Minim house (aka my trailer in the alley) is complete. A little longer than expected, but I believe we have a finished product that is more refined than planned, flawlessly executed, and ready for the next 50 years. And perhaps a project that contributes to the dialogue on the potential of sustainable, small spaces.
Planning and building this micro house has been one of the most passionately engaging and satisfying experiences I’ve had, and it is largely due to the excellent folks I’ve had working by my side. A sincere thanks to Will Couch at Foundry Architects, David Bamford at Element Design+Build, Tony Gilchriest, and all the many additional contributors to the project that I’ve attempted to list on the project plaque (see below). And to Paul Burk for the 6 hour photo shoot.
As for the experience of being in this 210 square foot house, while I can’t officially live here, I did design it to allow for that someday, and have spent many hours in the space. I have tried moving everything in to see how it fits for the photo shoot. In short, it’s quite perfect. There’s room for 175 books, a full sized keyboard and guitar, bar, KitchenAid stand mixer & attachments, a 10 tray food dehydrator, bread machine, 75+ mason jars, sewing machine, suitcase, printer/copier, bags of tools, etc. There’s even room left over for a combo washer/dryer in the closet (the one thing I’ve felt might be missing). Most important to me, this all fits without feeling at all cramped or cluttered, and with room for 10 guests to sit comfortably.
More pictures and background on this micro house at the Minim House website.
Minim House seeks to fully reimagine the mobile micro home, adding livability, streamlining construction, modernizing aesthetics, increasing off-grid versatility, all while keeping costs affordable. It is 210 ft2, designed for full 1-2 person living and entertaining.
Minim House features off grid rainwater collection system with seamless roof gutters. On board and under trailer tanks may store up to 290 gallons of water. A through-the-wall a/c unit on the back eliminates any unsightly HVAC equipment- only the vent plate is visible.
Minim House is clad in untreated, shiplapped cypress, with mitred corners, and will age to a light grey. The cypreseen in cypress is a natural preservative. Frank Lloyd Wright’s Pope-Leighey house in VA used a similar technique in the 1940’s and is still intact.
Minim House has a 960 watt solar array on the roof. A battery storage systems allows the house to be completely off grid when needed. The house runs primarily 12 volt appliances (LED lights, 12v marine refrigerator, water pump, etc), but also has an Outback pure sine wave inverter to run all 120v appliances.
A 10 foot wide galley affords room for 2 cooks in the kitchen. It’s designed to accommodate a 7.1 cubic foot refrigerator under the counter, or has adequate room for a fuller size fridge to either side of the kitchen window. Kitchen wall space can accomodate mason jar racks with 50+ quart jars.
The 5′x7′ office/storage area sits atop the bed platform, and allows space for a full size keyboard, a generously wide desk, and a through-the-wall a/c unit built into the cabinets. There is also a 5′ full width closet. The full (or queen) size bed hides under the platform, and easily slides out from underneath. Two locking casters secure it. When extended, there is space to walk around it on three sides, and it may be positioned directly in front of the projector screen if desired. A 6” natural latex mattress provides a remarkably comfortable (and completely non-toxic) bed comparable to the best sprung mattresses. The bed may also be locked in place only halfway out, allowing extra seating for 3.
Marine hardware was used to build a 4′ solid walnut table with a removable base that may be positioned around the house as desired, or completely removed and stored in the closet. Dining table, coffee table, bedside table, additional desk, or additional kitchen prep space.
Positioned as a dining table, up to 6 can be seated for dinner. A 5-in-1 Cubista ottoman from Resource Furniture adds up to 5 seats in front of the window or around the dining table, and compacts down to one cube when not in use.
The walnut table may be lowered on a gas-assisted post to become the coffee table.
The table may also be positioned in front of the window as a ‘winter desk’.
The bathroom is a wet bath arrangement, with showerhead over the sink area, all enclosed in stainless steel. The Incinolet incinerator toilet is tucked in and screened off with a shower curtain when the water is on. A tankless water heater is positioned above the toilet.
An in-counter, high Btu marine grade cooktop saves space by hiding under a cutting board. A foot pedal operates the faucet for better sanitation, water conservation, and convenience.
Stovetop with cutting board in place. Countertops are 2” walnut butcher block sourced from a local Mennonite planing mill (as were the walnut floors). The kitchen also features a full size microwave oven that also functions as a convection oven for baking.
The 8.5′ couch/guest bed opens up to reveal storage, a 40 gal water tank, and water filter. An onboard 3 stage Doulton filter system originally designed for freshwater boaters makes collected rainwater water potable for shower and sinks.
The large window array next to the door is conveniently sized in 9:16 proportion, and a projector screen hanging above it doubles as a shade. A small LED projector affixed near the bookcase displays a 90” image, accompanied by speakers on either side of the window. A Dickenson marine propane heater appears to the left of the screen.
Minim House is located at Boneyard Studios in Washington DC, the country’s only tiny house showcase.
More information at minimhomes.com
Thanks to all the invaluable contributors to the Minim House project!