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I Like Tiny Houses But I’m Not Tiny, What Do I Do?

The other day we got this comment on one of the new Tumbleweed tiny houses that just came out.

How well can someone over 6 feet tall and over 300 pounds live in this?

And the best answer I could think of, was this:

If you’re asking that, you may want to look at this instead, will probably be better for anyone who likes the idea but needs more space: http://tinyhousepins.com/tiny-house-on-roids/

Then I thought, “I better write about this really quick while the ideas are in my mind.” So here we are.

Bigger Tiny Houses for Bigger People: Park Models

tiny-house-on-roids-01-600x450

Let me show you the interior below: 

Bathroom

tiny-house-on-roids-08-450x600

Kitchen and Living Area

tiny-house-on-roids-04-450x600

Sleeping Loft Entrance and Staircase

tiny-house-on-roids-03-450x600

For more photos of this Park Model tiny home click here.

This might not be the best design for you but if you’ve been wondering about more space, maybe a park model is a better option for you than a tiny house?

The main difference is that you have to pay a professional driver to move it for you because it exceeds the 8’6″ width and road height requirements for most areas.

But Park Models are already widely available. It’s just where would you like to choose to park and live in it?

What are your thoughts on Park Models instead of tiny houses on wheels?

Which would you prefer and why? As always the action is always in the comments below.

If you enjoyed this blog post please “Like” and share using the buttons below and I’ll talk to you in the comments. Thanks!

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Alex

Alex is a contributor and editor for TinyHouseTalk.com and the always free Tiny House Newsletter. He has a passion for exploring and sharing tiny homes (from yurts and RVs to tiny cabins and cottages) and inspiring simple living stories. We invite you to send in your story and tiny home photos too so we can re-share and inspire others towards a simple life too. Thank you!
{ 51 comments… add one }
  • Cahow May 26, 2013, 9:33 am

    Very nice, very nice, indeed. Reminds me, Alex, of our shared love of A-Frames, particularly in the lounge area. Also like the Log Home look, which is oddly missing from many tiny homes, most preferring a siding application.

    To save someone else time, there’s barely any more photos of this unit if you not only follow the links to Tiny Pins, but even when you follow the link in SOURCE. Just some more shots of the kitchen and bathroom hallway.

    I’d love to see 1) A floor plan! WHERE does the door in the kitchen lead to? A pantry? Outdoors? Can’t tell. 2) Shots of the upstairs; 3) Photos from the kitchen of the Great Room. 4) Cabinet doors along the hallway open to see depth.

    Not complaints, just suggestions to the builder. The more you SHOW, the more we KNOW. 🙂

    • Kris May 26, 2013, 12:46 pm

      There are floor plans on his website http://www.richsportablecabins.com/floorplans.html

      • Kris May 26, 2013, 12:58 pm

        Sorry couldn’t edit my reply but the floor plan name is Miller. Hope this helps!

    • Rich Daniels May 29, 2013, 1:32 pm

      It is wonderful to read all the comments about this cabin I built. The designs I’ve come up with over the 13 years I’ve been making park models have been in response to customer feedback and the co-creation process between the customer and myself. I enjoy being innovative and love getting the chance to break the traditional mold, with this cabin being no exception. The stand-up loft concept I created for the industry is a great solution to not having to hunch over to be in the loft. With this loft trough if you are 6’2″ you can stand upright and have full access to all parts of this loft. Also since the stair trough is in the middle of the cabin there is equal space on each side, allowing for a full sized mattress on either side.

      This is not the only model with the stand-up feature. This cabin is less than full sized and comes in at 300 sf. If you are interested in knowing more about my designs and are serious about purchasing once a design has been chosen or worked up, drop me an email or call. Go to http://www.richsportablecabins.com for contact information.

  • Erik Markus May 26, 2013, 3:54 pm

    Unfortuneately, choosing a home is NOT like buying form fitting shoes.

    Larger people do not, by default, live in large homes and drive large cars.
    And vice versa.

    I’m 6-1, 205 lbs(fat by my standards), and drive a small compact car that gets 36 mpg (I would love a smart car that is all electric). And, I’ve seen more than one large “monster” truck with exagerated wheels that had a small, 2 step chrome ladder beneath the doors, because the 5-2″ male driver would not be able to get in the vehicle without it. These are the people who have bought into the idiot logic, that madison avenue spews, that “bigger is better” (?) No, it’s NOT !

    1. Those of us who have ACTUALLY chose to live in a tiny house, are often making a political statement. Have learned the lessons of a lifestyle based on materialism, and have slimmed our lives down. I got rid of 80% of material things I once had, and don’t miss any of it. I’ve also changed my diet. I’m Vegan, now. Slimming down can mean different things to different people.

    2. If a person is over 225 lbs., they need to ask themselves -“Am I happy being this weight, knowing the burdens and health risks that go along with it?” . If one has no intention of changing their life, there is no need to bother moving to a small environment.

    People who are overweight at age 25 AND don’t change their habits will, become grossly overweight, especially after the age of 35. Our eating habits when we are young need to be vastly changed as we age. Some people don’t get that, and that is one reason people in the U.S. are so obese.

    A small living space is not your concern. You have bigger things to worry about in the near future and I wish you well.

    If a person is NOT happy being overweight, and their weight issues are not due to a genetic factors, the first thing they need to do is make a commitment to get their obesity and poor health issues under control. Commitment is not a product you buy or a pill you take.

    That will most likely involve a nutritionist, your doctor, a work out program, and an understanding of how toxic food affects people in the U.S. Ditch the meat, the soda, smoking, alcohol, dairy, highly processed foods, and add some physical activity to your life.

    Give your self at least a year. Meanwhile, I wouldn’t worry about the sometimes challenges of moving to a smaller home. You will be busy, as is, and don’t need the distractions.

    Once you’ve reached a healthy lifestyle, you will most likely feel so much better about yourself. You will find that there are all kinds of opportunities available to you, that you previously would not have considered. One of those may be a tiny lifestyle.

    3. Park models are small homes in size. However, they are often built as compact mobile homes- which are toxic and not eco-friendly.

