I've discussed why I've decided to build a Tiny House so let's get down to the nitty gritty. What's my plan? How can you get started on a tiny house yourself?
Read. A lot.
I subscribed to emails from TinyHouseBuild.com a few years ago. Their website is a really good resource for anything tiny house related. They have blogs and how-tos, paid instructional guides and free information. There are probably thousands of webpages out there (much like this one... but better, no doubt) that you can reference for all of your questions. TinyHouseBuild is just one that I landed on and subscribed to.
Get yourself a set of plans.
Through TinyHouseBuild's emails I learned about TinyHousePlans.com. Again, there are countless other places to get plans online, that is just where I got mine. I mentioned in my first post that I am a builder and construction manager, but I'm not an architect or engineer. I bought plans so that someone else could do all of the technical thinking for me. Sure, I know how to build houses but I don't know code related to these and I don't know all of the unique guidelines that one should follow when designing a tiny house. For example, do you know how tall your tiny house can legally be? I didn't, follow the plans and you don't need to worry about that.
What do you look for in a set of plans?
- Trailer design
- Framing Plan including: subfloor, walls, loft, roof
- Detail Drawings such as wall to floor detail, wall to roof, window head/jamb/sill, wall system (sheathing, insulation)
- Mechanical, Electrical, Plumbing (MEP): ultimately the MEPs will depend on what you decide you need, which can vary wildly. MEP drawings give you a good idea of how everything works with the framing
The plan documents I purchased from TinyHomePlans also included a SketchUp file and 3D SketchUp screenshots (in PDF) that show the house going together, step-by-step. This was a very nice addition and really helps you wrap your head around the house, work flow and building process.
If you're not familiar with SketchUP, it is a free web-based 3D design tool that is widely used in tiny house design. You really shouldn't need to know how to use the program except figuring out how to pan the view around their rendering.
So what design did I land on?
The hOMe 24:
Why? Hell, I don't know. I guess because I didn't want to deal with building a gabled roof. I'm a simple guy and I like the practical design of it.
Finding a design that works for you is a compromise between what you need, what you can afford, and what you can build. Don't rush this process, you're going to not only be living in this thing but also building it.