go for steel cladding

We favor modern homes featuring industrial steel and glass, with open views. They are becoming a practical response to shipping containers, which are not structurally or optimally designed as living spaces.

This industrial home archetype starts with rectangles. Its rusty exterior comes from steel sheets attached to a stick-built structure. The focal point is one glass side of the home which, through windows and doors, delivers stylish views.

An old granite farmhouse connects to this modern family dining and living space, clad in Cor-Ten steel. (Dwell)

An old granite farmhouse connects to this modern family dining and living space, clad in Cor-Ten steel. (Dwell)

The Z-Glass is a classic design, with hot-rolled steel siding. The home is only 350 square feet. (Plans, Tumbleweed Houses)

The Z-Glass is a classic design, with hot-rolled steel siding. The home is only 370 square feet. (Plans, Tumbleweed Houses)

For a house on wheels, this steel-clad Mica has curb appeal. It's just 172 square feet. (Plans, Tumbleweed Houses)

For a house on wheels, this steel-clad Mica has curb appeal. It’s just 172 square feet. (Plans, Tumbleweed Houses)

linden house squeezes into yard

There’s nothing like watching a tiny house on wheels, while it’s getting gently squeezed into place. We spotted one Tumbleweed Linden moving from an original build site to a backyard, the other day.

Fortunately, this little house cleared some fences with nary a scratch. Here are several cell-phone, low quality snapshots recording the action.

Spotting one truck and one Linden home. (Tiny House Joy)

Spotting one truck and one Linden home. (Tiny House Joy)

Driver checks clearances before backing up. (Tiny House Joy)

Driver checks clearances before backing up. (Tiny House Joy)

Linden window reflects sky as it passes by. (Tiny House Joy)

Linden window reflects sky as it passes by. (Tiny House Joy)

Linden home may squeeze in here, after all. (Tiny House Joy)

Linden home may squeeze in here, after all. (Tiny House Joy)

Clear sailing of truck and home, into the yard.  (Tiny House Joy)

Clear sailing of truck and home, into the yard. (Tiny House Joy)

sheds are for people, not things

Backyard sheds have been going upscale, as they transform into extra living space for their owners. It turns out that sheds are used more frequently for space rather than storage purposes.

This 100+ square foot garden office, called the Alexander MKII, may be ordered as a kit or be fully built on site. (Dunster House)

This 100+ square foot garden office, called the Alexander MKII, may be ordered as a kit or be fully built on site. (Dunster House)

Today, research from shed manufacturer Dunster House (UK) revealed that over half of sheds get used for hobbies or relaxation. Only 43% are for storage and 4% are for aesthetic, garden appeal. Alex Murphy discussed his company’s findings with the UK Independent:

“We all know that sheds have a practical use, but hadn’t realized so many people were using them as a bolthole from the stresses and strain of their everyday lives, either to grab a bit of peace and quiet, or to relax and enjoy their favorite hobbies.”

Let’s assume similar backyard shed uses in the USA. While sheds keep getting nicer, there’s a limit to adding creature comforts because they would run afoul of local zoning and codes. Tiny houses on wheels may be a solid alternative, as they are legally able to access plumbing, water and electricity.

It will be interesting to see how the demand for traditional sheds versus more elaborate tiny houses evolves over the next few years.

building little storybook homes!

Have you discovered storybook structures around the country?  They remind us of Hansel and Gretel fairy tales, and were mostly built before World War II. Storybooks would make great little homes today.

The City of Oakland (CA) built this storybook cottage in 1927, as a fire station with full garage. It may become a museum. (Oakland History Room)

The City of Oakland (CA) built this storybook cottage in 1927, as a fire station with full garage. It may become a museum. (Oakland History Room)

These days we don’t see storybooks getting built, though some homes may incorporate gingerbread-like elements.  So Tiny House Joy decided to search for building plans with more signature features.

Storybook Homes came out the winner, after issuing The Truly Tiny Collection a couple months ago. Here are their smallest tiny cottage designs for your review.

