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Jason McQueen’s 8×12 Tiny House Design

Jason McQueen is sharing this 8×12 tiny house design as part of our 2015 8×12 tiny house design contest.


I am an amateur designer. I usually design at the 750-1250 sq. ft. range, but I thought I’d take a shot at this.

8’x12′ is no bigger than a garden shed, so designing a “house” that small is a challenge. Even RV’s this size have limited features (I have never seen one this small with a heater, for example). This one is heated by a small wood stove, as it would likely be built in an off-the-grid area.

My design is basically a single room with a corner cut out for a wet bath. The toilet is a composter and it is angled to give you a little knee room when sitting. The other corner in the bath gives you a little extra room when showering. A ladder near the entry leads to a loft big enough for a queen bed. Basically you have to chuck a mattress over the loft railing. There is a “shed dormer” over the bed to give it a little more room where the roof would normally slope down. The roof comes down a little more over the door to give a little extra shelter when entering. I don’t think more than a couple could live there but it would make a great resort cabin.

Jason McQueen’s 8×12 Tiny House Design


Images © Jason McQueen

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Images © Jason McQueen

The design was rendered in Chief Architect version 17, which now features some new
​compact items becoming more popular for tiny homes. See attached images.”

– Jason McQueen

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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!
{ 21 comments… add one }
  • Kay
    April 3, 2015, 6:34 pm

    This is just too small for me. But there are many that live in this size house and seem comfortable doing so. This is very nicely done and the only thing missing is the shower.

    • Jason McQueen
      April 3, 2015, 7:13 pm

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts. The shower is not missing. It is above the toilet, as in a small RV wet bath.

  • Bev
    April 3, 2015, 8:18 pm

    I like the style of this home. I would like this style with a larger area, like 10’x30′ L space in order to be more comfortable. It is surprising that there are two bedrooms in this tiny home. I like the plan which allows a space for the owner(s) and a guest, or child or two. I thought a “wet bath” meant a shower included? No? A shower could also be put in if it is not in the plans. Great job!

  • John
    April 3, 2015, 9:00 pm

    This design reminds me of something I’d not thought of in years. With the recent passing of my elderly father it is a poignant memory indeed.
    Back in the late 60s my father worked as a lumberjack in NE arrowhead region of Minnesota. I would go up there and stay with him every chance I got. This design is much like the single room cabins they stayed in there.
    They were designed around a single, strong roof beam with a cable attached to either end. When it was time to move to the next log landing they would pick these “shacks” up by the cable with a cherry picker, load them on flat rail cars and move them to the next log landing. It was quite a sight to see. Anyway thanks for the memory. Maybe this was the beginning of my fondness for tiny structures.

  • kaet
    April 4, 2015, 4:13 pm

    I see the shower.(0.0) This works!

  • LaMar
    April 4, 2015, 5:03 pm

    Looks good Hason! Couple of ideas since you mentioned heating. Even a small woodstove in a house this size would be overkill and run you out. Instead I would suggest a wall mount propane heater that uses much less space. That would open up room where that stove is for a larger kitchen and put a couch bed on the opposite wall so you have seating and a bed for guests. The kitchen is a little small and needs more storage so put wall cabinets above the base and where our kitchen is would make a nice desk with more storage. Just some ideas.

    • Jason McQueen
      April 5, 2015, 12:12 am

      I agree the kitchen is small and seeing it now I did forget the upper cabinets. A smaller wood stove would probably work but that would require more research and custom building the object for my CAD, which required more time than I had for the contest timeframe. The building and heating was intended with -40F northern Minnesota winters in mind.

  • Dean
    April 4, 2015, 6:58 pm

    I applaud your design.
    I think you’ve done quite a bit with the limited amount of room you have to work with.
    One thing, you could likely replace the wood stove with a marine heater made by Dickenson ( http://www.dickinsonmarine.com/ ).
    This might free up enough space to entertain the idea of some kind of laundry facility.
    They also make cooking ranges. It is likely something of theirs would fit nicely in the kitchen you have laid out.
    One question for you is, what do you think of doing a small blower system in the house?
    The inlet could be near the top of the loft and a pipe could run in the wall and emit through a register in the base directly below.
    I just feel that a loft might be a sort of “heat trap” and the house might actually benefit from a way to move the air from the loft to the downstairs.
    A small inline duct fan would suffice as an air mover.
    You would control it, manually, from a switch in the wall downstairs.
    What do you think?

