I'm done with sleeping lofts
The title is not a typo: I am not done with "my" sleeping lofts, there's still putting up some interior sheathing, painting, trimming it up. I meant more philosophically, sleeping lofts in general... I'm not down with them any more. They seemed like a great way to get extra space and make better use of the space that I do have. But they come with problems, and for me the problems look like they outweigh the benefits.
The first problem is stairs or ladder. You need some way to get up to the loft. If you choose stairs, they take up a lot of space, if you choose a ladder they still take up some space, and you often have to move them around, so now they take up two spaces: in-use and "stored". I've read about a number of other options: climb up a bookshelf, or step on the kitchen counter and boost up the final three feet. Hell, I suppose you could use a climbing rope if you wanted to. But all of these options kind of suck. No one really wants to have to climb down a ladder in the dark to go pee. It's annoying. I'd be very surprised if many people who sleep in lofts wouldn't prefer sleeping in a bed a normal height above the floor. It's simpler and easier.
The second main problem is headroom. Both above and below, you never have as much as you want. For my lofts, I tried to put a decent amount of height above and below my lofts, and it worked okay. I've got probably 6'6 under the lofts (kitchen and bathroom), and almost four feet in the center (peak) above. I tried to maximize it. But still, it would be nice if the kitchen and bathroom ceilings were higher, and there was more headroom in the lofts. But there's nothing I can do, because math. I can't make it it any higher and still have a road-legal trailer. I even used a thin loft platform and scored myself an extra two inches, but I would be hard pressed to get any more headroom. It's a problem that you just have to live with when you choose a sleeping loft. But if you abandon the idea of sleeping in a loft the problem disappears.
Another problem is all the extra work and cost that a loft entails. You need extra materials, which adds cost and weight. There's extra labor in detailing it: finishing and trimming the top and bottom and around the edges of the loft platform. There's the extra planning involved in the framing step so that the loft is strong and secure, and ideally has an egress window in case of emergency. A lot of extra details when you choose a sleeping loft. Not a big deal for someone with building experience, but for a DIYer, like many of us in the tiny house movement, the extra work is a real PITA.
And what do you get for it? The illusion of more space. There are a number of things that people have to carve out floor space for in their tiny house design. Storage, closets. Where to put a water supply / heater / furnace. And a lot of those ugly necessities get the prime space on the main floor while the humans are forced to sleep seven feet in the air. My solution: overhead storage and a utility loft over the bathroom. A utility loft --basically the area over the bathroom-- doesn't need the same amount of height as a sleeping loft. It doesn't need to be pretty. No one is going to spend any significant amount of time chilling with the water heater. Stick that stuff up in the air, out of the way. Put up some high shelves, or racks or cabinets, or cargo nets, to still utilize the vertical space. And put a regular bed on the main floor. Keep it simple.
Anyway, that's where my thoughts are now. Sleeping lofts? Forget about them. If I ever build a second tiny house, I'm skipping the loft.