Category Archives: tiny house thoughts

Beauty and Functionality: Ideas for Tiny House Design

by Sarah

I didn’t realize when we started planning for our tiny house that it would change the way that I look at the world.  I hadn’t paid much attention to architecture before, besides an appreciation for Victorian houses (I grew up in San Francisco) and colonial/ Spanish-style architecture (lots of years in Latin America.)

La Candelaria - Wikimedia Commons
I’ve always loved the colonial architecture in La Candelaria neighborhood, Bogota, Colombia.
San Francisco Victorian houses are so pretty, and are my earliest understanding of what a house looks like.  But all of those details are flourishes are not so applicable to tiny house design...
San Francisco Victorian houses are so pretty, and are my earliest understanding of what a house looks like. But all of those details and flourishes are not so applicable to tiny house design…

Now when I look around me I notice dormers, asymmetrical roofs, cedar shake siding, and trim.  Likewise, I’ve always had my preferences about interior decoration but now I am paying a lot more attention to functional details—does it fold away?  Is there space for storage underneath? How heavy is it?  Although we bought our plans from Tumbleweed, we also want to adjust them so that they are unique and serve our specific needs.

It’s fun to feel my eye develop.  I’ve been keeping a file of some of my favorite design solutions – the ones that are beautiful but also extremely functional (there’s not much room for beauty and non-functionality in a tiny house) and I thought I’d share a few of them here.

Here are a few inspiring exteriors:
This is definitely the dream for someday… From Molecule Tiny Homes.
Little details like this purple door give this tiny house personality and individuality. From livetiny365.
I loved the funky, recycled sensibility of this house. It’s a very different aesthetic from Tumbleweed, and good for me to remember the many style options out there! From Munro Shea Designs.

I’ve also been noticing all houses more, not just tiny ones, and paying attention to what I like. Here are some ideas from non-tiny houses that make me wonder how we can incorporate some of what they’ve done:
This is the interior of an Earthship. I love all the plants – in the Earthship they function as part of the internal ecosystem – and want to bring some (fewer perhaps!) into our tiny house. Photo from Santi and Laura’s Flickr.
First, I love a cozy window nook. Second, in tiny houses it’s good to have a variety of levels that you can be in. From Tumblr.

And here are few interior tiny space ideas that really catch my eye:
Beautiful interior wood siding from Chris and Malissa’s Tiny Tack House.
Lots of people have their dish-drying area above the sink – saves space and time! This image is from the Apartment Therapy article on Christopher and Merete’s tiny house.
I like alternative ideas for getting up to the lofts. Here it looks like they have both a ladder and steps on the wall. We’ve been talking about monkey bars or a zip-line between our lofts! Photo from Tiny House Talk: 252 sq ft.

This website, tiny houses, and us

Hello, we are Joseph and Sarah, the team behind Seeds with Wings.  Welcome to our new website!  We wanted to give a little intro to our idea with this website, tiny houses, and us.

What’s the plan with the website?  What are we doing here?

We’ll be telling the story of our tiny off-grid house on wheels.  We’ll be exploring the nuts and bolts of the building process and the decisions we make along the way.  Building a tiny house is our particular way of both supporting our lives and dreams, and expressing the world we want to live in.

What is a tiny house and how is ours a little unique? 

A tiny house is a small building created with the specific intention of being a home. (Thanks to Tiny, the Movie for that definition.)  Our tiny house will be eight feet wide, twenty feet long, and thirteen and a half feet tall.  It will live on a flat-bed trailer instead of a traditional foundation.  And, it will be off-grid.  “Off-grid” means that we will generate electricity from solar panels, run our stove on alcohol, etc.  We are  excited about making other green/sustainable choices  in the construction, like salvaging materials, using natural insulation, and more.  We bought plans for the Cypress 20 from the Tumbleweed Tiny House Company, and are modifying them for more “green” materials, and for our needs.

Who are we and why is a tiny house a good fit for us? 

  • We met at Tassajara Zen Mountain Center, where we were both living and working,  in 2008
  • We got together in 2012 (after maintaining a long-distance friendship)
  • A couple months later, Sarah moved to Red Hook, Brooklyn, to be with Joseph
  • October 2012 Hurricane Sandy swept through the East Coast, including our waterfront Brooklyn neighborhood, and shifted the foundation of our apartment building, making it unlivable.
  • Staying with our extremely generous families and friends, and having no where to call home, we bumped up our (pipe) dream of building a tiny-house right to the top of the list.  But where…how…?
  • …Enter serendipity, in an even more obvious way than usual –  An offer to care-take on a sheep ranch in Sonoma, CA landed in our inbox.  That same day some Tumbleweed Tiny House Company staffers invited us to join their group build.  How could we say no?

Having both spent many years living out of backpacks, on bicycles and in small city and country dwellings (Sarah is from San Francisco and Joseph from New York) it won’t be a stretch for us to live in a tiny home.  We’re both artists, of one sort or another, and are drawn to hand-building the space we’ll live in.  Creating/building a home is our “first step” towards living a self-aware, self-sustaining and time-responsible life together; but where “self” is replaced with “community.”


Thanks for joining us on this journey!

Endless gratitude to our families, friends and the organizations that have made us who we are, especially: San Francisco Zen Center, Fellowship of Reconciliation, and Buddhist Peace Fellowship.

And to the local businesses that keep us healthy and happy, especially: Thacher Ranch, Green String Farm, Yoga One, Petaluma Community Acupuncture, and Tumbleweed Tiny House Company.