Beesborough Studio measures 148 square feet, with a 12+ foot inside wall diameter. This space is for study or hobby purposes, rather than full-time living. (Storybook Homes)

Beesborough Studio measures 148 square feet, with a 12+ foot wall diameter. This space is for study or hobby purposes, rather than full-time living. (Storybook Homes)

Mustardseed Cottage offers 540 square feet on one level, featuring a great room, sleeping area for two, U-shaped kitchen and full bath. (Storybook Homes)

Mustardseed Cottage offers 540 square feet on one level, featuring a great room, sleeping area for two, U-shaped kitchen and full bath. (Storybook Homes)

Kestral Cottage features an 800 square foot, two-story plan. There's one bedroom and bath upstairs, and a great room with dining and kitchen areas below. (Storybook Homes)

Kestral Cottage features an 800 square foot, two-story plan. There’s one bedroom and bath upstairs, and a great room with dining and kitchen areas below. (Storybook Homes)

Gwyndolyn Cottage is a large one bedroom home, at 1,200 square feet. There's simply more space for each area, notably the great room and bedroom. (Storybook Homes)

Gwyndolyn Cottage is a large one bedroom home, at 1,200 square feet. There’s simply more space for each area, notably the  great room and bedroom. (Storybook Homes)

running with the radiant orchid herd

Each year, Pantone announces an official color that will be the trend leader. Designers of all stripes start running towards the hue, as if it’s the answer to world peace. The 2014 color is a pink-purple called radiant orchid.

The good news is our world hasn’t exactly gone all purple. Instead of enveloping surroundings in the bold color, the furnishings and items we discovered add a little brightness and whimsy. Let’s take a tour.

Some color inspiration to match radiant orchid: white, blue, grey, tan, other purples. (DCI Studio)

Some color inspiration to match radiant orchid: white, blue, grey, tan, other purples. (DCI Studio)

Here's a traditionally-shaped table lamp, with a radiant orchid base and matching zig-zag shade. (Lamps Plus)

Here’s a traditionally-shaped table lamp, with a radiant orchid base and matching zig-zag shade. (Lamps Plus)

This one-cup brewer delivers coffee or other hot drinks in two minutes. Radiant orchid is one of 13 color options. (Keurig)

This one-cup brewer delivers coffee or other hot drinks in two minutes. Radiant orchid is one of 13 color options. (Keurig)

The stackable Estrosa stool comes in radiant orchid, with a chrome, aluminum or black colored base. (Alma Design)

The stackable Estrosa stool comes in radiant orchid, with a chrome, aluminum or black colored base. (Alma Design)

Here’s a one of a kind, vintage Kilim rug with radiant orchid appearing among complementary colors. (Meg Biram)

Here’s a one of a kind, vintage Kilim rug with radiant orchid appearing among complementary colors. (Meg Biram)

downsizing but valuing your books

Although we are in the age of Kindle, many beautiful bookshelves still exist! If you haven’t moved in a while, there could be a collection covering many years.

Do you have to give up your library? We like this bookcase wall, enveloping the door and storage. (Dezeen)

Do you have to give up your library? We like this bookcase wall, enveloping the door and storage. (Dezeen)

It is hard to part with books, though often necessary when going into a smaller house. One friend we knew had 25 boxes of back-breaking titles, ranging from high school math texts through the most unmemorable airport trash pick-ups.

While most books were untouched for decades, she insisted on keeping any book she had purchased. The process of downsizing was difficult, though she wasn’t a hoarder in other ways. We organized things by genre first.

Over the next few weeks, books were donated to libraries, schools and book sales discovered in neighboring towns.  It was a slow enough process, driven in part by bagging and placing books into the car trunk as a motivating force.

Eventually, we were down to three shelves.  At this stage, a new book rule took place to “catch and release” them.  If a book came in, then a book went out the door.  It created a new kind of freedom, without all the (literal) heavy baggage.

tiny guest house adds charm in 1920s bungalow yard

In a historic district, a backyard guest house has to conform to zoning and building codes as well as receive a certificate of appropriateness.

On this property, a nearly 100-year-old bungalow lends its design elements to the 200 square foot tiny house. There are exposed rafter tails, three over one windows and a front door that’s downsized but identical to the larger home.

