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840 Sq. Ft. 20′ x 30′ Cottage for Two

This 840 sq. ft. 20′ x 30′ cottage for two is a guest post by Robert Olson

Want to live in a tiny house but are claustrophobic? Kiss cramped spaces goodbye.

You won’t feel cramped in this 1 1/2 story cottage. There’s an 18 x 20 great room with compact kitchen, soaring ceilings, glassed in gable, and corner fireplace.

Ladder stairs climb to a spacious 12 X 20 loft big enough for a king bed with room to spare. Below the loft, a large bath with double vanity and 4 X 6 luxury glass shower.

There’s even a large walk-in closet with abundant storage space, and a washer/dryer stack right where you need it. Please enjoy and re-share below.

New Update from Robert:

Alex, people asked if the 20 x 30 could incorporate a staircase and also wanted to see the loft plan. I listened, so here is draft #2. Also a shed dormer could be added to the loft for a loft bath.

840 Sq. Ft. 20′ x 30′ Spacious Small Cottage for Two


Images © Robert Olson

I encourage you to check out the spacious floor plan below:


New Update from Robert:

Alex, people asked if the 20 x 30 could incorporate a staircase and also wanted to see the loft plan. I listened, so here is draft #2. Also a shed dormer could be added to the loft for a loft bath.

robert-olson-840-sq-ft-20-x-30-cottage-for-two-staircase-loft-01 robert-olson-840-sq-ft-20-x-30-cottage-for-two-staircase-loft-02

And, if you wanted, you can do a dormer upstairs with a half bath up there. See below:


Images © Robert Olson

Related Stories Featuring More of Robert’s Designs

Our big thanks to Robert Olson for sharing his inspiring cottage for two design with us!

You can help us spread the word on Robert’s awesome cottage for two by “Liking” on Facebook using the button below and re-sharing this story using the e-mail and social media re-share buttons below. Every share helps, including yours. And we’d all love to read your thoughts in the comments below. Thank you so much.

If you enjoyed Robert’s 840 sq. ft. cottage for two design you’ll absolutely LOVE joining our Free Daily Tiny House Newsletter with even more! Thank you!

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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!
{ 56 comments… add one }
  • Ms Betty
    December 15, 2014, 1:51 pm

    I don’t consider 840 sf a TH, especially 20′ x 30′. Something of this size I would want s separate kitchen. Forget the walk in closet as big as the bathroom. The idea is to scale down not up.

    • Alex
      December 15, 2014, 2:07 pm

      Don’t miss the big pictures Ms Betty some people are in much larger homes (2400sf) and 840sf would be a drastic downsize for them. Even though this is a tiny house blog, I still consistently share small ones too because sometimes small is better than tiny for some people so I want you all to get all the perspectives.

      • Cahow
        December 18, 2014, 6:18 pm

        Alex: THANK YOU for talking about “The Big Picture”. We owned a 3 story Greystone in Chicago that had around 2,200 square feet, excluding the front and back gardens and garage. WE were the home that the neighborhood kids gravitated to, so a constant flood of kids, tweens and teens filled every square inch for 20 years.

        When we sold it, we reduced down to 800 sq.ft. on the dime, on an acre of land. For us, that is a HUGE reduction in space and we gave the kids 3/4’s of our belongings. In the world we come from, what WE did is Radical, to the max! Had we gone to 100 sq.ft., our family would have had us committed. LOL

    • Yvonne
      December 15, 2014, 2:36 pm

      I wish people would stop coming on these sites just so they can complain. Don’t like it? Move along without comment.

      • gale greenleaf
        December 15, 2014, 4:16 pm

        What’s wrong with some possibly constructive criticism? The person who posted didn’t seem to object and took it as a teaching opportunity.

        • Ms Betty
          December 15, 2014, 10:25 pm

          Thank you Gale. Obviously Yvonne doesn’t listen to what she herself is saying. Isn’t she complaining?

      • amanda collins
        September 29, 2020, 8:19 pm


    • Paul
      December 15, 2014, 6:56 pm

      Maybe you don’t… but, as Alex said, if you are coming from 2400 sq ft, or larger it is a big change in lifestyle. There is another house shown on the site that is almost as large and people rave about it. Designed by Nils Pearson at https://tinyhousetalk.com/small-house-that-feels-big/

      Speaking from my perspective the house doesn’t work for me. It would for others, and that’s ok. You commented on the size of the wardrobe. Well I can tell you that my wife’s clothes wouldn’t fit in there (unfortunately). Probably wouldn’t fit in 3 wardrobes of that size. Why? Because she is a shopaholic and won’t get rid of stuff she hasn’t worn in years. Sad? Hah, doesn’t even begin to describe it.

