Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Too Small?

Inspired by the blog at www.ninetinyfeet.com, we decided to set out with our own version of a micro house. If you didn't already follow this blog, ninetinyfeet seeks to create a shelter no bigger than the area taken by an adult laying down, 9sf. We would argue that while a chalk outline might encompass 9sf, this makes for slightly uncomfortable sleeping; more akin to an old-school coffin. The Japanese have a saying similar to, "Awake, half a mat; asleep, one mat". A mat (or tatami) is approximately three feet by six, or 36.8x71.6", or 17.8sf. This is about the size of a twin mattress. Maybe ninetinyfeet should rethink their goal, though the shelters sure do stretch the mind.

In a similar interest, we considered the queen size mattress. Picnicking on a blanket no larger than 60x75", ninetinyfeet inspired us to think about living in a 40sf minus shed. The first thing that came to mind was one tatami to sleep on, a 30" kitchen unit, and a small humanure toilet. Then we figured if ninetinyfeet could loft some of his space that we would do the same. We lofted a single bed (30x75") leaving 6'-4" of headroom. The 30" kitchen unit and the humanure toilet cover one wall leaving 24sf of floor. A permanent ladder on the opposite wall lets you reach the bed loft. The toilet can be covered by a bench seat for sitting, with a fold down or slide over or fold-down-slide-over table.

Now before you get too concerned, we are not going to start designing and selling these as our primary plans. This was an experiment to get us to think outside the box. The walls are 2x3 @ 24" o.c., filled with insulation and then covered with 1" of rigid foam. There is a 28" porch on the front. The house (?) has been more or less value engineered. If we wanted to get crazy and consider portability, we could make the porch roof hinge down, the porch floor hinge up, and everything travel in less than 8' wide and 12' tall.

In the coming months, look for some tiny homes from istockhouseplans. We are playing around with some plans sized at around 300sf-400sf, all compliant with the IRC building code. You can call us crazy, just don't call us late for dinner.

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