Towards a better tinyhouse

Inventing to freedom?

Tinyhouse in a garage?

with one comment

Obviously putting a tinyhouse in a garage is not perfect, but I think this could be an immediately doable option. Tinyhouse builders take note. I think this could be a real avenue to market tinyhouses, especially to homeowners that want to rent them out as micro apartments.

In my city, and many others, building an accessory apartment inside an existing house is actually entirely legal, and you don’t even need a permit. I have checked this. I have even lived in one for a while, a converted garage. And there are quite a number of them on the rental housing market, which you can see by looking on kijiji.

But a tinyhouse sans trailer chassis that could either be simply placed in a garage, so it has to fit through the door, or easily assembled inside (apparently the door height is 6 feet to 7 feet but the typical head space in a garage is 12 feet) could be more practical. Or maybe just modify the garage door. It could easily be removed later and sold to someone else, and I think this would be a real perk to homeowners considering it. I know someone who rents out their basement, and they were quite hesitant to do so, even though the basement was already converted. Investing money that could not be recovered on such an iffy project would have been out of the question. You don’t know ahead of time if you’re going to like having a stranger around, potentially with pets, or smoking or parties or whatever.

It could have excellent financial properties, and by simply placing the house on rubber blocks, excellent sound isolation from the rest of the building, which is highly desirable so you both get your privacy. Also, the hot water, heating and ventilation system and laundry could easily be separate.

If it was a no-trailer type, it would be cheaper and would surely fall under the definition of accessory apartment once installed. It would also have excellent financial properties, I would think, with relatively low capital cost. Maybe you could argue that it was not part of the house, reducing the tax burden.

A trailer tinyhouse is, what 14.5 feet max including the trailer, which probably raises you a foot and a half I would think, so the house after being assembled inside the garage has to be just a bit shorter than a regular trailered tinyhouse. You could save a bunch of money on the exterior siding which doesn’t have to be pretty, and roof, which won’t be subject to rain or snow, too. Just some sanded plywood sheathing and some urethane seems like an adequate finish.

For a tinyhouse owner looking for a place to put a tinyhouse it doesn’t look as cheery, though.

If you were a tinyhouse owner looking for a place, you’d probably have to settle for a poor view out the window, whereas a homeowner could just install some windows in the garage wall. Plumbing connections could be a problem, would have to find a homeowner that would be willing to work with you on that. Maybe you would have to get them brought to a termination inside the garage by a plumber and split the cost with the homeowner. And a house that needed to be assembled in the garage could be a real barrier, making it hard to leave if you felt like it… or you need to find a way to slide a short, long house into a garage.

Ventilation would require that the garage door be left open a bit, and maybe a fresh air intake tube be sticking out. And to get in and out you have to open the whole garage door, but that’s not so bad.

The upside is that there are garages everywhere, so you might have a good choice of location if interested homeowners are reasonably common. It would be cheaper than a normal apartment, and still retain a few of the other perks that come with tinyhouses.

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Written by gregor

November 17, 2010 at 05:00

Posted in Uncategorized

One Response

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  1. I think someone needs to look into creating a portable setup that includes the internal appliances and fixtures in one portable unit. It is a reasonable goal to put heating/cooling, a small kitchenette and the basics of a restroom into a unit that can fit into the bed of a 8′ truck bed.

    This would allow a “tiny interior” to go from garage to some sort of trailer/container to a shed to a more permanent cabin or house. This would help avoid the high expense of having specialty structures built as well as give adaptability to local construction codes. I would even include a small outdoor extension to this unit that could hold water storage as well as solar equipment and a small generator. Any of the equipment that can be reused as the owner moves from one building to the next is money saved and resources conserved. I think that is what we are all looking for.

    Kevin Lura

    November 17, 2010 at 15:29


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