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Contest: How Would You Design this Tiny Cabin?

WIN a signed copy of Deek’s “Humble Homes, Simple Shacks” book, The book “Eco-House”, Shelton Davis’ “Adirondack Pallet-Chair” plan-set, and a really nice work shirt from VT’s Jamaica Cottage Shop (www.Jamaicacottageshop.com)

We’re looking for your ideas, input, creativity, and brainstorming, on what exactly could be done in a space so small as 64 square feet. Yes, SIXTY FOUR SQUARE FEET. Not “I’d do Yoga in it”, but how you would lay things out and arrange them to make it work, to create and save the maximum amount of space.

Sleeping arrangements? facilities? jacuzzi? ping pong table? Where would it all fit!? IS it possible? -well, maybe not the ping pong table and jacuzzi- but we’re looking for some different narrative ideas on how YOU would approach this tiny house design challenge. Sketches aren’t required, but they might help to convey your idea- its up to you.

8×8 Tiny House Design Submissions:

Deek's Giveaways

Winners will be selected a week from the date of this post..

WHY? Well, aside from seeing Jay Shafer’s very FIRST built Tumbleweed Tiny House on a field trip, touring The Whittled Down Caravan, Mariah Coz’s “Comet Camper”, and pawing through FOUR of Deek Diedricksen’s recycled-material shelters at his Relaxshacks.com Hands-On TIny House Building Workshop in Stoughton, MA (Nov 2-4), attendees will get the chance to possibly outfit (or, er…”in-fit”) the inside of Deek’s newly re-assembled “All Eights Micro Cabin”- a budget vacation cabin ($700-800 to build) that he designed and built for a show on The History Channel. They’ll be tweaking the inside, adding windows, discussing amenities, furniture usage and placement, and more…

And who knows, your ideas just may be incorporated…

So, give it your best shot in the comments, and we just may be sending you $60 or so in Tiny House-related goods…

Good luck!

Deek's 8' by 8' by 8' Tiny Cabin

Here’s a quick video peek at the OLD incarnation of Deek’s “All Eights Micro-Cabin”, a seasonal guest house/shed”- taken, behind-the-scenes, while Deek was on set for the tv show in Brooklyn, NY.

8×8 Tiny House Design Submissions:

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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!
{ 48 comments… add one }
  • CrysG
    October 4, 2012, 9:55 pm

    where do i submit my idea?

    • October 5, 2012, 9:29 am

      Right here in the comments. I’ll clear that up in the post, thanks!

  • Laura
    October 6, 2012, 11:39 am

    I would use one of those twin-size murphy beds that folds sideways, with a desk when it’s in the up position. Have a couple of folding chairs, that can hang up on hooks on the wall when not in use. Have shelves above the bed for clothes/food, etc. In one corner, have a sink, w/ a small fridge next to it & a hot plate on top of the fridge, w/ a cutting board to put over the sink, & water heater or tank under the sink. Use a tablet computer for reading & tv as well as internet/computing, & have a place on the wall opposite the bed to mount it for watching movies.

  • Liz
    October 6, 2012, 12:20 pm

    Bathtub. This is what all tiny homes should start with, because it’s the basic necessity of civilization. So there will be a full-size bathtub. The bed goes over it, just a nice piece of finished plywood and covered sturdy foam. You’ll fill the bath with a hose from the sink. You won’t be taking one every day, of course, so that hose will really be a shower head with a long hose attached. Compost bucket toilet with seat lid will be stored next to the tub, in a cabinet underneath bed (oh, yeah. You’re gonna keep that thing really well-tended, yes, you are.) so that the bed will be long enough. You’re going to need lots of ventilation, so the whole dang roof—made with materials that let the light through, corrugated roofing or sturdier stuff made for colder—with be on a honking’ piano hinge. Both sides can be propped up or left down. Outdoor-like shower! Another dream feature.

    Kitchen is on the wall next to that. Good size sink, open storage, small window, two burner stove, small water heater, dorm fridge. You’ll be drinking wine, not beer. You don’t have room in the fridge for beer, fool.

    Living space is opposite the bed, which has back cushions for daytime. Table attached to the wall, fold up. Monitor also on wall, which doubles as your TV. You would never download anything illegally, however, let’s be clear. Wink, wink. Window there, too, if you like.

    Chairs also fold—those ugly things from Ikea until you can afford custom—and hang on the wall. Because, yes, you are going to do yoga in here. So there. Last wall contains front door and storage will be everywhere you can fit it. No loft. You’re not getting any younger, and with 64 square feet, you’ll go insane with a low ceiling. besides, who are you kidding. You’re not going to be having any overnight guests here. If they don’t have a bigger place than this you can sleep in, you need to set your sights a little higher, honey.

    • October 13, 2012, 1:30 pm

      Love this lady’s sense of humor & agree with everything she says! 😉 I especially like the idea of having a tub with the bed over it.

