your own sacred space. Maybe you could build another tiny house that is just used as a vacation rental? Cozy Home Plans offers several very tiny home plans that are affordable to build and could end up being a good source of income as a short term or long term rental.
The first is the Cozy Cube, which was featured on Tiny House Talk. The Cozy Cube is 196 square feet and two story with an upstairs balcony. This home will probably have to go through a county inspection before it is started, but it offers a private space for several people.
The brand new Limbo Rock is for someone who really wants to challenge themselves with living small and it’s the perfect guest or rental option since it’s only 64 square feet. It has a single bed, a toilet and some great skylights.
The cute Sprinkle Drop looks just like a typical guest house and comes in at just under 200 square feet. It features a great room with a tiny kitchen and a small bathroom with a shower. The kitchen doubles as a food prep area, eating area and small office.
The Thimble Peak is a Cozy Home basic that comes in at 288 square feet and offers a large covered porch and a studio room that includes a kitchen. It also has a full bathroom and an area for a washer and dryer.
Cozy Home Plans has many other tiny house ideas on its Flickr pages. Check them out for your own guest house idea.