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Tiny House with your own Rooftop Terrace

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I thought you’d like this tiny house that’s in Yport on top of a cliff in Normandy, France. My favorite part about it is not only the location but the rooftop terraces that are accessible on the second floor from the bedroom.

Directly underneath the rooftop terraces are some covered patios. These are available as wings on opposite sides of the home. It was created by architect Franklin Azzi and can actually be finished in a variety of ways which I’ll show you below.

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Tiny House w/ Rooftop Terrace in France

Tiny House with Rooftop Terrace Wings

I thought you’d like this home too. My favorite part about it is the rooftop terraces and the hilltop location with view. It must be so nice to be up there to enjoy the breeze, relax, etc.

Tiny House with Rooftop Terrace

Materials & Construction

It’s built mainly of wood with some masonry. The home features a rainwater recycling system, hillside solar panels to power almost everything inside and it even uses geothermal energy.

All of the materials that were used to build this house were locally sourced from within 62 miles of the area. Plant fibers were chosen as the form of insulation so everything chosen is as natural as possible.

Shelter House

Heating & Cooling

The ventilation and cooling in the Shelter House are passive and it’s heated during the winter by a wood-burning stove and underfloor heating.

Shelter House

Living Room

shelter house

It’s great how the home is so open. The floor to ceiling sliding glass doors, large windows and other openings make it a great place to enjoy. In a place like this, it’d be hard for me to leave home. I could be there just about all day and enjoy it. It’s so nice!


shelter house

Upstairs Sleeping Loft Bedroom with Rooftop Terrace Access

shelter house shelter house


shelter house shelter house

Other Variations of the Shelter House

shelter house shelter house shelter house

Notice the solar panels up on the hill and all of the different options for expanding the home’s footprint in case you needed or wanted more space later.

Architect: Franklin Azzi

Learn more: http://www.franklinazzi.fr/en/projects/house-v-w

What would you add or take away from this design to make it better for you? I would add an area to function as an office so I can write from there although I can think of lots of cozy spots that would be inspiring here. How about you?

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  1. http://www.franklinazzi.fr/en/projects/house-v-w

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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!
{ 55 comments… add one }
  • Cahow
    October 17, 2013, 10:28 am

    Alex asked, “What would you add or take away from this design to make it better for you?”

    How about some SAFETY RAILINGS AROUND THE ENTIRE DECK!!!!! Honestly, shame-shame on the architect who designed this for not following the most basic of building codes when you have a highly elevated surface and no security railings! Make the dang things out of tempered glass if you want the invisible look (I’ve done it) or SOMETHING that prevents anyone from taking a header off of the deck. Scheeze!

    • Alex Pino
      October 17, 2013, 12:45 pm

      Good one! Something I should’ve pointed out, LOL. Glad you said it!

    • SueQ
      October 17, 2013, 5:40 pm

      This house is in Normandy. Perhaps in Normandy they assume people are capable of looking out for themselves, and, if they decide on a family, of taking precautions or seeing to it that children are trained to look out for themselves also.

      • Lantz
        September 12, 2017, 9:16 pm

        You mean like we used to do in the US before all the coddling laws?

    • TomLeeM
      October 17, 2013, 8:44 pm

      I agree with the railings on the terraces. Otherwise I would not change anything. Perhaps the other designs would be great for other houses of similar design.

      • DT
        February 4, 2014, 7:07 am

        The variation on the house that appears in the second to last picture does show railings on the flanking decks and the steps to them. It is hard to see if they are some kind of panel or screening and the thin framework does not look very strong, but apparently having railings is on their radar and some of their plans, too, though probably not to code.

    • Stewart
      March 3, 2014, 3:03 pm

      NO! Please no safety railing. I had one to satisfy the inspectors then promptly removed it. If you are an adult and need safety rails, you may also need a nanny lol.

      Did I miss the lavatory? I’ll have to take another look for it.

      • Lantz
        September 12, 2017, 9:20 pm

        If you miss the lavatory please clean up after yourself.

        Sorry, British humor.

    • David Ridge
      April 27, 2014, 3:35 pm

      @Cahow, What was the material did you use for the “invisible” look?

      • Cahow
        April 28, 2014, 5:08 pm

        Hi, David. I subcontracted the installation “out” to a professional deck builder and he used safety-tempered and shatter-resistant glass panels that slid into wooden posts that were stained a very dark chocolate brown. We went with wood because it’s a more “forgiving” material to encase glass than metal would be and it also tied in with the organic feel of the build out that my company did. I always tell my clients that in order for the glass to look good, they MUST keep it clean so each week, the hubby goes out there and gives it a good Windex Sparkle. Their home overlooks Lake Michigan so you don’t want to obstruct a single peep of that lakeshore! 😀

        • David Ridge
          April 28, 2014, 8:43 pm

          When you use the word “forgiving” I hope you all are referring to wood for I would agree with you because wood is more flexible concerning temperature changes. And when you repaint a razor blade cleans the paint off of the glass best. I have to, follow through with this one: I hope Hubby is reciprocated more than adequately, chuckle.

