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. I have nearly ten years of architectural experience working with individuals to develop home designs that meet their needs. Furthermore, I aim to provide you with custom plans at an affordable price. We’re dealing with humble Tiny Houses here, not showpieces!
I 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 my days of designing structures over 500 sq foot are behind me now (it’s not that I hate large structures, I just find smaller structures more fun and challenging), I just like to point out my design history so you can feel assured you are working with a professional.
Unlike some designers who focus solely on design, I have personally built/remodeled several larger structures and 18 tiny houses to date, with several more on the way. I take the practical lessons I’ve learned from these projects and incorporate them into every design I produce. 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, I’ve done both!
One last thing I’d to point out is that I have been living tiny for over three years now. One year spent in a vintage 1965 14′ Forester camper, and over two in my tiny house, the Durango. Designing and building tiny houses is one thing, living and working in one is a whole different story. I love my house and it meets 95% of my needs, but that 5% shortfall always has me thinking what I could do differently to make it better. I’ve 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. I’ve had 1-4 friends over for dinner. I’ve housed 2 extra people overnight. All of these experiences have helped me 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 I’ll be travelling through your neck of the woods soon. We’ll get to know each other and I’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 I will ask for a small retainer fee to commence work. The balance will be due when the work is complete.
Following the agreement, I will give you some homework. Most clients come to me 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, I can guide you. I will teach 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 I am beginning to see 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 I cannot stress enough that the core foundation of living tiny is to simplify your life, not complicate it. I 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.
I charge a modest $50/hr for my design services. Total costs will depend on the level of detail and the number of drawings you need created. I have broken down my costs into four basic levels for estimation purposes: Level II adds on to Level I, Level III adds onto Level II and so on.
Level I- ~$300
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 +~$400
Add drawings for all casework/built-ins, interior elevations, felectrical schematics, plumbing schematics, life safety schematic
Include a digital 3d Sketchup File
- If you intend to build it 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
I hope I 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.