    Anything wider than 8’6″ will require a special permit to move. In times of emergency, will not be practical to move out of the way of impending disasters (tornadoes, hurricanes, floods, and the like).

    Avoid homes that have been built with fibre-glas insulation, particle board or wafer board sheathing, drywall, plastic coated particle board intended as wallpaper board, gas appliances, granite counter tops, and carpeting.

    As natural looking as real log homes appear, they are a maintenance headache. And the ones with the vynil “log look” siding, just look really stupid and obvious that the logs are a plastic veneer.

    A 12′, 14′, or 16′ Park model is certainly more desirable than a full-size single wide mobile home, much better than a behemoth double or triple wide, and FAR BETTER than a toxic suburban mcmansion that is stuck to the ground.

    A tiny house is a great way to help maintain good health and form because there is not unlimited space to hoard food. There is not the unneeded space to become lazy and let your priorities sit in a corner and rot.

    Not only are tiny homes good for the environment, good for your pocket book, they are also good for your health.

    • jerryd May 27, 2013, 11:29 am

      Come on Eric, tell us how you really feel ;^P

      I like this and even the loft, unusual for me ! But it’s roomy and easy to get out of and unlikely to be towed far.

      10′ and 12′ wide have so much more design possibilities than 8′. Nor does one require a Pro driver to tow, just a wide load permit, about $10 in most states and normally lasts a yr . Likely need to get one in each state.

      But many TH’s are never going anywhere, much less out of state so this is more than fine with a nice look. I especially like the window above the door.

      Door in the kitchen is most likely to the outside as code requires 2 doors at least in most places though exit windows can be used instead. YMMV

    • Rebecca May 28, 2013, 2:15 pm

      Eric,

      Glad you have everyone’s faults figured out and problems solved 🙂

      • Erik Markus May 28, 2013, 2:25 pm

        My concern, is the big picture, the companies manufacturing poisoned food.

        • Vanyel December 17, 2014, 11:41 pm

          I like how you feel wanting a larger living room is somehow tied to weight because it was for you.

          I like this size because I am an avid reader and many of my books are not available in ebook format so I need many bookcases. That is all. Not some grand conspiracy for wanting more or buying into some consumerist whatever-the-hell you are selling. Oh wait, it’s advice about losing weight. Dude just chill,and stop projecting ok? Or preaching weight loss because I just lost 10kg by doing literally nothing (broken foot) so really don’t tell random people, on unrelated topics, what to do because they might or might not need it, ok?

          People like you worry me, right after you annoy me anyway.

  • Patrick Roanhouse May 26, 2013, 5:14 pm

    I would have put in alternating tread stairs in there to save space. I would have also opened up the kitchen more by move the stairs over to where the bathroom entrance was and then have the bathroom entrance in on the wall that has doubled the size of the kitchen. The one thing i hate about this though is the over use of cedar looking wood. It just seems so banal. Also the use of the sliding huge glass doors makes me worry for the saftey of stuff inside the space. I would rather have solid tinted smart solid state windows that with a small volt could be frosted for privacy but still let in some natural light. I also wish more tiny homes would use sliding pocket door concepts ones that over lap so they take less space or slide together to close and lock. I think tiny homes should take more examples from boat designs as well as they are meant to be trailer pulled. If you had dishes in there I would like to know its all solidly head in place with sliding storage locations. But I guess thats just me. But i’m also a guy who is 6 foot 5 and 350 lbs.

    • Rich Daniels May 29, 2013, 2:45 pm

      Although I appreciate your ideas one must consider these things from a manufactures point of view. Alternating treads are novel but are not what the majority of people want nor does it meet code for park models. Stairs are much safer and are what people are used to. We use pocket doors frequently and are nice because the door is out of the way. Sometimes it isn’t possible so a standard swinging door is used.

      The pine interior is by far the most popular choice of interior wall coverings. Drywall is more expensive to install and must be treated with kid gloves. The advantages are that it can be painted (for those that like to play with color) and adds a nice contrast to the wood. Pretty much stops there though, because it damages easily and creates waste. Wood takes traveling much better and will last a lifetime, plus we heat the shop with the scraps.

      Windows are typically low E and since this cabin was built specifically for the customers needs the size and quantity of windows is a mute point. Remember that most of these cabins are placed in rural settings, with views that the customer wants to take in. Window placement and size are almost always called out by the customer. Egress windows are the exception.

      There is what I call a “cost to expectation ratio” that must be included when considering a custom built cabin. Feel free to dream of all the things that can be better with a design, but the costs do add up quickly. Hide sight is 20/20 and in there end there is no perfect cabin- no matter how hard we try, but at least we’ve pleased the customer.

  • SteveR May 27, 2013, 11:58 am

    I don’t think a Park model addresses any of the issues this person had. The ceiling height of the enclosed spaces and the width and height of the doorways, hallways and stairwell all appear to be standard size. All that has changed is the addition of more floor space in the living area.
    That’s not a solution. That’s the same thinking that got us into large houses in the first place.
    This person can probably make do with less square footage but needs spaces designed to be comfortable for the their physical size.

    I think we should also refrain from judging this person. Living tiny is a lifestyle, which can and should accommodate all that choose to live it. It’s not a social engineering project.

    • Princess Mom June 2, 2014, 12:52 pm

      Thank you, Steve. The frequent comments about who tiny housers should be and what they’re allowed to live in are quite off-putting to those of us who like living tiny as a personal choice, not to be part of the Movement. If you really want tiny houses to become common across the States/world, you have to allow common people to live in them. I get that some are “making a statement.” I’m just trying to retire comfortably.

  • skubitwo May 27, 2013, 3:09 pm

    I am not a large person, but due to mobility issues, I am another kind of person who would not be able to live in some of the teeny tiny homes – lifestyle choice or not. Age and two degenerative diseases will eventually lead to a wheelchair for me. However, I would be really displeased for someone to tell me that means I must live in a McMansion and never live in a small home. I think it just means I’d have to be more creative with my floor plan than you young whippersnappers. .

