Surprise inside!

It’s pretty amazing in here . . .

If your image of a “tiny house” is a narrow box with impossible stairs, and your vision of downsizing is letting go of everything you care about, be ready for some surprises.

Think REFRESHING . . . a beautiful, inviting space.

Think COMFORTING . . . a house that takes care of you, instead of you caring for it.

Think INGENIOUS . . . a way to live with less and feel as if you have more.

As I’ve been saving images on my Tiny Houses for Seniors Pinterest boards, I’ve ooohed and aaahed over so many unique ideas that I hardly know where to start.  But in this post, I’ll share some of my favorite glimpses of what a tiny house could be for us aging boomers.

Living Room Ideas

The living room featured at the top of this post is part of a one-floor, 450-square-foot tiny house called the “Saltbox,” built by Clayton Tiny Homes. It makes me feel like I can breathe!  (See Tiny House Talk for more information.)

"Saltbox" living room
“Saltbox” living room from Clayton Tiny Homes

The vaulted ceiling and floor-to-ceiling windows in this next “Low Country” 464-square-foot beauty, also built by Clayton Tiny Homes, make the compact space look large.  (See Tiny House Talk for more information.)

"Low Country" living room
“Low Country” living room from Clayton Tiny Homes

The clerestory windows in the living area in this Salish model, built by West Coast Homes, offers a very inviting space.  (See Tiny Living for more information.)

“Salish” living room from West Coast Homes

Or, if you’re in “cabin” mode, how about this for cozy? The high ceilings and French doors in this 400-square-foot vacation home make this living room feel open, and the fireplace and couch are just calling for an afternoon nap.  (Check out the article “17 Glorious Living Rooms that Prove that Living Tiny Doesn’t Mean Cramped” for more living room ideas.)

Vacation cabin living room
Vacation cabin living room

This living room in a 362-square-foot tiny house creates the illusion of spaciousness.  Check out this tiny home in Venice, California, called the “Tiny Canal Cottage,” where the living room abuts a kitchen area in a delightful, space-saving arrangement.

"Tiny Canal Cottage"
“Tiny Canal Cottage” in Venice, California
Kitchen Ideas

Speaking of kitchens . . . look at what the people at Escape Traveler were able to put in their “Vista” model, which is only 160-square-feet total!

"Vista" kitchen
“Vista” kitchen from Escape Traveler

But the thing is, for aging boomers it only makes sense to build a tiny house with Universal Design.  Who knows when we might need to navigate our home in a wheelchair, and I certainly wouldn’t want to have to move because that was impossible in my tiny house.

So, what about something like this, built by the German company Matthias Pfau, which specializes in creating what they call “life-saving rooms” for seniors and people with disabilities?

Accessible kitchen by Pfau
Accessible kitchen by Matthias Pfau

Or perhaps this accessible cooking island from a California accessible home, designed by Mikiten Architecture, could be adapted for a tiny house.  It has a large work surface, sink, cooktop, and built-in oven that is wheelchair-accessible height.

Maher residence kitchen by Mitiken Architectture
Maher residence kitchen by Mikiten Architecture

And, finally, here’s an ingenious, fully accessible kitchen module created by an Italian company, Snaidero.  It’s called “Skyline Lab” and is decked out with pull-out shelves, a cooktop with front controls, and a drawer dishwasher. They even make a wheelchair accessible table to match!  (See House Coffee Design for more information.  Note that Snaidero has offices in the U.S.)

"Skyline Lab" kitchen
“Skyline Lab” kitchen from Snaidero
Bedroom Ideas

If, like me, books are important to you, what about something like this functional wall between the living room and bedroom? This photo is a wall of shelves in a 540-square-foot home designed by Jessica Helgerson for her family house in Oregon.  (See Pure Green Mag for more information.)

Bookshelf wall
Bookshelf wall by Jessica Helgerson

I stumbled on this amazing loft bedroom in a Tiny Heirloom 240-square-foot tiny house (featured on DIY “Tiny Luxuries”).  Move it to the main floor, and I’m in!  (See Tiny House Town for more information.)

"Tiny Heirloom" bedroom
“Tiny Heirloom” bedroom

This bedroom in the “River Road” cottage in Oregon, designed by architect Nir Pearlson, is flooded with an abundance of natural light.  (See Little Living Blog for more information.)

River Road Cottage bedroom
River Road Cottage bedroom by Nir Pearlson

What about the bedroom in this Australian “Granny Flat for a Hip Elderly Couple”?  Designed by BAA House + BAA Studio, this classy room is anything but granny-like!  (See Lunchbox Architect for more information.)

Australian "hip granny flat" bedroom
Australian “hip granny flat” bedroom by BAA House + BAA Studio

For closers, take a look at the bedroom in the 550-square-foot Universal Design, timber frame prefab made by FabCab.  (See Tiny House Blog for more information.)

"FabCab" bedroom
“FabCab” bedroom

FabCab uses Universal Design in all their homes, and this one made its debut at the 2010 Seattle Home Show.  The 2-minute video below offers a quick demo of how a small space can be fully accessible . . . and very beautiful.

A tour of the Universal Design features of the 550M FabCab model from the display at the 2010 Seattle Home Show

Well, that covers the three “biggies”:  living room, kitchen, and bedroom.  On to smaller, but no less key, spaces—such as bathrooms and storage—next time.

– Marcia, host of Tiny Houses for Seniors

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