Tuesday, October 4, 2016

"Taking A Page Or Two From Tiny Homes"

Many people are fascinated by the concept of tiny homes - to the point that it has become known as "the tiny house movement." They are catching on across a wide spectrum of ages and lifestyles and are fulfilling a need for many people to be able own a home, to have it be manageable, to require just a small footprint, and to be portable as necessary.

People have fun shopping for them, choosing the right layout and interior features, selecting the personal touches and appointments, and decorating them as someone would with a larger home purchase.

Tiny homes can be parked and lived in at some campgrounds - those that accept these homes - on a leased or purchased homesite, in tiny home parks designed for this purpose, or as an auxiliary dwelling unit on along with an existing home on its homesite.

The advantages of a tiny home are many. The compact nature of them make them quite easy to care for and accommodate a couple of occupants quite easily. They provide all of the comforts of a larger home - kitchen living, sleeping, and bathing room - all at a smaller size and for much less money.


One of the things that tiny homes provide that we can use in creating one level living spaces as ADUs ("auxiliary" or "accessory dwelling units") or even use in other aging-in-place renovation projects is storage. They use every inch of available space for drawers, bins, and cabinets. We can learn from how they are designed, created, and installed. We don't need to fill every inch of available space, but we definitely can create many storage opportunities for our clients in this manner.

Appliances are another area where we can take a cue from the tiny homes. They tend to be a little smaller and more efficient. For creating ADUs, this idea is very appealing. For people with limited reach or space considerations, this works also.

Another area where tiny homes suggest a concept that we can incorporate in our ADU designs is the general layout and floor plan design. There is a compactness and efficiency in the way the space is created that maximizes the usefulness of it and can easily be transferred to the ADUs.


A departure point from the tiny homes is the loft bedroom idea unless we keep it for visiting grandchildren or for additional storage. It won't usually be practical for older individuals such as we are creating the ADUs for to climb a ladder into a loft. However, overnight guests like grandchildren could use this space.

Of course, the steps that typically are used to enter a tiny home would need to be eliminated in an ADU design, but that is simple to do and would be part of the overall exterior design.

The tiny homes are doing well and are in high demand. There is plenty there to like. We can successfully borrow many of the more successful aspects from these homes and lend them to the design of the ADUs we are creating for seniors to occupy.

There could be even more ideas that we can use on a case-by-case basis, but there is plenty there collectively to give us a good start are making ADUs small, efficient, comfortable, convenient, and safe.

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Steve Hoffacker, CAPS, MCSP, MIRM, is a licensed Certified Aging-In-Place Specialist instructor. To learn about this and other programs for aging-in-place or universal design, visit my website at stevehoffacker.com or call 561-685-5555.