    • AJ June 6, 2013, 2:53 pm

      I love the idea of the smaller home. I too have DDD (degenerative disc disease). I used to use a wheelchair and have graduated from that to crutches to walking “solo” for short periods of time. I would definitely choose a design or request a design plan for wheelchair accessibility, no knuckle scraping doorways. Basically wider doorways built into the design/more open floor plan and use a collapsible/portable wheelchair ramp & safety grab bars in the bathroom. And I will have an upstairs in my small home plan. Rich Daniels-Beautiful photos!

      • Rich Daniels June 7, 2013, 3:32 pm

        Thanks AJ. I suggest sketching out what you feel is the best floor plan, or choose one that is at least close to what you want, and submit it to me so I can give you my opinion on feasibility. I just finished up a Tamarack model cabin that has widened door ways and great accessibility in all areas. When you are ready to take the next step call me or email and we’ll make it happen.
        http://www.richsportablecabins.com
        541-898-2444

  • LaMar Alexander LaMar May 28, 2013, 11:38 am

    I like Park Models but they are designed more for permanent living in a set location and the drawback is you then usually pay lot rent and utilities on top of the cost of the park model and you have a contract and rules for the park use.

    I would suggest if a person is looking for more space than a house on wheels they consider building their own cabin/house and size it to their needs. That will hold more value and increase in value and can be made more sustainable using solar and wind power and no rent.

    You can use park model floor plans for design ideas but the cost per square foot to buy a park model is much more than it would be to build your own house.

    Just my opinion!

  • Connie May 28, 2013, 11:40 am

    I could go smaller if I didn’t have to climb a ladder to go to bed; that is not meant for me. I love the concept of being able to tow my house behind me and settle in once place for several months when I retire.

  • bobhenry May 28, 2013, 12:08 pm

    Thanks for the bashing ERIK I suppose you are the runt everyone picked on Huh! I was 235 by 15 and the coach was slobbering all over himself to get me on the football team. I never did, couldn’t see the sense of abusing my body that way. My German , dutch, irish ancestory just made me the 5′ 10″ 315 pound person that I am. I am in good health at 62 haven’t seen my doctor in 2 years and have never been in a hospital in my life for anything more serious than 4-6 stitches. So get off of the soap box.

    Back to the topic With shoulders that fill out a 4 x shirt bathroom stalls less than 3-6 to 3-8 wide do not work for me. I learned that a 3×3 toilet stall will work real slick if the toilet is placed near center at a 45 degree angle. This placement allows 4’3″ corner to corner to allow wide shoulders to complete the necessary paperwork.

    I am well into the build of my 8’6″ wide by 20 foot long caboose build. Living / sleeping room is 8×8 center isle kitchen/ galley is 8×6 with 3’8″ center walk way and the bath area is 8×6. Here is a link to the build from conception to near completion. The 30 something pages show the interior shots.
    http://www.tnttt.com/viewtopic.php?f=48&t=47804
    P.S. Erik this fat man slept out there last like a big baby with the rain tapping on the roof and the cd player playing softly in the background. So yes Virginia there is room for a big man in a tiny trailer.

    • Erik Markus May 28, 2013, 1:57 pm

      No one “bashed” you.

      “…and their weight issues are not due to a genetic factors” is part of my post.

      My statements, or re-statements, about the obesity issues facing the U.S., are well known facts that have been written about very publicly.

      My disgust on that topic is aimed more at the manufacturers of products/techniques the likes of: high fructose corn syrup, genetically engineered plants, over use of anti-biotics, growth hormones, and the like, that are essentially poisoning our food.

      Add to that not telling the American people about the use of these chemicals and then trying deny them the ability to label food, as has just happened in a case with Monsanto. Disgusting. Unacceptable ! They are hiding something, by default.

      We can SEE the results. Go to a public functions and view the people. Look at the statistics of peoples measurements 30 years ago, 50 years ago, 100 years ago. Compare. Look at movies from 30 years ago, preferred home movies or documentaries where the people aren’t staged. You will SEE the difference. Talk to general practice doctors who have been in the field for a significant amount of time, they can tell one how things have changed over time.

      We have sky rocketing numbers of children with diabetes and autism. We never had that before.

      What is scariest is the majority investors in companies like Monsanto, can be people from outside the U.S. War is no longer: I’ll get my guns and shoot you. It’s ‘We will find a sly way to poison your society’. Corrupt the education, taint the food, keep progress from happening, keep people from having the information they need to make accurate decisions, etc.

      We know that the best way to kill ants is not to squish them or simply vacuum them up. We know that baits, with tastey poison they eat and take back to their nest is the way to go. hmmmm.

      Signed, CONCERNED.

      • Rebecca May 28, 2013, 2:25 pm

        Eric,
        This is a completely different post than the first one, thanks for clarifying.
        Rebecca

        • Erik Markus May 28, 2013, 2:47 pm

          No problem.

          When typing our thoughts and sharing with people we don’t know, the typed word can have several meanings.
          Misunderstandings can happen.

          I think we’re all here with good intentions.

        • jerryd May 29, 2013, 5:45 pm

          Most here either know what you are talking or don’t care.

          Vs you trying to force your off topic view time and time again is rude and basically spam, troll type stuff. Take it somewhere it’s on topic.

          Don’t get me wrong as I agree with much of it but this isn’t the place time and time again. One rant can be excused but this is the 6th time?

          Lighten up or you’ll have a stroke.

    • Rebecca May 28, 2013, 2:32 pm

      Bobhenry,
      Thanks! I went on your site and picked up some good ideas. I am also designing my small home; my last one was 660 sf, too big for tiny house standards, but perfect for me… and sitting on 14 lovely acres in east Texas. I am now on 5 acres in the East Mountains near Albuquerque and designing under 500 sf. I am not “large” but although I love the ideas in the tiny homes, I feel claustrophobic in them. I like your ideas about giving more moving around room without adding so much wasted space. In order to live comfortably in my 660 sf home, I dropped all floor to ceiling walls, except for the bathroom. I made bookcase dividers that hid the bed, for example, but kept the view of art on the wall above the bed, for a longer sight line. Once I have my small home up, 500 sf this time, I will sell the 840 sf mobile home that came with the property. Good luck on your home!