    • Bob J.
      April 28, 2014, 1:24 am

      Isn’t this house located in Normandy, France? Perhaps they don’t have the same safety codes as in the USA?

    • Melanie
      April 27, 2016, 3:03 pm

      This is in Normandy France I suggest they may not have the same rules to follow as we do in North America!!

  • Cahow
    October 17, 2013, 2:02 pm

    Hi, Alex, I’m glad you concur. That obvious design flaw was the FIRST thing that jumped out at me when I opened up the link. I think it’s because more than 3/4’s of my business is in people hiring me to fix other architect’s or builder’s mistakes. Sad, isn’t it? Usually by time I receive the call, the home owner is frustrated, angry, feels stupid, has had ZERO return calls or contact from the idiot who made the mistake and because their budget was blown on the 1st project, I inherit the ire and empty pocketbook of the owner…plus the pleas/demands to “Fix it!”

    My latest “fix” was for an ordinary, common wooden staircase that went out the back door (elevated 1st floor) to the sidewalk leading to the garage. Just HOW ordinary and simple is THAT to build? Apparently a tough one, indeed, for the knuckle-draggin’/mouth breathin’ “builder” that this poor old 82 year old lady hired. First, there was NO LANDING whatsoever off of her back door: it was a straight drop of 12″ from the kitchen floor to the tread of the 1st step! One foot drop…for an old lady?!? The idiot had an 8″ riser (common) but he started the stairs beneath the doorjam and moulding, adding the additional 4″ drop. Then, the pitch was too steep, the hand railings were attached to the OUTSIDE of the decorative railings so you couldn’t reach them because of the decorative cap trim, and the bottom step’s riser was off two inches, dropping you down from 8″ per step to a sudden 6″ drop!

    Fortunately, she went to the BBB about this guy and got her money back to hire me but still….how darn stupid do you have to be to NOT build an 8-step wooden staircase to a back door? Incredible! SMH

    • Eric
      February 16, 2016, 3:38 pm

      Would love to have seen before and after pictures of that. Can’t quite visualise the disaster.

  • Cahow
    October 17, 2013, 2:17 pm

    Stats, for anyone that cares:

    1) Railings for residential decks require a height of 3 feet from the floor of the deck to the rail top surface, as mandated by the IRC. Commercial railings necessitate a higher railing at 42 inches, as regulated by the IBC.

    2) Another specification for railings include rail spacing that is less than 4 inches apart, making sure that a ball or sphere of 4 inches in diameter cannot push in between for safety parameters.

    3) Any deck that is 30 inches or more above ground must have a railing, as well as a building permit for that deck, if it is an addition to a building. If a deck is below 30 inches, it is the owner’s choice to install railings, though they still must adhere to the mandated rules. (check local codes: in our area, the height can’t excede 23 1/4 inch without a railing)

    • David Ridge
      January 28, 2014, 2:01 pm

      And there are many styles available out there either in wood or metal that are aesthetically pleasing.

    • David Ridge
      April 28, 2014, 8:47 pm

      Back to point number (2) this is also so that a toddler wont get his/her head stuck in the railing.

    • Eric
      February 16, 2016, 3:41 pm

      The IRC & IBC are recommendations only. They are not individual country/state laws.

      • jake
        April 27, 2016, 5:03 pm

        But each US state has adopted them.

  • coffeewitholiver
    October 17, 2013, 5:28 pm

    Other than changing the kitchen cabinets and furniture, I think this is a home I would happily live in! The timbers, windows, choices in building materials… I love it.

  • tom steele
    October 17, 2013, 5:56 pm

    What is the gray (I imagine cement? bunker like thing that is down the hill from the main house?

    • DT
      February 4, 2014, 7:10 am

      I believe that might be the geothermal system.

  • jerryd
    October 17, 2013, 9:30 pm

    When I read the title I thought it would actually be a roof terrace. But got these dangerous not very useful or great view wings. The wings look completely out of place with the building too.

    Had it actually been on the roof the terrace would have had a 360degree and higher view.

    The wood size in the roofing is a waste.

    Just doesn’t strike me as a good design.