    • just saying
      October 17, 2012, 12:06 am

      Your post is hilarious. And oh, so true. Also, some very intelligent design choices: a hinged roof is genius. Just saying.

      You hit the nail on the head re: the ceilings, one of the real reasons tiny houses are livable are the high ceilings. Low ceilings just make for claustrophobia. 8x8x10 without a loft is livable full-time, 8x8x8 simply is not. Particularly if you are, like a fair portion of the population, over six feet. A hinged roof is a nice compromise, given the design constraints (8x8x8).

      To add to the ideas here I submit:
      All of my commentary assumes a square space, per the design constraints, since that’s what nearly everyone did. But I do think a rectangle might be a better use of space.

      I presume, without knowing, that most if not all lumber and insulation can be easily scavenged.

      In a space this size, reflective light is enormously important. Wood does not reflect well, it absorbs light even when painted. In this size salvaged tin tiles are affordable and available (frequently, a salvage operation only yields sixty or seventy square feet of tiles that are usable because of roof leaks, and that’s not enough for almost anything in the real world). Frankly, they look better in a 10 foot ceiling, so I would paint them white instead of leaving them bare. Cost: $100, could put off until budget available.

      If you are going to have a kitchen, there is clearly enough room in here for a two burner stove or a pre-built all-in-one kitchen. I don’t understand why people avoid the all-in-one kitchens, they are MADE for very tight spaces (weight, maybe?). They are expensive, and I see a money constraint of $750. But if you aren’t going all-in-one, a salvaged undermount sink with a custom cutting board/sink cover gives you another 15 sq ft of counter/desk space for the 23.5 hours of the day you aren’t cooking. $50 for the sink and faucet. Kitchen plumbing (the sink) is about $25 for parts.

      First, no matter what you install, it’s going to be expensive. Given the size of this place, I very much doubt you need a heater, except in the very coldest climates. Especially if you have a) decent insulation/weather stripping on all six sides; b) skirting around the bottom; c) an unvented fridge; d) a vented cooktop; and/or e) window quilts. This plus body heat is going to keep you above 75 almost all the time. High winds or a lot of rain affect this calculation. A lot of snow, on the other hand, is highly insulative.

      You certainly don’t need heat in southern Texas, although you do need AC anywhere south of the Mason Dixon line, as the unvented fridge, by itself, would make this size unlivably hot 7-10 months of the year depending on location. Include south-facing windows, and you’ll be *roasting* in early February in not-so-south Texas! A small A/C unit purchased end-of-season would probably be under $99 plus tax, and would last for three or four seasons. If completely unattainable, you could wait till early next year to acquire, but it will be three times as expensive. Used portables are a waste of money.

      Frankly, I think a dorm size fridge is too big for the space, the half-sized dorm fridge is enough, can be placed at eyeball height, and leave you with storage underneath the counters, plus less heat to dump. I would also hang my two or three pots, and build a dishdrain/storage above the sink. $50.

      There is enough room for a convection oven. Unless you *really* *never* cook, and will *never* learn, a convection oven is far superior to a microwave. $100.

      I happen to be a big believer in floor space, and would be inclined to only have half-cabinets waist high, half cabinets on the walls, and/or standard upper kitchen cabinets on any wall but the couch/shower wall. Floor to ceiling closet and/or pantry at the end of the couch/shower wall.

      For those who don’t know, water damage is probably the single biggest hazard houses ever face. Sure fire is flashy, but unless the home is fully engulfed, it is water that causes most damage in house fires. While a leak is relatively unlikely to cause death to humans, it is insidious, getting in everywhere, day by day, year by year. One single overflowing sink or a broken water heater can make a full-sized house uninhabitable for a month or more; poor envelope construction o an over-flowing sink can *destroy* a tiny house. In the deep south and some of the midwest humidity encourages mold, rot, and termites.

      Personally, in a place this size, I think indoor plumbing (except possibly the kitchen sink) is a mistake. It takes too much room, creates olfactory and health issues, and, most importantly for the *house*, creates serious water hazards.

      Park in a good RV park, and use their facilities. That’s why they exist. Also, cutting out the bathroom facilities gives you room for a very versatile murphy bed/desk/shelf/table combination on that wall, plus a closet.

      An alternative is to have the shower/commode in a separate outbuilding. For obvious reasons, this is going to work better in the south than the north.

      Water is just going to be a PROBLEM in this place. And probably *far* out of budget. But if I must plumb indoors, I would use water-proof tileboard on the bottom rather than plywood, covered with a single sheet linoleum product glued down (no leaks). You ought to be able to get an end-piece *really* cheap or even free, 8.5′ x 8.5′ vinyl is essentially waste in our society. If desired, you could cover the linoleum with ceramic tiles or a 7×7 or 5×7 carpet. I wouldn’t use wood flooring here, ever. Not even lamninate. Without a linoleum underlayment, even a small kitchen sink leak could tank your floor AND foundation in just a few hours. Your mold problems would NEVER go away, even in the north, and even if you caught the leak fast enough to prevent catastrophic damage.