    • jerryd May 29, 2013, 6:05 pm

      On bathroom size I have no problem in a 2.5′ wide and 3′ long one able to do whatever I want without bumping the sides. Why is most people are fairly narrow. I’m 5’8” and 168lbs though used to be 215lbs and neither time was I over 20” wide.

      So at most one needs 3’x3′ for a toilet, sink and shower and even a mini bathtub if wanted. On the example of the 8’x12′ yesterday using 3’x8′ for a bath that has no more utility than a 3×3′ one can only be called a waste in such a small home.

      Even if you go to 4’x3′ you can have a separate toilet and shower. Just put the toilet in the center and shower/tub on the side you still have 3’x3′ left and the toilet never gets wet vs the 3’x8′ unit.

      A good design doesn’t waste such space in such a small home.

      Nor should one in the top/bottom 1% size expect everyone else to build for them far larger than they need. And most of our units are custom so one can build or have built their own to their specs.

      Anyone wants to waste 60-90cu’ in such a small home will pay for that time and time again over the yrs of extra utility that space could have provided.

      Far better to use it for storage or comfort where you spend the most of your time. Or just make the unit smaller, cheaper and use the money for something worthwhile.

  • ushie May 28, 2013, 12:21 pm

    I also have handicapped needs (can’t do stairs, need a tub, etc.) and most tiny houses, while adorable and eco, cannot accommodate my physical needs at all. No loft, turn-around room–like that. And no, becoming a Vegan or otherwise becoming “smaller” isn’t the point.

  • Heather May 28, 2013, 12:28 pm

    I’m glad this topic came up. I am married to a 6″4″ dude who hasn’t been able to grasp the tiny house dream. The fact that my family has a history of needing joint replacement makes us quite the pair. Stairs instead of a ladder and “real sizing” might convince him we can make this work. We also have 4 kids, so I’m hoping that when it’s just the two of us, we’ll need lots of room for visitors! I like a living room that 12 people can get into to gab and share refreshments. I’ll keep following and hope this dream can come true before too long. And, let’s be kind out there…

  • Kathy May 28, 2013, 3:09 pm

    I commented on this in the original posting, but will do so again.
    I love the feel of this unit!!!! As a full time RVer, I would prefer the feel of a house as opposed to an RV, and have considered a tiny house. The biggest change I would make to this unit is the loft access. My knees say they need stairs and won’t do ladders. Their personal choice, Ha!
    The greatest thing I would like to see developed in tiny house designs, is the use of slide-outs, like in the RV industry. It is anmazing how roomy a three foot deep slide-out can make a space feel. This would open up so many possibilities for larger people or folks like myself, who’s living space doubles as a studio or workspace.
    The biggest advantage is that the unit would be street legal and require no special permits.
    I am not ready to settle into any one place yet and want the freedom to pick up and move when the calling comes, so a park model would not be an option for me.
    I hope someone takes this concept and runs with it. I would also like to see more designs geared towards full time travel and aerodynamic design.
    Keep those designs coming!!

    • Erik Markus May 28, 2013, 4:00 pm

      I agree with you about the 6′ high loft. When I designed mine I put in a loft that is about 4′ off the floor. 3 steps and I’m up… with a big storage area underneath.

      The slide room does add room, for sure. There a couple of issues with that. It requires specialty equipment: gears, a heavy duty track, and motor. It also requires building the structure with serious weigh distrubtion factors. Plus knowledge of how to properly seal the slide unit against the main structure. Most DIYers don’t have that complicated of expertise. Even some in the industry don’t.

      I bought my parents a Breckenridge Park model with 2 manual slides, in 2002. When the unit was closed, slides in, it left a very large gap in the floor that allowed mice to freely enter the unit, and do lots of damage over the winter. They chewed up the bed spread, got in cabinets, and with the unit slid in, they climbed the edge and were able to reach the air conditioner ducts in the ceiling. The climbed in there, went to the main unit and chewed the foam making a big mess. My parents didnit realize they were in there and every time they turned on the AC a few particles of nest would come out, just randomly. It wasn’t until I took the cover off the main unit that I realized a huge nest.

      A warranty call had them install some flashing, which did nothing to help.

      And these slides always seem to leak. Wether it is the roof of the slide, or where the unit meets up with the main structure. The slide in my parents unit was leaking on the floor on one side and that slide was not installed correctly at the factory.

      I also owned a 1997 Salem with a front slide. This too, leaked on the floor.

      Also, bugs crawl into the gap where the slide meet the main unit. I’ve seen numerous used RVs and they almost always have leak damage in the slide area.
      Also, most slides have a weird weather stripping plate that makes the slide look like a drawer in relation to the main structure, with vastly wider face surface compared to the body of the slide. That is not a traditional architectural design, at all. It doesn’t even look nice for an RV. And that is another thing, traditional homes, something a tiny house is designed to resemble, have never had, push button, slide out rooms.

      Now, tip-outs, these were the precursor to the slide. They were most popular in the 70s and 80s, and used only on park models and full-size mobile homes. They are basically the same structure of a slide out (a 3 sided room with slanted roof and floor) but they are connected via a simple to install piano hinge on the floor.

      When a unit reached its destination, one would (after providing a suitable support on the ground for the tip out) Get the help of at least a few other capable people, and grunt and heave, and bend at the knees and l-i-f-t and TIP the unit up right from its traveling spot. That is, it lays on its side, inside the main unit during travel.

    • Erik Markus May 28, 2013, 4:00 pm

      I agree with you about the 6′ high loft. When I designed mine I put in a loft that is about 4′ off the floor. 3 steps and I’m up… with a big storage area underneath.

      The slide room does add room, for sure. There a couple of issues with that. It requires specialty equipment: gears, a heavy duty track, and motor. It also requires building the structure with serious weigh distrubtion factors. Plus knowledge of how to properly seal the slide unit against the main structure. Most DIYers don’t have that complicated of expertise. Even some in the industry don’t.