  • Doc
    October 17, 2013, 10:24 pm

    Cahow, I too noticed the glaring absence of these safety features on the decks as well as the hillside stairs in an example down the page. We see non north american examples of this here. We may think we want to skirt zoning, building codes and inspections but this is a vivid example of why we have them.
    I wanted to close in the space under the two sacks until I saw that in one of the examples and it was too big. So, it’s fine the way it is. What’s up with the big tents in the other example? Unless they just support the growing operation…yea, that’s gotta be it. 😉

    • Doc
      October 17, 2013, 10:27 pm

      That was “under the two decks” not sacks. Darn auto fill… :/

    • Cahow
      October 18, 2013, 6:54 pm

      Doc said, “We may think we want to skirt zoning, building codes and inspections but this is a vivid example of why we have them.”

      Right you are, Doc. Each evening, on the local news, I hear sad tragic stories of one person to entire families who die through lack of coding, whether that’s rigged electric, extension cord abuse, elevated porches collapsing because short cuts were done, etc. Just this week in Indiana, an entire family died from lack of ventilation from a gas generator. Sad and preventable.

      Life is too short and fragile to stack the deck against yourself by ignoring safety.

    • Eric
      February 16, 2016, 3:48 pm

      The tents? OMG, they are just prototype pictures… showing that you can have visitors camp outside with a cover attaching to the house. My goodness, it was blatantly obvious to me that they were concepts, and if you’d “read” the article you would have been “informed” as such.

      But, what would I do to make it better? Increase the roof height so I could have a real bed to sleep in and not have to get down (and up from) floor level mattress. Dees old bones ya see!

  • Nancy
    October 17, 2013, 10:52 pm

    I love the house except for the missing railing on the raised deck and why does no one use a bed frame for the bed in the lofts. I have a knee issue that get down and back up that low on a daily basis would put me back in a hip to ankle brace, ugh!

    • Cahow
      October 18, 2013, 7:03 pm

      Hi, Nancy. I’ve stopped questioning most of the interior choices in these homes long ago. I usually just point out technical or design gaffs. As to beds being just barely off the ground…HA! Twenty years ago, yes. Today, once down, I’d stay down. Same thing goes for night-stands: how can you open up any number of magazines for bedroom design and you ALWAYS see night-stands but in tiny houses……finding a winning Lotto ticket on the street would be easier! LOL

      • alice h
        October 21, 2013, 6:19 pm

        Just looking at those decks without railings made me dizzy. No matter how careful you are you can’t predict when some conspiracy of circumstances will make you lose your balance at just the wrong moment. With a good strong railing, no problem. Without?
        I put some risers under my bed so it’s just the perfect height and gives more storage underneath too. Several friends have chairs and couches I avoid because I can’t get up out of them without help. I’m almost finished building a set of outdoor stairs going down 10 steps from the roadside to a small platform that leads to my path. I’m going to add a small slide (made out of metal roofing) hinged on one side that can be kept raised and locked to the handrail or lowered to allow my rollator or other gear to be slid down or pulled up as needed. No more “sneaking” down my neighbour’s driveway to get to my place, or balancing precariously on some very rustic climbing stones with no railing. Building stairs can be h-e-double-hockey-stick but once you get the rise and run and other measurements worked out the rest is pretty basic.

        • Cahow
          October 21, 2013, 7:33 pm

          alice h wrote, “Several friends have chairs and couches I avoid because I can’t get up out of them without help.”

          Boy, ain’t that the truth! And…you don’t have to be the stereotype of some old dodgy git, either, to not be able to lift yourself up from too low sofas or chairs. My BFF is my business partner, a very young 44 years. We met 10 years ago at the nursery we were both working at. Since then, he’s had two cataract surgeries and both knees replaced, simply because he played football when young and also had a job as a professional mover in his early 20’s. Those kind of sports/jobs can grind the human body up into bits & pieces, making even the youngest person unable to move with ease. When he comes over for a visit, I have a nice high rocking chair that is “his”; he can rock himself out of it and save face. Those single mattresses on the floor would be unavailable to him, at that young age.

          I often wonder what kind of a supreme optimist one must be to build a loft tiny house and KNOW that you’ll never break or sprain any part of your body, making it impossible to stay in the tiny home.~shrug~

  • Bob
    October 18, 2013, 7:37 pm

    I agree that the terraces need some form of railing, but I’m convinced that the intrusion of the nanny state has gotten way out of hand.. I would do something like a vertical support every 4-6 feet, with a set of horizontal cables spaced about a foot apart.
    I do not agree that the stairs up the hillside need railings. I have hiked many miles of trails with erosion control steps, very few of which have railings of any sort.

