One of our readers, Robert Olson, shared one of his floor plan sketches to help another reader.
She needed a home to suite the needs of herself and her disabled son. Read the comment below.
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! (source)
Thankfully, Robert already had a plan he had sketched out that would be perfect for her. He replies,
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. (source)
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. (source)
In case you find yourself wanting something similar, or are just curious about what the plans look like, I’m sharing them below thanks to Robert. And we’re lucky to have him in the community. Thank you Robert.
THE ALOHA 2/2 Split Bedroom Floor Plan
Images © Robert Olson
Images © Robert Olson
And MaryAnne is very grateful too.
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. (source)
Related Stories with Robert Olson’s Designs
Our big thanks to Robert Olson for sharing!
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I like the idea of tiny houses, but as a disabled person, loft living is out. This “small house” concept is a great solution. I love the open concept and feeling of space without excess. The bathroom, bedroom and closet sizes are perfect for wheelchair access. This one’s a winner! Thanks for sharing.
This concept sketch is very cleverly put together and would suit many people and their situations. The lady with the high needs son, Two people wishing to share a home but having their own space, Couples who are retired but like to have their own space and separate bathroom facilities, and there are many more. I am thinking of retired and aging people who like to have their own space but require and like to have someone else to share their costs. This home could also work for people of any age however.
I am in my 70s and I discussed with a friend the idea of pooling our resources. The most important thing we both wanted was our own bathroom. Bedrooms that are big enough to have desk space and a comfortable chair. This concept drawing answered most of our requirements but at the same time allowed changes to be made from the basic design.
Thankyou so much for sharing this concept sketch. Cheers from Australia
I know there are some who are gonna slam me for this but–the only thing I would change here is to have access to a bathroom–maybe a small “Powder room” — that is accessable to the visitors so they don’t have to enter a bedroom to use the loo. I remember looking at an apartment that only had one bathroom and it was thru the bathroom and my husband refused to even look further! And when I was in college I lived in an RA apartment and the only bath was thru the bedroom–and we had 4 people living in this two room space! At times we had to use the common bathroom/shower spaces if we all needed to get ready at the same time.
So–either a small seperate space or access to one of the bathrooms via the main area and not traipsing thru the bedrooms!
Just a small detail that I would change.
Put a half-bath in the laundry room. Done. 🙂
Comet, nobody is gonna slam you on that idea. Its actually a very good note. As I was looking at the sketch today I thought the very same thing. adding a “Powder room” to the central area could be easily done, and should be. Thank you for bringing it up.
Robert, maybe I am just missing it; where do you envision the “front door”?
Also, we have stack-able washer/dryer that would take up less space. Thanks again so much! MaryAnne
And, with the powder room in the storage area, all the water/plumbing still remains on that one back wall! Economical and keeps the gorgeous window wall. Great idea.
I think that’s a valid point Comet, a half bath where the storage area is could use the kitchen plumbing. I like having a half bath for company with a mirror but not a medicine cabinet. Sometimes privacy is nice to have and a half bath works well!
@Robert and @ Judy—Thank you! There was a recent thread where “second” bathrooms were heavily slammed as being–I dunno—elitist or something—and having THREE bathrooms =–well–there could be a way to do a shared common and master bath in a design like this to avoid three but at least a seperate door would be good–Of course for a true tiny house even ONE bathroom is sometimes difficult to site—
We have two “full” baths in a small house altho one is not as used as it could be due to the fact that it is in the basement and no one really likes it–altho it is finished–not just some hole in the ground! We were kinda surprised when we bought the place that there were two baths and when we used the basement as a play area and had our woodstove down there we used it all the time. The one upstairs has two doors; one opens to the “back hall” which is a utility /storage place with the back exit door and one to the main hall. I didn’t like that at first but as kids were outside in mud and snow that back door direct to bathroom was a good feature. Quite possibly the ONE and ONLY good feature of this badly designed and built house! LOL!