      I bought my parents a Breckenridge Park model with 2 manual slides, in 2002. When the unit was closed, slides in, it left a very large gap in the floor that allowed mice to freely enter the unit, and do lots of damage over the winter. They chewed up the bed spread, got in cabinets, and with the unit slid in, they climbed the edge and were able to reach the air conditioner ducts in the ceiling. The climbed in there, went to the main unit and chewed the foam making a big mess. My parents didnit realize they were in there and every time they turned on the AC a few particles of nest would come out, just randomly. It wasn’t until I took the cover off the main unit that I realized a huge nest.

      A warranty call had them install some flashing, which did nothing to help.

      And these slides always seem to leak. Wether it is the roof of the slide, or where the unit meets up with the main structure. The slide in my parents unit was leaking on the floor on one side and that slide was not installed correctly at the factory.

      I also owned a 1997 Salem with a front slide. This too, leaked on the floor.

      Also, bugs crawl into the gap where the slide meet the main unit. I’ve seen numerous used RVs and they almost always have leak damage in the slide area.
      Also, most slides have a weird weather stripping plate that makes the slide look like a drawer in relation to the main structure, with vastly wider face surface compared to the body of the slide. That is not a traditional architectural design, at all. It doesn’t even look nice for an RV. And that is another thing, traditional homes, something a tiny house is designed to resemble, have never had, push button, slide out rooms.

      Now, tip-outs, these were the precursor to the slide. They were most popular in the 70s and 80s, and used only on park models and full-size mobile homes. They are basically the same structure of a slide out (a 3 sided room with slanted roof and floor) but they are connected via a simple to install piano hinge on the floor.

      When a unit reached its destination, one would (after providing a suitable support on the ground for the tip out) Get the help of at least a few other capable people, and grunt and heave, and bend at the knees and l-i-f-t and TIP the unit up right from its traveling spot. That is, it lays on its side, inside the main unit during travel.

      • Erik Markus May 28, 2013, 4:09 pm

        continuing..

        Tip-outs are a good idea because they are practical to build and they don’t look ‘weird’ on the outside. They look like they could be a bay window. They don’t have the odd trim that makes them look like a drawer. They do require support and in areas where the ground heaves during winter, this can be an issue. And they do require lifting into place. Something, I think that one could make a simple solution to.

        Because the roof needs to be of a greater slant (it can’t be flat), it would be less likely to have leak problems.

        As for aerodynamics. If one were to build an air dam that could easily ‘snap on’ to existing tiny houses during transport, that would be an option. When I moved my house accross country I put a small air dam on the front. Nothing special. You can see it in my recent video “tiny house build in 15 minutes” at the very end of the video on You tube.

  • Jen May 28, 2013, 4:25 pm

    I’m a big girl at 5’10”, 205 lbs. and I love the idea of a tiny house! I’m considered just shy of obese but I’m mostly muscle so I’m more healthy than a lot of folks who are ‘thin’. I don’t own a car so I bike and walk everywhere which keeps me healthier than people who have chronic ‘gas-ass’. I agree with all of what Erik Markus has said in that most people don’t realize how much garbage is sold as food here in the US. I also think that the more people use cars for transportation the less exercise they get so the bad nutrition is compounded by a sedentary lifestyle.
    Part of my strategy will be to have some raised bed gardens for growing as much of my own food as possible and having some fruit and nut trees.
    I’ve lived in smaller places most of my life and always felt more comfortable in them than in larger ones. I’m active and love the outdoors plus I live in Florida so nature is just another living space to me. My setup will have a screen house for an outdoor living space that’s protected from rain and skeeters.

  • Alyce May 29, 2013, 6:06 am

    Live long enough, folks, and you’re going to experience a degree of disability. Very few people live out their lives without ever becoming injured or experiencing any degree of limitation.

    I hear a lot of self righteous nonsense, hiding in between the lines, with all this talk about losing weight – and about all the “control” you have over yoru health & the lifestyle you will be able to live. Try just getting older – you’ll get a fast lesson in just how little you actually control. (No, 60 something doesn’t count. I’m talking lifespans like my grannies have faced – 107 in one case (and still alive) and 98 for the other one.)

    Unlikely you will be able to live on your own until the end, regardless. But if you are foolish enough to put in a loft & not plan ahead for needing a wheelchair / walker, you are choosing to put yourselves into an assisted living facility at a MUCH younger age than necessary, otherwise.

    I became disabled at age 30 – rock climbing accident. It can happen to anyone. (I’ve subsequently badly broken an ankle simply taking out my trash.) If you think you will always be perfectly healthy (or the perfect weight) life is going to teach you some humility the hard way, before it’s all said & done with. Bodies age. That’s a fact of life.

    I’m also in the medical field – it’s not about weight as much as ‘normal wear & tear’ no matter what you’ve heard. Not saying you shouldn’t watch what is in your food. By all means, avoid all the crap mentioned above. It’s pure poison. But *regardless* your weight bearing joints ARE going to age – and not in a good way, most likely. The human body was simply not designed (in terms of evolution) for our current lifespans.

    So unless you want to off yourself in your 70s – or earlier, depending on how lucky or unlucky you turn out to be – I would strongly advise planning ahead. That goes for everyone – thin or fat. If the house is going to last you into your 50s, 60s or beyond, you need to think Much harder about mobility issues. I am unfortunately speaking from experience, which some of you clearly lack.

    And for the record – with regard to your health – if you’re going to watch a number, chuck your bathroom scale into the trash, and buy yourself a blood sugar meter. ($10 on sale.) THAT is the number you need to be worried about. What you weigh is correlated, but NOT as closely as you probably think! (Most of our cultural bias about being overweight is aesthetic and fueled by absurd media standards. Beware of correlations versus cause, when you’re reading about health in the popular media.)

    Nor is weight gain causal to a blood sugar problem. In fact, there’s mounting evidence it’s the other way around – insulin resistance causes *subsequent* weight gain. Most people simply don’t catch their blood sugar problems early enough. By the time they notice they’re “pre diabetic” or have “metabolic syndrome” (or worse, are actually diabetic) they are already in serious trouble! (And they’re probably overweight as well, by that point.)