      Plumbing costs: $75-100 (faucets, shower head, tape, pipe, etc). Linoleum: $50, or possibly free. Shower pan: possibly free, but more likely about $50 salvaged. Tileboard is generally $50 a sheet, comes 3’x5′, and cannot be scavenged, so that will cost $250. So plumbing, alone, assuming a handbuilt composting toilet, is minimally $225, but more likely 450, assuming most of it is FREE.

      Personally, I like the shower/toilet design in Hunter’s design, but there are privacy issues either way. I think personally that this much plumbing is WAY outside budget anyway. For something this size, though, an outdoor shower solves a LOT of water issues.

      For something this size, a small on-demand water heater makes much more sense than a regular water heater. It takes up far less room, and in many climates could be hung outdoors or between studs. It will also do a MUCH better job of filling the tub than your tiny water heater will. (Ever tried filling a 40 gallon tub with a 7 gallon water heater?). Very least that will cost is $75, more probable $150 and up.

      I would think about sheeting with linoleum or have a custom counter guy put in thin plastic counter top covers (it’s actually not too difficult to do this yourself as long as there are not a lot of funny angles). First, plastic walls decrease the water problem. Second, it’s easy as hell to clean. In something this small, you ARE going to be touching the walls a LOT. Third, plastic or linoleum walls are super thin, whereas regular 1/4 inch wallboard takes up more than 1/2 inch of interior space, which is a lot on top of the 7 inches taken up by the studs. The actual living space, with standard 2×4 constuction and quarter inch wallboard, is just 7.33 x 7.33, or slightly less than 54 square feet. None of this is free or even cheap.

      Another option if you insist on wood interiors (for example, you are concerned about outgassing) is stained luan board, but I don’t like the durability of it, and and with all the water issues this house will have, it’s likely to mold. Luan does have the advantage of being cheap.

      Some guy who built a “free” tiny house used excess kite material for the walls, which also avoided paint/stain. Another person has suggested (but not tested) used billboard material. Both are thin and easily installed, which is a plus over plastic. Kite material doesn’t address the water issues, but used billboard material should be fully waterproof. Outgassing I don’t know about here. Cost: zero; fireproofing unknown and very probably non-extant.

      A fold down 6×2 to 8×3 table/counter OVER the bed area increases your work space by 12-24 square feet, which is a LOT. Padding on the “underside” makes a nice couch back. This is in addition to other fold ups previously mentioned. Cost, scavenged.

      I will say (for almost all submissions) WHY oh WHY do people insist on inward opening doors into tiny houses? THEY MAKE NO SENSE! Doors should either open outward (with concealed hinges of course) or should slide like barn doors (in a stoppered groove on both ends, of course). The “of course” is to prevent break-ins.

      DOH! Someone pointed out that *snowfall* is the reason for doors to open in. As I have lived in the deep Southwest for the last 30 years, that hardly computes. If we ever got that much snowfall at one time, we would all die waiting for it to melt. Literally. It’s not like we have snowplows. So, if you live somewhere where a 2/12 roof pitch is acceptable, you certainly don’t need a inward opening door, and should consider eliminating it unless north movement is likely. In some parts of the north a sheltered porch overhang may eliminate or at least alleviate the problem.

      Unfortunately, the best design for the door is *glass* to provide a view and light as the windows should be high to maximize usable wall space. But the lack of privacy demands frosted glass, which cuts the view. In the north, that much glass is a serious heat loss at night. It’s a trade off.

      Windows higher in the walls (right against the ceiling), and/or skylights, increase usable wall space and privacy, and provide high quality natural ventilation. They are also more secure, which is frequently an issue with “clandestine” housing. But, that means you have a single means of egress (the door) in case of emergency. Can’t say that’s very safe.

      Cost all doors and windows: scavenged.

      I like solar, but it’s way out of budget, so standard wiring it is. One panel. Fuses are *much* cheaper than breakers (at $50 each), but I still think fuses are a bad idea. You need three breakers, and you can’t buy used, so electric is going to exceed $250, even if everything else is used (and I don’t recommend that for wiring).

      Most people don’t put in enough outlets. They think that “code” is good enough, but as someone once pointed out, if you are building to code you are building to the lowest common denominator. While most codes require too *much* space, they generally include too *little* of other things, such as safety and conveniences. One of these is outlets in our electric hungry world.

      It is *always* better to have too many outlets than one too few, and complete outlets are CHEAP. Also, it’s generally safer and far more convenient to have outlets at waist height. I’m a big fan of a minimum of four outlets per 8 running feet in liveable space, so there would be between 16 and 20 outlets in this house. If the house is plumbed, they would ALL be ground fault outlets. I think four light switches is probably adequate, but six may be as useful.

