Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Getting Closer to smaller living: Stage 1.5 - Designing and layout planning.

After all the other steps,  I started to get measurements of all appliances that have to go in.   Stove, Sink, Shower, Toilet, etc...   I then grabbed some graph paper and started to draw them out.   Kitchen will only need 21" wide by 18" deep for the Stove, vent hood, and microwave above it.  I hate being crammed in a corner when I cook so adding a 6" wide counter space on one end before the wall is needed,  this is not wasted space, its' thin storage.   On top of that you need a sink.  a 25" wide by 17" deep kitchen sink is enough.  Plus I can have cutting boards cut to fit on top of the sink to add more work space. I am figuring 24" deep counters and 16" deep shelves above the counter.

A minimal kitchen that will be tight to work in is about 5 foot 6 inches long by 5 feet wide,  Ok, not too bad. A little tight for cooking anything, no place to use a blender or stand mixer, but this is minimalist living.   I can use a bowl and hand mixer.  I also could add a flip up work space at the end of the kitchen for more work space when needed.

On to the bathroom,  Shower stall is 36" by 24".  Tight but doable,  Another 24"by 24" for toilet space and 10"X10" for a tiny corner sink.  This means I can cram the bathroom into a 5 foot by 3 foot space.   This means my minimum width for the house is 9 feet or so with wall thickness and siding averaged in.   So if I go for 10' wide I have more room to add.  So far my 10 foot wide house idea is solid.  If I went for even wider then I have more options in room rotation and space.   But I at least know what my minimums are.    Now if the house is to be mobile...  I need to make it smaller.  8.5" is the MAX width I can have the house,  that includes eaves. so the house will actually be 8' wide outside with 8 inches removed for the wall thickness plus interior wallboard.   So I am stuck at 7.3 feet wide inside if I want to be able to tow the house around the country as a nomad....   Keep this in mind, it's a hard rule that you can not get around.

Now add in living space.  I am thinking 10 feet in length would be nice,  that is 8 foot of space for a couch that turns into a bed and room to get into the bathroom/kitchen. add a couple of feet for length and I have 17.5 feet long for the length of the house.  157 square feet of living space not including the sleeping loft.  This allows the loft to be about 11 feet long with a 2 foot wide over the door loft for storage.   You can go longer easily, the legal limit to a trailer length is 40 feet in most states. so expanding to 21 feet long gives us some options.....

Doorways are a different issue.  a LOT of plans out there use a 26 inch wide doorway.  This is typical for a RV.  IF you are more portly, you may find that doorway to be a little too tight.  Be sure to look at different options,  you can mock up a doorway with cardboard on a regular doorway where you live now to see if you are comfortable with a 26" width.

I also suggest drawing up your idea on graph paper,  I use a small grid paper and 2 inches per square. and then cut out squares relating to different furniture sizes and people standing, sitting and laying down to get an idea on space use.  Try to allow 18" or more for traffic lanes.  A person is about 17 inches wide and is comfortable when they have 20 inches of space to sit in.  Larger people need more room,  I'm built like a football player, so shoulder to shoulder I'm 24" wide, I will be uncomfortable in 20" of space (and I am on a typical airline) So I assume a luxurious 28 to 30 inches of width for sitting space.  This means a 5 foot long "love seat" is perfect for two.  I have 22" from the back of my knee to my back. is a link to some furniture cutouts you can scale to whatever scale you draw up your micro home floor plan in to make some decisions.

Once you get done with this step, if you live in a large home you can mock it up with your current furniture.  OR  get some stakes and line and go out to the yard to mark out the house floor plan in real scale  Seeing it full scale will tell you a lot about how it will feel to you..

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