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 season of rain and warmer temperatures is coming up and a great way to save the water that falls onto your tiny or small house is with a rain catchment system. Many rainwater capture systems (especially in the hot Southwest) are built underground and the water is then used to water the garden or replenish a water feature. With some smaller homes, with small yards, this may not be feasible. However, there are various ways that you can use your roof to capture rainwater for later use.
One of the simplest ways to catch rainwater is in a collection barrel. These barrels can usually hold about 50 gallons of water and cost around $100 or so. The top of the barrel is closed to keep out bugs, animals and children, so a tube is attached to the roof’s downspout and the water runs directly into the barrel. Many of these barrels have a spigot at the bottom where you can attach a hose for watering. Another way to catch rainwater is with a larger rain harvesting tank. These tanks are usually made of a heavy plastic and sometimes include a leaf/dirt strainer, a lid, an overflow assembly, a plug and a water hose spigot. They hold around 1,000 to 1,500 gallons of water and can weigh around 250 lbs. The cost for one is around $600.
Several Cozy Home Plans are ideal for rainwater capture: The Granite Mountain’s mansard style roof can maybe have a rain barrel or four on each corner of the roof. The Skylight Mountain has a high pitch to its roof that is great for collecting water and the larger High Point actually has several roofs on the downstairs and upstairs portions of the house that can collect even more water.
Earthbag homes are created by stacking sacks filled with non-decomposing sand, clay or other native soils on top of each other until a wall is created. This technique has been used by the military for years to create strong, protective barriers or for flood control. These nearly bullet-proof walls can stand up to earthquakes, floods, storms and wind. The walls are also terrifically insulated and create thermal mass for solar heating.
Photo courtesy of Earthbag Building. This round earthbag home in Thailand is protected by native grasses and palms.
The bags are sometimes recycled feed or supply bags and they can be filled with native soils or lighter materials such as volcanic stone, perlite, vermiculite or rice hulls. The re-use of these items and the lack of the use of wood in this type of construction make it an environmentally friendly building option.
However, you’ve gotta protect those walls.
Earthbag walls, while they are strong and thick, are subject to decay from the sun’s rays and degradation from rain and water runoff. Many earthbag homes are also plastered on the outside with mud plaster or cement stucco. A strong roof with at least a two-foot overhang will protect earthbag walls for years.
Roofs for earthbag buildings can be built with many different types of construction materials including lumber rafters or trusses, timber beams, or bamboo rafters and trusses. One of the least expensive options is metal roofing since it can be made with minimal framing and recycled steel. For any roof you choose, earthbag walls must be anchored to the roof at their tops and using concrete bond beams on the tops of the walls with reinforcing bars is also recommended.
The Cozy Home Earthbag Shield
Cozy Home Plans sells an Earthbag Shield steel roof system that completely covers and protects an earthbag home. The Shield also comes with a kit that includes new polypropylene bags, barbed wire which is used for the “mortar” in-between the rows of bags and 20 1/2″ rebar stakes in 20 foot lengths for stability. A Shield (and the kit) for a 24 x 30 foot earthbag house costs $3,897, a 24×40 foot Shield and kit costs $4,497, and a 24 x 50 foot Shield and kit costs $4,997. Prices include delivery up to 250 miles from zip code 75201. The kits weigh about 3,000-4,000 pounds and several people will be needed to move the trusses.
Photo courtesy of Earthbag Building. This earthbag home in Haiti, named the “Sun House”, was built to house children needing help from the local church. The bags were poly bags that previously held rice, barley and wheat. The soil inside the bags was moistened sand and clay. Barbed wire was used as mortar between each row.
When you look at a Cozy Home (like the Granite Mountain above) or another tiny house plan, do you know what those dotted lines across the top are? Those lines indicate the shape and style of your new ceiling.
There are several different types of ceilings you can choose from in a Cozy Home: vaulted, sloped, cathedral, tray, coved and stepped. A cathedral ceiling, which angles upward from the walls to peak, follow the roof’s pitch and will be shown on a floor plan as a straight, dotted line. The broken lines denoting a tray or gambrel ceiling are in the shape of an upside-down serving tray. A stepped ceiling, also known as a racetrack ceiling, is illustrated using concentric, dotted rectangles. A coved ceiling is rounded at the corners, and a vaulted ceiling rolls up to a half-barrel shape.
A variety of materials are used for constructing ceilings in a home. By far the most common today is the same as that used for walls—drywall (also known as gypsum wallboard or by the trade name Sheetrock), attached to a structure of ceiling joists with drywall screws or nails. Joints between the drywall panels are taped and finished with drywall compound also using the same techniques used for walls.
Ceilings can also be made of lath and plaster, wood planks like tongue & groove paneling or classic pressed-metal panels. You ceiling can also be a suspended or “dropped” ceiling which consists of a metal grid suspended from joists and attached at the walls, supporting lightweight ceiling panels made of natural fibers or fiberglass.
Most conventional ceilings are approximately 8 feet high, but creating a taller ceiling with various styles can make your Cozy Home seem larger and more airy.
Cozy, Kevin B Harrington