The Design

I decided to put an updated link directly to my design, as it changes I will update it here.

My brilliant cousin Sage also suggested that I give some quick details about my project, mostly the fact that it is 196 s.f. so that her co-workers will believe her.  It is 196 s.f. 🙂.  My house is built on the bed of a 24′ long (8 foot wide) flatbed trailer.  It is built on a trailer not as much to be mobile so much as to have a work around from building permits and codes.  Not that my house is unsafe by any means, I just saved the money that most people pay for building permits, I now have to go through the DMV and pay their fees associated (a lot less) to get the house licensed.  I am using reclaimed/recycled/leftover materials for the most part.  I have designed this all myself and have been constructing it with the help of my dad and my boyfriend, in my spare time.  Please feel free to shoot me a comment or a message if you have any questions, I am happy to help whoever however I can!  Also, if you see me doing something wrong PLEASE tell me, I have a background in design, not building… this is all pretty much from the hip ;-). Thanks! Onto the design:

Right now I am going to be using recycled pallet wood for the siding (shown in the variegated brown).  The darker material is just going to be stained wood.  The roof and shorter side wall will be an elastomeric roof of sorts with a trellis of sorts for growies (thinking about using expanded aluminum).  The deck is yet to be determined.

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§ 54 Responses to The Design

  • Laura says:

    Lacey, I wonder where you got the idea to use pallet wood? Will it keep the weather out? It must because I am sure that you researched – but what is the technique for application?

    • Macy M says:

      Hi there Laura, I just want to avoid confusion down the line and clarify that my name is actually Macy. As far as the pallet wood it is an original idea I had. I have seen it used on interior walls before and I like the way it looks. I am using a rainscreen wall system (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rainscreen_cladding) on my exterior which allows me to use pretty much whatever facing I’d like. Since pallets fit into my idea of how I want the home to look as well as the budget I was pretty sold!
      The pallets act as a first defense against rain but they will not keep everything out. There is a cavity space behind them (in front of the vapor barrier) which allows water that does penetrate to drain naturally and also airflow to evaporate. I figured this was that best system for a movable house as most of the issues with walls are caused by allowing water in (usually accidentally) and it not being able to escape. I have just counted on it coming in and am giving it an avenue to escape. The structure of my house is behind waterproof barriers.
      Thank you very much for the question. I have learned about rainscreen walls in theory but this is one of those other things I am testing out here with reality. I will definitely post on the successes and failures in the future!

      • Laura says:

        Sorry about that Macy!
        Thank you for the information on rainscreen! I will look it up. I suspect that with my aluminium sheething I may be able to do something like this too. I really look forward to seeing yours on!
        THO may very well steal your idea!
        Besta, best,
        Laura

        • Macy M says:

          No worries at all! and yeah, you ought to be able to do something like that though it wouldn’t be as necessary with aluminum, it’s a pretty waterproof material. There is a little more effort and material that goes into a rainscreen but you could do it either way! I love watching your progress!

  • cxdyer says:

    So glad to see someone building a totally modern tiny house, love the angles and shed roof. I’m enjoying your blog, thanks for sharing your project.

  • Cheri says:

    Yeppers, Cheri Dyer from Houston Texas. (Thats where we live now) but the house we are building is in an hour north of here, in a really small German town.

  • cxdyer says:

    Yeppers, Cheri Dyer from Houston Texas. Thats where we live now, but the home we are building is on an acre of land in a small German town about and hours drive from here.

  • mim says:

    hi macy
    my name is mim and i am planning my tiny house on wheels….
    i came across yours and am interested in some aspects of your design…
    i have a couple of questions….does your gooseneck trailer have that large arm to connect to a pick up truck or can it be hitched on to a vehicle like other trailers….and is that the reason for the overhang bedroom?
    i too am interested in a foldable deck and am wondering what material would be light enough to fold but strong enough to use as a deck….and what about the support?
    i will not build this house by myself…i know my limitations and i would be lost completely….i am good at supervising : )
    i am interested in your roof and back wall which you rendered in black….what material would that be….can it be made of one or two pieces piece so there would be no problem with rain….i am trying to understand the different materials that can be used…..i think i would like a metal roof and siding since it would be lighter weight….
    i am not sure of so many things and i am not sure where to get all the info…..any info you can give me i would so appreciate….
    do you have any pictures of your little house? i dont see them on your website….
    thanks
    mim

