For some, planning is an enjoyable process, for others, it is pretty much just drudgery. Either way, I'm going to take a guess, that at some point in the planning process everyone feels like it may never end.
If you are starting from scratch and creating your own plans, there are so many decisions to be made. So much research, conceptualizing, and contemplation are required to create a space that is both functional and inspiring. What makes planning a functional and inspiring space especially tricky is that it is different for everybody. Some people are foodies and need a full kitchen, others eat out. Some like an more open, peaceful feel, others like a more tight, cozy one.
For anyone who is neck-deep in the planning process, or for those who are JUST beginning, here is where my planning journey has taken me and some advice to go along with it.
My planning process has gone like this:
1. Attend a tiny house workshop. I ended up going to a tiny house workshop at first because my dad was thinking about building a tiny house and wanted me to help him with his build. If my dad hadn't covered my tuition for the workshop, I likely never would have gone. They are usually a few hundred dollars for a weekend-long workshop, sometimes they are strictly informational, and sometimes hands-on. When you are like me and your budget is tight, something like a workshop may seem to be frivolous and a luxury, but I can not stress how helpful attending a workshop was. Attending a workshop brought clarity and provided me with connections and resources to begin the planning process in a methodical nature, rather than the endless Pinterest scroll of death that we all know to well!
I attended Andrew and Gabriella Morrison's Tiny House Build Workshop in Portland, Oregon. This workshop was invaluable in that it laid every aspect of a tiny house build out in a way that made sense to the layperson like me. The Morrisons, are not only great teachers, but they are professional and advocates of the tiny house movement. They are always willing to go the extra mile if it means helping someone go tiny.
For a complete list of upcoming the Morrison's Tiny House Build workshops in USA and Germany click here.
2. Visit tiny homes. I've already written about the value of spending time in other tiny houses prior to building in my post, Trying on Tiny. This will help your you wrap your brain around what being in even living in a tiny house will be like, and decide whether or not going tiny is something you want to pursue.
2. Make a list of things that are important to you. The list can be long, but pay attention to what matters to you most and put it at the top of your list. Maybe take week or so to observe what brings you joy and a sense of peace. Mine were being able to have people over, having adequate space to make good food, and feeling connected to my surroundings. The things at the top are things that you don't want to compromise on. If you are really honest with yourself, creating a home that caters to these priorities should be totally doable. However, be sure to question the items on your list as all too often we are quick to think we value something more than we actually do. Do you need that guitar? computer desk? cookie jar collection? Maybe you do, and maybe you don't, that is up to you to decide!
3. Make rough drafts. Drawing out ideas is the best way to figure out what you like, what you don't like, and in the end, what you LOVE. Its okay to do a million of these. The stack of graphing paper and your time spent creating sketches of your ideas will all be worth it when you have a space that you designed and love spending time in.
And it gives you an excuse to hunker down with a big bowl of pho every once in a while... which is also very important!
4. Sketchup. This is where I am currently in the design process. Learning Sketchup, a free design software by Google, is a huge endeavor; it takes time and practice. Luckily, there are lots of great tutorials on YouTube. While I frequently have the urge to "just wing it" and forgo the process of translating my plans into Sketchup, I've heard time and time again from tiny house builders, just how important this step is in the planning process. Sketchup allows you to essentially create an exact 3D model of your home, which in turn allows you to work out your design kinks ahead of time, rather than throughout the build, saving you time and money of potentially wasted materials. And more, this model also gives you a more realistic feel of what your layout would actually look and feel like.
5. Craigslist like a mad man or woman! So this isn't true for everyone, but if you are on a budget, or are interested in saving money, you can do so by scouring Craigslist, Habitat for Humanity Restores, and the like! The reason I put this under my "planning" phase, is that that finding inexpensive materials simply takes time. LOTS of time. While I have literally saved thousands on my project already, I have spent countless hours looking for materials and responding to ads. The time it takes to find such deals is something I know I will not have once I start building. So, purchasing a large portion of my materials ahead of time, is crucial to moving my project along.
I have a list of items that I search craigslist for everyday. Its a somewhat tiring process, but has already paid off, big time!
Some of my Craigslist and Restore purchases include:
Thanks for reading!