      Uplighting is a NECESSITY in such a small space, particularly with 8 foot ceilings. You could run LED xmas lights along the top of the windows (if they are plumb with ceiling). I’ve always thought xmas lights look a little trashy, but it is a cost-effective solution. A light over the kitchen sink, a reading light, task lighting in the closet, and two to four “ambient” lights. One or two outdoor lights, possibly also some uplighting outdoors (depends on stealth concerns). You should wire for them all, then buy them as more money becomes available. Total cost of lighting, even if mostly scavenged, is probably going to exceed $50.

      Built-in wifi is a given, and I would ground the entire house since it’s so small. ESPECIALLY on a trailer. Tie downs would be a necessity for such a light dwelling, unless you plan to vacate during every high wind. Cost: I’m guessing here, and partially dependent on your risk tolerance (tiedowns) and current things owned (wifi) but probably at least $100.

      My point here is, even if you scavenge everything that is safely scavenge-able, including the wood, and put off purchasing appliances, H/AC, and lighting, a plumbed house is still looking at in excess of $1000.

  • Alynxia
    October 6, 2012, 12:53 pm

    Well first off – for sleeping I’d use a hammock which can be put away when not in use. The space is plenty big enough to set one up on the diagonal. An built in drop-front secretaire desk with glassed in bookshelf on top can hold books & china, desk area for laptop, eating, food prep, etc and a cabinet underneath to house a mini-cooler or refrigerator, butane single burner hotplate & pantry items. A slim, full height closet beside it on the same wall to house clothing & cooking pots. This would be on the wall to the left of the central front door. In the back right-hand corner, I would build in a corner shelf big enough for a pitcher/bowl set or small sink with brass taps which would be curtained underneath to the floor which housing a pull out composting bucket toilet or chamber pot. A comfortable folding chair hangs on hooks on the back wall under the window when not in use. A lovely wool carpet on the floor and wood panelling on the walls. A nice painting on the wall opposite the desk with wooden shelf above with baskets for extra storage and below, a small padded storage bench for guest seating. In the front right hand corner beside the door I would install a tiny solid fuel boat stove, either a wall-mounted stainless steel Dickenson or a cast iron Fatsco Tiny Tot/Pet for heating. Window on the back wall and antique door with divided glass panels will be nicely curtained. A skylight and a dynamo/solar-powered LED lantern or oil lamp suspended centrally in the cabin will provide extra lighting. Add a small covered front porch with potted flowers for a welcoming entrance.

  • jerryd
    October 6, 2012, 1:20 pm

    That’s easy in 64sq’ for 2 people though they better like each other ;^P

    First start with a 6′ wide 11.2′ long so the center doesn’t waste so much space. If only one you could make a desk, ET center in place of one settee.

    Put 2 2′ wide and 6.5′ long settee’s/couches facing each other built in with storage or jacuzzi under. These can pull outsome to make lounge couches or completey to make a 6′ wide bed or 2 single beds. Or the backs can fold up and out for bunkbeds.

    I prefer above 5′ of them as storage lofts 2′ wide.

    Next the 2′ on left and right for the 5′ become the kitchen and maybe storage with a built in top loading fridge with counter on top, double sink with cuboards above.

    In the center most forward 2′ make a seat with the head/toilet under with a curtain going arond and drain in the floor for a shower. Behind it is a window with an A/C unit under it.

    Such could sleep up to 4, party 7-9 with everything on actually needs. And all in 64sq’.

  • Jeff Eaves
    October 6, 2012, 4:44 pm

    Well with only 64 feet to work with, lots of things have to do double duty or be easily stowed. My first idea is to use a bunk bed assembly with a desk at one end and directly under the bed would be an area for dining and lounging. The table would fold away into a small cabinet in the wall. My idea for this comes from this months issue of Wooden Boats where they build what they call a saloon table. Across from the table would be a small kitchen that I would basically build using parts designed for RV, travel trailers and campers. Small gravity fed sink, ice chest for a fridge, propane stove, a crock pot and microwave should do for the kitchen. The hardest part is the bathroom. Maybe a composting/incinerator toilet in the corner surrounded by a curtain. or a screen.Maybe the back wall us the bath area. Place a small tub with a shower enclosure rod hanging from the rear wall.Maybe a real wall or curtains/plastic windows for privacy. Shower on one side, toilet on the other. Hang a mirror on the wall and another gravity based wash basin and you have a little bathroom. A couple of folding chairs for guests. Maybe a deck that folds down from the front for entertaining on nice evenings. Folds up for when you are towing the small home if you decide to put it on wheels. Have a solar water heater barrel on top for water heating and storage. Storage with lots of hooks and corner shelves, under table seats, build storage into the bunk bed. Heating would be a small propane or electric heater. Air conditioning would be a simple ceiling fan and leaving the windows and door open. Place it in a shady place in summer, sunny place in winter for passive energy. Maybe have a solar cell on roof, or human powered energy systems-bicycle powered generator. Paint it a bright color and put some art on the outside. A sun around a window. Maybe some flowers growing in a field. With just a little ingenuity and imagination, I’m sure a small house could be made in 64 square feet.

