The following is a guest post by tiny house designer Michael Janzen.

Mendocino County is my muse – the inspiration for my tiny house designs. Mendocino County is one of the oldest counties in California – created in 1850 at the time of statehood – and located on the foggy northern California coast. Many of the original settlers came from back east and brought a New England feel to the buildings they built.

On my last trip to the coast we stayed in the remote town of Westport which sits on bluffs overlooking the Pacific. I didn’t bring a computer and cell reception was nonexistent – so while not out adventuring with my family, I would sit contently doodling in a notebook.

It’s amazing what turning off electronics can do to get the creative juices flowing. My notebook filled with roof design patterns, floor plans, bay window designs, fold-up steps, interior staircases, and so on. As soon as I returned home to the Sacramento area I began a drawing marathon.

On the computer I like to use SketchUp – 3D drawing software. Once the tool is mastered, it’s easy to create designs in 3D – something not easy with pen and paper.

My goal was to create a book filled with ideas that would help folks visualize their tiny dream home. The designs range from 12-feet to 32-feet, which are the two practical ends of the tiny house size range. You can build shorter and longer but most folks don’t. Less than 12-feet really makes it hard to fit the essentials. Longer than 32-feet make it hard to move.

I also wanted to show how as length increases so does function. This is obvious of course, but to see it happening page after page should really help folks see how functional areas expand, like kitchens, bathrooms, and living spaces.

I also played with several design themes and show how they can easily grow and shrink as the length changes. For example the first and last house in the book share a Vardo inspired roof. There are also several one-off designs that I hope to expand on in future books and blog posts.

The book is available in print at Amazon and as an ebook at TinyHouseDesign.com.

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