find 10 gaffs in this kitchen

Do you get tired of perfectly staged pictures of homes? Even if you live in a pristine manner, there will be some signs of human life. Let’s lovingly call them gaffs.

Check out this Rocio Romero modern home exterior, followed by the owners’ kitchen picture. Your challenge is to record 10 gaffs and compare them with our results.

This Arizona home is clad in a rust-colored metal. Its deck is accessed from the bedroom and great room.  (Rocio Romero)

This Arizona home is clad in a rust-colored metal. Its deck is accessed from the bedroom and great room. (Rocio Romero)

Michael and Aaron's kitchen is lovely, especially with the blue counters and white spaces. They live here! (Rocio Romero)

Michael and Aaron’s kitchen is lovely, especially with the blue counters and white spaces. They live here! (Rocio Romero)

Where are the kitchen gaffs?

  1. Pot Cover – There’s a pot on the burner, with a top that clearly fits another sized-pot. We have been guilt of this crime before, you?
  2. Plants – Notice the plants over the cabinets and to the left of the sink. As not exactly perfect specimens, they resemble ones in many homes.
  3. Towel – The towel hanging from the oven has been, gasp, used. It’s located correctly but is dingy and lacks a color pop.
  4. Knife – Here’s an empty knife block save one ready to use. Either remove the block or find volunteers willing to share the block.
  5. Water container – Why would a shoot include a plastic vessel, shown next to the counter plant? It’s the Arizona desert, after all.
  6. Window ajar – A little window sheds light on the kitchen counter. From what we see, it’s half-open and revealing some kind of fencing outside.
  7. Books – Check out the books inserted in the closed part of the window. Maybe those could lodge somewhere else for now.
  8. Candle set – The candle holder sits unused and sans candles, above the cabinets. Place it on the island with some candles for the shoot.
  9. Banana – We love the single over-ripe banana, sitting lonely in a larger bowl on the kitchen island. It’s crying out for fruity friends.
  10. Island – The blue colored counter and island are glorious. Why not use the empty island as a food display for snacks or more?

If we missed anything, then please comment below or reach us at tinyhousejoy1-at-gmail-dot.com.

Want a bigger little place

Let’s say a tiny or small house fits in your world view, except you crave a larger footprint. More office, sleeping, hobby or hang-out room might be nice.

Here are a few companies offering kits or prefabs, which handle materials (both) and construction (prefabs) for you.

Prefabs: assembled on your land

Check out these Kanga modern prefabs, ranging from 280 to 800 sq. ft. (Kanga Systems)

Check out these Kanga modern prefabs, ranging from 280 to 800 sq. ft. (Kanga Systems)

Kanga cottage prefabs, with porch/entry options, range from 280 to 640 sq. ft. (Kanga Systems)

Kanga cottage prefabs, with porch/entry options, range from 280 to 640 sq. ft. (Kanga Systems)

This Greenbuild cabin, measuring 810 sq. ft., is the smallest prefab from Resolution 4 Architecture. (re4a.com)

This Greenbuild cabin, measuring 801 sq. ft., is the smallest prefab from Resolution 4 Architecture. (re4a.com)

With a streamlined and hip feel, the Greenbuild cabin offers plenty of square footage to add your touches. (re4a.com)

With a streamlined and hip feel, the Greenbuild cabin offers plenty of square footage to add your touches. (re4a.com)

Kits: materials delivered to your land

This LVM modern home, shown with grey cladding, offers 693 sq. ft. Its kit may be ordered via the architect. (Rocio Romero)

This LVM modern home, shown with dark cladding, offers 693 sq. ft. Its kit may be ordered via the architect. (Rocio Romero)

In the LVM, there's a main floor bedroom and great room. The place calls for mid-modern decor. (Rocio Romero)

In the LVM, there’s a main floor bedroom and great room. The place calls for mid-modern decor. (Rocio Romero)

This Greek Revival style, popular in the 1700s, measures 560 sq.ft. with an 800 sq. ft. porch. (Pennywise)

This Greek Revival style, popular in the 1700s, measures 560 sq.ft. with an 800 sq. ft. porch. (Pennywise)

Kits for these old-school, 1700s styles may be ordered via the architect's manufacturing partner. (Pennywise)

Kits for these old-school, 1700s styles may be ordered via the architect’s manufacturing partner. (Pennywise)

can’t argue about stuff

“Too much stuff” is a rallying cry among so many Americans, regardless of where they live. It’s easy to get knowing responses when complaining about and dealing with stuff.

