Everyone’s needs and tastes are different. There are some fantastic Tiny House plans out there, but for some individuals, they just don’t make the cut. We have over ten years of architectural experience working with individuals to develop home designs that meet their needs. Furthermore, we aim to provide you with custom plans at an affordable price. We’re dealing with humble Tiny Houses here, not showpieces!
We have designed everything from a 80 sq foot log cabin tiny house on wheels to a 1,200 sq ft strawbale house in the majestic Colorado San Juans to a 5,000 sq foot modern barn style house for a large family in the rolling hills of central Texas to a 150 room 4 story Marriot hotel. While our days of designing structures over 500 sq foot are behind us now (it’s not that we hate large structures, we just find smaller structures more fun and challenging), we just like to mention our design background so you can feel assured you are working with a professional.
Unlike some designers who focus solely on design, we have personally built/remodeled several larger structures and 35 tiny houses to date, with several more on the way. We take the practical lessons we’ve learned from these projects and incorporate them into every new design. A good designer absolutely has to consider the construction process when putting pen to paper. Someone who has gotten splinters in their hands, tried to assemble an idea that wasn’t really practical, had to rebuild something two or three times because of the complexity, tried to get a nail or screw in a place that was dang near impossible, is almost more qualified to design a house than is someone with a five year architecture degree. Lucky for you, we’ve done both!
One last thing we would like to point out is that Greg has been living tiny for over four years now. One year spent in a vintage 1965 14′ Forester camper, and over three in his personal tiny house, the Durango. Designing and building tiny houses is one thing, living and working in one is a whole different story. Greg loves his house and would honestly say it meets 95% of his needs, but that 5% shortfall always has him thinking what could be different to make it better. He has gone through each season of the year from -20d F and blizzard snow to breezy and cool fall days to Spring dust and rain storms to 95d F hot summer days. He’s had 1-4 friends over for dinner, housed 2 extra people overnight, even accommodated long term visitors that were never planned for. All of these experiences have helped him understand what does and doesn’t work with Tiny House design.
The first step of the process is YOU probably reading this page, or else you wouldn’t be interested in a custom Tiny House design! Assuming you are still interested and wish to proceed, the next step would be a phone call or face to face meeting if you live close or we will be travelling through your neck of the woods soon. We’ll get to know each other and we’ll get a general idea of what you are looking for.
After the introduction, if all is still well, we will sign a simple consulting agreement and ask for a small retainer fee to commence work. The balance will be due when the work is complete.
Following the agreement, we will give you some homework. Most customers come to us with a really good idea of what they want. They have links to other tiny houses they like, sketches, notes, pictures, etc. This is an excellent starting point. For those who are a little unsure, we can guide you. We will teach you where and how to look for ideas that appeal to you. You can fill out the Tiny House questionnaire to jumpstart your thinking on some basic needs.
One problem of tiny house design we see over and over is that people often have too many ideas or tend to become overwhelmed by the process. Yes, this is your tiny house, and we likely have one chance to get it right, but we cannot stress enough that the core foundation of living tiny is to simplify your life, not complicate it. We have a system in place to break down the process into easy steps. First, let’s nail down the size and shape of your house. Next, the layout. Then we move on to more specific components like how the kitchen or bathroom is arranged or what kind of storage you will need. Then we get into types of windows and materials. So on and so forth. It is really quite manageable when you break everything down like this.
We charge a modest $50/hr for our design services. We have broken down costs into four basic levels for estimation purposes: Level II adds on to Level I, Level III adds onto Level II and so on. It is very important to understand that final costs will be a function of house size, complexity, and level of detail needed.
Level I- ~$500
Basic Architectural drawings including a floor and loft plan, exterior elevations, window schedule, and a building cross section.
Level II +~$400
Add Trailer details, framing plans, roof plan, longitudnal section, construction details
Level III +~$500
Add drawings for all casework/built-ins, interior elevations, electrical schematics, plumbing schematics, life safety schematic
Include a digital 3d Sketchup File
If you are highly proficient in Sketchup, several of the 2d drawings can be omitted in lieu of a more detailed 3d model. We consider well drawn Sketchup models to be the most useful method of conveying information, so much so that several of our in-house builds rely solely on a 3d model without any 2d drawings. 3d models to this level of detail take much more time to produce, but they also are much better at discovering any potential conflicts or problem areas that could arise as a result of a new custom design that has yet to be proven in the field (a good case in point is whether or not the vent opening for a range hood will intersect a wall stud!)
- If you intend to build the design yourself, some consulting help is included
- If you wish to hire us to build the house, a 50% credit of the design fee will be applied towards the construction fee
We hope we have answered most questions you might have about custom tiny house design. If you have more or are ready to get the ball rolling, please use the contact page.