Entry into yellow home, adorned with three over one windows. (Youtube, Ben Hartel)

Entry into yellow home, adorned with three over one windows. (Youtube, Ben Hartel)

The house stays light and bright with large windows, white walls and a cathedral ceiling to the roof-line. The great room is well designed and takes advantage of the space.

Great Room seen behind Peter Hartel, as he ascends to the loft. (Youtube, Ben Hartel)

Great Room seen behind Peter Hartel, as he ascends to the loft. (Youtube, Ben Hartel)

In the video tour, you’ll see a roomy kitchen, great room, breakfast nook, bathroom plugged into the property’s utilities, queen-sized sleeping loft and storage loft. The sleeping loft is particularly large in this home.

Large and airy sleeping loft features a queen-sized bed and mission-styled lighting for evening reading. (Youtube, Ben Hartel)

Large and airy sleeping loft features a queen-sized bed and mission-styled lighting for evening reading. (Youtube, Ben Hartel)

Of note, the built-in breakfast area is stunning and where we would spend a lot of time. Owner Peter Hartel built the eastern red cedar slab table along with the chandelier and seating.

Hand-made table and benches are can seat four. (Youtube, Ben Hartel)

Hand-made slab table, benches and cushions can seat four. (Youtube, Ben Hartel)

The tiny house is built on pilings, an appropriate and safe choice in a non-earthquake prone, warmer area like Athens, GA. In other locations, a full foundation may be a better choice.

simple kitchen downsizing matches tiny house

This is one of our favorite tiny house kitchens, because it scales down everything and sacrifices nothing. Before the reveal, we need to share the amazing Whidbey house from the curb.

Whidbey Tiny House exterior, located in Little Rock, Arkansas (athomearkansas.com)

Whidbey Tiny House exterior, located in Little Rock, Arkansas. (athomearkansas.com)

Next we reveal the open floor plan with a picture-perfect kitchen. Larger fridge. Sink with nice faucet. Dishwasher in here. Cabinets with glass inserts. Proper lighting. A moveable island. Who needs a big kitchen anymore?

An "L" shaped kitchen is tucked into the corner, with all you need. (athomearkansas.com)

A charming “L” shaped kitchen is tucked into the corner, with all the storage, appliances and food prep areas you need. (athomearkansas.com)

It’s true that planning a kitchen layout can get tricky. Whether you lean towards chef, baker, cook, re-heater or take-out artist, this tiny house is visual proof that your needs and desires may be fulfilled in a tiny kitchen.

forged faucets for bathrooms

When bathrooms shed some square footage, they still require your special decorating touches. How about adding a little high art there?

Over time, it’s easy to forget that custom forging still exists. Some spectacular sink or bath faucets could be the focal point in a bathroom. Let’s look at these styles, from Sonoma Forge of Petaluma, CA.

Bathroom Faucet

Wingnut is “a little urban, a little country” and comes in rustic copper, rustic nickel, and oil-rubbed bronze. (sonomaforge.com)

Bathroom Faucet

An upscale artwork with “a taste for Gatsby” in rustic copper, satin nickel, antique bronze or special finishes. (sonomaforge.com)

Bathroom Faucet

Want a waterspout? This industrial faucet comes in rustic copper and nickel, satin nickel and oil-rubbed bronze. (sonomaforge.com)

Bathroom Faucet

See the blacksmith’s hammer marks, which took brute force, in distressed solid brass or stainless steel surfaces. (sonomaforge.com)

 

 

welcome to downsized joy

Over the past few years, there’s been an attraction to downsized and diminutive living spaces. Many reasons exist for this trend, including lifestyle goals. Doesn’t this bungalow beckon you?

Tiny House On Wheels

Relax in this Tumbleweed Linden bungalow, which is open, comfortable and has cooking and bathroom facilities. (tumbleweedhouses.com)

Yet today there’s a gap between what people want to do and their sense of whether it’s doable. Tiny homes are here to stay, whether built on wheels or foundations, and they answer needs for very nice living space!

We are going to help you figure how to start planning for one of these cuties, whether you buy it, have someone build it or, if so inclined, even build one.

Our tiny house joy extends beyond having a structure. It takes planning and ideas to figure out what to do with tiny spaces. They say a lot about you — and what’s important in your life too.