Tiny houses have become a desirable trend with people giving up larger homes in favor of small, mobile, and affordable housing. Engineering grad Tyler Bennett recently finished building his very own tiny house with a budget of $15,000. With only 140 sq. ft. to work with, Bennett had to be innovative and creative in his design of the home.
To accommodate the home, Bennett built the frame over a 20 ft flatbed trailer and in order to keep weight low, the house was covered in lightweight sheet metal. The specific dimensions for the home were chosen so it could be easily towed without the need for a special permit.
“A critical part of the design and construction was managing the overall weight of the house,” says Bennett. “The trailer is rated for 10,000 lb (4,535 kg) total. I needed to keep the weight below that and sought to reduce it as much as possible to ensure a smooth moving process. Right now, I have a total weight of 7,800 lb (3,538 kg), with weight allocated for future solar panels and batteries.”
A solid focus was placed on sustainability when building the structure. The tiny home includes sustainable resources such as high quality Rockwool insulation, rooftop solar panels, composting toilet, as well as upcycled and reclaimed materials.
The home is equipped with a built-in ceiling heating system as well as an elevator bed frame. The heating system was designed to heat the tiny home by circulating hot water through a number of pipes positioned within the ceiling. The elevator bed works on a pulley system that allows the bed to be raised or lowered throughout the day. This design was crucial to Bennett who didn’t want to have to crawl in and out of a small bedroom space or duck to get into a living space below.
“The heated ceiling would be one of my favorite features of my tiny house,” says Bennet. “There are several reasons I opted for a heated ceiling as my primary source of heat in my house. It came out as a logical solution to many problems I was facing, and I did not have any space dedicated for an electric furnace or heater. As such, I decided to use my water heater for two functions; heating water for showers and sinks, and heating water for a radiant heat system.”
The rest of the tiny home contains what you would find in any regular home, but just on a much smaller scale. There is a living area, computer station with modular desk, and of course the elevator bed. The kitchen is European style with a double sink, two burner induction stove, bar fridge, and convection oven. A small closet hides the ventilation unit, water heater, water pumps, and electrical panel. The minimal, yet functional, bathroom boasts a sink, vanity, composting toilet, and a full fiberglass shower.
Bennett was able to keep costs low by doing all the construction himself and recruiting friends and family to help on weekends. The build began in May 2018, and 4 months later, a tiny home was born. For such a small budget, Bennett was able to maximize each aspect of the tiny home and create a structure that could travel no matter where life takes him.
Filed Under: Product design