    Again, the issue to some extent is simply aging. Our genes were selected under conditions of a lifespan of about 40 to 50 years. Go beyond that and you’re looking at developing some unattractive, not at all fun health issues, if you simply live long enough.

    I would like to see the video about special features. Planning ahead for eventual disability is a very WISE thing to do, for everyone!

    • Al May 30, 2013, 7:20 am

      Hi Alyce,

      Firstly, I would like to thank you for pointing these things out, I am one of those people who would be categorized as disabled because of Diabetes, and at 55 it is very depressing indeed. A bit of background, I was born and grew up in the Pacific and never had a weight problem or a diet of the so called engineered garbage, i was also far from sedentary, I played Basketball and Football throughout childhood and participated in Track and Softball all during College and for most of my entire life, then came the Diabetes which was followed by the Neuropathy in my legs and the numbness in my hands. These folks who for the most part do a lot of talking about weight and being health conscious seem to not realize what to really look at.

      Like everyone here, I am most definitely fascinated by the Tiny Homes and the movement but sadly can not realistically participate as much as I would like to, ladders are specially disheartening to see. While I would never wish ill upon anyone, I would love to see some of these folks after they have suffered some kind of debilitating event have to do a quick backstroke and rethink their brilliant small footprint plans, I believe they would change their tune and revise their opinions as to what qualifies as a Tiny Home and why.

      I also strongly agree that if you want to watch a number, “Please-Please” invest in a Glucose meter and watch those numbers instead, they are very cheap and in a lot of cases you can even get a free one from your Doctor and you wouldn’t need a prescription for the strips, they can be had cheaply at your local Drug store or even some Supermarkets. Please folks, take it from someone who knows first hand, your body can and will turn against you someday and in the event you luck out in that respect plan for mother nature and the guy coming up in your blind spot.

      • Rich July 8, 2013, 9:35 pm

        Thanks all for the comments. They give a person something to think about. Now, Al and I are almost the same. I became a diabetic in my youth but didn’t get diagnosed until 20 years ago. I too was active with sports in HS and college and the diabetes took it’s toll and the weight just crept up. When I was in the AF, they tried everything they knew to make me loose weight and I lost 7 lbs. I was in a special unit for “fat” boys, and I spent almost a year in the unit and couldn’t get to the weight they wanted me at. The common meal for us was, “Steam scrambled eggs, Popeye special, (spinach) and pineapple or blueberry pie”. Yummy. 3 meals a day and all the carrots and celery we could eat. As the years went by, I started getting pain in the abdomen, and had digestive problems. Yup, the “Hershey squirts” and dehydrated and never really rehydrated after that, and I was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease. I had two surgeries, a bag on my side and I starved almost to death because I couldn’t get the food to digest. Problem solved. The doctors all agreed that I needed Testosterone and now I am over the 350 mark and have lost 5 lbs in a 6 month period. So you see, its an age problem, I also have to have both knees replaced, and a genetic problem. I have 7 auto immune diseases to boot. Not whining just letting all know that you don’t judge a book by its cover. Some obese children, probably more than can be imagined, have hormone problems. Just understand not all do eat bad. We grew our own food, and raised beef and chickens and rabbits. Also hunted and fished all over the Adirondacks and Southern Tier in NY.
        Sorry if I rambled a bit, but I know what it is like to be seen and addressed like I am a piece of dirt.
        All the health statement are true. Most people don’t realize that the government allows chemicals to be put in the food that can and does cause diabetes, cancer and digestive diseases.

        Rich

    • Kim May 31, 2013, 1:29 am

      Alyce, You rock! Stay wise my friend.

  • Rich Daniels May 29, 2013, 9:54 pm

    Alex,

    I’d like to edit a line or two

    Although I appreciate your ideas one must consider these things from a manufacturers point of view. Alternating treads are novel but are not what the majority of people want nor does it meet code for park models. Stairs are much safer and are what people are used to. We use pocket doors frequently and are nice because the door is out of the way. Sometimes it isn’t possible so a standard swinging door is used.

    The pine interior is by far the most popular choice of interior wall coverings. Drywall is more expensive to install and must be treated with kid gloves. The advantages are that it can be painted (for those that like to play with color) and it adds a nice contrast to the wood. Pretty much stops there though, because it damages easily and creates waste. Wood takes traveling much better and will last a lifetime, plus we heat the shop with the scraps.

    Windows are typically low E and, since this cabin was built specifically for the customers’ needs, the size and quantity of windows is a mute point. Remember that most of these cabins are placed in rural settings, with views that the customer wants to take in. Window placement and size are almost always called out by the customer. Egress windows are the exception.

    There is what I call a “cost to expectation ratio” that must be included when considering a custom built cabin. Feel free to dream of all the things that can be better with a design, but the costs do add up quickly. Hindsight is 20/20 and in the end, there is no perfect cabin- no matter how hard we try. But at least we’ve pleased the customer.

  • Rich Daniels May 29, 2013, 9:55 pm

    Although I appreciate your ideas one must consider these things from a manufacturers point of view. Alternating treads are novel but are not what the majority of people want nor does it meet code for park models. Stairs are much safer and are what people are used to. We use pocket doors frequently and are nice because the door is out of the way. Sometimes it isn’t possible so a standard swinging door is used.

    The pine interior is by far the most popular choice of interior wall coverings. Drywall is more expensive to install and must be treated with kid gloves. The advantages are that it can be painted (for those that like to play with color) and it adds a nice contrast to the wood. Pretty much stops there though, because it damages easily and creates waste. Wood takes traveling much better and will last a lifetime, plus we heat the shop with the scraps.

    Windows are typically low E and, since this cabin was built specifically for the customers’ needs, the size and quantity of windows is a mute point. Remember that most of these cabins are placed in rural settings, with views that the customer wants to take in. Window placement and size are almost always called out by the customer. Egress windows are the exception.

    There is what I call a “cost to expectation ratio” that must be included when considering a custom built cabin. Feel free to dream of all the things that can be better with a design, but the costs do add up quickly. Hindsight is 20/20 and in the end, there is no perfect cabin- no matter how hard we try. But at least we’ve pleased the customer.