    • Macy M says:

      Hi Mim, thanks for the comment and awesome questions!
      The trailer does have the large arm to connect to a truck but it is a type of trailer designed to connect to a truck above the rear axle (in the bed of the truck), it cannot be attached to a truck as a standard pull trailer would be for any transporting (we do do this to move it around the property but it is definitely not road worthy like that). This was the type of trailer that was available when I bought it off of Craigslist, it is more the reason for the overhanging bed than the other way around. I started with the trailer and then designed from there. When I originally started I was looking for a standard hitch pull trailer, there weren’t any available in my price-range though so I took the goose-neck direction instead.
      I have not worked out all the details for the deck as of yet. I was thinking I would use some expanded aluminum material but I will have to be careful so puppy finger nails won’t get caught in that too. That is going to be one of the last phases of the project so I have been focusing on other parts first but I will certainly continue to updated that as I get closer. The whole system though will be designed for the trailer so the supports will be included with that TBD design as well.
      My roof structure has actually changed quite a bit from that picture in material, not shape. I have ended up going with TPO (a plastic membrane) which will have ivy growing up it. You can see the latest images (with the membrane installed) from my latest posts, particularly here, http://minimotives.com/2012/07/29/update-7-29-12/. and also here, http://minimotives.com/#jp-carousel-915. I originally had planned to do the roof and side wall in metal roofing, I just couldn’t come up with a way to do this that I was happy with though, there would either be a weird bend, improperly installed finishes or it wouldn’t look as monolithic as I wanted… this led me to ultimately use TPO roofing which is readily available and used as a standard roofing product in the majority of big box retail centers so it is tried and true, which is important to me. TPO is also lighter weight than metal roofing which was an accidental pro.

      Thanks again for all your questions, I love that someone is finding my documentation useful, I am always here to chat about other concepts as well. There are a ton of pictures all over my site starting before the first day of construction. I am guessing you are using a browser not supporting wordpress or on a mobile device that isn’t showing them properly. Each post I have has anywhere from 5-25 images along with it. If you look directly at minimotives.com you will see the posts, or click the orange link (‘minimotives’) to the left. There should be more than enough images to show the entire process and each detail along the way. Let me know if you still continue to have problems viewing the images and I will look further into that, thanks for that intel!

      • mim says:

        hi macy
        its been awhile since i contacted you…..thanks for taking the time to explain it all to me and all the great info….
        as of this week i have finally resolved my split from my partner where he bought me out of the house and i am ready to fully concentrate on my tiny house…..yay!!!!!
        i have two questions….what do you think of building with sip panels?
        looks like it might be lighter and very well insulated….
        and the other thing i have been contemplating is framing in steel since the story of the burned down tiny house…and also because steel is lighter than wood………take a look at tinygreencabins.com…..
        please let me know what you think?
        thanks
        mim

        • Macy M says:

          Awesome! that is really the biggest part of the process, at least it was for me. Tying up loose ends. I am sorry to hear things didn’t turn out well but happy to hear your positive outlook! I think that SIPs panels AND metal studs are both GREAT ideas. I was initially going to go with SIPs panels for the ease of the system all around. I couldn’t find a sponsor and I couldn’t fit it into my budget otherwise though so I couldn’t make it work. From there the next plan was to do metal studs… then I got a great deal on lumber so I went with the traditional wood stud construction.
          A couple things to keep in mind, the steel studs won’t keep your house from being flammable or even offer you more time to save your valuables. The sheathing and insulation in all likelihood is what would bring the house down. SIPs panels however, I have heard, could mitigate some of that concern. The wiring goes in conduit so things would be less likely to arc and start something (like insulation) on fire. It won’t help against a nearby barn burning and taking your house with it but in my opinion SIPs are the best all around option, even though that is not how I built my house.
          I am not sure if SIPs are really that much lighter than traditional framing at the end of the day however, they use two pieces of OSB instead of one and because the lack a good portion of the studs these pieces are usually thicker. It’s probably a wash weight wise but they are a much tighter construction method which is important in a small house. Depending on your helpers situation too, it may be more difficult to construct because you’re dealing with 4’x8′ panels which can be heavy and tough to move around without 3-4 people or a tractor. If you do go with metal studs WEAR GLOVES! They will cut you up! But they will spare a lot of weight!
          Thanks for the questions, I wish you the best of luck! Are you going to document your build by chance? I would love to follow along!
          Best Wishes,
          Macy