    • Jason McQueen
      April 5, 2015, 4:49 pm

      I’ll have to look at the cooking ranges. It would be great to have both cooking and heat from the same appliance. I admit it would also be nice to include some kind of laundry facility. I think for air movement you could try a cheap clip fan pointing down from the loft rail. If running on 12V you might be able to find a similar fan setup to adapt on an old school bus

      • Dean
        April 6, 2015, 1:12 am

        Ah, cooking and heating in one unit. Good call. I will admit, I didn’t see that when I made my other post, but then why have a separate cook stove? Just place the wood stove in the kitchen.
        However, that places the stove under the loft. Would it be better to not do that, or would it matter?

  • Dominick Bundy
    April 4, 2015, 8:20 pm

    Why such a big wood burning stove, to take up so much space in such a tiny area. I would think a tiny wall mounted marina boat style heater would be a better choice.

    • Dean
      April 5, 2015, 4:13 am

      I agree Dominick. I know Dickenson is a popular brand, as I’ve seen it featured in other tiny homes seen at this site.

      • Jason McQueen
        April 5, 2015, 9:07 am

        Tiny homes in warmer climates… I’ve also heard Dickinson stoves use a lot of propane when it’s cold. However the wood stove should be smaller (I like the little can shaped ones) I just didn’t have time to build the custom object in CAD.

    • alice h
      April 5, 2015, 4:35 pm

      Dickinson also makes diesel and solid fuel heaters just about the same size as the propane ones, though they say the solid fuel heater is for “casual” use. http://www.dickinsonmarine.com/dheaters.php (solid fuel stove after the diesels). There is also the cubic mini http://cubicminiwoodstoves.com/

      • Dean
        April 6, 2015, 11:51 am

        Good call on the Cubic Mini stove, Alice! New to me. I bet that would fit in that little cabin very nicely. Thanks for the heads up. =)

  • Dominick Bundy
    April 5, 2015, 9:28 am

    Seeing that the Objective of a Tiny home is not to be used as a RV or travel trailer. but is put on wheels for as a loophole, to be easily moved when zoning laws may require such. I really don’t see any reason to have any type of wood burning heat source at all in such a small space.. I know they may look “cute and homey” to some. but every inch of space is vital when living in a tiny home. Plus one reason to go tiny is to be mortgage free and debt free as well. So no matter how much propane a Dickinson heater may go through it’s still would amount to moot by comparison to other daily expenses. Especially if one chooses to live off grid. via digging a well for water and solar panels for the rest of energy..Also a hundred pound propane tank propped outside rather than the typical RV or gas grill kind most people use is another option to consider as well..

  • Marsha Cowan
    April 5, 2015, 4:32 pm

    What a doll baby house! I love it! The living space in my tiny bus is only 7×10, so this is bigger than what I have, and I don’t have a loft! So I find this a pleasing tiny size. Love the angled bathroom and the location od the wood stove, although I would probably use my favorite tiny propane heater that I have used for 3 years now. This is a great design!

    • Jason McQueen
      April 5, 2015, 4:52 pm

      Glad you like the design. If you think that’s cute you should see some of my not-so-tiny designs.

  • Mimi
    April 5, 2015, 9:34 pm

    Love it! It’s perfect! I guess you have a separate little table or something to prep your cooking? I think it’s a great use of a teeny space! 🙂 Be happy!

  • Tiny
    October 1, 2022, 11:01 am

    I think u did a beautiful job with this tiny house. It b so adorable! It has the absolute basics, i.e. kitchen sink, stove, refridgerator- bathrm with toilet & shower( u can wash ur hands in the kitchen or with the shower)- the bdrm I would put a twin bed in 2 allow me space 2 put my clothes- the livingrm has a wood stove, absolutely 1 of life’s necessities- I think I would put a tv on the wall & a flat slated futon in the corner around the left after coming in the door. Awesome job! Would it have been possible 2 put a few more windows, specifically larger, in this tiny house, so that it would feel more spacious than it would otherwise? 🙂🙂

    • James D.
      October 1, 2022, 1:31 pm

      So long as there’s wall space, yes, you could put in larger windows or combine them, etc. Whoever you have build it from the plans would just have to adjust the framing but that’s easily done.

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