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
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
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
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.
Even if your house is tiny or small, you might want to have an area or space that’s specifically for entertaining purposes. This can include a TV, stereo system, computer or laptop space and maybe even some cool speakers. With technology getting smaller every year, even the tiniest house can have a great place to watch movies or listen to music without taking up too much room. Several Cozy Homes have a space for a flat screen television including the 384 square foot Crested Butte and the 505 square foot Mount Kiska. With a little ingenuity, a small entertainment space can be integrated into a living room with a flat screen TV area.
A small cabinet or shelf from IKEA can hold a DVD player, a compact stereo, a cable box and even some movies in a small corner. The key to keeping space uncluttered is to install as many things on the wall as possible. This includes the TV, the speakers, shelving and wiring. Speakers for a small house can stay in one area or can be installed in various places around the house. An unobtrusive style of speaker system from Bose is only around $160 and comes with custom mounting brackets. They are only about 4 inches high and about 11 inches wide. If your main source of entertainment is your computer or laptop, this and its components can be tucked away into a desk or shelf or even inside an ottoman with an inside storage area…only being brought out when you want to watch a movie or your favorite show.
If you have to share your small space with other people and you don’t want to watch or listen to the same thing, a good pair of headphones can be a relationship-saver. A pair of wireless TV headphones allows one person to listen to the TV while the other sleeps or reads. A Sennheiser set of headphones runs about $70.
Now that the weather has warmed up around most of North America, the garden centers and landscaping stores are full of people pushing around carts laden with pavers and patio stones to build that perfect outdoor patio. A Cozy, small or tiny home can also benefit from an outdoor patio. They offer a great refuge to sit and enjoy your garden as well as an extension of the indoors. Patios can be placed anywhere in your yard: right off a back door, tucked in a secluded corner or they can even encompass the majority of your yard.
For a Cozy home, a smaller patio might work best. Not only will it be less expensive to construct and you could do the labor yourself, but it will not overwhelm a smaller home. With a good design you can also fit an eating area, some plants, a barbecue and maybe even a small water feature. Pre-cut paver stones or bricks make a good patio and they can be laid down in a variety of patterns and styles. Natural stone pavers create a more organic look, but will need to be adjusted a few times to fit together – like a puzzle. Both types of pavers can have sand, small pebbles or “gator dust” pour in between them to create a smooth, seamless patio. Also make sure that you create a level and stable patio that can support foot traffic, chairs and tables. Transition areas between the yard and the home should also be smooth and should not have sharp corners or places where you can trip.
Here are some additional design tips for building a small patio for a small home (from Better Homes & Gardens):
• Make the design attractive: It should complement the house and landscape, as well as provide a comfortable living space.
• Don’t be square. Add slabs at the corners of paver patio, for instance, to make a unique geometric form. Curves often make the best use of space.
• Create a hidden or enclosed patio away from the house. It is one of the simplest outdoor rooms you can make. All you need is level ground, comfortable seating, and the shelter of trees and shrubs.
• Extend a patio’s usefulness with a roof or partial cover. Position the patio to be warmed (but not baked) by the sun; a southeast or southwest location is ideal.
• Keep in mind the costs of maintenance over the anticipated lifetime of the paving material, when figuring the patio’s cost initially.
The kitchen in a small, tiny or Cozy house will most likely be one of the central parts of the home and the countertops are more than likely going to be the stars of that part. They will be subjected to all sorts of traffic and abuse and you will want the best material installed that you can afford. But what to get? There is a huge amount of choices out there for every budget and it can be overwhelming. Here are the top materials with their pros and cons.
When most people think of luxury countertops, they think of granite. They are more affordable than they used to be and come in a huge range of colors and patterns. Granite countertops are durable and won’t scratch and are resistant to heat, cold, stains and water. However, they can be very expensive and need to be custom cut to the size of the kitchen. They also require resealing about once a year. $50-$400 per foot cost.
Beautiful, but heavy marble comes in a wide range of colors and patterns and offers a nearly indestructible surface. It’s very heat-resistant, but can be stained or etched by acids and some cleaning products. $100-$400 per foot cost.
Lava Stone (Pyrolave)
This unusual material has a beautiful finish and many color options. It’s surprisingly non-porous and highly resistant to heat, cold, stains and scratches. It’s also low maintenance, but very expensive. Around $225 per foot cost.
Stainless steel is a beautiful choice for a modern kitchen. It’s durable, stain and spill proof, impervious to temperature and is easy to clean (with specialized products). They can become nicked or scratched over time and tend to show a lot of fingerprints. $100-$300 per foot cost.
The first time I saw a poured concrete countertop, I fell in love. You get the look of stone with a lot less cost and the materials is smooth, strong and durable. You can also personalize it with lots of textures (including embedded materials like stones and shells) and colors. However, they can get cracked and are porous unless they are regularly sealed and waxed. Each concrete countertop does need a custom cast. $80-$150 per foot cost.
