Floor Plan #5 and I’m Already Behind

I made a few little changes to my floor plan. My trailer is 23′, so I had to add 6″ to the house, which allowed me to add a litter box to my teeny tiny bathroom. Other changes are:

– illustrating the thinner walls

– switching the cork board and window in the main room so I can potentially have a wall heater beside the table, without a window right above it

– moving the ladder to be lined up with the edge of the loft, and because of that, adding 6″ to the utility closet so the ends of my kitchen line up

Here is my current floor plan (that will probably change again before I start the interior):

Floor Plan 5

And since I’m posting about floor plans, I wanted to share my original floor plan. I finally got around to recreating it in black so it shows up on the scanner. I made this one two years ago, in April 2013:

Original Floor Plan

I think it’s interesting how it evolved 🙂

Building projects always have delays and they always take longer than you expect. And I’m procrastinating. Right now I’m waiting to find out when exactly my trailer will be delivered. I’m also working on drawing up complete plans to get okayed by an engineer (which I meant to have done weeks ago). I started with the floor plan and got stuck on how thick to make the bathroom wall because of the sliding door.

After looking at different sliding door mechanisms, I settled on a normal 2×4 wall with a thin door. I’ll probably build the door myself because I would like to inset a full-length mirror into it. The door is also a specific size, and I can’t just trim a ready-made door because most are hollow. I don’t know what I’ll do about my front door because an exterior door for Canadian winters needs to be a little sturdier than what I think I can make. Hopefully I’ll be able to order a custom-size one without it being too expensive. Am I rambling yet?

Now I’m trying to make another heights drawing because I’ve changed my insulation and I also want to make the house a little less than the legal maximum of 13’6″, just to be on the safe side. I spent hours trying to figure out how venting a roof works when you have no attic and you’re using spray foam insulation, because I needed to know how thick to make the rafters. I also wanted to avoid this.

I came to the conclusion that you can’t really do an air gap with spray foam because it expands. When using spray foam in a cathedral ceiling it seems you don’t need ventilation anyways. Just make sure your roof doesn’t leak 😛 I’m minimizing any potential leak spots by having a simple roof line all the way across the house. As well, since spray foam makes the house airtight, I’m going to have an air-exchanger and that will help keep the humidity down.

After deciding on no air gap, I went back to the drawing and got stumped on how the rafter ties attach to my walls. I have two sets of plans and they both showed different ways. I researched that for a while, learned about spans, and decided on 4x4s (which I’d planned to use anyway). I learned that what I’ve been calling rafter ties aren’t actually rafter ties in my house because of my roof line. Rafter ties are at the bottom of rafters. In my house, the 4x4s that support my lofts are more like floor joists. The terminology is still all new to me.

The $200 plans I bought – specifically for the roof line – are like pages of math questions. There are blanks where there should be numbers! I don’t even know if I have enough numbers to fill in the rest. Why so mysterious, plans? The $10 plans I bought for the corner porch have way more measurements. Right now I have a piece of graph paper with two lines on it because I had to keep researching. Next I need to find the roof slope and maybe then I’ll be able to fill in some ceiling heights. Then after that I’ll finally be able to start on the framing plans I need to draw.

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Playing with Heights

So I have 13’6″ to play with. That’s the maximum legal road height that you can have without 1. getting in trouble and 2. hitting bridges.

When my dad and I drove to Ontario for the Tumbleweed workshop, I made sure to pay attention to bridge heights. Some people build a little lower than 13’6″ to be safe, but from what I saw, none of the bridges on the main roads and highways were lower than 4.2m, which is about 13’9″. Hopefully there are no bumps under those bridges, but I won’t be moving the tiny house often so I’m taking every inch of head space I can get.

Some provinces even have a higher maximum height. Alberta, however, sets the limit at 13’1″, which is unfortunate because I’ve heard B.C. is gorgeous. If I end up moving that way, I’ll figure it out then.

Now, the trailer company in N.B. told me that they can’t make the trailer deck any lower than 2′. That gives me exactly 11’6″ for my house.

Here’s a simple drawing pointing out some thicknesses to be aware of:

Thicknesses

Now, the trailer will be 6 inches thick (cutting into the bottom two feet, not into the house). I’m going to insulate directly into the trailer. That way, I don’t have to waste precious inches by building a floor frame on top of the trailer deck. But, to get a decent r-value in the floor, I’ll need more than 6 inches. I don’t dare get a thicker trailer because the trailer is already over budget as it is. So I’ll just get 8 inch insulation and trim the edges to fit. It will be a bit of a challenge to get the plywood to lie flat, but it’s doable.

So if the insulation is 8 inches thick, and the plywood and flooring are about 1 inch together, that’s 3 inches that will cut into the house from the bottom.

Next, the rafter ties: I set the top of them at 7′ into the house, and they cut into the lower space by 4 inches. Then say the plywood and flooring (on top of the rafter ties) are again 1 inch together.

Then there’s the roof. I’m not quite sure about all the things that go into the roof, but I have to account for at least 8 inch insulation (which, by the way, is 28 r-value and lower than I’d like), plus the thickness of the roofing at the peak, which can’t go above 13’6″ so it has to cut into the house, plus I read something about needing 1 inch of space somewhere in there. I’ll have to do more research, but for now I’m estimating 10 inches (just a note, I only accounted for 9 inches of roof in the loft drawings).

