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free plans

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Announcing another free tiny house plan download for a Micro Gambrel. It measures 8′ deep and 7′ 4″ wide. The reason for the odd width is that it’s sized to optionally fit on an 82″ wide (between the fenders) trailer so that it could be adapted for a mobile tiny house.

Gambrel roofs are common on barns and sheds because they provide a lot of headroom without adding a full second story. For this same reason they seem to be catching on in the tiny house movement too. Most tiny houses have lofts, but a common pitched gable roof can make things tight. A gambrel roof isn’t really much taller, it’s just wider at the mid-point giving that added headroom.

I wanted to learn how to draw a gambrel roof, so being a do-it-yourselfer and avid self-learner, I spent a little time and figured it out. It’s actually quite simple, but as I drew the truss I realized that it would be very easy to slip it onto some tiny house walls I already had drawn in SketchUp. So I took a break from my normal tiny house blogging and focused on these plans for a few days. As with most projects it took a bit longer than expected but it’s now complete.

To get the download link I’d like to invite you to subscribe to my new Tiny House Newsletter – you can unsubscribe any time and I never share my email list with anyone.

The newsletter goes out almost every day. You’ll find the download link in the newsletter.

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Sample Illustrations from the Plans

Micro Gambrel - Truss Detail Micro Gambrel - Loft Dimensions Micro Gambrel - Loft Detail Micro Gambrel - Gambrel Wall Micro Gambrel - Front Wall Micro Gambrel - Cross Section


Photorealistic Renderings from the Sketchup Drawing

Micro Gambrel - Exterior

Micro Gambrel - View to Front Micro Gambrel - Loft

Micro Gambrel - View Forward from LoftMicro Gambrel - View Forward

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One of the most popular free tiny house plans I offer is the Homesteader’s Cabin. It’s a 12′x24′ house with a 12/12 roof and a loft. The lower level has enough space for a small kitchen, bathroom, laundry closet, and living room. The loft can span half the house giving you a high ceiling in the living room or you can choose to build a full second floor for more space. Also included is a design for a space-saving alternating step ships ladder.

Download the plans (PDF Version)  (18+MB file may take some time to open)

Seen above and below are some photorealistic renders of the exterior views you’ll see in the plans. The only update to the plans was the addition of the nicer exterior views – all dimensions have remained the same. The plans were made using SketchUp, Layout, and these images were exported using the Podium V2 photorealistic plugin.

Download the SketchUp file (for those playing with SketchUp)

Floor plan examples can be found in my book Tiny House Floor Plans which is available on Amazon and as an ebook. Learn more about Tiny House Floor Plans and how to get the ebook. I’ve also added a few examples below so you can get an idea of how flexible this small space can be.

Find Tiny House Floor Plans at Amazon. Learn more about Tiny House Floor Plans and how to get the ebook.

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One of my readers, Richard, sent me these photos of a tiny house he built from a set of my free tiny house plans. But you’ve probably noticed there’s something a little odd about his house. Truth be told it’s a 1/9 scale model built using basswood, balsa wood and polystyrene. Richard likes to build scale models, mostly radio controlled trucks, and wanted a tiny house for his backyard rock garden. The 8×12 tiny house plans were just what he was looking for and after some careful craftsmanship he had his tiny scale dream house. Nice work Richard, thanks for sharing!

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The storms raging across half of the United States are a terrible reminder of nature’s power – and how our homes are not always up to the task of shielding us to the level we need. I imagine most folks are busy preparing for storms to hit while some are already working hard to pick up the pieces. Hang in there folks. Our prayers are with you.

Back in 2009 I drew up a set of free plans for a do-it-yourself prefab shelter. The plans can help you build structures that measure 8×8, 8×12, 8×16, 8×20, etc. These plans are a micro-version of my Tiny Prefab ebook.

I thought this would be a good moment to reintroduce these free plans and invite you to download a copy. I imagine building materials are going to be in short supply after the storms clear, but with an action plan in place you might be able to quickly get the things you need to setup a temporary shelter.

Download Tiny Prefab Free Plans


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This set of free tiny house plans is a classic 8′ x 12′ house with a 12/12 pitched roof. The plans are 20 pages and are drawn to the same level of detail as my other tiny house plans.

The walls are framed with 2x4s and the floor and roof are framed with 2x6s. It’s shown with a shingled exterior but you could finish it off however you like. Your choice of foundations could be used too, including a trailer; although the width may slightly exceed 8 1/2 feet and some minor changes would need to be made to accomodate the wheels.

If you’ve just seen tiny houses on HGTV Design Star, this design is similar in size but a bit simpler to build than those homes as it lacks the Craftsman Style adornments you saw there. Learn more about the Tumbleweed tiny houses you saw on HGTV.

Download 8×12 Tiny House Plans (9MB)

If the idea of tiny houses and extreme downsizing are new to you, learn more by reading:




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Keith shared some early photos of his tiny house project with me today. He’s building  house from one of my free tiny house plans, the 12′ x 24′ Homesteader’s Cabin.

