Read 0216-Tiny Houses (70-71) text version



by Lester Walker

The six little house plans shown here are from Tiny, Tiny Houses by Lester Walker. Lester is a rarity -- an architect who not only has designed these little houses, but has drawn clear and useful plans that he shares with others. There are 40 designs in this unique book.

Raft House

8' × 7' + deck

The first tiny house I remember seeing and categorizing as a tiny, tiny house was a complete surprise. In the summer of 1963, I discovered one while hiking along what seemed to me to be a very treacherous, untraveled animal trail on a remote part of Maine's coastline, about an hour east of Cutler. I couldn't imagine how anyone might have transported materials to this spot without having lugged them over windswept cliffs and slippery rocks. But there it was, a tiny little gable-roofed cabin no larger than 8' × 10' built entirely of tarpaper and driftwood, complete with an Adirondack-style built-in twig bed, a perfect little kitchen that used water from a nearby spring, and a writing desk under a window facing the sea. Set back about one hundred feet from the ocean on a rocky beach in a small cove, the house was surrounded by cliffs topped with huge hemlock and pine trees. Later, when I got back to town and learned that it was built by a little lady in her eighties who loved nature and solitude, I realized that the art of building was not necessarily reserved for architects and builders. All that was needed, it seemed, was the will. Two years ago, I hiked back to this site with my camera, notepad, and the hope that I could find this little building to include in Tiny Houses. No luck. A big storm had apparently blown it away. But this home will remain in my mind as one of the most beautiful buildings I've ever seen. It may well have been the inspiration for this book. ­Lester Walker

The raft house is a tiny houseboat built like the tarpaper house on a flat deck supported by buoyancy billets. The house has two single beds and a tiny wood heater. Under an awning outside on the deck is a camper kitchen, and across from it is a bench that can be used for dining or fishing.

The house is designed to be an easy, fast project for houseboat lovers who can't afford a houseboat. The deck is really a dock built with standard marine floating-dock construction methods. The house is built of painted, lightweight ¼" ACX plywood over a frame of 2 × 3's. It is so small that it can be built by two people in a weekend.

Inside-Out House:

9' × 6' + outside kitchen and bath

All this reprinted from Tiny, Tiny Houses, © 1987 by Lester Walker. The Overlook Press, Woodstock, NY

One of the most clever houses in this book is this tiny windowless building, just as big as a double bed, built in 1967 by a young couple in Sharon, Connecticut, for shelter while they built the log cabin of their dreams nearby. It's called the Inside-Out House because all the living functions, except sleeping, occur on the outside periphery of the building. A large overhanging roof protects L-shaped kitchen cabinets on two exterior walls and a shower on a third wall. A big door, usually

open for ventilation, occupies the fourth wall. An enormous dining room, as large as all outdoors, is located adjacent to the big door. The living room, equally as large, is located adjacent to the kitchen. These rooms are defined primarily by trees but also by "negative windows" such as wicker trays, picture frames, and pieces of cloth hung from the trees. As David Bain, the owner/builder, expresses it, "Since we could see through our walls, we didn't need to see through our windows."


Sunday House

14' × 14' + attic

Cape Cod Honeymoon Cottage

18' × 16' + sleeping attic

The quintessential in romantic tiny houses is the original honeymoon cottage version of the well-known Cape Cod house. During the eighteenth century, when young settlers were inhabiting the Cape Cod area, they built half-sized or partially built Cape Cod houses and added to them as their families grew and their wealth increased.

Tar Paper Shack

12' × 8'

By far, the least expensive method of siding a house is to use tar-impregnated building felt-tar paper. This type of cladding is usually viewed as an interim technology, used to protect the building until enough money is raised to install a more proper siding material over the tarpaper. However, as shown here, tarpaper can be an effective and somewhat pleasing finish material. Its life-span is about six years.

Dune Shack

11' × 8'6"



0216-Tiny Houses (70-71)

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