Initial thoughts... what do I need in a tiny house?

Everyone needs different things.  There is no perfect tiny home that will work for everyone.  Some people like need to cook, others rarely boil water.  Some people need a lot of closet space --and I mean need, as in for their work they have to look not just clean but fashionable, and having only a few outfits just won't cut it.  (We can't all live in jeans and t-shirts.)  Some people need a big bed, while others could get by with a little bunk.  Some people need space to entertain, or make music, or carve wooden gargoyles to sell on Etsy.  Some people need wheelchair accessibility.

The first thing that has to be considered when an individual/couple/family is looking at a small house is what their individual needs are, and choose a plan that works for them.  I wrote "choose a plan", because for almost everyone looking to build/have built a tiny house, it will be more practical to choose from the many existing, tested and drawn out plans than to design one from scratch. I initially thought to purchase plans from Portland Alternative Dwellings, but in the end decided I wanted the complete design-and-build experience.  But I'm doing it the hard way, and wouldn't recommend this to everyone.

So what do I need in a tiny house?  What do I, Robert Austin, with a longtime girlfriend and an 8 year old daughter, need in a tiny house? Well...

  • Portability.  I don't currently have any land.  There are a few places I could put a tiny house, but none of them permanent, so I have to build it on a trailer.
  • Beds.  A lot of tiny houses try to maximize one loft.  That won't work for us.  3 people in a queen size bed is too much.  We need a big bed and a little bed.  My idea, actually, is that I would sleep in the little bed, and let the ladies take the bigger one.  We currently have a king size bed, despite the fact that I'm not a king.  When my daughter is sick or scared of a thunderstorm, or claiming to be scared because she'd rather sleep in the big bed, she'll climb in with us.  Mama loves it, me not so much.  You know what I like? Separate beds for couples.  Not having to share blankets is one less thing to argue about, and honestly, even happy couples need a little personal space.  Like these two lovebirds:
    Dick Van Dyke and Mary Tyler Moore happily sleeping in separate beds
  • A kitchen. I like to cook. But I can get by without a built-in oven.  I prefer an induction "burner" and a good toaster oven.  They use less power, take up less space and you can bake a pie in one.  That's enough for me.
  • A bathroom with a shower.  A tiny tub would have been nice, and I looked, but I couldn't find a good one that was small enough and affordable.
  • Room for a sitting "circle" for company.
  • A dining/work table.
  • Room for at least two overnight guests.  We've been living with her parents (my de facto  in-laws) for years now, and although it can be trying, I love the extended family thing, and think it's great for the kid and the grandparents.  So we need room for them to sleep over occasionally.  I can't build a house and say, "Sorry, no room for old people."
  • Off-gridability.  The house has to still be livable if I pull it out to the middle of a field and start raising goats.  Which isn't such a big deal, but it means the house can't rely on external water and sewer, and needs to have water storage inside the shell.

That's about all I can think of.  Oh, a washing machine.  But that's about the last thing I'll buy.