First design

13 / 08 / 2015

Who remembers The Sims?

Last few months while designing and coding this blog and trying to form an overall of the project I’ve been learning CAD. For the first time in my life I can say that computer gaming is undoubtedly paying off – it’s ridiculously easy to jump to the world of 3D interior designing after years of Sims 1 and 2. I loved building and decorating as well as trying the borders of the engine and didn’t part with them voluntarily – the time Sims 3 got published I had just built a new computer with ATI graphics card and since Electronics Arts only had support for nVidia cards, I was forced to let the series go and move on with my life. I’m still a bit bitter.

For this project I’m using a freeware software called Sweet Home 3D, which allows altering every object with precision of millimeters. The texture and furniture libraries are quite useless, but with a little googling I found SketchUp (also freeware) for actual 3D modeling with a huge online library of community created objects, most of which are directly importable to Sweet Home 3D and all free to use.

Process

Designing the web as well as in any other visual design I have two time-eating obsessions. First one is that I’m never pleased with anyone else’s design and I want to optimize every bit for the individual the design is made for. No surprise it’s most laborious to design for myself. It’s a blessing as well as a curse – either way at least I usually enjoy every minute of the process.

The other one is never finishing the designs – they’re ever-evolving and usually final versions are the result of time running out or someone telling me to stop. The design I’m presenting today as the first one is fifth to be exact, although it’s the first one where I was able to pull off requirements I set for the home. What I’m trying to say is that don’t expect to see the final version of the home a few days before I actually start building it but you might as well enjoy the whole designing process 🙂

The design

There are only a few tiny house interiors online that I’ve even considered copying in my design. Most of the movement is located overseas and needless to say, the taste in decoration there is quite different to mine. What I’m aiming for is to make the interior look rather a home with modern Scandinavian design than a caravan. There are no heaters or electricity visible on the model but all the bigger appliances are placed in their positions.

The inner measurement of the house is 2m * 5m = 10m2. The living area is around 7.6m2 (yellow cabinet excluded), which leaves just enough space to the bathroom for a comfortable shower stall and a composting toilet. The ceiling height is 3m at the highest and 2.4m at the lowest. The lofts elevation is 2.1m, which is also the height of the doorway to toilet. I reckon these measurements are enough to make a nice, spacious tiny home including everything one would need in the twenty first century – at least what I’d need. I rendered some pictures from the design so you can see for yourself.

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There’s the living room, kitchen and a glimpse of the tiny bathroom. As you can see the rendering of Sweet Home 3D is not perfect – it doesn’t really create any general lighting from windows or reflections. Good enough though. The lower yellow cabinet is for kitchen stuff and a fridge, upper yellow and grey contain a battery, a water heater and personal belongings whereas the blue cabinet at the back of the house is for clothing and climbing to the loft. The bathroom has a sliding door to keep the design neat and clean. The toilet needs to have a proper ventilation system because of the composting toilet and shower steams anyway so odors shouldn’t be a problem even without a normal door.

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You’re probably wondering where the stove is: there’s a small gas hotplate hidden inside the left cupboard. I’d like to attach it to a drawer but I’m yet to find out if it’s possible – if it’s not, I can always make the worktop open up. A dishwasher was an absolute no-no due to minimizing the need of electricity and maximizing the open space. There’s no washing machine either, that’s why there is a 30 liter sink. Under the sink there is a hybrid microwave, grill and oven.

For creating a home-like feeling I figured furniture need to be normal sized and open from the bottom. I don’t really fancy all the attached sofas and tables, for they scream caravan. What I am ready to compromise for storage space are the plinths – cupboard doors will most likely rise a couple of centimeters from the ground.

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The loft is supported by three metal beams and the fourth beam is only a decoration, tying the space together. Windows and beams are measured to match the joists. I’m a bit annoyed how badly Sweet Home 3D light sources and natural light effects the ceilings – I tried but couldn’t get a good picture of how the loft is going to look from underneath. Otherwise the software is great, especially shadowing.

As you can see, there’s no extra space, railing or fencing around the loft. It’s probably not a choice most of people would make, but on this matter I prefer the openness to functionality. The loft has a shelf at the back wall to work as a night table and it fits a 140cm wide mattress.

For guests

One of the requirements I set for the design was guest hosting possibility. I tried to fit multiple different types of sofa-beds and mattress solutions into the house but they took up too much space and were way too .. square. I decided to abandon the idea of a guest bed and as a workaround I see only the option to store a thin mattress in one of the wider yellow cabins in the kitchen area. It’s not ideal but it’ll do.

Another issue regarding guests was the seating. The desk is movable and can be used as a dining table as well, but where are the chairs? Hidden. I don’t plan on having dinner parties every day, so my guest seating of choice is an easily hidden folding chair or two. 90% of the time I’ll be living in the house by myself and maybe entertain an occasional tea-guest, so there’s absolutely no reason to make guests a priority for the design.

“Eventually everything connects – people, ideas, objects. The quality of the connections is the key to quality per se.”
– Charles Eames

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