  • October 6, 2012, 5:45 pm

    Start with 20×20 square tube rolled to a six foot diameter with the bottom spaced six feet wide.Have four bent at the same time and spread them three feet apart and weld to a square base of the same material. Clad the ends with floor boards and glue while assembly to make water tight.Don’t forget the door and window in these walls. Cover the lot with sheet metal place the flooring over 20×20 floor bearers welded to the base frame. Should take you about a week to get this far. The bed is welded to the hoops at the six foot mark on the diameter at the window end. To the right of the door there will be a 100mmx100mm x800mm stove made from a piece of square tube. On the left there will be a wet area for showers and a sitting area between the bed and stove for food preparation. Photos will be posted soon on my blog. This is my entry in the making. Cheers Iggle

  • Olivia
    October 6, 2012, 7:34 pm

    I’m assuming the interior space measures 8′ x 8′ x 8′ and we’re not tied exactly to Deek’s shell design which curves in at the top.

    I’d start with an actual straight sided box with high placed 10″ high windows all around (starting about a foot below the ceiling). These are hinged to open up for ventilation. There are additional curtained windows below them across the entire left wall. So you can look outside when you cook. A sky light sits above the bed. The front door opens outwards to the right and is painted a happy red.

    You enter and see what looks like a festively pillow strewn soft white topped studio couch across the back, resting on a flat faced platform. The walls and surfaces are painted a soft white. The bed itself is in an open topped box on hinges. Take the pillows off and lift it up flat against the back wall, (kind of like a Murphy bed), and you’ll see it sits on the “bathroom”. The enclosed space under the bed contains a tankless water heater to the left, a Japanese style bathtub made from a large galvanized tub, and then next to that, a well-vented composting style toilet. The panel in front of the toilet is hinged like a door. As a single bed is a little over 6 feet long the remaining space to the right of toilet and bed is occupied by storage. It’s built like a narrow single drawered dresser, but actually pulls out to be an open sided hanging pole on casters, just deep enough for hangers. The “dresser” top is flush with the bed surface. It’s a perfect place for books. Above it hangs a hinged wall mounted reading light. So you can read in bed AND in the bathroom.

    On the left wall is the kitchen area. The counter is perpendicular to the bed and about 36 inches high, 18 inches deep, about 5 feet wide, running from the door wall to the bed. Next to the stove on the door wall is a small propane powered boat heater. On the counter from left to right sits a two burner propane stove top, a food prep surface, then a deep but small sink, (right next to the tankless water heater). To the left of the stove top on the wall, hang cooking utensils. Under the stove top is additional dry storage. Under the food prep area is a small fridge. Cleaning supples are under the sink. A short partition wall separates the sink area from the foot of the bed. On that wall, over the sink hangs a drying/storage rack for dishes and utensils.

    Above the upper windows a 10″ deep shelf runs along the door wall, above the food prep surface and above the bed area. On them sit boxes painted the same color as the walls. They hold folded clothes, linens, and projects.

    The right wall is punctuated by pegs. Wooden folding chairs hang there. A double hinged folding table, wide enough to seat two comfortably, is attached to that wall. The decorative bed cushions fit the chairs.

    The floor has a light natural varnish and is covered with a patterned oilcloth (with bits of red in it). There are two hanging lamps over the kitchen work surface and two over the eating area.

  • Allison T
    October 6, 2012, 10:58 pm

    I’ll bite:

    I’d do 8×8 ft square, steep shed roof, windows across top front. Door on front left corner, window to right of it. Windows in centres of each of other three walls.

    Starting from the door, and going clockwise around the room:
    Behind the door: coat pegs on wall.
    Under window (9 o’clock)- 36 x 24 inch desk/table with chair.
    10 o’clock: shallow floor-to-ceiling bookshelf to the corner.
    Back wall and into back-right corner (12-2 o’clock) – double bean bag chair. Can be spread out as a bed, piled high in the corner when not in use. Good for people or the dog(s)!
    Front R corner: Stacked up in built-in unit: bar fridge, small microwave, and galvanized basin with water jug above. On wall above: pantry cupboard.
    Under front window – shallow low shelf for misc storage.
    Diagonally from 11 o’clock to 4 o’clock – hammock that can be removed when not in use.
    Interior finishes – 3-inch T&G (vertical), stained in pickling white to keep it bright. Maybe an accent wall in a pale robin’s egg. Floor: cork. One or two pices of interesting art on the walls. Unbleached cotton curtains for privacy, not dark.

    Exterior finish – Reclaimed barnboard.
    Door – Red. because that’s the only colour for doors.

    That’s it! My escape. Thinking of actually building one in the trees on our property. I fantasize I can do it secretly, so even the rest of the family won’t know it’s there!