  • Alyce May 31, 2013, 9:55 pm

    Hoping some of the people here can help me come up with a realistic “game plan”. Here’s my situation: I don’t plan to move the residence often if at all. (But it’s vaguely possible I might need to move, someday, I suppose.) I plan to buy my own rural land.

    Also, I don’t want to live super small – I have mobility issues (wheelchair in my not distant future), for one thing. I want to be able to live with another person as my helper / caretaker, as I age.

    So I’m looking to build something modest sized – large single wide trailer size or maybe a double wide type of footprint. (Or perhaps, 2 single wide type structures, set at right angles to one another, maybe with a connecting covered deck, in between.)

    So I’m thinking of a “modest” house, not a “tiny house” per se. But this still seems like an excellent place to ask this question, because I want to build it myself, and I want to be parsimonious about space.

    Can someone (concisely) explain the following issues:

    What are the advantages /disadvantages to putting a trailer/portable model on rural land versus a park model versus building a small cottage? (Sounds like if it’s technically portable, you can register with the DMV in lieu of getting building permits, like you’d need for a permanent structure?)

    How big can you go with portables? (I see some awfully large RVs rolling down the highway. Dimensions?) At what point do I need a wide load permit? (Are those hard to get? Sounds like I need a pro driver? Is that specialized, or anyone with a commercial trucking license or what?)

    Problems / obstacles with putting park models on rural land?
    (Sounds like “park models” (i.e. what most of us think of as “trailers”) are often not allowed by code, on rural land? Is that a common issue? How do I find that out – is there a way to search this type of info on line, state by state, county by county? What do I search under?)

    How much easier / harder would it be to simply build a small cottage? (I’d be pretty happy in a 30 foot diameter yurt, for example. My caretaker could have their own cottage or yurt nearby.)

    Are their code dodges you can use for permanent structures, such as not including plumbing? Maybe using a generator & portable lighting instead of wiring the actual structure? (I’m thinking using an outhouse – which would actually be a composting toilet, for example, or having an “outhouse” which is actually a trailer with it’s own portable type RV toilet. Maybe I could just add an RV toilet or composting toilet to the building, later on?)

    How difficult is it to pull this type of thing off, in rural counties on your own land? Sounds like the land has to be zoned “multi-family” if you want to be able to have someone else out there with you? Would that apply to someone living in a portable structure as well, or would that only be an issue if there were 2 or more permanent cottages?

    What is the most cost effective, most straightforward way to work these issues out?

    Thanks in advance for your thoughts – I imagine some of you have this knowledge already just sitting there between your ears. 🙂

    • Erik Markus June 1, 2013, 2:21 am

      I like the sounds of your 2 separate units perpendicular to each other, idea. Maybe even 3 units, 2 for you, one for your care-taker. I’d love to design something like that.

      The less ON grid you are, the less you would have to deal with zoning and inspections. So, get off grid. Electric is the main one.

      40′ x 8′ 6″ wide, by 13′ 6″ tall is the largest your units should be. Three altogether is around 1,000 s.f. If you stick to this size unit, you will be able to move them anytime, anywhere, without permits. And would be able to move with a typical heavy truck, like an F350 or E350.

      If each unit had a tip-out, it would have so much character.

    • Kim June 1, 2013, 11:03 pm

      Hi Alyce, That is a lot to think about, I’m sure there will be some great suggestions here.
      If you haven’t already, have a look at http://www.cozyhomeplans.com/. There are lots of right sized houses there for everyone. They also have a great use of space. They are however on a permanent foundation, but some of the designs posted on flickr could be mobile.
      There is a link on the website upper right corner to the designs. I love this site, I can daydream there for hours.
      Best of luck!
      Kim

  • Debbie June 1, 2013, 12:00 pm

    I have been lurking and learning in the tiny house community for a couple of years now. Just as a little background… I am married my husband is disabled, I am a wide body diabetic and a nurse. The thing I believe people need to remember about building tiny/small is that each disability is different and has special needs. You have to figure out what YOU need and go from there.
    Several years ago I was working at a hospital that was a little to far from home for a comfortable commute. We bought a 26′ travel trailer with the intention of living in it on the weekends when I worked and going to the “big house” during the week when I was off. We discovered that we liked living small so much that we rented out the house and lived in the trailer for over 2 years. I was so smug in my discovery that living with less stuff was freeing! Then I got this brilliant idea to buy a “shed” from one of the home improvement stores and finish it out on the inside to suit us and our needs. When I would discuss this with my adult children, they thought I was crazy! While searching the internet for decorating ideas and “small” solutions, I discovered the tiny house community. WOW a whole community of intelligent like minded people with great ideas. ( The smug factor went way down) But as I shared all of the wonderful ideas and showed my kids how many people thought like me, the crazy factor went way down too.
    All of those ideas have melded into the small home we are building. BTW I lost the big house to foreclosure after we had to move back into to repair what the renters wrecked. So my credit is also wrecked.
    We bought 3.75 acres is rural Missouri with owner financing, It already has water, sewer and electric on it. We moved the travel trailer onto it, moving back into the tiny space and freedom from stuff. Then we went to a local portable building company and ordered a 12×28 shell with the windows and doors put in where we wanted them. (They would have finished the whole thing out for us with 100 amp electrical service – but we chose to do it on our own) We bought the building on a rent to own basis – we have the option to pre-pay it off a little at a time or all at once any time without penalty. There are probably cheaper ways to do what we have done but with the credit issue that wasn’t an option for us. Our property payment and building payment are far less than the house payment and we will be mortgage free in 3 years. The house sits on a gravel pad.
    The exterior doors are 36″ wide – standard with this company. And I wanted to be sure it was disability friendly. There is no space in the house that has less than 36″ manueverabily space. We have a full size 36″x34″ shower, a flushing RV toilet (with pedal flush and no tank) We set the toilet at an angle in the corner to make for a little more elbow room.
    We have a compact kitchen (still with 36″ of floor space), a full size fridge, an apartment sized stove and will have floor to ceiling shelving for storage. We are putting the lowboy water heater under the kitchen sink in a corner. The kitchen and bath share a common wall reducing the amount of plumbing required. Oh yeah, I have a stack washer/dryer in the bathroom too. Some things will be too high to reach if a wheel chair becomes necessary but that is what I have tall sons for and with a little planning ahead, they will reach anything we need and can put it back again after use. Nothing in there will be soooooooo fixed that inexpensive modifications can’t be made to move things to different levels of reachability anyway.
    Our living room is essentially 12×12 space (Yes, you have to subtact some of that for outside wall measurements) and I can still use my furniture from the “big house” We may use smaller furniture when this needs to be replaced. We are planning on a Murphy bed or wall bed, with narrow, tall cabinets on either side for closets.
    We are still working on it, but hope to be moved in by the middle of July.
    Just as an aside piece of ” here’s what we found out when researching all of this”…..In Missouri, as long as that building stays on it’s skids it is not considered real estate. If necessary, we can always unhook plumbing, electric, etc and have the building moved (whole) just like they brought it in here. We can put many little building on the same property without issue. In most rural counties in Missouri, there are no strict building codes. If you have at least 3 acres, in most of these counties you can do pretty much what you want. If you have less than 3 acres, you are required to have the health dept. approve your sewage plan. So composting, septic tanks, 55 gal. drums are pretty easy to get approved. Acreage in this area without improvements, runs anywhere from $1500 to $3000 per acre.
    We are only 12 miles from the nearest good sized town with full shopping and a hospital available.
    Life is good on our little piece of dirt. We are making good progress toward rebuilding our financial lives and are still free of stuff. Our small house will be better than the travel trailer because I can redecorate and move furniture as my little heart desires. But by living in the travel trailer, we KNOW we can live small. We figured out how much space we needed and ordered the building to go around it.

