In the early days of the modern tiny house movement hundreds of thousands of people were quickly inspired by the extremely small approach of Jay Shafer. His 89 sq.ft. Fencl tiny home was a practical exercise in need -vs- want. With its kitchenette, wet bath, propane heater, water storage, and small sleeping loft, it was the ultimate in space utilization. Since those earlier days (circa 2009), tiny house have done a lot more including ramping up in size. In a 2009 video, Shafer mentioned he had seated 9 people in his space. Today’s tiny houses can easily hold up to 25 people or so and many can sleep between 4-6. They are a far cry from what Shafer envisioned with his Fencl. All that aside, some tiny houses have clung tightly to smaller footprints and have held on to the notion that a house is quite simply a safe shelter to eat and sleep in. In fact, recent builds like ‘The Nugget‘ designed and built by Modern Tiny Living have come in at less than 115 sq.ft. What if a designer held fast to the notion of small footprint but dreamed of sleeping multiple people? Perhaps the creation would be something akin to the Bunkhouse on Wheels as seen on numerous Pinterest boards.

Originally brought to the public’s attention in 2010 by Mel of Design Heaven (a now archived blog), the Bunkhouse was first seen on My French Country Home in 2009. It seems the roughly 100 sq.ft. cottage was originally designed, built, and sold by Beltima (a now defunct company/website). The Bunkhouse is too incredible to just let fade away in the Internet abyss though. It deserves closer examination.

There is no trailer underneath the structure. At least there is no obvious sign (wheels, axles, a trailer tongue, etc). However, the front entry appears to be a 36″ bifold door. That measurement coupled with another 36″ (an 18″ wall on each side of the door hinge) suggest a measurement of precisely 72″. That would be 6 feet in width. Looking at the rear of the Bunkhouse seems to reveal a set of bunks with a twin bed on each level. A standard twin bed is 74″ long (turned sideways in this case, so 74″ wide, if you will). The difference between 72″ and 74″ is only 2″ so it is safe to say that the width of the cottage is about 74″ (interior space). Now a standard utility trailer is at least 80″ wide. There is no way this cottage is 80″ wide so it serves to reason that it is not built on a trailer. It certainly is not built on a 10′ x 10′ trailer as My Tiny Cabin suggests. Upon further inspection, there are no less than four – 4″ by 4″ support piers on each side of the cottage. Knowing the Bunkhouse has at least two bunks at a minimum of 39″ wide (or 3-1/2 ft.) and a 36″ deep porch (that number is using the opening width of 1/2 the bifold door), it is completely conceivable that the cottage is 10 ft. long. In short, it seems the Bunkhouse may be about 80 sq.ft. of well thought out space for guests.

It seems unlikely that this size would be good to live in full-time as it lacks a toilet of any sort of room for a proper kitchenette. It clearly was not designed for that though. It is a bunkhouse for sleeping and washing up which explains its interior. Two twin bed with lumber framing, their weight supported by ledgar boards on the wall(s), a small cube storage cabinet, and a sink with mirror attachment, are all that fill the space. There is a generous number of windows which are a mix of fixed glass and crank windows for breeze. The Bunkhouse is almost perfect for offering out-of-house guest accommodations. With a few more inches of width and a few more feet in length, the cottage could easily transform into an ideal tiny house. What then holds the general population and the tiny house community at large from creating such beautiful and functional spaces? What is there not more of these small spaces being created to serve a number of purposes?

What is your favorite backyard home or tiny space to date? What is the perfect size for such a purpose? Leave your thoughts in the comments below or visit our Facebook page to join the conversation. 

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