This design, complete with jalousie windows and the french doors you mentioned earlier is a great start to solving the Hawaii roommate privacy and airflow issues we face here. Mahalo nui for offering it up!
Thanks, Alex, for sharing this with us. And thank you, too, Robert, for sharing your design for this Mum and son.
I’m also an architect, in Chicago, and I’d like to share with you a concept that I came up with over 20 years ago. It has proved SO popular with my clients who want bedroom renovations that it’s my #1 redo design. Please note: I am in no way or shape criticizing your design!!! I am merely sharing as one professional to another a design that has worked for me for two decades. Since the Mum and son haven’t broken ground yet and this is all just still in the planning stage, I thought it was safe that I could describe an alternative plan for the bed/bath/closet area. What I describe is a mirror description for both identical spaces.
Okay: Ditch the bathroom door! Having two doors go into two separate rooms takes up extremely valuable wall space in a room bereft of wall space. In that newly walled corner, you could have a very comfortable chair and hassock to enjoy the view from the windows or a high chest of drawers for more clothes or a corner wall unit for books.
Now, the entry into BOTH the bath and closet area is the current door that you have for the closet. Place the tubs parallel to the wall where you currently have a vanity; you might even consider a sit down shower unit since both people list that they have handicaps and I don’t know if a tub would prove hazardous. (by having a shower, you increase your room in the bathroom so the toilet can be adjacent to the shower.) Now, put in your vanity. The bathroom door is a pocket door, which slides into the wall.
The remaining space is now your “walk in closet” but instead of having Dead Floor Space where all you do is walk in and out, you’ve created a very useful hallway which serves both the bath and closet area. You currently have the clothes at a 45 degree angle and that’s easily repeatable by having the angle start on the outside wall and then the back wall of clothes stays the same. A full length mirror can be placed on the pocket doors side or one side of the pocket door can be a mirrored door for excellent grooming and dressing needs. NOTE: in the rooms that I’ve done this, the length of the combined rooms is longer than you show, so my clients get two very long aisles of clothes that they walk through to get to the loo. The one vacant wall (the one you brush by when you enter the combined use room) had alternately been completely mirrored with a nice built in shelf for jewelry boxes, tissue, brushes, combs, etc., or is used with a peg system to hold tons of necklace/ties, depending upon the gender. A pocket door also closes off the combined rooms so you have NO DOOR suck up floor space in any direction! One of my clients had a frosted glass pocket door to bring in more light.
Now, the thing I do that I love the best is the following: on the BED wall, cut it short by 1-2′, depending upon the ultimate height of the ceiling: my ceilings are usually 12′ tall so I drop the bed wall down to a nice 8′.
And WHAT??? do you do above the short bed wall? Why, you have it become solid glass, of course! Since neither your bathroom nor closet have any windows in them, by having this GIANT “window” of natural light flooding into both the bath/closet, you save $$$$ on lighting both rooms, you have beautiful NATURAL light and it makes the bedroom seem less boxed in by having the “window wall” break up the bedroom wall. Some of my clients want the window flush with the wall (obviously on one side, only) and some clients ask for a nice shelf to be above the bed so that they can display coloured glass bottles, a stained glass panel or two, or a nice collection of statues or art objects to admire from THREE rooms: bed, bath and closet!!!!
As I mentioned above, I did this for one client 20 years ago and ever since then, I repeat this design with slight variations every single year. It’s my top selling redo and my clients LOVE IT!
What do you clients gain?
1) Increased usable wall/floor space in the bedroom by eliminating a door.
2) By using pocket doors in both the loo and closet, you eliminate ALL lost floor space to traditional swinging doors.
3) You turn dead space of a walk in closet floor into a highly useful “hallway” that serves both the bathroom and the closet, thereby using the same square footage TWICE!
4) By having a “window wall” above the bed, you still have extreme privacy against sounds, smells and humidity but also you’ve added “windows” into two rooms that previously had none and also added an architectural feature to display nice decorative objects in an area that would normally be wasted and forgotten.
