This week I am tiny house sitting at Sweet Pea while Lina Menard is at Yestermorrow teaching Less is More. While I have toured several tiny homes, this is the first opportunity I have had to try living in one. Built on a 16 foot trailer, with an interior width of about 7 1/2 feet, nearly 11 feet to the peak of the ceiling, and an 8 foot sleeping loft, it really feels quite spacious. I have hesitated to seriously consider a gabled roof in my own tiny house design since the loft space feels tight with wasted space at the edges. However, Sweet Pea has taller walls and a shallower roof pitch so the top of the wall is almost 8 feet which is one foot above the floor of the loft. With the extra vertical space, the bed can be placed in two different directions.
Right now it is aligned with the roof ridge but I plan on rotating it so that the head of the bed is under the skylight to see how I like sleeping there. One thing that still bothers me about gable lofts is the access which is much easier from the center. This usually means that a ladder has to be moved around to grant access but then be out of the way when using the space below. In my shed roof design, I am planning a series of fixed shelf steps against the tall side of the house. I think I will like that design better but I probably will not really know until I build and live in it.
I like that the great room space has french doors since they allow lots of light inside. They are 4 feet wide and 6 feet tall so they could be placed under a loft as well. I am 5'8" so I have been debating whether or not I want to have my entrance into the great room or under the loft. A large part of the design consideration has to do with the layout of the trailer and its wheel wells since I am going to place the door on the long side. I have worked with designs where the door is in front of, behind and on top of the wheel well. I really like the french doors but on a 16' trailer, it just may not be practical for my design. They work in Sweet Pea since they are on the tongue end of the trailer which is where many people put the kitchen, bath and loft. I am unsure of the weight distribution and towing implications of this design with most of the weight on the back end and it is something I am investigating further.
The kitchen has a sink, 2 burner cooktop, toaster oven, microwave and mini fridge. The fridge is currently not plugged in and I have really appreciated the silence since my own mini fridge is in my bedroom. At Sweet Pea, outside is a chiller box which works fine in cooler temperatures for most things that you would normally refrigerate, but now temperatures are rising and it will either be necessary to regularly add ice or cold packs to the chiller or to turn the fridge back on. I really like my two door mini fridge and freezer because then I have the ability to freeze things like half a loaf of bread and ice cream! I have come to the realization that I do not really need to have an oven in my tiny house. I have been using a toaster oven and grill for cooking and have been baking occasionally at a friend's house (where I also do laundry). A cooktop is great to have though so I think I will want to have one, just not sure if I want to go with gas or electric.
The bathroom has a cute mini tub and a simple bucket compost toilet. The cat litter box is also next to the toilet and it smells more than the toilet which does not really smell at all since the waste is covered with coconut coir. When the bucket fills up, it gets emptied into a large barrel outside where it sits for a year and then can be used as compost. I think if I do a compost toilet in my home, I would like to try out a Separett which is an insert that separates pee and poo. Or I will put in a conventional flush toilet with a blackwater tank that gets emptied every month or so.
I plan to write another post about my thoughts on tiny living after I complete my stay at Sweet Pea so stay tuned!