  • October 7, 2012, 12:19 pm

    Hey, love the idea, although the prize of the contest would be a little bit hard to claim, if I were to win, considering I live well “across the pond”, in Romania, but you totally had me with the challenge

    So, you want ping-pong tables check this one out:
    http://www.coolthings.com/ping-pong-door-table-tennis-for-the-space-conscious/ Just flip the entrance door and… Voila! the ping pong table.

    As for the jacuzzi – look up “ofuro”, it’s a japanese style soaking tub that can be converted easily to a jacuzzi, and SOME models don’t take up very much space – you know the japanese, they know their “tiny”… [For myself, I’d just use the redneck version – a reclaimed barrel :), and I’d cheat, I’d put a bigger version outside, like this http://www.ofuros.ind.br/ofuro-spa-coletivo/%5D

    So, with this puzzles solved, I’d like to take a look at the interior, only your measurements aren’t exactly clear. 64 sq m can indeed be 8×8, but they can also be [more or less] 7×9, or even 6×10. And another very important question is… what’s the third dimension? How high is the structure? If we’re talking a teardrop trailer it can even be less than 5 feet, but… it’s totally another thing if we’re thinking 10 feet high… so, if you could be more specific with the task, we could get more creative. 🙂

    Great post, anyway!

    • October 11, 2012, 11:39 am

      That’s awesome! Nice space saving ping-pong table too, haha. 😀

  • CrysG
    October 7, 2012, 6:20 pm

    Ok well then to start the wall next to the door(to the left) would be a floor to ceiling book case (for clothes, books, etc.) On the back wall there would be a long shelf near the ceiling.I’d get some shagg carpet for the floor. Also half way down the back wall i would have a board that latched onto the wall and was on a hinge with some cool art on it and 2 puck lights. and when unlatched folded out to form a 3-4 foot wide bench.
    I would get two of these futon chairs:
    So when it was time to sleep they cold be unzipped and one could be placed on the bench and one under to form bunk beds.
    The shower would be outside and nothing more than a shower head connected to a water hose hanging from a hook with a curtain to enclose the area and a composting toilet (also outside with another curtain enclosing it) The curtains would have a rod on top and the bottom to keep them from revealing you during a breeze. The kitchen would be a fire outside! Id put a cooler on the porch for storing food that locked(to keep the animals out) There would be some hooks along the 2 side walls for hanging things. And that would complete the space.

    • October 11, 2012, 11:38 am

      Those are pretty cool thanks for sharing!

  • Mike Longshore
    October 7, 2012, 11:02 pm

    I’ve taken a slightly different tack than most with my plans for the 64 sq ft. First, I chose to use a 6’x10’8″ space with a mindset of keeping modern conveniences (where possible). The front door opens from the shorter side of the rectangle, slightly off to the right side. To your left is a comfy chair, and to your right is a wall mounted tv. Moving on, to your left is is a double stainless sink (standard size) with window above and cabinet below, and a stacking washer/dryer behind that. On the right you will find a drawer style dishwasher with an empty drawer for storage on it. Behind this is a built in cooktop with under-counter fridge. Lastly is another base cabinet, and shelving above this and the cooktop and dishwasher. In the rear of the cabin is the bathroom with stand in shower, low profile toilet and corner lavatory. The bathroom ceiling is 6′, with a 3′ wide sleeping bunk above and folding ladder for conveyance. I’ve measured up most of the appliances to make sure it will all fit, and I have a sketch of the floor plan that I can upload, if someone can direct me how to do so. I really enjoyed thinking about how this cabin could work out, and I must say I like it!

  • Eddie
    October 8, 2012, 12:16 am

    the best way is on a boat, two pontoons,

    • jerryd
      October 8, 2012, 1:02 pm

      I agree with Eddie as the biggest problem with tiny houses is a place to put them. And on the water is free in most places. If nothing else it gives you a last resort option. Plus in many places it’s legal to live on a boat on land but not in a tiny house.

      Some have mention 6′ beds but that works only if you are under 5’4” and never plan to sell it or you’ll find out just how uncomfortable 2” to small is!!

      Put a board on your bed at the length you plan to use and sleep with it for a week and I’ll bet if not 6” longer than you are it’s just not something you want to live with.

      Many wantng a tiny house should look at boats and how they are set up.

      You are going to live, sit in this unit for quite a while so make sure your seat, bed is very comfortable before you start building or move in.

      In this size built in furniture with storage in them is about the only practical way to go if more than a week stays are the goal.

      The storage under couch that for sleeping too or pulls out into a double bed with storage above 5′ high is about the most eff way. I’d use 2 acroos from each other as my above example with window behind the head space gives comfortable seating for 6.

  • Del Jack
    October 8, 2012, 10:53 am

    Thermal Plastic composite memebrane roofing (rubber roof) is great for a flat roof and could be an observation deck as well. Roll up corrugated metal garage doors can rollup into a tube shape and can be used as a retractable roof or security panel. A bunk sized wall panel could hinge out and have hinged end supports like house shutters. For a roof use a pull out rv type awning or the roll down corrugated door.