    • curt
      October 20, 2013, 11:39 pm

      overall like the house-have mixed feeling about the wood rainscreen on the house. The bed on the floor not fond of that element-my creaking knees. I think they might not have called that a deck but a covered patio with a wooden rainscreen roof.LOL to get around the inspection. As a artistic element I do like the no handrails – as somebody who might sleepwalk that scares the hell out of me. I could imagine sleeping out on the deck at night under the stars. actually might add a outdoor shower or soaking tub behind the house. The deck reminds me of crawling out on the roof at night and hanging out. I can also imagine somebody doing yoga out on the deck in the early morning.

    • Eric
      February 16, 2016, 3:57 pm

      @Bob… just because YOU were able to travel mountain goat tracks, or variations thereof, without support doesn’t mean everybody can. Railings? Yes, if people need them. If not, then no. Simple isn’t it?

  • Mary Mitchell
    February 3, 2014, 11:02 am

    please send me information regarding this solar panel all natural tiny house. I am looking to build on my parents land and I am single and would truly enjoy this tiny house.

  • Faith Alba
    February 17, 2014, 2:56 pm

    This is so awesome! Can you send me the floor plans. Nice job on the work!

  • AL
    February 23, 2014, 4:30 pm

    I simply love this house & keep coming back to it again & again. The stone is gorgeous & the addition is clean & simple. While I understand people’s concern for safety railings, obviously the owners did not want any & regulations allowed them that pleasure; this is their house after all. The simplicity, clean lines & copious amounts of natural light are very pleasing to me. I am very happy for them that they are living in such a beautiful, simple home in Normandy! Please include this house for a very long time on your website, please, Alex.

    • Lantz
      September 12, 2017, 9:39 pm

      Handrails…I would just have a net a couple feet down all the way around so it couldn’t be seen. A couple falls into that should cure most peoples lack of care.

  • Duke
    March 1, 2014, 12:13 pm

    Oh so quick to criticize and pass judgement again. Did anybody actually take the trouble to visit Franklin Azzi’s website in order to find out what this architectural study is all about? I don’t think so. Or maybe you are unable to understand French? I sure hope some of you don’t consider yourself experts….

  • Skw
    March 11, 2014, 1:48 am

    Does anyone know what are those camping tents like structure on both sides of the house in the second picture under the variation of the shelter house?

    I love the clean & simple design with a lot of natural light and the variations of expansion. I can see myself enjoy living in this house. Can I get a copy of the floor plan?

    • Eric
      February 16, 2016, 3:59 pm

      Yes, they are concepts. Obvious from the pictures that they are not photos of the actual finished building but merely options that one “could” possibly entertain as part of the final product.

  • TJ
    March 11, 2014, 5:47 am

    I was wondering if that is an actual COW HIDE rug on both the 1st and 2nd floors?

  • Janet (Cookie) Sanchez
    May 10, 2014, 10:59 am

    Hi Alex, I’ve been following your site for longer than I remember, and my hubby and I are about ready to move into our 1962 Shasta Silhouette . My question is this: our camper doesn’t have a bathroom. Any ideas (other than camping at campgrounds that have bathroom facilities) how we can live with this? We live in Tennessee, will be traveling North for the remainder of the summer, than heading South around December. Thanks in advance !

  • Shay
    May 25, 2014, 12:01 am

    This will be my next home! I just need to know where to get the floor plans of the house just as it is in the pictures above. Someone please let me know where and who to get in touch with to buy them.

    • Eric
      February 16, 2016, 4:01 pm

      Try using the link in the body of the article.

  • John
    May 4, 2015, 8:30 am

    How much did it cost to build?

    • Eric
      February 16, 2016, 4:02 pm

      Probably not relevant if you are in the US. This is in France. Prices there would horrify you. Trust me, don’t go look, you’ll probably have a heart attack…

  • Leah
    July 27, 2015, 8:50 am

    This is amazing, I’d love the plans! Where can I get them does anyone know?

  • David Remus
    April 27, 2016, 1:25 pm

    Beautiful design. What a fantastic view! Much of the work of simplifying our lives is in reducing living expenses. I wonder what the lot plus taxes cost? For the average person living simply is difficult if you have to work 7 days a week to afford it.

    I think of the tiny house movement as one of reducing the size of your footprint as well as expenses. Inheriting a fortune keeps your life simple, too.

  • Saturday Sportsman
    April 28, 2016, 10:36 pm


  • Chuck
    September 9, 2017, 6:45 pm

    I totally love this little house. I would not change a thing.

  • Carolyn Vick
    September 9, 2017, 7:46 pm

    Well, safety issues or not I love this house, top to bottom and all around. I would put something fairly invisible up there because I would be the first one to topple over.

  • gm
    November 6, 2017, 5:43 pm

    I’m 72 and my granddaughter is 4. Neither of us should ever be on that terrace without any guardrails. Will be off to the ER one day soon. How do you say, “Did I break my neck?” in French?

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