As we design the new house for the farm, one thing is for sure – we want a much smaller footprint than our current home!  It is one of the reasons we continue to eliminate clutter (see: Our 365 de-cluttering plan) in anticipation of  living is a smaller space.

The inspiration for the design of our future house came from viewing this one from strawbale.com.
The inspiration for the design of our future house came from viewing this one online at strawbale.com.

I can assure you our “Tiny Home”will not exactly be like the ones you see that sit on a trailer and take up 200 to 400 square feet.  But with a large extended family and future grandchildren to host – ours is still quite small but functional. The final design puts the square footage at just under 1150 square feet.  But what the home lacks in total square footage – is more than made up for with open space and easy to the outdoors of the farm.

Besides the obvious needs of a bathroom and bedroom – we have realized that we live the majority of our life in just two rooms of our current house – our family room and kitchen.

So the goal for the new home is quite simple – make those two spaces completely open and filled with everything we need – and eliminate all of the wasted space. When you scale down the overall plan of a house, and build what you truly need – it can save a lot of future headaches. Not only is additional space expensive to build – but more expensive to cool and heat in the future.  Even of more importance is that less space = less time to maintain – and that means FREEDOM!

Freedom to travel, freedom to garden, and freedom to do all of things we want to do – and not be held captive by the space, energy and expense of a larger home.

Eliminating the Rooms We Don’t Need or Use

We use our dining room about one day a year - so there is simply no need for one in the new home
We use our dining room about one day a year – so there is simply no need for one in the new home

The first thing we did when considering the new floor plan was to completely eliminate the rooms we do not need or use in our current home. For us, that includes the living room, dining room and a growing number of spare bedrooms as our kids begin to leave for college and beyond. In our current house, the dining room and the living room have essentially become what amounts to an unused show room – because we fill them with furniture and decor – only to look at them and never need or use them!

When anyone visits or comes to our house – we stay entirely in our kitchen and family room, or the screened in porch or back deck – so that is mostly what the new house will consist of!

The Plan…

We based our house plan from an original straw-bale home design that we found on-line and both fell in love with. Although our home will be more traditionally built – we used the straw bale plan as a starting point – and then modified it to our needs and came up with a final look that we think will serve us well.

OWG Floor Plan For The New House
The new house floor plan – you can click to enlarge

The main floor is one large 30′ x 20′ open area – combining the kitchen and family room.  Off of the back of each wing will be two small bedroom spaces – one serving as the master with a walk in shower and bath – the other a simple space that can be used as a bedroom or office.  There is a loft above the kitchen space that can easily be used as a spare bedroom and for storage space.

The house will take advantage of natural light and the outdoors with large front windows and big views of the farm – and a large deck to enjoy outdoor eating and make a smaller space seem much larger.  We will also utilize two banks of solar panels on each side roof that will hopefully power much of the house’s electricity and hot water needs –  as well as a rain collection system that will water the entire landscape and upper gardens. That idea stems from the success of our inexpensive barn roof water collection system we installed and use now to water everything at the farm (See: our farm water collection system)

Thinking of Later In Life…

It is our hope of course that the house we build at the farm will be our final home. So we are looking for the design to not only be useful and practical now – but that it can also serve us well as we grow older.

The Farm - mid summer 2014
The large windows at the front of the house will take advantage of the farm views below

The new house is designed so that we could easily live entirely on the main floor with no need for steps at any point.  All of the exterior entrances will have wide openings with no steps – and interior doors will have large openings with easy sliding barn doors. Sliding doors are also a huge savings on space!   Both bathrooms will be built to accommodate wheelchairs – and even the shower will be built now as a complete walk in.

We are creating a wine and fruit cellar in the basement – which will be great for the immediate future to store all of our garden produce as well as hopefully our homemade wine – we will just have to count on the grandchildren to bring us up a bottle (or of course canned goods too 🙂 ) when we are a little older!

Hopefully proving that living small can still mean living large!

Happy Smaller Living! Jim and Mary

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