the design

There is no perfect all around tiny house design, but there is a perfect design for every situation. Every climate demands a different approach to energy, every set of occupants has different needs. The challenge is making something specific enough that it will function optimally in it’s current situation but versatile enough to that it can be adapted to future uses. With this in mind we created Actually Tiny to be more than the just the house you see on this website, but rather a set of design principles created by people who have actually lived the tiny lifestyle in a variety of spaces and places over a significant span of time. Our current tiny house was designed to maximize energy efficiency and livability while still being able to fit into, and more importantly, out of our current location. See the bottom of this page for size details.

Single story
We aren’t here to judge your lofty aspirations, but having been there and done that a more grounded approach fits our lifestyle better. No climbing down a ladder at night to pee, no sleeping hot while the rest of the house is too cold, no risk of falls, and the ability to modify the design to be fully accommodating for mobility issues. We really wish everyone considering a tiny house could try living in both a single story and a loft house to experience the pros and cons of each before making a building decision.

Heat smart

The number and size of window and door openings are restricted to maximize energy efficiency, but are placed for selective solar gain, light transmission, and to optimize views resulting is a space that feels like it has much more window area than it does.

With wide paths of travel and a single-story layout, this floorplan can be expanded to add an ADA compliant bathroom which opens up possibilities for aging in place or for those with limited mobility.

An open floor plan with minimal built-ins means the space is easier to build, and easier to adapt as our needs change, whether that’s full time tiny living, a guest cottage, a studio space, or a backyard office.

Offgrid compatible
Carefully thought out, easily accessible plumbing and electrical branch points allow for simple conversion to a variety of electrical, water, and waste configurations. As off grid enthusiasts, this was one of our top priorities.

Keeping overall height and weight down makes towing less precarious. Our removable interior furnishings are heavy to maximize thermal mass, but the envelope is light for easier towing. Like all tiny houses our design is geared towards occasional relocation. Tiny houses in general
make poor travel trailers but this is probably better than most! If you are touring the country, an actual travel trailer is a better plan.

Our current house is 20 feet long, 8 1/2 feet wide, and 12 feet high. If not for the space constraints of our current location we would have built 22 feet long, 8 feet wide, and 12 1/2 feet high. The house is designed to be southeast, south, or southwest facing. If we were in a heavy snow climate we would have changed to a 3/12 pitch shed style roof sloping towards the rear of the house.

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