The Pre-Trailer Floor Plan : Tiny House

*08/25/2012 UPDATE: The actual plans/layout we are using can be found here.*

We are still looking for the perfect trailer. We’ve scoured craigslist and have found trailers, but nothing with everything we need. We are looking for 22 – 26 feet long, double axles, with a towing capacity above 8000 lbs. We prefer a traditional hitch as opposed to a gooseneck. We also prefer it to be low like a car/utility trailer. The reason for these specs is so we can comfortably fit a family of 3 into the small space.

Although we haven’t found the perfect trailer, it hasn’t stopped us from dreaming about what our Tiny House will look like. I’ve started doing a board by board 3D drawing in Google Sketchup. I believe it is on a 26 foot trailer. These have the bones of the structure without the roof, doors, and windows roughed in. Also, someone might point out that the boards aren’t on center… I know.

Tiny House Mock Up from frontTiny House Mock Up from rearTiny House Mock Up from side

We also have been spending a fair amount of time trying to figure out the floor plan. This is going to be the biggest challenge. We want to use the space the most efficiently… so built-ins are a must and that means planning from the start where they will go. Here are two of abby and my early favorites.

Lower Option1Lower Option2

I should point out some glaring omissions from the plans are places for the electrical box, heater, water tanks, and LP tanks. The following haven’t added those, but are Abby and my current favorite.

Lower Floor Plan 2012-02-24Upper FloorPlan 2012-02-24

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12 thoughts on “The Pre-Trailer Floor Plan : Tiny House

  1. Nancy

    Having lived in a tiny space before, I can tell you that you want your privy as far away from the sofa area as possible. Not only does it help with perceived modesty for you and your guests, but when you need “space” the BR on the other end of the living space behind closed doors is a huge help. Ten minutes alone in a room will defuse that “I’m being crowded feeling” especially in the cold months and rainy days.


  2. D.B.

    I’ve been working out the same problems on my own designs, and the one thing I’ve learned is that you keep costs down by keeping the utilities connected in your design. In other words, don’t put the kitchen sink on one end of the building and the bathroom on the other end, otherwise you’ll spend a lot of time and effort getting the plumbing to both areas. If they’re located back to back on an interior wall, for example, this will save money with the amount of plumbing you’ll need to install. This also helps keep a private space a little more private by putting some distance between you and your business. If they “face” each other (bathroom opens onto kitchen) then you have other issues to avoid as well (I’ll let you use your imaginations, one word “exhaust”). I prefer things to be a bit more… separated.

    In a similar vein, I’d really recommend putting the fridge anywhere else, rather than next to the stove. Now I’m stuck with a fridge that’s much smaller, and the wrong style because I didn’t know the two appliances “don’t play nice” together. I had to take what I could find when my compressor went on an older model four days before the family descended for the holidays.

    If you’re near an area that has an RV show at a large exhibition center, spend the time looking through the models. It’ll show you a lot about what you do want, what you don’t need, and what you can’t afford. I know an RV is the exact opposite of what most tiny house folks are trying to achieve, but think about it for a minute. How else can you objectively see you, your spouse, and a toddler or family pet in 200 square feet of space? I know RV’s can be cheap plastic off-gassing nightmares for most sensibilities, but checking an RV show out can help you decide on what would work, and help you and your spouse physically see how you’d live fitting into a smaller space.

    I found it shocking at first to be able to visualize how much less space there would be in an RV kitchen, which in turn helped me scale back some of my expectations when it came to trying to physically downsize to just one cupboard in my mini-experiment of seeing if I could do it in less space. Go ahead, bring your tape measure and get the inside dimensions of the kitchen cupboards (keep it to inches to get a good perspective of the scale) then try to translate that to your cupboards at home, scaling everything – spices, dishes, dried foods – everything to fit into that space that you’d normally use in a week. It’ll scare the pants off of you if you’re coming from a 750 sq ft home to a 200 sq ft tiny home, and something everyone who is serious should try – even for just a week, just to see if they can pare things down so that they’ll make sense once you’re in your tiny dream home.


  3. george mauro

    Similar situation here, except I had a successful commercial photography business for 30 years. Boats, houses, cars, motorhomes. Five children all through private schools. The economic crash of 2008 devastated my business and we have been losing everything piece by piece and none of it was our doing. That’s OK, we will rebuild our lives, it’s what you do. But a side effect of all that was a readjustment of priorities, a more clear understanding of what kind of life is preferred. Enter the tiny house. Ours will be on wheels and on some shore somewhere. This design was my first and I have since modified it, (read:improved…) But I understand your concerns over placing utilities and such. I have done that. solar and wind will power the rig and tie in is optional. Two separate electrical systems; AC/DC (not the rock band…) I cannot post the second design since I dismantled my studio yesterday for remodeling. This first design is breaking up the space in order to feel like separate, slightly private areas. There is no couch, because couches are dangerous!


  4. george mauro

    hey Petey! (reminds me of the little rascals…)
    Here is a new design in an 8.5 x 24 foot trailer. overall height 13 feet.


      1. george mauro

        Seems as though everyone in this movement is quite passionate, so… I’m guessing you’ve already seen this site, but I’ll risk it:


        1. goldenpath2


          Do you use Auto Cad for your floor plan/animation?
          I like your thinking on internal space distribution, and external design. Have you given thought to wind resistance when traveling? How is the weight distributed? Is your plan top heavy, or low center of gravity? Just wondering


          Bruce Grecke


          1. George Mauro

            Hey Bruce! I used google sketchup for these fly throughs. I never really mastered the full features of the software. But the layout and placement of utilities was my main concern. My family and I have lived for brief periods in a class A motorhome. The layouts and flow are, IMO, make or break in the success of living small. As far as wind and weight, it does not matter, because upon further research I came to realize that these tiny homes are movable, but barely! It’s rather impractical and seems to be done on , let’s say an annual basis.. I much prefer to be more mobile and so have turned my attention to fifth wheel campers. Some of the “four season” or “full time” rigs are just fine for living. As time goes on, you can make them look less hotel-like and personalize with paint and customized living necessities.

  5. goldenpath2

    George, thanks for responding. Like you, I lean toward a fifth wheel/goose neck rig, as I am a former commercial truck owner/operator, and know that such a unit is the safest to pull, turn, and back up. On that point you are spot on.

    Thanks for the tip on Google Sketchup, I will have to look into it. Thanks.



  6. Ed Costello

    I notice that your trailer started with “wings” beyond the bed between the wheels and wheel wells ( I don’t know a proper term for this.). It looks like you placed your walls on these wings to get maximum interior width. Is my terminology OK, or what do you call them?


  7. sunshine

    it took me 2 yrs to find my trailer base, it came in the form of an old nomad camp trailer, I am in the process of building a tiny home of my own. Like you I have never stopped working on my tiny house. Always looking at the free stuff in the classifieds, going to garage sales etc. in search of windows, doors, and anything I can use as reclaimed.


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