Buildings under 200 sf

Started by jraabe, July 10, 2005, 10:07:46 AM

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Great choice.  I liked them all, but was very impressed with that one the first time I saw it.


It was a fun contest. What I found really interesting was that the challenge seemed pretty cut and dried, and yet everyone seemed to have a slightly different interpretation of it.


I'd just like to thank the judges for choosing my design.  I've been tinkering with small house designs like that for a long time and its nice to know Im on the right track.  As John mentioned in his blog, in light of the recent destruction caused by Katrina, there is a definite need for quick simple housing designs.  Maybe we will be hearing from FEMA any day now. ;)
 Whens the next contest John?  Maybe a design for something particularly suited to the  southern coast or at least a location subject to floods.  One of the interesting comments I heard about the destruction of Katrina was that  many of the houses that survived the storm surge and flooding were traditional vernacular designs built on high piers or stilts that allowed the water to flow through them rather than  presenting a low wall that just got swept away or  ended up at the bottom of a pile of floating debris.  Maybe we could turn our minds to plans for simple easily built full scale houses that address the particular problems raised by coastal living and the threats of hurricanes and floods.
Thanks again.  


Congratulations, Mark ... and I like your request for another brain session (i.e., contest).  

In particular, what's the best plan for New Orleans?  

Rebuild what was there ... with stronger, or more, levees?  

Build a new community of storm & flood-resistant houses?

Build with many more canals ... each canal at or near sea level ... separating rows of high and dry houses and streets.  (Think Venice, Italy.)

Or, let Mother Nature reclaim her wetlands?



Personally I would like to start a movement of "Free the Mississippi from the Tyranny of the Corp of Engineers"!  While I feel for the people caught up in this mess, they never should have been there.   Mankind has great hubris, and the only thing stronger levees will do is make for a much greater disaster when, not if, they fail.

Rant off.

Great designs all, I am much impressed by the creativity of this group.



I hear you Dan. The North Carolina Outer Banks used to be largely undeveloped with the occasional fisherman's shack. Now you've got multimillion dollar houses being put up left and right, only to be eventually damaged or washed away by the constant hurricanes. A friend's father bought several acres after WWII for $25. No one wanted beach front real estate. Obviously it turned out to be a wise investment when tiny lots are now going for $750,000 and up! It's just crazy. I might be wrong but I think these people are only able to get flood insurance through the feds- no insurance companies will touch insuring these properties. They've been burned far too often. Way too many hurricanes in our region.


Good work!

(Somebody talks about vacation homes on the Outer Banks, I think about Portsmouth, just south of Okracoke, where a prosperous freight transfer operation--deep water to shallow draft--disappeared in a hurricane in the early 1800, I think.  Plenty of both churches and bars there)


My congratulations to Mark and Bart. Great work guys. I to found it an interesting challenge and great fun. To all that entered plans, well done.
My best wishes also, to all that have been affected by the storms and flooding over there.
I've got nothing on today. This is not to say I'm naked. I'm just sans........ Plans.

John Raabe

Thanks to all who worked on this. There will be another "contest/design problem" — your suggestions and ideas are appreciated.

When I gave the blog link to Ross Chapin (a local architect who's house was a starting concept for one of the winners)  his comment was, "Now, we need to get some funding to get these built and in use."

I'm planning to get the prizes out today. Anyone who submitted a design or posting to the contest should send their email address to for a special bonus prize.

None of us are as smart as all of us.


I'd like to thank Glen for making it possible for me to do the designs that I did. I enjoyed it greatly.

Have the critiques of the designs been posted yet?

I will say my thanks and pass on the bonus. I'm in the process, this week, of moving into a 225 sq. ft. "apartment" on my way to the 12 sq. ft. box. They tell me I have a year or two before that happens though.

BTW, I don't think any sane person could actually LIVE in a 200 sq. ft. "house"! It's just TOO SMALL (but the rent, meals and maid service are good! ;))

glenn kangiser

Glad you're enjoying the designing, David.  Let us know what you think of living in 225 sq. ft. and don't be in a hurry to try 12 sq. ft.
"Always work from the general to the specific." J. Raabe

Glenn's Underground Cabin

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Nope, I'm doing the "do not go gentle into that good night, rage, rage, scream against the dark" thing, when I'm not squeezing another drop out of the peach. :)

John Raabe

For anyone who hasn't seen it here are the winners:

Click here for the one page overview:
And here for the full article:

Feel free to forward those links to anyone who might be interested in tiny houses.

Actually I think I could live (maybe not for years and years) in one of these 200sf designs. I wouldn't have much of a social life, admittedly. They are really one person houses. But in a mild climate with open decks and a yard to look at it could be much better than some of the trailers and RVs many people call home.
None of us are as smart as all of us.


I noticed this in the article:

"(This was done in San Francisco after the 1906 earthquake and a few of those tiny houses are still in use.)"

A good many of those tiny houses were built as love nests for wealthy men's mistresses. There's actually a section of town where they're all clustered together - I forget the name of the neighborhood. I've been in a couple when I lived in SF. The ladies where long gone, but they're cute and cozy little spaces. ;)

barb moore

I realize this is an older thread and that the contest is over but I have a plan for a small cabin with a 16'x16' footprint that I designed several years ago. It is not fancy nor is it a work of art, but it makes very good use of space so I thought I would share it. My husband and I (both over 50) needed everything on one level and a simple enough design that we could easily build ourselves. I do not have a website but you may view the floorplan at

barb moore

I love Lester Walker's The Tiny Book of Tiny Houses. My favorite design is his 12'x20' "campground cottage." Re RVs and trailers: we had a mobile home but the weather here can be severe and I never felt safe there. A small house on a solid foundation makes me feel much more secure, even with only a fraction of the living space.


Nice work Barb!

A 16x16 footprint makes for a very workable tiny house.


Nice design!
Two details I particularly like are the murphy bed, and eliminating the bathroom sink.  I always thought the vanity sink a space wasting redundancy in a small house... who says you can't brush your teeth in the kitchen? ;)
BTW, I noticed with interest the latest Harbor Freight catalog has a Murphy desk/table in it.  I wouldn't buy one, but maybe it says something about a trend in living spaces?

Edward L Rich

QuoteThis:, which is Bart's floorplan, shows up here as a broken image. It won't load/display in IE either! :(

glenn kangiser

I'm using Firefox and it seems to display fine for me, Edward.  Sometimes tinypic has a problem.
"Always work from the general to the specific." J. Raabe

Glenn's Underground Cabin

Please put your area in your sig line so we can assist with location specific answers.


I had a similar problem on my MAC Mini at home while using MAC's Safari browser, but I just displayed the image in a new window and it was fine.


I have been looking at small houses for a while now and actually just came on this site a couple of days ago.  I thought the designs for the under 200 sq. ft. house were great.  Now what I want to know is when the building plans be out for these houses? :D

glenn kangiser

Welcome, Nimba.  I think it's one of those WYSIWYG things.

Here is one John posted free.   Free 14x14
"Always work from the general to the specific." J. Raabe

Glenn's Underground Cabin

Please put your area in your sig line so we can assist with location specific answers.


I thought that might be the case.  I was interested particurly in the 2nd place design and wondered about the dimensions on it.  Probably the foundation and roof wouldn't be any problem to build or design yourself. :)


Hey Nimba, glad you like the design. I didn't take it any farther than what you've seen. Been too busy working on the plans for the cabin I actually intend to build (a whopping 400 sqft main floor). I did put a bit of thought into it, though, so feel free to email me with any questions (click the left-most icon at the bottom of this message). Also, please post any modifications you make and photos if you do build it, thanks.