          • mim says:

            hi macy
            thanks for the positive advice and encouragement….being in transition is interesting and difficult and any encouragement is much appreciated……
            i would love to document my build except that i dont plan to build it myself so am not sure people will be interested in reading it…i plan on supervising : ) so that might be an interesting perspective for some….
            and i have some unique design ideas…..
            i am looking for somebody very good to do it for me……at the moment it seems to me that some people do the structure of the building well and others do the finishing well…so far i have not found one person that can do both really well : )
            since i was a designer in my previous life i am very particular about the details……
            a question about sip panels….when you say the wiring go in conduits do you mean to say they will be visible on the outside walls? that i cannot live with……so it might be that my options boil down to steel framing…..
            please advise
            thanks
            m

          • Macy M says:

            The conduit is inside the wall, not visible from outside :).

  • mim says:

    yes…i looked at the tiny sip house and saw that it was not visible….
    i thought that the panels are ready made and maybe it was not a good idea to open them to run wiring…..but i was mistaken…..
    macy i like that you did your house with drywall….i too dont like the tongue and groove wood for the walls….makes it look a bit coffin like : )
    but i read today that when towing due to potholes and railroad tracks etc… the sheetrock might crack…..what do you think?
    what about ceramic tiles? would that possibly crack in transit as well?
    i have emailed several companies that build tiny homes to ask some questions and see which one would be a good fit for me….
    do you personally know of anyone that is very good at what they do?

    • Macy M says:

      When I started this I was willing to roll with the cracks in the Sheetrock, I feel comfortable patching drywall and I haven’t planned on moving it too terribly much. It seemed like a much smaller issue to me than dealing with a design i didn’t like as well. Since then there are a couple people who have done sheetrock as well AND moved their house with no problems at all, http://clotheslinetinyhomes.com/ for example. They are actually who I would recommend you talk to about a custom design/build as well, they have done a really great job on their place and it seems logical to keep the design/build team together. http://tinyhousemap.com/ is another place to search for other builders to quiz, definitely worth the look if you haven’t seen it yet. I am actually scared more about ceramic tiles, I am using some in my shower, I fear they may pop off and break a bit easier and be a bit more tricky to repair, but I plan on crossing that bridge if/when I get there, I will certainly update as needed! Thank you so much for all your questions!

      • mim says:

        hi macy
        i have looked into clothesline homes….i have two issues there….one they dont build with sips and the other is that some of the finishes in their house is not well done….i was disappointed…..
        but when i went to tinyhousemap i found a very interesting site that i think will interest you….maybe youve seen it already….its called boneyard studios…..i was amazed that a young woman bought a small alley lot in washington dc and got zoning approval to put 3 tiny houses
        on wheels onto it…..can you believe? they are having an open house on january 6….i hope to attend……check out the site….each of them is building a different style house and i found the blog interesting……one of them is building a 10 or 11 foot wide house which will need a wide load permit every time it is moved….thats an idea to consider as well if the house doesnt get moved a lot…..
        there are so many details to think about and i am not committing yet which does not make me too happy……i dont know where i will put the house so that makes me nervous……hopefully i overcome my trepidation soon…..
        m

        • Macy M says:

          A lot of builders haven’t built with SIPs because they haven’t had the opportunity to, it’s not that they can’t. A good builder works with the client to get them a product they are happy with. I can understand the other concerns though as well.
          I have heard of Boneyard Studios, they are pretty new to pop up on the radar but have become very popular (relative to the tiny house community) in a short period of time. They are definitely doing interesting things. The other one to keep your eye on is Jay Shafer in his new endeavor. he is creating a tiny house community. Many people have talked about it but he is having tremendous success in pushing it forward. http://www.fourlightshouses.com/pages/the-napoleon-complex this was very recently released as well.
          I hope you can work through your trepidation as needed, that is part of the fun stuff to though :).