      • Ms Betty
        December 15, 2014, 10:29 pm

        Paul~I’m sorry for you due to the fact your wife is a shopaholic but that being said she probably wouldn’t consider living in 840 sf either.

      • Alex
        December 16, 2014, 12:40 pm

        Thanks for sharing Paul!

    • CSB
      December 19, 2014, 12:01 pm

      Ms. Betty, there are many who have handicaps, that would prevent them from having a TH. If your wheel chair bound it could be impossible and the bit larger home could be adapted for them. There is room for all!

  • rose
    December 15, 2014, 2:38 pm

    I’m glad u show these. It is great to see how/where things are located. It would be possible to downsize this.

    • Alex
      December 16, 2014, 12:40 pm

      Thanks Rose!

  • Karen R
    December 15, 2014, 2:52 pm

    To some people, this IS tiny. I have talked to many who are not interested in the tiny house movement due to the small rooms, minimal closet space, etc. Options are important!

    • Alex
      December 16, 2014, 12:41 pm

      Yup. To a lot of people this is tiny. Just not to us 😀

  • jim
    December 15, 2014, 3:35 pm

    They say you gotta walk before you run. This size house will be the new direction in residential real estate, imho. Tiny houses are great but livability is an issue that a little larger home would address without going back to the un sustainable large mcmansions.

    • Alex
      December 16, 2014, 12:41 pm

      I agree with you Jim. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  • Robert Olson
    December 15, 2014, 3:41 pm

    Size is relative. Whats too big for one couple may be too small for another. If this is too big, a person can downsize the plan. This design is aimed at a couple who don’t like cramped spaces, but want a small cottage under 1,000 ft. Notice the simple framing design. The only rooms that absolutely need to be walled off are a bath and a closet. The rest is wide open and very livable over the long term.

    • Paul
      December 15, 2014, 6:58 pm

      Pity you didn’t provide the loft area of the plan… Also, not having seen the loft and how it fits into the structure, do you think it would be feasible to build in stairs instead of a ladder?

      • Robert Olson
        December 15, 2014, 7:39 pm

        Paul, the loft area is just a simple rectangle that sits above the bath and closet. Loft railing follows the kitchen wall. I think it would be possible to fit stairs into this design.

  • Scott
    December 15, 2014, 4:29 pm

    Are there any photos available of a completed house from these plans?

    • Robert Olson
      December 15, 2014, 8:37 pm

      Scott, no photos available as this is just a fast concept sketch. However if you look closely at the kitchen/living design, you can see I borrowed the living layout from the popular ESCAPE CABIN, but incorporated it into a larger 1 1/2 story loft cottage. Google escape cabin.

  • December 15, 2014, 5:49 pm

    We’ll post a render of a gable roofed SIP package for this plan that includes the large windows Robert envisioned. Our ready-to-assemble packages are highly adaptable, so windows, doors, dormers, and etc. are easily updated. Thanks to all for sharing your comments, suggestions, and requests!

  • traditionalist
    December 16, 2014, 7:06 am

    Wish I would have known about this when I was 18 years old. Simple and to the point style home. Passive solar energy could be used. Put it on ten acres and I would be happy. Thanks for the great site.

    • Alex
      December 16, 2014, 12:44 pm

      Thanks 🙂

  • Tina
    December 16, 2014, 11:10 am

    I like the closet space with the washer and dryer right there! What an efficient idea. And the area can be used for more than clothes. Storage of any kind will ALWAYS be an issue in any small house because we (silly consumers) have too much stuff. I am looking forward to downsizing in the next year and have already given so much to charity. What a relief.


    • Alex
      December 16, 2014, 12:44 pm

      Thanks Tina

    • Robert Olson
      December 16, 2014, 1:10 pm

      Thanks Tina. I had never seen anyone do this before with a washer/dryer. Hybrid laundry and closet. (Surely someone has thought of it) The dirty clothes hamper is right there in the bath where you need it, close to the W/D. Whip the clothes out of the dryer and hang them up in their place.
      Keeps laundry clutter out of the great living areas.

