Evolution of an idea

I’ve been obsessively thinking and planning this home for about 2 years now.  I’ve thought out every inch.  I want everything to have a personalized space.  I want it to be open, light and airy.  I want it to be beautiful.  Some of the early drawings and models can be seen below.  I’ve thought over everything I own, what I would like to own, and where I would put it in my tiny home.  I started drawing sketches on scraps of paper then moved up to grid paper. Then I attempted a model of the house but it was really premature, long before I understood the height and size restrictions.  Now I’ve discovered free software that miraculously allows anyone to design anything in 3-D.  It was so much fun to use I developed a little addiction to it.  Much more fun than video games.

Google Sketchup allows you to walk into your house and look around 360 degrees. You can zoom in to see every nail if you want to get that detailed about it.

I’ve never had so much fun!   I’ve gone from crayons and paper to a professional looking architectural rendering in just one year.  Ah the wonders of modern technology!  I’m currently working on the framing model which will help me to determine lumber needs and cost.

Here’s what my plans look like now:

I’ve taken a quantum leap in my design capabilities thanks to modern technology.  I’ve been inside and walked around my new home and it isn’t even built yet.  This is helping me fine tune the design and really feel what it’s like to live in this space. Virtually speaking of course.

The covered patio will double the space and the South facing wall mostly opens up to make the space feel larger.  The patio can also serve as an atrium/greenhouse in the winter to warm the tiny home. It will be warmed with a gasifier stove and will house the outdoor shower/bath and toilet area. This home is designed to travel only when relocation is necessary.  Everything will be able to fold up and store for transporting.

I’m currently working on the framing plans in the same software.  Not being a builders the plan will be approximate.  I’m doing it to get an idea of wood cost and to better understand the plan I’ve designed to see if it will work.

My first experience with living small was 35 feet

When I went back to college I bought an old airstream for $3000 dollars which allowed me to live with only $150 a month rent (including utilities).  This in turn helped reduce my student loan debt. It was lovely.  I called my toaster oven on wheels, my UFO and my wingless plane.  I figured when I grew some wings I would be able to move on.

I lived in it for 3 years and had lots of time to think about what I would do differently if I was to design my own little home on wheels.  This usually had a lot to do with storage needs and practical function.  Airstream is great, don’t get me wrong, but for long term, full time living I wanted something more organic, roomier, and that opened up more to the outside. So here it is finally.  My version of an organic, airstream.  Off the grid, no off gassing, compost toilet etc.

6 comments on “Evolution of an idea
  1. love the Airstream..was thinking about getting one and adding to the height ( 13.5 ft ) stripping all the interior out and wood paneling it all out up to the half way mark inside and polished alloy the top half ( re insulate the walls before)..kitchen and bathroom one end with loft bedroom above ..large double glazed stained glass ceiling above the bed ..glass brick ( but the light weight plastic kind ) would be my choice for making the dividing walls between bathroom and kitchen ….the outside the same ..bottom half ceder siding polished top half ..just to take away that UFO cold look ..nice blue awning and window awnings all round ..clip on planters on every window as well…swing out or pull out decking from beneath the lower body work ..love your design and your blog ..

    • limacatz says:

      Hey Vincent, thanks for the comments. Just know that even living in the airstream in the desert of Arizona while in college I almost froze at night in the winter. There is hardly any insulation in them. I kinda like the UFO look actually, at least it was fun in AZ where UFOs are all the rage. But for living full time I like the warmth and coziness of wood, thick walls stuffed with sheep wool, and the more organic and rustic gypsy wagon look. New video tour coming soon. House is looking really awesome and has changed a lot since our last video. https://catstinyhome.wordpress.com/wp-admin/edit-comments.php?p=26&approved=1#comments-form

  2. thanks for the reply ..yes was wandering that they might be a bit chilly ..im from the UK so they are a bit unknown on there thermal qualities and quite rare over this side of the Atlantic

  3. Jennifer says:

    Cat! I feel your are a kindred spirit. This is exactly the home I’ve been trying to design. I’m not so good with the technology, so it’s all going on paper. Do you have any design tips? Lessons learned? I can’t find plans for a house like this, so I’m sketching and erasing like a mad woman. I even want to buy the plans, but no one has them for sale in this design.

    • limacatz says:

      Hire a builder for the first few weeks to help you frame it up and make sure everything is thought out in plywood size chunks and you don’t really need plans. I made mine on Sketch up and pretty much altered it as I went along to get it to conform to stupidly sized building material (i.e. nothing is the size they say it is!) You can do it!!!

  4. Gerald Smith says:

    What a fabulous journey. Thank you for sharing.

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We have landed and after all the struggle, adventure, drama etc it all seems so worthwhile. We are now parked in a lovely and peaceful place just north of Santa Rosa. Bucolic bliss has become a reality. I got everything on my list: well water, garden, wildlife, quiet (can't even hear airplanes!) and lovely neighbors. Thanks to everyone for the prayers, help, moral support, and patience during this challenging project. About another year and we should be finished.... Ha : )

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