      • Macy, have you heard of hot mud for sheetrock for tiny houses? I’ve seen it – it looks the same as regular – but I don’t personally know anything about it’s stability. Could be worth checking out – it’s supposedly more resistant to cracking. Good luck! I’m building this year too — 112 square feet plus a loft.
        BA

        • Macy M says:

          I haven’t heard of it in anyone else’s house, I did do a quick Google of it though and it sounds like you have to be much quicker because it sets so fast, I am not sure I have the skills to be that fast. It sounds like it does a good job and would be great for a professional who is generally on a timeline and may not want to wait a day between coats, especially the first coat that takes a lot longer to dry. I think it would be totally worth checking out if you’re comfy with your skills, I think you should try it out and let us know how it goes!
          Are you going to document your build? I would LOVE to follow along! Thanks for the comment!
          Macy

  • Victoria says:

    Hi,
    I may have asked you this before but is your trailer 8×24 not including the overhang where the bed is going? What is the measurement of just the lower part where the kitchen, bath and living is? Do you have a diagram? Is the back deck part of the footage?
    Thanks

    • Macy M says:

      No worries Victoria-

      My trailer has a 24′ flat bed, that is not including the 5′ dovetail which I have built up as my porch and also not including the 4′ extension I have built up over the goose-neck portion. Of that 24′ the front 2′ is dedicated to my solar battery storage which leaves 22′ for my living/kitchen/bath area (including the dresser/stair portion). I don’t have a diagram but perhaps I can put one together and post it on this page for reference! Thank you for the idea!
      Macy

  • Macy – I’m going to do a wood tongue and groove interior; I like that look, and I plan to be on the road with my tiny house for a while and think it will travel better.

    Yes, I will be documenting my build! I’m blogging (www.aBedOverMyHead.blogspot.com) and I am preparing a website for launch. Happy.

    I’ll be following your progress!
    BA

    • Macy M says:

      That makes sense, I would agree with you about it traveling better. I have listed your blog on my TinyHousers page, I hope that’s ok. I am excited to dig into your site! I will certainly be following your progress as well! 🙂

  • I love that you listed my blog! I’ll list your site on mine too. : ) Thanks.

  • […] can read more about Macy on her website and she has lots of photos of her design on there too. If you’re on Facebook you should follow MiniMotives so you don’t miss […]

  • cjbutch says:

    Hi Macy! Your welcome to set up house at my place…it’s also a work in progress, but I have two acres with a couple of separate septics and your welcome to plant at the back somewhat wooded area (but….I’m blessed to have trains come through every few hours or so – yes,,I live next to the tracks!) I’m in Tennessee!! Your plans and progress are awesome! Continued luck to you!
    Cheri

    • Macy M says:

      Haha! Thanks Cheri! I think I might just like living by tracks but Tennessee is too far away from my family! Thanks so much for your comment!

  • […] a 196 négyzetláb, azaz kb. 9,5 négyzetméteres lakás rendkívül jól van megtervezve és felépítve. A pótkocsiból épült lakás számos […]

  • Cndy says:

    Macy;
    How tall overall is your tiny house?

    • Macy M says:

      Hi Cndy, my house is 12′-8″ at the outside peak. It is quite a bit shorter than other tiny houses but the trailer I built on is about 14″ higher than standard trailers, hopefully that is helpful.

  • Sheheryar Shakeel says:

    Hello,

    I was stumbling on http://www.stumbleupon.com today & found your page about your Tiny House.
    It is amazing, I had a similar idea years ago, about using shipping containers & turing them into sustainable & affordable houses.
    Sadly, I didn’t have the motivation & dedication that you have.

    I read that you intend to make the tiny house completely off-grid.

    Maybe, I should I tell you about myself first, I am an engineer, I design & sell solar power system. But I love designing sustainable lighting fixtures, I made 4 different design out of garbage, I used bamboo & other materials. I am making a blog about them, will send you the link.

