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Floating Rooms Minimalist Tiny House Design

This family of three built a tiny house, but intended to sell it and live in a “big house” like “normal” people. Kathy got a full-time job to afford their new normal home, but like so many others, was furloughed because of coronavirus. Thankfully, Kathy, Tilman, and their four-year-old son were able to move out of that large home, and back into the THOW!

I really think tiny house living will only become more popular during this pandemic and it’s fall-out, which is why it’s awesome that Kathy & Tilman wrote a book about their build: “How I Designed, Planned and Built A Small House on a Trailer.” This book is aimed at the DIYer who wants to tackle a tiny house build but needs some guidance. You can buy the book here.

Check out their beautiful build below!

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They Built a THOW and Wrote a Book About It!

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Images via Floating Rooms

The wooden siding on the home is gorgeous.

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Images via Floating Rooms

Adding a deck to your THOW extends your living space.

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Images via Floating Rooms

The French doors lead you into the tea kitchen.

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Images via Floating Rooms

The platform bed has oodles of storage underneath.

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Images via Floating Rooms

The walls are 1/4 inch plywood, while the cabinetry is 3/4 inch.

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Images via Floating Rooms

The bed doubles as the living room and couch seating.

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Images via Floating Rooms

In the bathroom they have a tub set into the trailer.

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Images via Floating Rooms

House plants make everything better!

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Images via Floating Rooms

Here’s the layout of the home.

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Images via Floating Rooms


  • Length: 20′
  • Width: 8’6″
  • Height: 13’6″
  • Square Footage: 150
  • Storage Volume: 300 cubic foot
  • Sleeps: 2-3
  • Dry weight: <10.000
  • Towing vehicle: 3/4 ton
  • Rear-ventilated Siding
  • High-performance building materials
  • Net-Zero-Energy building
  • Out-swing French doors
  • Modular Deck
  • Platform Bed
  • Subfloor Storage
  • Picture Window
  • High Ceilings
  • Tea Kitchen
  • Fridge
  • Washer
  • Air Conditioner / Heat Pump
  • Composting Toilet
  • Shower, tub

Learn More:

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Our big thanks to Tilman for sharing! 🙏

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Natalie C. McKee

Natalie C. McKee is a contributor for Tiny House Talk and the Tiny House Newsletter. She's a wife, and mama of three little kids. She and her family are homesteaders with sheep, goats, chickens, ducks and quail on their happy little acre.

Latest posts by Natalie C. McKee (see all)

{ 7 comments… add one }
  • jerry dycus
    August 24, 2020, 8:56 am

    Nice but instead of the futon 2 couch beds with easier to get to storage both under and behind. One couch can slide to the other to make a king size bed.
    Another thing is instead of a deck make a at least screened room to live in most of the time. The roof could be solar panels that folds out, drops side curtains, maybe a floor would greatly increase the value, livability.

    • Natalie C. McKee
      August 24, 2020, 1:24 pm

      I love the idea of the screened room!

  • Alison
    August 24, 2020, 12:36 pm

    As Jerry wrote above, a couple sofa beds would be better than the big platform (for me). I picture myself settling in with a book and a mug of tea, and it just seems awkward to have to scooch across the platform, arrange the pillows, not spill my tea, etc. But I do like how they used plywood throughout, taking advantage of the lovely wood grain patterns. It looks modern but not stark. And it’s a good floor plan for a 20 foot dwelling without a loft.

    • Natalie C. McKee
      August 24, 2020, 1:23 pm

      I definitely understand that. I think the idea was to maximize storage underneath the platform, but it’s definitely not easy to scooch over there!

  • August 24, 2020, 5:46 pm

    Hi Everyone, thanks for featuring us and thanks for your comments. The platform bed is definitely not for everyone. We were inspired by Asian tea houses – you take your shoes off, step up to the platform, that kind of feel. In hindsight, the option that you are proposing does offer more options – but hey, you have to do some things to find out right?
    Now we have a little shelf where we pick up or cup of tea from where we are sitting. The platform bed area is about 8x8ft BTW.

    • Natalie C. McKee
      August 25, 2020, 1:19 pm

      Thanks Tilman! We all can think of things we’d rather do or have, but you’ve done a great job and I haven’t yet seen a platform bed like yours!

  • James D.
    August 25, 2020, 5:54 am

    Trade offs to everything, you’d lose a lot of storage by eliminating the platform bed. The 2 couch beds would cost significantly more than the futon and would not be able to provide anywhere near as much storage. Creating an enclosed patio would also cost more than the deck… Solar, etc. would also add to the costs and limit where it could be placed because you can’t block/shade the roof if you’re going to use it for solar power…

    While the original floor plan indicates the bed platform was intended to allow it to be walked on, with pull out drawer that functioned as a step up, which goes with the floating rooms description as the bed platform serves as a raised floor…

    The futon is folded in the photo and would unfold to make the bed that would take up most of the platform bed area. So switched between coach and bed mode… But means no need to “scooch”, just get on the platform and walk to the futon, and then sit… Add shelf/table to the wall and you can put your tea down while you transition and then reach over and enjoy…

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