Joshua Becker, who writes Becoming Minimalist, advocates for the least amount of things as achievable and ideal. His quote about stuff, below, almost sounds like a commonly-held belief to us.

Stuff - Becoming Minimalist

Sarah Susanka, architect and supporter of The Not So Big Life, comments on our impulsive need to collect things: “If we don’t let ourselves slow down and stop accumulating for a while, we will never see what is hidden below.”

Many folks (we are guilty) opt for the quick fix of external storage. Out of sight, out of mind, right? We’re not sure whether it counts when you store things and just feel better.

"I think that it's time for a confession," says cookbook author Julie Hasson. "Well I am crazy for dishes." She would have to part with her store-sized stash, in a small place.

“I think that it’s time for a confession,” says cookbook author Julie Hasson. “Well I am crazy for dishes.” She would have to part with her store-sized stash, in a small place.

Time for a little stress

Stuff becomes sensitive when when changes are afoot like job relocations, other moves, family additions, empty nests, elderly parents arrangements and more. The stress occurs whether changes happen quickly or are long-planned.

When watching people move into smaller places, you’ll see emotions running high. It takes time to pare down, give away, sell, donate or throw out stuff. Unless you are a certified hoarder, it’s possible to make progress.

This sofa bench functions for day and night-time use. It's ready for overnight guests, including storage filled with all bedding. Specific storage is essential in a tiny house. (Sol Haus)

This sofa bench functions for day and night-time use. It’s ready for overnight guests, including storage filled with all bedding. Specific storage is essential in a tiny house. (Sol Haus)

Design for display and storage

As people relocate to small or tiny homes, storage become core critical. One THJ reader opined that “designers of tiny houses and recreational vehicles do a much better job at designing storage and kitchen spaces” than apartment designers. Let’s add boat designers to the list.

Presumably there’s a place for everything, whether design creates order or people who live smaller are drawn to orderly living. Tumbleweed’s lead designer, Meg Stephens, explains “when designed well, tiny dwellers gain a sense of ‘fitting’ in their downsized surroundings.”

We do know that whatever size place you choose, you will need to take steps to get rid of stuff AND to focus on what display/storage works — as a bibliophile, gourmet cook, artist, skier or your unique self.

yes, to automated washer-dryer

This past week, we conducted a poll with Tiny House Joy readers which asked, “In a tiny house, how would you wash clothes?”

You want a home machine. Some 43% of respondents chose an automated washer/dryer combo. Another 13% sought a regular washer, and 11% picked a standard or spinner dryer. Only 18% preferred any manual, off-grid options.

While living in tiny house, over half of you want to fit a machine. Some plan to head elsewhere to use machines. And a few stalwarts would do hand-washing and air drying. (Tiny House Joy poll, 2014)

While living in a tiny house, over half of you want to fit a machine. Some plan to head elsewhere to use machines. And a few stalwarts would do hand-washing and air drying. (Tiny House Joy poll, 2014)

So here’s to our love of washing and drying machines, even if the drying cycle takes longer with the ventless models. The good news is these combo machines already get installed, as seen in these examples below — and they run fine with (lots of) electricity.

At Tumbleweed's Boulder workshop, participants toured a brand-new home. You can see the automated washer-dryer unit tucked under the kitchen galley. (Tumbleweed Houses)

At Tumbleweed’s Boulder workshop, participants toured a brand-new home. You can see the automated washer-dryer unit tucked under the kitchen galley. (Tumbleweed Houses)

Take a close look at this Minim house in Upstate NY, to spot the washer-dryer unit under the shelving and before the bathroom. It fits just fine here. (Minim NY)

Take a close look at this Minim house in Upstate NY, to spot the washer-dryer unit under the shelving and before the bathroom. It fits just fine here. (Minim NY)

apartment and tiny house siblings

“A tiny house is sort of the suburban or maybe even rural version of a small apartment,” explained tiny houser Ryan Mitchell, to Salon magazine.

We kind of agree. It’s easy to spot apartment and tiny house family resemblances in open, multifunctional and simple interior layouts.