Soapstone has been used for ages to make stoves, so this heat-proof stone is a perfect choice for the kitchen. It has a smooth, matte gray finish and is resistant to acids. Scratches can be sanded or oiled away and the stone is not as harmful to the environment as other quarry harvested rock. It does need regular maintenance and may crack, chip or scratch. $75-$150 per foot cost.
Glass is an interesting and stylish approach to kitchen counters. They are naturally heat-resistant and easy to install. They can be chipped or broken easily and must be replaced. They also show lots of fingerprints and scratches. $60-$300 per foot cost.
Engineered Stones (Silestone, CaesarStone, etc.)
Engineered stones will give you the look of granite or marble for about half the price. They come in various mixes of quartz combined with pigments for nearly any color you can think of. They resist scratches and stains and no sealant is required. However, they are not heat-proof. $50-$150 per foot cost.
Solid Surface (Corian, Staron, ECO, etc.)
Solid surface countertops are made with durable, man-made acrylic and have a very smooth surface which is easy to integrate into the sink and backsplash. You can even sand away stains and scratches. A ton of colors and patterns are available and they can be made to look like marble or granite. They can be damaged by heat. $45-$150 per foot cost.
Many aspiring chefs dream of the full butcher block kitchen counter which are useful for prepping and chopping foods. The look of wood makes the whole kitchen seem warmer, but because it is porous it will need regular maintenance and a food-safe sealer. The wood can become damaged by burns, dents and spills. $40-$150 per foot cost.
Ceramic tile is DIYer’s dream. It’s fairly inexpensive and easy to install. The tile itself is heat and moisture-resistant. However, it’s the germaphobe’s nightmare. Food spills can become embedded in the grout and the tiles can get scratched, stained or broken. $2-$150 per foot cost.
Laminates (Formica, Pionite, etc.)
One of the most budget-friendly materials, laminates are stain-resistant, waterproof and low maintenance. They also come in a large range of colors. They are not heatproof, though and can crack and scratch and are difficult to repair. $45-$70 per foot cost.
Paper-based Composite (PaperStone, Richlite, etc.)
These types of composites are made from recycled paper, so they are some of the most green materials for kitchen countertops. They are durable, harder than wood and somewhat heat-resistant. They can scratch and stain and they do require sealant. $45-$70 per foot cost.
Bamboo & Paper Composite
This is another green material made from the fast growing and sustainable grass. It’s durable, won’t discolor and is scratch, water and stain-proof. A few colors are available but it does require some maintenance. $35+ per foot cost.
The winter months are a good time to get some indoor work done on your small or tiny home. Painting your Cozy Home walls is one of those projects that can be done while you are stuck inside. The Cozy Home Plans blog has a post on the types of colors that work best in a small home, but here are a few tips on how to simplify your painting job and keep from making a mess or getting frustrated while working in a small space.
1. One of the worst things about painting is trying to get around awkward, permanent objects. This includes the toilet tank. A good tip is to cover the toilet tank with sealable plastic wrap (the kind you use for sandwiches) to keep the paint from getting on the porcelain tank.
2. When you are taping off your trim or other woodwork with painter’s tape, here’s a tip to keep the tape from peeling up and to prevent bleeding. Lay the tape onto the woodwork and press it down with the corner of a putty knife. Let the tape stick out perpendicular to the trim to act as a little protective roof to catch paint drips. A great way to then get that painter’s tape off is to soften it with the heat of a hair dryer. Use the dryer on the low setting until the tape is soft and then pull it off at a 90-degree angle.
3. Don’t you hate it when you scrape a little extra paint off your brush and it goes running down the side of the can? Take a screwdriver and a hammer and poke a few holes in the lid edge of the paint can. The leftover paint will drip back down into the can.
4. Soften and loosen up spilled latex paint with pimple pads. These pads (usually used for the faces of teenage boys) will soften up the paint, but won’t harm your wood or other surfaces. The pads work best on paint that’s been dry just a few hours.
5. Renew old painter’s or masking tape by putting it in the microwave for 10 seconds.
Photo by OlgerFallasPainting/Flickr
If you want a tiny or small home, but you still want a walk-in closet, there are several different Cozy Home Plans that can give you both. Even if you don’t have an Imelda Marcos amount of clothes or shoes, there are actually some benefits to having a walk-in closet.
A walk-in closet is not only large enough to hold all your (and maybe your significant other’s) clothes, but they can also be useful for storing bulk or non-perishable food, toiletries, pet food, diapers and other larger items which may not fit in a pantry. Also, having a walk-in closet may eliminate the need for extra furniture like a dresser or a shoe rack. Walk-in closets are also great for hiding a small safe or other valuables. They can also be used as a “safe room” if they can be locked from the inside. Just be careful if you have small children who can lock themselves inside the closet while playing house.
The smallest Cozy Home to have a walk-in closet is the 320 square foot Granite Mountain. It’s located right next to the bedroom area. The 770 square foot Grand Teton also has a small walk-in closet in the master bedroom area which can actually be made larger if needed. The cool and upcoming 612 square foot Star Gazer Cozy Home also has a small walk-in closet on the second floor of this dual level cabin. The 640 square foot one story Bay of Many home plan has a walk-in closet as well as a private half bath in the master bedroom.