      • Two Crows
        December 18, 2014, 3:47 pm

        W/D in the closet! What a brilliant idea. Besides all the other advantages already detailed, how about the fact that the moisture and warmth that is generated gives your hanging clothes a gentle de-wrinkling treatment while the dirty ones are being cleaned?

    • Cahow
      December 18, 2014, 6:22 pm

      Hi, Tina. The stacked washer/drier in the Master Bedroom closet is quite commonplace in Chicago. We had it that way since 1977 when we bought our townhouse. Perhaps it’s more common in tight urban areas? We loved it because dirty clothes were generated and cleaned at their point of origin. We also had a monster washer and drier in the basement that we inherited when we bought the house; we used that for bedding, comforters and nasty sport clothing and dog beds. LOL

  • December 16, 2014, 12:06 pm

    Love the new layouts you shared on the photo, Robert. We can easily move windows and doors, as well as modify the loft to create a contemporary styled island/bar that doesn’t cut into the great room more than a bit. Feel free to call to discuss anytime! – Thom [>:-)

    • Robert Olson
      December 16, 2014, 1:01 pm

      Thanks Timbertrails. Critiquing my own design, the only thing I don’t like is the lack of counter top space for food prep.

      • December 16, 2014, 1:12 pm

        Couches in the middle of rooms take up a lot of space, and cramp the sense of space in a layout. An island, peninsula, or L-shaped counter could help broaden kitchen space, and eliminate the need for a full-time table. A cantilevered and extended loft floor could help cover cabinet tops, or most of the kitchen for lighting. Posts at the island ends aren’t usually too troublesome to work around, and gives the loft more space. Just weighing in on cool options to your already great layout.

        • CSB
          December 19, 2014, 12:13 pm

          And why not a back door in the closet area, as in making it your mud room. Seem to be space enough. Just thinking out loud! Never been one to not have options! sport equipment would enter there and not clutter rest of house. of course each new added thing boosts the cost, but a back door is not to bad cost wise.

  • alice h
    December 17, 2014, 8:48 pm

    When I lived in the Eastern Arctic many places had what looked like a large walk in closet but was actually the Sea Lift room. That was where you stored all the bulk stuff you brought in by container ship in summer so you wouldn’t have to pay air freight once things froze up (no road access up there). You could always make the closet a storage space for other stuff, a craft room, reading nook, whatever. Or just make it smaller or skip it altogether.

  • Robert Olson
    December 18, 2014, 11:44 am

    Thank you for everyone’s comments. Everyone’s participation led to revisions. The hybrid laundry/closet for two grabbed a lot of attention. While a few people loved the idea of living big in 840 feet, many objected to the hybrid laundry/closet. This took me by surprise.

    The hybrid laundry closet was aimed at combining 3 spaces into one. His closet, her closet, and laundry room. Each spouse has roughly 7 feet of closet rod, enough for 24 hangers each, 3 inches apart.

    How much rod space do you live with now? How many hangers to you currently use?

  • Kaleb
    December 18, 2014, 12:33 pm

    This is larger than my ‘dream’ TH but I love this too and I’d get to sleep in a loft with a commode! No tripping trips down in the middle of the night! I love it! Oh, I said that. Actually most of my clothes could go into drawers or onto shelves or small baskets. I mention that because I could lose a lot of my side of the closet to gain a walk-in tub! (I’ve always wanted one.) I appreciate being always shown what can be done. Cheers!!

  • MaryAnne
    December 18, 2014, 2:51 pm

    Thanks, Robert and Alex for the small home ideas. I am a single Mom with a son in his 20’s with special needs (unable to live by himself) who will be living with me for a very long time; space and privacy are necessities for him. Do you have any ideas for a small house for 2 adults who need separate sleeping quarters? I am in the process of getting my house ready to sell and move home to New Mexico; we can’t afford, nor do I want a regular house; I have been searching for a small house plan that would work for us as hopefully we can build; also, my son needs his own bathroom, do to Aspergers. I would gladly buy a plan from you that would work for us. I am disabled as well, due to a brain injury. The closet, washer, dryer, bathroom is a brilliant idea! Thanks so much for all you do for us. You give me hope!

    • Robert Olson
      December 18, 2014, 3:40 pm

      MaryAnne, I would suggest a one level home, 2 bedroom 2 bath split bedroom arrangement. This way your son can live with you, but you each have your privacy on opposite sides of the house, yet joined by a common living area.