Okay, with all these accounted for, the main floor is 6’5″ underneath the lofts and the loft is 3’8″ at the peak and 2’8″ at the sides. With a 6 inch thick mattress (though it could be more or less), that makes my head space above the bed 3’2″, just a little bit lower than I’d like.

I think I will lower the rafters by two inches to make the heights 6’3″ and 3’4″, but I want to look into the heights in other tiny houses first and ask my tallest friends their exact heights 😛

Exterior Drawings #3 & #4

Normally when you’re naming the exterior sides of a house, you use the direction it’s facing, like south facing. But my tiny house can move and face any side! So here are the right and left sides of the house:

Right Side

Left Side

As with the hallway drawings, I can’t rotate them on my end, but you can go into tools (it’s in the top right corner for me) and rotate them from there.

Again, you can see the trailer where the thicker lines are at the bottom of the house.

I wasn’t sure where the wheels would be, so I just drew them right in the center.

The house is 11’6″ from the peak to the top of the trailer bed, and 22’6″ from end to end not counting the hitch.

On the right side you can see the bigger dining room window and the kitchen window. Then there’s a skylight that’s about center of the sleeping loft.

On the left side there’s the bathroom window above the toilet, high up for privacy, and the window by the entrance. The skylight on this side will be center of the main room (although in the drawing I drew it six inches too close to the front door). The mini front porch is 2’6″ by 3′ – I couldn’t make it 3′ by 3′ without making the trailer 23′ long and having an awkwardly deep window seat. You can see the little post on the end there. Maybe the porch would be cuter with a gable roof extending down to meet it, but I don’t care. I want the extra space inside.

And sadly, it doesn’t look like there are a lot of windows. It’s mostly because of closets and kitchen cabinets that I can’t add more. And windows are expensive! I didn’t put windows on the sides of the window seat bump out, partly because of money, but also because I’m probably going to be leaning up against those sides now and then. A window frame isn’t exactly a comfortable back rest, and it’d be quite cold in the winter.

There are actually 9 windows total, counting the skylights, but not including the little one in the front door. Not bad, considering a lot of tiny houses I’ve seen have 10 or 11.

Exterior Drawings #1 & #2

Nova Scotia got hit with a tropical storm over the weekend. My house had no power for almost 48 hours, so I couldn’t post, but I did get a lot of drawing (and reading) done!

Here are the drawings of the front and back of my future home:

Front

Hitch Side

I think it’s all pretty clear. You can see the tires and the axle, and the bottom six inches of the house, where the lines are a little thicker, that’s the trailer. I might end up covering the metal, but I’m not too concerned at the moment.

There’s a little ceiling light in the porch – the area where the door is is inset – and there’s a post on the outer corner.

You can see the covering for the bathroom fan on the hitch side drawing.

Oh, and I made a little mistake in the beginning that I didn’t realize until I’d finished. These are supposed to be 13’6″ tall, which is the maximum legal road height, but I miscounted so they’re technically 13’9″ if you count the squares. Don’t mind that.

The wheels extend to the maximum width of 8’6″, but the house is only 7’6″ wide to allow for siding thickness and a bit of roof overhang.

Elevation Drawing #8

This is actually two different drawings, but they were small so I put them on one page:

Lofts

As you can see, the top drawing is the sleeping loft. It’s 9’6″ deep, so there’s space at the head of the mattress for the shelving and at the foot for getting in and out of the loft. There’s the octagon window (I’d love to have a circular window, but to me it’s not worth the difficulty).

Notice how the less steep roof allows for a lot more space? No 45° angles in my loft!

The side walls are almost 3′ high, and from the floor to the peak of the roof it is 3’9″. With a 6″ thick mattress, that makes the head space above the bed 3’3″. I’m just over 5’4″ tall, and when I’m kneeling, I’m 3’3″ tall. When I’m sitting cross-legged, I’m 3’1″ tall. That said, I sit really tall because I have a long torso. Still, it’s not ideal to have such a low ceiling in the loft, but I can’t take height from anywhere else. The trailer can’t be lower than two feet high, it’s recommended to not make a ceiling in a normal room lower than 6’8″ (and mine is 7′ with 4 x 4 rafter ties cutting into head space), and I need thick insulation. Maybe I’ll steal a few inches from the kitchen. Yes, I think I’ll do that. I don’t need 16″ above my head in the kitchen when I only have 2″ above me in the loft. Sigh. This means I’ll have to re-do all my drawings.

But really, how often do you sit in bed? I’m not going to be getting dressed up there, and when I’m sitting up in bed propped up with pillows (like I am as I write this post), the top of my head is only 2’1″ from the bed. I think I’ll like having a ceiling so close. It’ll make it cozy and it’ll be awesome to have a skylight that close.

And the bottom drawing is just an empty loft space with another octagon window, above the window seat and mini front porch. This loft is only 2’6″ deep. It’ll be full of pretty storage boxes and luggage, holding memorabilia and out of season items.

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