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Dennis Main’s 8×12 Tiny House Design

Dennis Main shares his 8×12 tiny home office design concept with you as part of our 8×12 tiny house design contest with Deek of RelaxShacks.com.

Hi. I’m Dennis Main, micro house enthusiast since I first read Ken Isaac’s Living Structures book in the ’70’s.

I’ve attached a scan of my entry – but like everything else I do, some explanations goes with it.

– I did as much as I could come up with to make it a micro that one person could live in long term.

– The structure is plywood over 2×4. The interior partitions are 3/4 plywood, to save some space. There’s a covered patio on two sides. Here in California, you can enjoy a patio almost year round.

Dennis Main’s 8×12 Tiny House Design


Image © Dennis Main

– The kitchen can be moved outside during the nice months to the “summer kitchen” location. The fridge moves too, but not the water heater. This keeps the heat outside and gives a little more room inside too. With the stove so close to the wall, I’d cover that with hardie board.

– The bath is a wet bath with toilet and shower. There isn’t room for a real sink, but I’d install a Sink Positive. This item puts a sink where your toilet tank lid was, but the water only runs when you flush. I’d put a single standard faucet over the sink, so I could wash up without the flush. It was tempting, with an 8×12, to put the bath in a separate building, but I’ve heard “I’ll NEVER live in a house without a real bathroom included” from too many tiny house folks, so that went in first.

– I like the idea of having a work platform. I always need places for my projects, and this design lets them sit for a while if need be. This “work platform” is a table surface over the bed (see drawing) that can be pulled down to table level and locked in place. When you want to put it away, cables, pulleys and counterweights help you lift it out of the way. It stays level so your model plane, half-done tax return, and scattered notes for that next great book stay in place. The platform is locked in place with sliding bolt locks both up and down.

– I have the easy chair and bookcase because . . .it’s not home without an easy chair and a bookcase close to hand. Right? I like an ottoman too, but I’ll get one that can fit in the chair seat when I need the floor space, and has storage inside. That chair is big – monstrous in 96 sq. ft. So it would sit on castors that would make it easy to move around.

– The fold down table in the corner should be of a height to eat off sitting in the big chair, and I’d include a folding chair that hangs out of the way in case I wanted to invite a friend for dinner. The folding chair would probably work better than the big chair when at the work platform too.

– I put the bed at bed height at a high sitting level. Say 26″ off the floor. I’m of a age where climbing into a loft or getting down to floor level to go to bed ain’t in the equation. I’ll use the underbed space for storage. A couple of drawers pull out for quick access. The “deep storage” is a plywood box that sits on multidirectional castors so you can pull it up (toward the kitchen), then out (toward the outside door) to access. I figure this is the stuff you only need to get out once or twice a year, like winter clothes and holiday decorations in summer, garden tools in winter, whatever. The space over the bed lends itself to shelves (more books??) but as I’m always hitting my my head on stuff (I’m 6-3) I think I’d live in the thing for a while to “try it on” and put shelves up there gradually. The area marked “storage” between the bed and the bath would have sections that open into the main room (like a small hanging closet), into the bed area (more books, gee-gaws), and a waterproof cabinet into the bath (for TP).

– For heat, I’d have a small electric heater. Small as this place is, you could just about heat it with your toaster. In the summer, it goes into deep storage. Sorry, no fieldstone fireplace in this one.

That’s it. I’m looking forward to the designs that others submit. Thanks for hosting this.

— Dennis Main

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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!
{ 1 comment… add one }
  • April 12, 2015, 12:14 am

    I like the idea of a drop-down table top over the bed. It’s sometimes too much to put all your work away at night and spread it out again in the morning.
    Another possibility would be a drop-down over half of the bed, so as to leave space to sit comfortably while your visitor has the big chair.

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