Thursday, November 11, 2010

Tiny Houses

I went through a phase this year where I was fascinated with smaller and smaller houses, starting with Sarah Susanka's "Not so Big House" book, and eventually landing on the tiny houses built by Jay Shafer and featured on the Tumbleweed Houses website.

At one point we were considering buying a piece of land with an old church on it. The church had been restored, as it turned out, so rather than converting it into a residence I started thinking about a separate house that would be livable, but fit in the scale of the little 20 by 30-foot church. The New Vessica, at just 289 square feet, was my first choice - but after being told by the building inspector that there was a minimum house size in that district, I switched to thinking about the Sebastarosa model (shown at left), which does have the benefit of a full second storey and stairs rather than a ship's ladder to get to bed. At the time I felt that a 750 square foot house was violating my principles, but I may have gotten a little too into it!

What I really loved about these homes is that they followed the "Ontario cottage" style of having a gable dormer over the front door. In the end the farmhouse we bought is that same style, and is less than 1000 square feet. I'll be curious to see whether tiny houses continue to interest me now that we've settled on one particular one - for weeks I was going through multiple sheets of graph paper a day sketching floor plans and elevations, and getting library books to tell me how to decide how thick your floor joists need to be, and how to frame a wall. I was all ready to build, but now I find myself using graph paper to try and lay out the best kitchen arrangement... but that's a story for another day!

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