Small bathroom design is a challenge for even the best designers. No other room in the house requires so much of so little space.
Considerations include toilet, sink, shower, storage, appearance, door
clearances and ventilation, all of which will be exposed to frequent use and
copious amounts of moisture. Bathrooms in American homes have doubled in size
in the last thirty years. Bathrooms in older homes average 5x8. Bathrooms in
Tumbleweed Cottages range from 4 ½ x 4 ½ for the smaller of two tiny bathrooms in
the Sebastarosa to 7 ¾ x 5 ½ for the single bathroom in the Whidbey.
The question then becomes how to get the most out of your
small bathroom. Who better to answer that question than Tumbleweed? As with any
space we recommend that you look at your needs first and then design with those
needs in mind. Who will be using this space? How much storage will they need?
Is a tub necessary or, for your needs, would that be wasted space? Finally, you
will need to know your budget and local codes. Once you make those
determinations the planning can begin.
There are several decisions to be made regarding the toilet fixture that you install. We are happy to report that environmentally minded regulations require low flow toilets on all new bathrooms or remodels. The question then becomes whether you want a gravity fed model or one with a pressure assist. Gravity fed models are less expensive however, they frequently need to be flushed multiple times to clear the bowl thereby negating some, if not all, of the benefits of purchasing a low-flow toilet in the first place. A toilet with pressure assist is more efficient and uses less water but the fixture is also more expensive. Although they have come a long way since first appearing on the market they do tend to make more noise – an important consideration in a small space.
Toilet shape is another consideration. Rounded bowls are more traditional and take less space. Elongated bowls, however, tend to be the norm in newer builds. The advantage of an elongated bowl over a rounded bowl is an increase in the surface area of the water. Toilets with elongated bowls designed for smaller spaces are available but must frequently be special ordered.
Okay everyone, it's up to you to pick the winner of our Tiny Gingerbread House contest. We narrowed it down to the top 5 (they were all amazing, we had a hard time picking only 3!).
Log on to our Facebook page and select our Tiny Gingerbread House Contest album. The winner will be chosen by the most "Likes." Voting will be ongoing throughout the weekend. The winner will be selected on Monday, December 24th at 2pm (PST), and will receive a copy of The Small House Book and the Tumbleweed DIY Book.
Thank you everyone for submitting your tiny gingerbread house creations!
"The Gingr,” a modified bite size Fencl in gingerbread form. This tiny house has windows made with delicious melted sugar. If you look close, you can see a tiny Christmas tree in the front window.
This tiny gingerbread house is equipped with a dual axle and solar panels for the Christmas lights. Yum, it even has an exterior rock wainscoting, shutters and a little front porch!
This home sweet home on a trailer comes complete with graham cracker solar panels and peppermint wood pile.
The "Tiny Gingerbread Village,” a frosted winter wonderland, took 3 days to build: 1 day to bake the pieces, another day to assemble and decorate the houses, and a third day to build the village. It even comes equipped with lights underneath, to light up each house at night!
"Tiny Fencl Gingerbread House," comes with a shiny red metal roof made of fruit roll ups, Oreo cookie double axle and brown frosting wood siding. The Christmas lights are already up along with the icicles. The bay window lets lot of natural light in with plenty of pretzel windows. The tiny gingerbread house is currently up on graham cracker jacks because we've found a permanently spot of land to park it.
my mom decided she'd rather not deal with a Christmas tree. At first, I was crushed-I'm not a Christmas fanatic, but I have some pretty solid positive associations with the smell of pine and the warm glow of colorful lights.
I thought about how crazy it is to buy a dead tree, and how little time we'd
actually use it before throwing it in the alley, and how many needles trees
leave all over the place. Avoiding all of those complications started to make a little sense.
