Tiny design and build

The inside dimensions of the tiny house is 4.2 meters long by 2.2 meters wide and 2.2 meters high. Which calculates to a foot print of 9.24 square meters.

In comparison, Google states the average car park in Australia is 2.4 meters wide and 5.4 meters long. Which calculates to a foot print of 12.96 square meters. (source https://trafficparking.com.au/carpark-layout-design.php)

As we approached our homelessnes date and not a word back from any of the realestates, which I had been leaving multiple voice mail messages for. We were on a countdown that seem to be ticking faster and faster.

It was going to be a task and a half to fit into our micro space, with all of our ‘essential’ items. Plus pack up our rental property, sell off most off all our furniture and move all our boxes of ‘stuff’ into a storage unit, then clean up the rental property, while downsizing into a micro space.

There pressure on us was enormous, plus Miss P was in the middle of her final year of schooling with all the BIG assignment due, just was we were moving.

I decided to use the pre-existing layout was basic, utilising the kitchenette but move it down a little into the ‘middle’, replace the flooring and tidy up with wall & ceiling joints and a few other little tweaks.

So I took out a ruler and started to measure and record the dimensions of our washing machine, fridge, beds, clothes draws etc

Then worked out how to scale down (1:5 ratio) and drew out on a notepad how I thought the new layout would work. I created a mud map of sorts trying to figure out what size the internal wall would be, how to maximise the bed layout to create pockets of space, we could use for storage etc.

Obviously this could have been done in Sketch Up, and I downloaded a free version but I didn’t have time to learn it, plus keep up with all the new stuff for my new job, and deal with all the issues of moving prior to the deadline of homelessness. Plus, I enjoy the tactile experience of using my ruler / tape measure, writing and drawing it all on paper.

Looking online for a shower wasn’t easy because the standard size wouldn’t fit into the only space we had for it in our tiny home. Plus my priority was for function, size and price.

Thanks to our experience living in a caravan while travelling around Australia, we had taken many showers in different caravan parks. It was during our travels that I developed a health dislike for shower curtains. The feeling of a cold, slimy thing touching you while naked, isn’t pleasant.

We also knew from our travels that it is a luxury to hop out of a shower, put on your pjs and crawl into bed. This isn’t something you can do when utilising someone else’s bathroom and walking back to the tiny house (or caravan) in the dark. The three non negotiables for our tiny house were a shower, full size fridge and washing machine…

Our tiny space required a tiny fibreglass shower cubicle, and the only one I could find locally was one with a shower curtain. But hey, there was going to be many compromises when living in less than 10 square meters.

I had given myself three weekends to make a few cosmetic changes. Armed with all my YouTube watching, online research, I formulated a simple layout that would get us out of our rental unit, (store all of our personal effects in a storage unit) and move into the tiny house with just the basic necessities. So I created a shopping list, placed an order at our local hardware store (Bunnings) and had given myself three weekends to make the few cosmetic changes, tweak the layout, add the three non negotiable items, and our newly purchased secondhand king single beds.

Except life threw us a curve ball and when I pulled up the floor boards, I discovered the subflooring was damp and covered in black mould. This resulted in completely gutting the interior of the tiny house. We decontaminated, h-vacuumed and mould treated the inside and rust treated / painted the water-affected areas. This process set up back, not just in money but also in time. We were desperate and running out of time.

How did this all happen? Water had leaked in via one of the windows and parts of the metal frame had started to rust. It took all my friends and family pitching in what time they could spare on the weekends to get us to a point where we could start to rebuilt, except I was almost out of time. I don’t know what I would have done without Miss P, Mister B, Mister S, Mister L, Landlady – Meg, Welder Mate – Mal, First Mate – Kerri and the Architect at this point in time.

To put it all back together, within the right timeframe we were going to need professional help. I posted on our local Facebook page requesting quotes from the appropriate trades and was blessed with Builder, Paul offering his worker crew for 5 days only. As luck would have it, he had just finished a job and the next one wasn’t starting for another week. This was a very rare situation for a builder to be in, as all trades were in high demand. I took this as a blessing and sign from our Maker that this was meant to be.

(**rental crisis = building crisis** There simply wasn’t enough properties built during the Covid years to meet consumer demand. Customer demand meant there was / is a shortage of trades and materials)

Builder, Paul and I discussed my budget, what materials I had on hand and what he could supplement from his pile of recycled items, and what needed to be ordered to finish the job.

With a handshake deal, the crew showed up bright and early Monday morning and despite the rain, the job got done. The only exception to this was the electrician who I had organised separately. The tradesmen from this company advised they couldn’t start work until after the builders had finished…

The builders and plumber were finished on Friday afternoon, as promised. Builder, Paul and I made many changes to the layout and, consulted with the Architect who provided invaluable advised and supplied replacement parts (walls) were the wood couldn’t be saved.

The electrician was booked for the following Monday for a job that was suppose to take 1 – 2 days.

Miss P, Landlady Meg and I moved 1.5 tons of building waste from the site, sorting as we went so it could be recycled at our local rubbish transfer station.

We didn’t move in until nearly two weeks after the builders had finished due to a hold up with the electrical installation however, we made it work because there was endless painting to do.

We moved in the eve of Miss P’s 18th birthday.

The end result of blood, sweat and many tears! We had a tiny home to live in while homeless.

Bedroom, washing machine and clothes storage.

Kitchen – the shelves were built and added later by Cabinet Maker Mate – Peter.

Shower and dehumidifier which was replace later by a reverse cycle air conditioner (yay to tax refunds).

Work from home desk is situated in the ‘hall way’ and was replaced later by a smaller – fold up desk and I only have one monitor now.

The outside was painted by a professional painter found on Air Tasker. I chose the same colour as the colorbond roof and hope to add an accept colour down the track. Miss P has suggested one of her artist friends paints a mural or two which is appealing too.

PLEASE NOTE: The tiny house rebuild was done by licensed trades and is professionally plumbed into the main house, connected to main house power via an external powerpoint, plus telephone line as I work from home. We never intended to be ‘off the grid’ as our tiny house is parked in a metropolitan city. Plus solar power is expensive to set up and requires storage we don’t have in our micro tiny house. If the tiny house was moved to a rural area it could be hooked up to a 12 volt solar system.

#tinyhouse #microtinyhouse #homelesssolution


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