      I sketched out a house like that once, designed for 2 room mates to share the high cost of housing in Hawaii. I might still have that in my computer somewhere. I’ll look.

    • Robert Olson
      December 18, 2014, 3:51 pm

      Yes MaryAnne, I do still have it in my computer. Its called the Aloha. It was a quick 5 minute concept sketch. I don’t even have square footage. Its just an idea sketch, but I think it would fit your needs. You can build it as big or small as you want. I will send it to Alex to forward to you. Keep in mind this was designed for 2 room mates with sweeping views of the pacific ocean from a hillside, so all the windows are on the ocean side.

      • MaryAnne
        December 18, 2014, 6:04 pm

        Thanks so much, Robert! It sounds like exactly what we need. I appreciate you and Alex so much. Living smaller is the way to go, but living tiny doesn’t work for everyone. Please keep sharing your wonderful ideas with us.

        • Andrea
          December 18, 2014, 6:39 pm

          MaryAnne – not sure if this would be able to be worked out in a tiny home, but would a Jack and Jill type bathroom be a possibility? So it would be a bedroom, a full bathroom sandwiched in between and accessed from each side via doors, and then the other bedroom. That might save some space and costs (having two full bathrooms may add significantly to costs)…it could even be modified a bit (although adding space requirements and costs) to allow for a separate water closet at each bedroom and then just a shared shower/bathing area. Just trying to brainstorm for some potential solutions for you. 🙂

        • Alex
          December 19, 2014, 7:48 am

          Thanks MaryAnne! I just sent you an email by the way 🙂

      • Alex
        December 19, 2014, 8:10 am

        Thanks Robert! You’re amazing. In case others want to see the floor plan too I’ve posted it here: https://tinyhousetalk.com/aloha-split-bedroom-floor-plan/

    • James Poss
      December 30, 2014, 11:19 am

      This was designed for a solar decathlon so duplication could be expensive but the layout might suit your needs.

  • Marcia
    December 18, 2014, 4:39 pm

    I think this is adorable! Wouldn’t work for me (I have 2 boys), but we’ll be empty nesters some day (of course, we’ll be in our 60’s then, maybe single story is better!)

  • R Berry
    December 19, 2014, 12:30 am

    Thanks for posting this. The idea of tiny house living shouldn’t become a contest to see who can fit into the smallest space. Sheesh – that’s as bad as showing off a McMansion. The whole concept (as I understand it) is to downsize and not focus on material possessions so much, but to focus on people and living. Some do that by going super small but some do that by living in 800 sq ft. I don’t understand the criticism – just promoting a lifestyle that is not focused on so much material possessions should be enough. Shouldn’t it?

  • Sue Keller
    January 14, 2015, 7:55 pm

    Please send layout and pricing.

  • Linda
    January 17, 2015, 9:18 am

    Oh, I love this plan(s) and the give and take between you, Robert and you guys, Timber Trails. It is so awesome to watch creative minds work off each other. That kind of collaboration is fun. I would enjoy locking you guys in a room for a couple hours (of course, I need to be there with a BIG note pad, tape recorder to get all the info for my own knowledge!)
    The plan is so good, Robert. I just have to have a closet, W/D room like you have here. Genius. Clever.
    I like the cantilever idea over the kitchen work station, Timber Trails. In our previous home, we had a talented finish carpenter cantilever a 4 x 8′ kitchen bump out which we used for seating. He called it his little cathedral: all windows and skylights, steep gable dormer, copper seams and gutters along with birch flooring. All this sat a full story off the ground in a stand of pine trees.
    In the future I want an eyebrow dormer in a small house (like this one!)
    We are planning for either this year or next to do just that.
    Can’t wait.
    Robert, Timber Trails, please keep up the great work. You are most inspiring.
    🙂 Linda

  • Jack Boal
    February 16, 2015, 4:41 pm

    When you live on land without public sewage, what do you need for drainage of your sinks and bathroom?
    Do you use a small Septic tank?
    Do you use a RV drainage tank, then take it somewhere for disposal?

  • May 18, 2015, 10:51 am

    How can I contact Robert Olson for permission to use one of his plans?

  • Jillian
    April 5, 2016, 11:01 pm

    Hi, I’m a 22 year old women with asbergers do you think I could build and live in my own tiny house?

  • Bob H.
    September 12, 2022, 4:17 pm

    Hi Alex, How can I purchase this plan. Is Robert selling these ?

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