    So, if you need any kind of assistance in taking the Tiny House off-grid, do let me know.

    -Sheheryar-

    • Macy M says:

      Oh wow! I would love a link to your site to check it out, that sounds awesome! I do plan to make it off grid in a couple years! The shipping container idea is another great idea! Thanks so much for your interest and I look forward to checking out your site!

  • KR says:

    Really good question about materials and road transport. Look at high end buses/trailers, they have shock absorbers. So if you are going to roll around a lot, you might have to incorporate a shock system on the trailer. I have no idea on what that would entail. Also… If you want to use tile, I recommend looking at the Schluter system to separate the tile from the substrate material. It might help for being in one spot, not saying it would be perfect for on the road traveling. How about teak or other marine grade material that could go all they way into the bathroom? Small space = high end floor material?

    • Macy M says:

      The transport is secondary or even less, wheels tend to be more of a means around building codes, if it was intended to be moved more I would have done a lot of things differently I think. I did use some Schluter products for edging the tile, it just cleans things up a lot visually. There are a lot of other materials that could be used throughout, it comes down to personal preference 🙂 Thanks for your comment! Happy Holidays!

  • JK Dixon says:

    Just yesterday I was discussing Tiny Houses with a friend. Your home is beautiful and I, for one, am proud of you and your willing to commit to such a project. Enjoy your new home.

  • Sarah says:

    Think you might actually take it somewhere?

  • Hey, Macy
    I saw on a recent post that people have been ugly about just about anything that people can be ugly about. That hurt just to read what you wrote…I can’t imagine how that hurt to read the truly hurtful!!! As someone who does a fair amount of writing myself and has had to deal with his fair share of trolls, 1) your site is an inspiration, and 2) as the Romans said, “don’t let the bastards get you down.” You’ve done something inspiring and motivating!!! Blessings!

  • Chris J says:

    I am seriously taking plans like yours into consideration on some property. Awesome. Thanks. Please keep posting -the more detail the better. I cannot believe ppl. were mean to you. Your work is inspiring. When you get hate mail from certain people, you KNOW you are doing the right thing.

  • sheheryarz says:

    Hi, thanks for writing.
    I have started my blog, its quite simple right now, but I will keep working on it.
    I have put up some of the light fixtures that I have design.
    Check out: http://zainadesigns.wordpress.com/
    And let me know what you think

  • sheheryarz says:

    Thanks! Yes the wood slat shade was actually the easiest one to make, I think the best designs ideas are mostly the simple ones.

    Thanks again

  • Marilyn Joy says:

    Hey Macy,
    I love your design. Definitely one of the best tiny house designs I have seen, especially for being on wheels. I am mostly curious about the trailer. Did you have to hire a professional welder to weld the extra framing at the hitch holding the bed area?
    Also, do you have any specific resources you can recommend for people looking to build a similar design (other than those in the “resources” section of your website)?
    Thanks!

    • Marilyn Joy says:

      Nevermind about the resources. I found what I was looking for 🙂 I asked prematurely. Again, I love your design. I would almost copy it exactly.

    • Macy M says:

      Hi Marilyn, it is a standard goose-neck hitch trailer, they are fairly common around my area but I learned that that isn’t always the case for everyone. It came that way though, I did take it from a double axle to a triple axle trailer myself though. As for resources, i will have my plans available soon, if you wanted to sign up here, http://eepurl.com/LeAUD, you would be notified just as soon as I get them done. Last but certainly not least, it looks like you found me like a few others RIGHT in the middle of a domain change, my actual site is located at http://minimotives.com/, this one is no longer being updated and I don’t get the notifications on the comments so I am far more sporadic with the answers. Please do let me know if there are any other questions!

  • Jim O'Connor says:

    Hello Macy
    Came across your ‘Tiny’ house on fb; What you’ve done is incredible, beautiful! I look forward to reading more of your blog; I really like the cut of your jib (sorry – I’m restoring a small yacht at the present).
    Living-wise, I have a similar small, eco-house in mind.

    Congratulations on a brilliant accomplishment – I hope I do a fraction as well.

    Jim (BTW, I’m in south-west Ireland, by Bantry Bay)

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