Detailed Design Drawing Of The Tiny Free House

I was thinking through a suggestion from Kithera on one of my other blogs, Tiny House Design, about using a proper shower instead of a wet bath and decided to do a quick drawing to figure out if there was enough room for a proper shower. If I leave the width at six feet and use a standard sized free toilet a proper shower takes up a bit too much space.

A wet bath, or one that could withstand the spray from a shower, is more doable in terms of size but would definitely be harder to build due to the need to waterproof everything. It also eats up space that could be used to store towels and other bathroom items. I’ll keep noodling over this for now and be on the lookout for discarded shower stuff (like an old fiberglass shower unit), toilet, etc. Having the actual bathroom elements will be essential for finalizing the design. I will remove the sink as Kithera suggested, she’s right who needs a sink in a bathroom when there is a perfectly good kitchen sink within arms reach.

Also shown in the drawing is how I’m thinking of framing the house with pallet wood. You’ll notice that there seem to be way too many studs, and that’s because I suspect the only way to build with short (approx 3 feet) pallet 2x4s I’ll need to build up multiple 2x4s. I’m pretty sure glueing and bolting them together is the best way to do it since nails would eventually fail. As soon as I can I’ll knock toghter a few to see how well that approach will work.

I’ve also considered building panels or even using pallets in their original shape but I’m worried those approaches might be too structurally unsound. If anyone has any ideas on a way to do it using less material please post a comment. A more frugal use of 2×4 material would yield a lighter and more insulated house.

13 thoughts on “Detailed Design Drawing Of The Tiny Free House

  1. Pingback: Tiny Free House Update : : Tiny House Design

  2. Hi Michael,

    You might try to get some extra large pallets. They use a 4×4 (aprox. size) and can be 6-8 feet long. I’m sure they are harder to find, but this would give you more of a post & beam style construction.


  3. What about using epoxy, like in wooden boat building? It would cost something tough of course. It wouldn’t ever be practical for any large house, but something this small reminds me of a small boat.

  4. Hi jeffron!

    Good thinking. Actually I should probably do myself a favor and do more research into interior boat design since boat builder have been building tiny homes for a very long time. My other tiny house project, Nine Tiny Feet, may actually benefit directly from the epoxy idea since I’m not limiting the cost of that as much as the free house.


  5. Hi,
    The first thing I always look for in a house plan is where do I hang my coat? Where do I take my boots off?
    It might be worth making a coat space.

  6. Good thinking EJ. I’ll keep details like that in mind as things get refined. -Michael

  7. While I think it’s admirable to want to recycle pallets, they have many drawbacks for construction, including short lengths and non-standard dimensions, damage and irregularities, tightly stapled assembly, hard wood, and preservatives, which can be released as air born particles and smoke when cutting. Alternatively, free dimensional lumber is available, most commonly from demolition sites and contractors, sometimes from lumber yards (though usually seconds), and from homeowners simply clearing out their stash of 2 x 4s.

  8. Thanks Eggandchips. Good advice. I’ll keep my eyes open for any free lumber. I’ll make the final decision on which wood to use after experimenting with the options. This one issue concerns me the most:

    “…preservatives, which can be released as air born particles and smoke when cutting…”

    I’ve read this too but also found people that say this is rare. I wonder if there are simple tests that could be done to determine if the pallet wood contains anything toxic?

  9. Pallets vary in materials and treatments. Burning a small piece can be informative. A colored flame (other than yellow/orange) and/or thick, black smoke indicates chemicals.

  10. I have a feeling the kitchen will be dark even with the window. Consider a glass or plexiglas wall for the cabinet that bisects the kitchen and the dining area. This will allow more light in from the living area and give a more open feeling between the rooms.

    Jay with Tumbleweed houses uses a sliding plastic door to protect things in his wet baths. Watch the following video to 1:10 in the clip.

    Consider putting the front door in the left corner. That will allow you to put in a longer bench seat with under storage.

  11. I read you want this house to sleep three people. You might want to consider a hammock on the main floor. It weighs about as much as two pairs of jeans and takes up about as much space when it’s packed away.

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