Apartment Interiors

APARTMENT - With 9'-10" ceilings and Juliet balconies, these 250-370 sq. ft. studio apartments have been designed for a new Manhattan complex that's more affordable. (nArchitects)

APARTMENT – With 9′-10″ ceilings and Juliet balconies, these 250-370 sq. ft. studio apartments have been designed for a new Manhattan complex that’s more affordable. (nArchitects)

APARTMENT - This 425 sq. ft. space is 25 feet high. The kitchen, living room and bathroom are on the main floor, while the sleeping area gets cantilevered above. (Specht Harpman)

APARTMENT – This 425 sq. ft. space is 25 feet high. The kitchen, living room and bathroom are on the main floor, while the sleeping area gets cantilevered above. (Specht Harpman)

APARTMENT - Here's a standard unit, which might benefit from some added color or decor. The storage includes built-in cabinets and shelves, like other tinies. (Atlantic Monthly)

APARTMENT – Here’s a standard unit, which might benefit from some added color or decor. The storage includes built-in cabinets and shelves, like other tinies. (Atlantic Monthly)

Tiny House Interiors

HOUSE - This miniHome is a contemporary, modular pre-fab which get manufactured before arriving on site. Here's a shot of the great room area and galley kitchen. (Altius RSA)

HOUSE – This “miniHome” is a contemporary, modular pre-fab which gets manufactured before arriving on site. Here’s a shot of the great room and galley kitchen. (Altius RSA)

HOUSE - Notice the light and bright interior, looking towards the kitchen area and storage. The owner lives in this house on wheels with her beau, newborn and dog. (Minimotives.com)

HOUSE – Notice the light and bright interior, looking towards the kitchen area and storage. The owner lives in the house on wheels with her beau, newborn and dog. (Minimotives.com)

HOUSE - The Downtown Project, in Las Vegas, plans to rent tinies. They have created a modern look inside this house on wheels. (Sally Wilson photo, Tumbleweed Houses)

HOUSE – The Downtown Project, in Las Vegas, plans to rent tinies. They have created a modern look inside this house on wheels. (Sally Wilson photo, Tumbleweed Houses)

going with led lighting

As incandescent bulbs fade away, LED and curly CFL contenders are duking it out. A new rival, called Finally, will also enter the ring with softer light. Yet LEDs are mercury free, unlike CFL and Finally bulbs.

We support LED bulbs due to their longevity, efficiency, overall cost/hour and styles appealing to tiny house dwellers. Let’s compare the bulbs for sale.

All you need to know about bulb cost, longevity, electricity and overall cost per 50k hours. Also catch the spelling error for electricity and you win 10 points. (Angie's List)

All you need to know about bulb cost, longevity, electricity and overall cost per 50k hours. Also catch the spelling error for electricity and you win 10 points. (Angie’s List)

LED in the lead

“A good rule of thumb to understand is that a typical LED light will use about 12 to 18 percent of the electricity as a traditional incandescent or halogen bulb would use for comparable lumens,” explains Michael Beverly, a Los Angeles electrical contractor. Lumens refer to the bulb’s light brightness, by the way.

LED prices, at $36/bulb, seem high though one lasts as long as five CFL and 42 incandescent bulbs. LEDs save money vs. incandescents and, with dropping prices, should beat CFLs soon. Throw in electricity usage and costs, and LEDs already achieve the lowest cost/hour.

The upcoming Finally costs $10/bulb, and you’ll need four to match LED’s longevity. Overall, it lands between LEDs and CFLs on total cost/hour. Finally bulbs resemble old incandescents, delivering warm and dispersed light. Dimmers don’t work yet.

LED for design and decor

Beyond the numbers, LED bulbs fit nicely with different fixtures: recessed high-hats, pendants, lamps, strips, etc. LED light diffuses better than earlier versions and maintains brightness and color through its 50k hour lifespan.

Many tiny house dwellers use them now.

Tiny house owners Christopher and Malissa Tack surrounded all their windows with LED lighting. Their kitchen lights are shown here. (Tiny Tack House)

Tiny house owners Christopher and Malissa Tack surrounded all their windows with LED lighting. Their kitchen lights are shown here. (Tiny Tack House)

In his tiny house, Art Cormier installed LED lighting exclusively. Some LED strips are shown in the great room here. He used laledus.com, a local Louisiana maker. (Tiny SIP House)

In his tiny house, Art Cormier installed LED lighting exclusively. Some LED strips are shown in the great room here. He used laledus.com, a local Louisiana maker. (Tiny SIP House)

At the Tiny Project, Alek Lisefski nestled a large LED fixture near the wood ceiling beam. It’s completely hidden from view, unless you are working in the kitchen. (The Tiny Project)

At the Tiny Project, Alek Lisefski nestled a large LED fixture near the wood ceiling beam. It’s completely hidden from view, unless you are working in the kitchen. (The Tiny Project)