Tiny House Summer Camp 4

Friday, October 11, 2013


Note: Our November 15-17 Tiny House Building and Design Workshop in Massachusetts is just about sold out- so if interested, don't delay! We'll be building TWO little cabins this time. 

So I've been bustin' butt working on completing a book that I began working on years ago, and I'm at the photo collection and organization stage right now. New publisher, new approach, new ideas. This book will showcase a TON of the more recent things I've built and designed, things I'd LIKE to build via funky concept sketches, several full-out plan sets for micro-structures, AND will serve to showcase a good deal of work from others as well. I'm always looking for new photos and unique cabins to incorporate as well (fewer wheeled cabins than ground-bound ones at this point) so if you have any work you'd like to share- kidcedar at gmail dot com. Thanks!

So here's one photo (from a set that will be in the book) of Matt Wolpe's former home. While this is seen as mere "eye candy" to some readers, there is always A LOT to learn from even one single photo when it comes to design and space efficiency.

So here goes....

1. Color Choice: Matt's use of light n' bright colors, and his leaving the majority of the wood natural in its "pale" state, gives the room a larger feel than the small space it really is. If he were to have painted the walls dark purple, for instance, it would result in a more claustrophobic-feeling dwelling. You can certainly add darker colors, I'm not saying that fun and personal preference is outlawed, just incorporate them here and there in trim work, and limited patches- if you want to maximize the spacial "feel" of your home, that is.

2. High Shelving: Its out of the normal range of one's "Walking eyesight", and thereby doesn't clutter your vision when entering a room, AND still stands as a means to store a good many things. Its so easy and cheap to install plank shelving like this too. You can hang items, such as Matt's coffee cups, beneath such shelving as well.

3. The Chalkboard: This can be put to use both as a visually interesting element when hung on a wall, especially if one were to "gussy up" its frame, but its also a means to keep your "to-do" lists and notes organized and in one designated spot- as opposed to having them spread all over the place via post-it notes and scraps of paper. Magnetic chalk boards are even better.

4. Shallow Kitchen Shelving: With this method, every thing is visually available, and you don't have to rearrange and remove items in order to get to other jars and cans that might be stuck in the back of deeper shelves and cabinets. Shelving like this, and its seen contents, if set-up properly (notice how Matt has everything organized into nice, attractive mason jars and bottles) can be appealing to the eye as well.

5. The Steps: These might have been the first thing you noticed. These steps, while probably not a great option for those advanced in their years, are a great space saver in their cantilevered design. I'd personally affix a small storage cube hanging beneath a few of them, but that might also come at the cost of sacrificing visual space.

6. Visual Space: Yes, I just "spoiled" this one in #5, but keeping open visual space is important. Not every table and surface needs storage beneath it- there has a to be a compromise somewhere. I'm a fan of semi-chaotic design via LOTS of wall art, shelving, and attention grabbing knick-knacks, but that can be detrimental to the feel of a space. Remember to keep yourself in check in this regard when outfitting your home.

7. Open Storage: This ties into #4, but notice the open shelving at the end of the kitchen counter. By boldly leaving the items open and present to the judging eye, Matt is forced to keep his items and clutter to a minimum- its forced downsizing management, and a reason to continually keep on top of neatness.


By the way, being a half-starving author myself ("Humble Homes, Simple Shacks", and a eventually to be re-released expanded version of "Quick Camps And Leg Cramps") I might add that Matt Wolpe recently released a GREAT book on building a variety of VERY, VERY funky (pardon the pun) chicken coops. I really do recommend it.

-Derek "Deek" Diedricksen


  1. How about a rail high up above the steps by the ceiling with a subway strap hanging down and sliding along the rail as a way to hold on going up the stairs without sacrificing or cluttering space?

  2. What a lovely house, simple and practical to live in.
    custom home building ontario