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.
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.
Number 5 of the “6 Must Haves” is enough space for a washer and dryer. While most of the Cozy Home Plans have room for a stackable washer and dryer, a combo washer and dryer is also another choice for washing your clothes. A washer dryer combo is a single cabinet that contains the mechanics and a single drum that both washes and dries your clothes during one load.
There are two types of combo units: vented and ventless. The vented unit works like a regular washer and dryer in that when the clothes are done washing, the unit takes in air from the surrounding room and heats it up. The unit then spins and dries the clothes and vents the moist air out of the building. The ventless unit instead uses a condensing chamber which is cooled while the air inside the dryer drum is heated. When the drum spins, the heated air take away the moisture from the clothes and the moist air is then circulated through the cooled condensing chamber.
Several benefits of a combo unit are that they are small enough to fit into a small or tiny house, usually in a closet or under a counter top or even in a bathroom. They are also small enough to be portable and run off a line from a sink or shower. Washer dryer combo units are usually front loaders which does save water. These types of washer dryer combos have been used in Europe and Asia for decades and are popular in more urban dense areas. It does take longer to dry clothes in this type of washer (usually around 2 hours), but there is no need to worry about lint or the danger of lint and electricity fires.
However, these type of washers are not cheap. The average new combo unit will cost around $1,200 with the least expensive around $700. They used to be difficult to purchase, but now big box stores like Home Depot, Lowes, Best Buy and even Amazon sells them.
We have been utilizing them more and more in our Micro and Tiny house designs here at Cozy. They just seem to make perfect since when you can have 9 sq. ft. of floor space do more than one thing. The Innuendo, Water and Sprinkle Drop were some of the first to have them included. Washer-Dryer’s are always optional but we like to have all our floor plan designs be self sufficient and options for full time living.
Photo by Marissa | Food in Jars
The Humble Pie small house floor plan is actually 240 sq. ft. of “accomplished goal” for me. So far this is the smallest home concept that I have managed to squeeze a Fireplace into. Having spent 25+ years in Colorado, I’ve come to appreciate that houses become homier with a fireplace. Plus that whole Santa thing too…
There are mainly 4 types of fire places Wood burning, Gas, vent free Ethanol burning and Electric to choose from. They come in a multitude of options from see through, insert, free standing to corner ones with varying degrees of efficiency. If you want one of these in your Tiny House then get ready for lots of research.
Micro, Tiny and Small homes don’t always have room for one. However, the Humble Pie does. This eye catching home covers all the basics for living and would and make a perfect simple vacation getaway; writers retreat, casita, cabin or studio. We usually try and keep the spaces as open as possible in our designs, but this one worked very well in my opinion having some separation. The shed roof design with high ceiling provides additional storage plus a more open feel too so we do have some openness.
Our “6 Essentials” actually make an appearance in this home, some more than others.
#1 This “L” shaped Kitchen has 7 cabinets and a cool little end shelf by the window; full size convection microwave, Bar size refrigerator and a 2 burner cook top.
#2 Room for a Full or Queen Size wall Bed with a great view of the fireplace.
#3 The 1/2 Bath has room for a 36” shower and some additional storage cabinetry.
#4 Storage areas for your ‘STUFF” include 54” of 12” deep cabinets, Wall bed shelving, ½ of a coat closet for hanging garments, Kitchen cabinets plus shelf areas above the Bath and Kitchen.
#5 Room for an optional all-in-one Washer and Dryer combo unit in the coat closet.
#6 This home has Space for one comfortably, two if there Hobbits and a whole family of Lilliputians.
Cozy Home Plans has choices that you won’t find anywhere else. 90 sets are now available in Flickr with 1573 Picts showing various angles of the homes in 3D.
Cozy, Kevin B Harrington
A Cozy or tiny home may seem even more cozy in the winter with a wood stove or fireplace, but sometimes a much smaller home will not have the room for a fireplace inside…so having a wood stove outside is a good solution. An outdoor wood furnace like a Shaver Wood Furnace sits outside and keeps the mess of wood, kindling, bugs and ash away from your tiny living room.
An outdoor wood furnace provides hot water to work with any heating system: floor heating, forced air, boilers and water radiators. It can also heat water for your tiny home water heater and hot water for spas, hot tubs and swimming pools. The hot water is circulated through underground pipes to the inside of the house, where they are hooked to a heat exchanger. It can also directly plumbed to the hot water heater, eliminating the need for a $200 side-arm heat exchanger.
With a Shaver Wood Furnace, you load it with wood (preferably oak) once at night and once in the morning and let it run. Smoke, air pollution and mess is kept outside and this type of furnace is beneficial for people with asthma, children and the elderly.