That’s my .02 cents. I hope you take it in good spirit and don’t think for a second that I am taking away anything from your beautiful design.:D
All the best to you, Cahow.
Hello, Cahow. I am the Mom who asked for this design; my son has Aspergers and I have a brain injury due to a car wreck; I am much better at understanding concepts visually (since the car wreck) rather than in words. Could you please help me understand with a drawing what you are describing? Both my son and I are fine with showers as opposed to baths, and I get the pocket door concept, but, I don’t follow what else you are saying, with regards to the closets, bathrooms, “window wall”, the laundry/storage area, and how you would accommodate the half bath. I appreciate you taking the time to Comment, and look forward to your Response. Thanks so much, Mary Anne
Hi, Mary Anne. I’m sure that if you have your original architect read my descriptions for the above suggestions and also the laundry/storage area, he could easily do a drawing for you. I’m “Old School” and only do blueprints on paper/by hand; I’m too close to retirement to get into learning how to do this via computer programs. I think Alex dabbles in doing renderings via computers, too, so perhaps he can translate what I suggested and put up a drawing for you. Best of luck in your design plans for you and your son!
Thanks Cahow for sharing. Its great to hear from a professional architect. I am not an architect but just a guy who had a concept jump into my mind and sketched out the basic concept before it got lost in my memory. Everything you suggested with this design sounds fantastic.
I got the idea for the ALOHA looking at real estate listings in Hawaii on the net. Saw a property designed like the center of my drawing, but only one bedroom behind the kitchen wall. I imagined the house with 2 bedrooms, split, one on each side, all with views and tradewinds from each room.
10 minutes later the “napkin sketch” concept floor plan and front elevation you see here was done. I saved it in my computer and forgot about it until Maryanne asked about a small house for her and her son.
Greetings, Robert. It’s very nice hearing from you and also the back story behind your beautiful design. I’m glad that you took my suggestions as just that: suggestions and NOT criticism. 😀 (and thanks for your kind words about my suggestions, too). Since you have contact with MaryAnne and understand “architect” speak, perhaps you can do an additional rendering for her so she can visualize it? If you want to toss the amended drawing on this post, that would be great, so I can see if my thoughts carried through from the written word into design. As I mentioned earlier, if I was a young pup and wanted to invest my dollars and time in learning to design with computers, I’d be all over this! But, I have other things I want to do since I’m so close to shutting down my business in a couple of years so I leave that skill set up to the ‘youngin’s. All the best to you and thanks for replying. 😀
P.S.: I wanted to add, you could easily do this same application for the laundry/storage area. First, eliminate one of the doors. This allows a nice solid corner of the kitchen that you can have a small table and chair set or a great shelving unit for food or dishes. Second, move the laundry room and storage room to the back end of the long corridor; no guests need to be in your laundry/storage area! Have a pocket door separate this area for privacy. Third, have the requested Half Bath be the 1st thing you walk into, with a toilet and small sink. Use a pocket door for this room, too, so no square footage is eaten up in either the bath or kitchen. If you want to do the same “window wall of glass” above the kitchen you’ll be adding nice light in both the laundry and guest bath; if you wanted to add a frosted glass pocket door to the loo, that makes it even brighter.
So, a guest or any family member can use the loo right off of the kitchen, the storage and laundry stay hidden, and when you want to do laundry or get something from the storage area, you use the SAME HALLWAY TWICE that serves both the guest bath and access to the storage/laundry.
That’s it. 😀
A drawing/floor plan for this concept would help me immensely as well.
Thanks, Mary Anne
This design is very nice. My son has moderate autism and although he is only 2 I can envision that some day this could work depending on if he can use the bathroom by himself. I love the 3rd guest bathroom option and the pocket doors. The glass wall at the top of the rooms sounds lovely too. Would the pocket doors and glass walls at the top of the rooms still keep out noise? The Hyatt has a pocket door bathroom and the way they designed it you can hear everything. Just wondering how you would avoid that problem. Again great ideas from both designers!
what is the square footage of the ahola house