  • Debbie June 1, 2013, 12:05 pm

    PS. Wanted to say thank you all for your wonderful ideas that helped me get to where we are in this process.

    • Rick June 2, 2014, 11:04 pm

      Debbie, Kudo’s to you both for doing the wisest & best choice in purchasing your cabin, that is exactly what I plan on doing as well & to me it still works as a “Tiny House”. I have noticed here in Arkansas that more people are going that route as well due to the cost of bigger vs. smaller & to me Smaller is so much better with a lot less to keep CLEAN, lol just my 2 cents worth…

  • Lady Red June 19, 2013, 6:25 pm

    Ok finding a place to put the park models is the hard part the dealers who sell them will tell you its not zoned to live in them they are for offices etc.
    If you want to go off grid then for most of the country and you will need to check and do it quietly. You can build a building on your own property for your own use. Let me back up Buy your property post it private property NO TRESPASSING and meet the county code for posting *** AR spray a purple dot on trees every 20 feet or so along property line***for example , then build your building have it appraised take the appraisal in and add it to your tax roll NO you do not have to let them come inspect your building no you do not have to let them on your property to see it you had it appraised and are paying taxes on it if you don’t stir the s*** then in X number of years it grandfathers and you walk in and pay the $30 fee for building a shed and they never had to stick their nose into you business. Most country people feel that its not there business anyway. But its legal and its honest and its a loophole that the powers that be don’t want you to know about. You didn’t hide that you built something you are not evading paying your taxes and that’s all that the county tax assessors office cares about all you did was go around a permit if you even needed one and in a lot of places you don’t need one. It dose help to have your driveway gated and a fence up. I also post” You Too Can Be Dog Food” on my gate. LOL One man I know has a small western town on his property each building is for something different like the post office is his office the barber is the bath house the hotel is his bedroom this way he heats or cools what he needs and doesn’t have any building on his property that is house size.
    There are loop holes you just have to know where to look and what to ask and when to ask. leaning on the desk in the court house frustrated and a little loud is the wrong time and place walking back in after lunch before they have loud and frustrated is a good time. Putting it as my granny wants to do this whats the easiest way and is it better to beg forgiveness than ask and be told no and granny be upset? 🙂 everyone has a granny who they just do what she wants and sighs and they generally will try to help don’t go in saying i want to get around the minimum building size so help me cheat the law its your creative space and they don’t really care what you really use if just give them basic size and that its gust asking not that you are do it. talk to 2-3 different people talk to the neighbors most have lived there forever and know who to ask or may make some calls for you. It also doesn’t hurt to meet the neighbors before you buy in the country.

  • MotherLodeBeth October 26, 2013, 3:16 pm

    One cannot do much to reduce their height, but most people can do something to drop excess pounds and a tiny home can often be the incentive.

    When my husband died and I moved from a 700 sq ft place to my 400 sq ft place I found I lost 15 lbs of weight without really trying. Maybe it was simply because I felt less stressed out, or because I felt more content. Getting rid of the tv may have helped as well.

    One area I would like to see addressed more as far as tiny homes go is disability accessable issues. Both for owners and visitors.

    A friend in a wheel chair cannot go smaller than 700 sq ft living simply because he needs a single level place that can have wider doors to the bathroom and bedroom and a usable bathroom for his wheelchair.

    Someone in the eighties may not want to deal with stairs/ladders, and may need a bigger bathroom as well. And disabled and elderly tiny living folks want a washer dryer set up because its hard lugging laundry to a laundramat.

  • Linda June 2, 2014, 11:40 am

    This makes a heck of a lot of sense to me. The only thing I would change is in the loft area. I’d be afraid of falling off the bed(s) and rolling down the stairs (breaking my neck, most likely), so what I’d do is put up gates/railings/quarter-walls/whatever on either side at the top of the stairs. This would make it safe when sleeping in the loft.

  • Debbie February 17, 2015, 12:13 pm

    I want a tiny house because I want to be able to take it to visit my grand children. I can’t afford to travel any other way and I don’t like to stay in other people’s houses.

  • Dana Mitch March 2, 2015, 9:22 pm

    I love tiny homes and have every intention of owning one when the youngest moves out (approximately 5 years). I recognize mobility can become an issue the older I get, and frankly my fear of heights would not allow ladder access to anywhere being an option for me. Because of this the park size models are extremely appealing to me. Thank you for sharing another feasible option!

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