Consider that the smallest Shaver Wood Furnace heats up to 3,500 square feet and costs just over $4,000. It could easily handle a small cluster of tiny houses and supply heat and all there hot water needs.
Wood is actually a Green option for heating your home because its net carbon dioxide emissions are below those of other types of fuels. Technology has advanced in the wood stove and fireplace industry too. Certified stoves are available today that produce no visible smoke and 90% less pollution than were not available just 25 years ago.
Wood heating is a lifestyle choice, so wood heating may not be for everyone. It’s typically available almost everywhere and makes a perfect choice when you want to be off the grid.
Photo by Shaver Wood Furnace
If you are the chef in the family and don’t want to sacrifice your kitchen space when you build your Cozy or tiny home, you are in luck. Several of the Cozy Home Plans have some well sized kitchens with great amenities. These include extra storage space, lots of light, countertop space and essential appliances…all in a home under 1,000 square feet. The top five best Cozy Home kitchens are:
The 320 square foot Skylight Mountain fits a full size sink, refrigerator, stove and oven as well as a microwave in a tiny space. There is also room in this kitchen for a small dining table for three as well as a floor to ceiling pantry/storage cabinet. There is also space above the sink where a greenhouse window can be installed.
The kitchen in the 380 square foot Crested Butte Cozy Home fits neatly into a 6 foot 10 inch by 7 foot space and has front door access to the home’s front porch. While there is no tall cabinet in this kitchen, there is plenty of cabinets above the refrigerator, stove and microwave area. There is also a space above the sink where a greenhouse window can be installed.
The kitchen in the 770 square foot Grand Teton is perfect for lots of guests. The kitchen is long and open with a countertop that doubles as an eating space. It has not only one but two floor to ceiling pantries as well as potential storage above the full-size refrigerator, stove and microwave. The sink is located on the dining counter so there is tons of food prep space.
The surprisingly spacious 480 square foot Shoe Box also has an open kitchen with lots of counter space and a dining space. The kitchen has a nice view of the living area as well as a bar area and a floor to ceiling pantry. This is a new plan which is coming soon.
The 540 square foot Oasis Cozy Home is wide open to the living and dining space. There is also space in this small kitchen where a greenhouse window can be installed. This is also a new concept plan coming soon.
Photo: Crested Butte kitchen
This spring, the Cozy Home Plans blog covered tiny homes and ADA guidelines and offered the Regal Mountain as a possible small home that can accommodate a disabled person. Many small or tiny house plans do not take accessibility or ADA compliance into their designs, but now Cozy Home Plans has several two-bedroom plans that can easily be modified to ADA specifications.
How do you make a small home accessible? There are three different ways to look at home accessibility and the impact it has on choosing home design plans. The three are not really different, however they allow for certain instances where complete accessibility may not be selected as a criteria for home design plan selection.
1. The homebuilder or owner is disable and wheelchair bound
In this specific case, the homeowner would look for home design plans that either include accessibility design or can be appropriately modified at a reasonable cost. Some stock home plans include options that can be used to increase accessibility within and on the outside of the home.
Some of the criteria that this person might look for in a stock home plan include: wheelchair ramps on the exterior, one or more entrances to the home with no steps required, doorways of 32 inches wide or more, and bathrooms, bedrooms and kitchens large enough to accommodate a turning radius for the wheelchair. Home plans can generally be simply adapted for these items.
2. The homebuilder or owner has guests who are disabled.
In this case, the home plan changes may not need to be quite as extensive as in the plan modification information provided above. However, it is necessary to have the same zero step entrance and more than likely a first floor bathroom. Other accommodations can be made in the stock home plans purchased for the building of a home. However, significantly less requirements are in place in terms of modifications to existing building plans for this type of home buyer.
3. The homebuilder or owner needs to address the idea that they may become disabled, a family member could become disabled or they could potentially sell their home to someone requiring accessibility options that can be added easily to the home design plans.
Primarily, the following items should always be incorporated in the home design plans for new construction: At least one entrance to the homes main floor with no step required for entry, a first floor bathroom large enough to accommodate a wheelchair and containing a wheelchair accessible sink, doorways significantly large enough to allow easy pass through for wheelchairs.
Simply considering the implications to the stock home plans that you are considering or have purchased will empower the home builder should they be disabled, become disabled, have guests who are disabled or decide to see their home build from home design plans to a buyer who is disabled. There really are no detrimental effects of making your new home accessible. Take a look at the various Cozy Home Plan options to see which plan is right for the level of accessibility you require and contact us with any questions.
Photo by WELS.net