  • Deek
    October 8, 2012, 2:18 pm

    Some good ones! Keep ’em comin’ !

  • SteveR
    October 9, 2012, 12:37 pm

    What *is* the date of this post?

    • October 10, 2012, 8:16 am

      Hey Steve date of post is Thursday 10/4/12 so we’ll pick a winner by tomorrow 10/11/12. Good question! Thanks

      • jerryd
        October 13, 2012, 9:19 pm

        Hi Alex it’s the 13th and almost 14th. Have you chosen a winner? Or did I miss it?

  • Remi
    October 9, 2012, 8:49 pm

    My basic parameters:
    Actual full time living space for one person, year round.
    Electricity available – solar, grid, or generator. (If not, add an awning and cook outdoors. Hopefully, you live in a mild climate.)
    8’ x 8’ concrete pad, 6” thick walls, 7’ x 7’ interior space
    [All measurements given in HWD order]

    80” x 30” exterior door centered in S wall, swings in and to the left.
    Counter-clockwise from the door:

    E wall-
    Counter 36” x 54” x 24”
    Sink 4” x 12” x 18”. Underneath are 3 vertical pullout shelves for dry goods, cookware, dishes.
    Top Loading refrigerator 23” x 16” x 16”. This pretty well occupies its entire space, so nothing underneath. A cutting board sits on top of the door.
    16” open counter/work space. I would have a toaster oven, crock pot, and/or microwave, because I don’t cook much. You could put in a 1- or 2-burner cook top if you do.
    Underneath are 6 drawers, varying from 4”- 8” deep. Anything that isn’t cooking or clothing probably lives here – personal care, ping pong paddles, etc. Optionally, replace the bottom drawer with a step stool, because the shelves (we’ll get to those) can be a bit of a stretch.

    NE corner-
    Cabinet for on-demand hot water unit 26” x 30” x 10”. Width lies along E wall.
    Above hot water unit, bookcase/shelves 36” x 30” x 10”.

    N wall-
    18” x 74” x 30” cabinet, divided into three sections, roughly 15”, 30”, and 29” wide.
    Top lifts open like a chest to access 15” wide area (which is mostly hidden by kitchen counter) and 30” x 16” space behind drawers, useful for blanket storage and similar – things that are very good to have on hand, but you don’t need every day.
    Front of central 30” space is four 9” x 14” x 12”drawers, for clothing.
    29” space (NW corner) is storage for collapsible bath tub. With an on-demand water heater, you can have a good soak. I didn’t find any whirlpool units that I’d want to try on a collapsible tub. YMMV.
    A 30” x 74” cot mattress lives on top of the cabinet, doing double duty as a sofa. A second mattress is used as a back rest, lays on the other mattress for sleeping.

    W wall-
    Centered on the wall is a 30” x 24” table/desk/flat-surface-when-you-want-to-sit-not-stand. It is hinged to hang down against the wall when not in use, creating extra floor space for soaking in the tub or anything else you want extra floor space for.

    SW corner-
    Here is a 20” x 24” x 24” cabinet, hinged so that both the top and the E side can be opened (preferably only one at a time). Inside is a dry composting toilet. I found this one , which fits inside the relatively tiny dimensions.
    When the cabinet is closed, a cushion on top turns it into seating on the other side of the table.

    S wall-
    And back to the door! Second round: all things above 48” altitude, starting with the S wall since we’re already here.
    A shed roof slopes up at 1.5/12 pitch from north to south, so that it is about 12” above the S wall. The entire 12” x 84” space is transom windows, hinged for ventilation.

    E wall-
    24” x 54” windows above the sink/refrigerator/counter.
    84” x 12” shelf at 78”, holds lots of baskets and bins for everything you didn’t get stored in the lower cabinets.

    N wall-
    No windows. Room for artwork, knick knacks, or gloriously uncluttered space, however your tastes run.
    84” x 12” shelf at 78”, forming a giant ‘L’ with the E wall shelf. More baskets and bins. Or books. Possibly an exploring feline.

    W wall-
    24” x 84” of windows, topped by 24” x 84” of mostly clear wall. Needed a break from shelves.

    SW corner-
    28” x 12” shelf at 78”. Or clear wall. Could hang a small folding step ladder there if you didn’t want to give up the bottom drawer under the counter. Options are wonderful things.

    S wall-
    Back to the door, again. Go outside and enjoy the sunshine/moonlight/stars/whatever-it-is-you-enjoy.

    • Remi
      October 9, 2012, 8:54 pm

      How do you post images here?

      • October 10, 2012, 8:18 am

        You can send images to me at tinyhousetalk AT gmail dot com and I’ll add any images you send to the post with your comment name next to it. This goes for anyone else too. Thanks Remi!