Still, I had one remaining objection- I'd
made ornaments as Christmas gifts for my family. If we didn't get some kind of
tree, we'd have nowhere to display my creative generosity and artistic
live in a tiny house, but I figured that this would be the time for a tiny
alternative tree. Here was our compromise:
Check out that style!
actually a rosemary plant, which is pretty great- it smells awesome, and we can
put it in our garden in the spring. We found it at Trader Joes for under $10.
some other tiny tree ideas that I brainstormed. They can support ornaments, smell good, and are cool
-The cut top
of a tree, stuck into some foam or a pot of dirt
-A beautiful branch
-Other small potted trees- living trees that can be
replanted outside are a great idea
It's probably too late this year, but whether you live in a tiny house, apartment, dorm room, or
normal sized space, a tiny tree is a great alternative. To me, my tiny rosemary
tree represents simplicity, responsibility, and future possibilities of roasted
potatoes. It's about time.
Recently, I got the chance to talk with Ryan Mitchell of The Tiny Life
website about his exciting plans for a modified Fencl. Ryan has been blogging
about sustainability for a long time, sharing
information on simple living, tiny houses, and environmentally responsible
lifestyles. And we think he's awesome.
Ready for some holiday building
Now, he's working on a tiny house of his own in Charlotte, North Carolina. He's starting to get well into the
building process, and has been begun blogging about his experiences.
He admits that finding
time is no easy task- in addition to working on his house managing the very informative blog, Ryan
works two other day jobs! He sets a pretty good example for all those professionals that
fear they'd never have the time to build a house, huh?
Ryan has worked out an ideal situation for himself through yet another job
of sorts- he house sits for friends, and they're letting him build the house on
their property- as long as he looks after the land and mows the lawn every so often, he can be there
for free. This is a great arrangement- if you have anyone in your life with a
large piece of property that likes to travel, I'd highly recommend working out
A solid start
Ryan will be checking in with us throughout the process, and will share informative photos and videos of his build on our blog. He's excited to have a winter break from his
day jobs coming up soon for a solid couple weeks of building!
In the meantime, check out Ryan's Tiny House Checklist for a great
introduction to everything that goes into tiny house building.
This spring, Hampshire College Professor Gabriel Arboleda taught an unusual class: Reinventing the Toilet (course description). Addressing the fact that a single flush toilet can contaminate thousands of gallons in just one year of operation, he and his students will attempt to build alternative workable toilet models.
An important class? I think so. Many Tiny House folks would agree, having found that the mobile lifestyle necessitates flexibility when it comes to things like electricity and plumbing. Of course, there's an easy solution already at play, and it's something we don't think twice about doing with cows: composting.
I recently tried my first official composting toilet, and loved it. Our friends Pepper and Dylan built this awesome composting outhouse on their property in Healdsburg, CA, and were kind enough to let me, ahem, try it out.
Who knew an outhouse could be so beautiful?
In addition to the requisite crescent cut out, the outhouse has a light, a nice big bucket of a cedar chips, and a magazine rack!
A pleasure to use
Plenty of open-minded people like Pepper and Dylan are pushing the envelope with practical, conscientious ways to dispose of waste: while we wait for Arboleda and his crew to envision the next big alternative, we can manage pretty comfortably. While making a separate outhouse is a viable option, the bucket and cedar chips method can easily be applied in any tiny house.
In addition to the composting toilet, there's the incinerating toilet. Incinerating toilets are a bit more high-tech than a bucket and some cedar chips (though there are plenty of more advanced composting toilets available). Essentially, they incinerate your waste, converting it to a clean, non-polluting ash. An incinerating toilet can be powered a regular outlet, by gas, propane, or of course, solar panels. However, it uses more electricity than a composting toilet, and doesn't provide rich and useful fertilizer!
No matter your preferred commode, there's a reason colleges like Hampshire are highlighting the urgency of reinventing something most of us take for granted. We are far too distanced the effects from our own, for lack of a better word, crap. With the help of sophisticated indoor plumbing, most people never had to accept that what comes out of their body actually goes somewhere.
We want to live responsibly but we also want to live in a sanitary and safe. When choosing how to outfit our houses, we can think outside the porcelain box and attempt to do both.