Here on the homestead, we are currently in the process of designing our straw bale home. I think I have completely underestimated just how difficult this stage of the process is! I knew building a house was not going to be an easy task. The designing stage really is so much more intricate than I could’ve ever imagined.
As we are are going to be building a straw bale home, there are a few building rules that we have to be aware of. These include having the bales up off the ground to make sure that they won’t absorb water. We also have to have the plumbing and electrical work done in a particular way. This is to avoid moisture and condensation.
They may not seem like very difficult adaptions to make, but they really influence how the floor plan will be laid out! There are other design principles that we have to contend with. These include passive solar and where the solar batteries will be placed. Because our house will be mostly off grid, we have a lot of bits and pieces that will need to be tucked away.
As homesteaders, we also need to make sure that we have enough space! Pantry space, places to put my soap making equipment, shelves for the numerous books that we have…. Sounds simple, until we decided that there are still aspects of tiny house living that we still like.
Homesteading in a tiny house? You can’t do that! Can you?
It’ll be difficult, sure. We’re going to do it anyway.
I wrote the post “Tiny House Living And Why It’s Not For Us” as a reflection of the difficulties that we faced with tiny house living. While it is still true, Mr Zed and I agreed that we still did not want a large house, or even a standard sized house!
We wrote a list of all of the things we loved about tiny house living.
- Clever Storage – We are going to have to be very strategic when it comes to designing storage for our home. There will be a lot of homesteading and hobby supplies that will need to have a home. This has included a lot of vertical storage and making sure there are no spaces left unused.
- Letting Natural Light In – We will need to find a fine balance when opening up the space through the use of windows. We also have to maintain a passive solar design. The idea is to make sure that our electricity use is cut right back so we don’t have to use air conditioning or lighting unless we need to.
- Composting Toilets – While composting toilets are not exclusive to tiny homes, they are very popular in a lot of designs. For us, we love the idea of being able to cut back on water usage and a composting toilet was common sense.
- Giving Everything A Purpose – If it doesn’t have a purpose, it doesn’t stay. Cutting back on “stuff” has definitely been a journey, but it has been one that has made us both feel a lot more free since beginning it. Living in a studio with a toddler has made us realise what is and isn’t important to us. When our belongings came out of storage, they were opened with disappointment. How did we think that this was worth paying to move!
We are still looking for an architect to help bring our vision to life. There is current flirting with the idea of having a loft sleeping space for Mr Zed and I, and having bedrooms for the kids underneath. We have created our current plan to be between 70 – 80sqm (750 – 850 sqft). This is definitely tiny by society’s standards and considered big in tiny house circles! For our family, it seems just right.
Now that we have some direction, we just have to get a professional to put our vision on paper so that we can start the process with council. We’re keeping ourselves motivated by sending each other pictures of our dream houses. Facebook messenger will regularly pop up and have a whole lot of links to kitchen layouts or links to articles speaking about how to fit more into a smaller space.
We draw the floor plan over and over again. Make notes and adjustments. Rearrange the plumbing, the rooms, the lighting. We measure the rooms of the rental we are currently living in, to use them as a visual comparison.
I think that I’m most thankful that our babies are little. While it will be difficult to build with small children, I’m glad that we are making this change before they are old enough for it to be a huge deal. Little dude adjusts really well to smaller spaces and doesn’t take much notice if we clear out half his toys. While this may change over time, at the moment, it’s a blessing.
Do you have any suggestions on how to fit your family into a smaller space? Anything you wish you had of known while designing your house? Let us know!
Over and out,