Today is day 6 of his project and the shingles are going on the roof today as well as the window and doors. He’s still on the lookout for some spiral stairs to help him get up to the second level.

You might have noticed that most tiny houses use ladders instead of stairs. This is because stairs take up a lot of square footage when they are built to code. Spiral stairs are an ideal choice for saving space with the main drawback being that they can be tough to use.

If you study the plans and photos you’ll notice that Keith has made some minor changes to the design to meet his needs. I try to keep all my plans simple and clear enough to help folks imagine their own modifications. This is also the reason you’ll find few adornments or complex roof treatments on my designs – like gable dormers. I like the way these enhancements look as much as most folks but they are tough to build for the average do-it-yourselfer – but can be added with the help of a professional if you’ve got friends with those skills.

I’ll pass more details along as they come in. It’s looking great Keith… thanks for sharing!


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Over a year ago I drew a design for a 12×24 Cabin but never finished the plans. I was suffering from a sort of writer’s block. No form of therapy seemed to work to help me break free – not even reading Steven Pressfield’s The War of Art. Inspiring book – but other people’s answers rarely work for me.

Back when I was a potter I had trouble finishing work too. I guess I just liked the time on the wheel when the clay was wet. Once the pots were ready to glaze I often lost interest unless the firing process involved a lot of direct involvement like pit firing or raku. I guess you could say the same thing is true of this design – once the drawing was close to an end I lost interest.

What finally worked – to break the creative block – was to simply let go. I know most folks reading this probably don’t give a rat’s behind about my creative process but I do and this is my blog… so consider slogging through this little prologue the price to pay to get to the free download. The PDF is 14MB so wait for the download to complete before trying to open. Enjoy!

You’ll need a free copy of Google SketchUp to open the SketchUp file. I built the plans using Google LayOut which comes with Google SketchUp Pro. If you build it I’d love to see photos. Thanks!




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Bill built a tiny house from one of the free tiny house plans I’ve posted here at Tiny House Design. He’s made some smart modifications to it including the addition of a storage box for the solar system batteries and propane tank.

My friend Kent Griswold at Tiny House Blog recently took a trip to meet with Bill in person and get a tour of the home. Looks great Bill! Thanks for posting the videos Kent!

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Architect Joseph Sandy has posted a free set of house plans on his website. The interior space measures 350 square feet and provides ample space for one or two people. To maximize the usefulness of the space, built-ins are used throughout and no space is wasted on hallways or bedrooms. For example notice how the bed is tucked into an alcove.

The inspiration comes from Frank Lloyd Wright who used the term Usonian home to describe some very functional and inexpensive homes he created beginning in 1936. These homes were typically L-shaped to enclose a courtyard garden and used many simple tricks to get more value from less space, like small bedrooms, built-in storage and furniture, and ample natural lighting.

I really like Joseph’s interpretation and downsizing of the Usonian theme. None of Wright’s Usonian homes were this small, so it’s nice to see such a good original idea brought back and reinterpreted into a tiny house design. Great work Joseph!

The plans are free to download, just visit Joseph Sandy’s blog to get these Usonian Inspired House Plans.

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One of my regular readers, Mark, sent me a link to this great Strawbale construction portal. The website is packed with great information including some plans. Below is an example from a set of free plans they offer for a 10×14 strawbale building. Mark is working on converting them to metric and is considering building one himself. Thanks again Mark!

Strawbale Construction Portal

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exploded 3d overview 8x8

You might have noticed that I’ve not been posting much the past two weeks. I’ve been working every night on this panelized prefab design and finally have the free plans ready for you to see. The ebook version of the plans will be available soon too. The drawings are all complete; I just need to finish writing all the descriptions and instructions. The ebook contains dozens of illustrations that show all the construction and assembly steps as well as an 8×12 and 8×16 versions. Once the ebook is online I’ll adapt the design once more for the 16×16 House for Khayelitsha.

I think this little 8×8 building would make a great home office, micro cabin, or even a tiny house for the homeless. In fact the idea of finding a simple solution for housing the homeless is what got me started on this in the first place; but now that it’s ready for public consumption it’s clear to me that this approach could serve an extremely wide range of needs.

Tiny Prefab Plans v1.0

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tiny solar house

A couple of weeks ago I got some exciting news from my friend Kent Griswold that someone was building a house from one of my tiny free house plans. I’ve had a few people tell me they are planning on building one of my designs but these are the first photos of an actual house I’ve seen.

After much research Bill Brooks (Central Valley, California) chose the 8×16 Tiny Solar House because it met his needs for a rolling tiny house he could pull up to Alaska for an extended visit. He didn’t want to buy a normal travel trailer because they are not as well suited to the extreme weather as a tiny home.

Read the full story over at Tiny House Blog

Visit my Free Plans page