    • October 11, 2012, 11:36 am

      Hi Remi, I put a post together with the photos you sent me. It’s right here so everyone can see: https://www.tinyhousetalk.com/8×8-tiny-house-design-by-remi/


  • October 10, 2012, 8:34 am

    I suppose talk is easy so I have started my small house and it is posted on http://imagineering-engineering.blogspot.com.au/ and there will be a full article in series on the build with costings at the end.Cheers

    • October 11, 2012, 11:37 am

      Cool thanks for sharing!

  • October 10, 2012, 10:03 am

    Just got a detailed submission from Mary Parris with photos, etc so it’s here for all to see: https://www.tinyhousetalk.com/8×8-tiny-house-design-by-mary-parris/

  • Jordan
    October 11, 2012, 3:19 am

    This was really challenging and fun! Thanks Deek! I’ve attached some sketches to help clarify my ideas -hard to describe things in words only.

    Keeping in mind that this challenge is supposed to be in the $700 – $800 price range to build, I figured you weren’t including electricity, plumbing or any of that crazy modern technology stuff. Keep it simple. (Though I do offer an option for the jacuzzi, but that would of course send us way over the edge. . . in more ways than one!).

    I kept the 8’x 8′ square dimensions for my tiny cabin. It has a shed roof of corrugated tin and is built with mainly plywood again – to keep within your targeted expense range. The front door is off center to the right on the side where the roof is at it’s tallest. As you walk in there is a tiny “kitchen” in the far right corner that uses a water dispenser for washing and drinking. Cooking can be done with a propane camp stove – though I would suggest it be done outside. A cooler would be the refrigeration.

    The left wall as you walk in is the best part. There is an “outdoor” shelf bed that cantilevers outside the cabin and is supported by (strong) legs on the outside (plus that wall would also need to be pretty hefty to support such a bed). This outdoor bed has a rounded roof / wall of the clear plastic corrugated roofing that you have used for your other 8×8 and 4×8 buildings, with plywood on each end. Allows for star gazing and storm wathing while falling asleep. (Probaby don’t want this side anywhere near big trees with large branches). Just inside the cabin, below the outdoor shelf bed is a gaucho couch bed (2’x 7’closed / 3’or 4’x 7′ opened) – which is a couch by day, and pulls out to a bed at night if needed. Whoever sleeps there has to be either a deep sleeper or a fast mover in case the shelf sleeper needs to get up in the middle of the night.

    Under the gaucho bed on one end is a pull-down door (or drawer) for storage. The other end is a door that holds a Loveable Loo or other porta-potty. In the far left corner of the cabin – at the end of the couch, is a 1′ wide storage cabinet. It could have shelves, clothes rod or hooks for hanging clothes, or whatever you want.

    On the front wall, next to the door is a 2″x8″ or 10″ board that is hinged to the wall with a hinged leg – that lowers down as a table when sitting on the couch. There would be a larger detachable tray that would “clamp” on with bolts, wing nuts and strips of wood – to extend the size of the board – for additional guest space or for playing games. Outdoor folding chairs could be brought in as needed.

    Heating – I have been wanting to build one of those beer-cans-in-a-glass-box heaters you had posted on your website a while ago. I would add one of those to this cabin if I were building for myself. Not much help on a cold night or dreary day, but I guess you could have a small propane heater if you wanted.

    To include your jacuzzi, I suggest building the whole cabin up on a “deck” with the jacuzzi below it and have a trap door in the floor that would open up to allow inside access to a 2 person jacuzzi below. Also provides a radiant heated floor during those colder months!

    Windows I leave up to your collection of funky finds and whimsical imagination. I know you will make the cabin proud with your choices. Well, that’s about it. Decorations, color choices, other cool finds I leave up to your personal preferences (or your leftovers).

  • Hunter Dickerson
    October 11, 2012, 9:40 am

    I submitted my idea via email, yesterday around 5pm!

  • October 11, 2012, 11:09 am

    I my entry in the form of a facebook note since that way I could add pictures and have everything in one place. Here’s the link. http://www.facebook.com/note.php?saved&&note_id=10151084625681452

    • October 11, 2012, 11:44 am

      Thanks Anthony! Great idea to post on Facebook.

  • October 11, 2012, 11:40 am

    Woah, major English fail. I totally skipped a word. It should be “I made my entry…” Anyways, I promise it’s worded better than that and hope it inspires someone.

  • LaMar
    October 13, 2012, 3:45 pm

    Here is my design ideas for an 8×8 cabin with a loft:


    These ideas may help with the contest but it is an original design based on an 8×8 barn roof shed available at Home Depot or Lowe’s for under $1500 and can be built for under $1000.

    Feel free to snag pics of the mini-cabin for your website.

    I included a link for the Sketchup file so anyone can use it, modify it, and play around with the design.

    I am a professional off-grid cabin designer so I do not expect to be considered for the contest but an autographed copy of Deek’s book would be nice!


  • Gary
    January 4, 2014, 12:39 am

    Just found this old post. Would love to see some of these ideas built.

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