Develop and Deliver: Designing a Micro Home
Completing assignment five feels so good. After spending months researching lots of micro-dwellings and exploring different designs for a small space led me to sketching ideas, different elevations and over time my designs changed a few times. I watched numerous youtube videos of people converting small spaces, as well as wonderful Netflix programme called Tiny House Nation.
At the very beginning of my design concept I thought the obvious choice would be to have a large kitchen leading to a seating and chill out area and on the same floor to have a bathroom. This idea was based upon the narrative that I created about my client and I found it difficult to move past this place, knowing also that I was limited with floor space kept bringing me back to that initial idea. I also thought that the first floor would be the bedroom and storage within the staircase. But over time and by sketching different elevations it became clear to me that the seating area where George could sit and relax was more important than the bedroom, which is why I decided to create the relaxing space up on the first floor area, not only to give him the width space of the dwelling but also to have a better view over the open plan kitchen space and looking out of the windows to the glorious rolling countryside.
My drawings then led me to think about having the bedroom area behind wooden slats leading off the kitchen, maybe around the width of the kitchen worktop and to the height of the first floor, enough to create a divide but not block out the light or view from either end. This way I felt George could have a larger snug area to sit and enjoy the views on a higher floor. At this point of design development, the bedroom area was definitely less important than the kitchen and chill out area, but it was important that George had a sociable space with high table and chairs that could be enjoyed indoors and outdoors, opening out to the decking area by way of bi-fold doors, weather depending.
The exterior of the micro-dwelling would be clad in strips of black oak, framing large Georgian style windows, square and round windows and modern bifold doors. I also decided to give the dwelling a flat roof to enable it to have a green living roof that will be covered with vegetation, the overall design, style and colour of the exterior will sit on the landscape as a modern box style building but will have sympathy with the vernacular buildings, with nods of Georgian style shown in the windows.
My drawings show the micro-dwelling in plan for the ground floor and first floor area, as well as sections of the kitchen area and bedroom area. I have also drawn the exterior elevations with a green living roof.
Fig. 1 – 6 Walker, T (2021) Micro-dwelling technical drawings [Autocad software] in possession of: the author: Stoford
After choosing my site location which was situated next to a Georgian building, I was sure that I wanted my micro-dwelling to include some of the features from that building, there are lots of elegant and beautiful details on the building, the windows in particular are large enough to enable lots of light to flood into a small building and have so much character than modern style windows, with this in mind I began drawing the window styles.
My first port of call was to draw a layout of the floor plan for the micro-dwelling. My initial thoughts were to have a banquette style seating area in the back left hand corner with an extendable table to use when George is entertaining guests. I made a plan of the kitchen to include dimensions and in doing so making sure there is enough room when opening the oven door and fridge door. I thought that a divider of 2 metre wooden slats would look great between the kitchen and dining area, dividing the space but still being able to see through to the space from either side.
It was important at first for me to provide George with both a bath tub and a shower, so for this to work comfortably I thought that the bathroom could be a wet room, this way a shower tray was not needed and so would not encroach on the space.
The stairs leading to a first floor area could sit against the wall, each tread could have a storage area underneath that you could access via doors on the ground floor. The ground floor space would open up onto the decking area giving George some outdoor space too.
My tutor has always encouraged me to sketch ideas and not run with the first thought. I find this process really helpful but also difficult if I have an initial design in mind. I played around with dimensions of windows and doors and sketched a rough plan changing the layout, my main focus was to have a tall table with bar stools next to some bi-fold doors, once these doors are opened the seating area can be used both indoor and outdoor creating a sociable space.
I placed a piece of tracing paper over the bedroom and bathroom area to show a first floor snug space, a place for George to be able to sit, enjoy the view through the gorgeous windows or listen to his vinyl records.
I then sketched a selection of elevations playing around with window sizes looking from the exterior, I was trying to see where to place them, how far up the wall should the window sit to look aesthetically from the exterior. It’s an easier process to place your windows inside when you are working around worktop space and furniture but how do they actually look from the outside as well? All of these design ideas help build a better picture when creating a whole building.
Carrying on from the idea of looking from the outside in, I thought it would be a good idea to sketch an indoor elevation. My first perspective drawing shows the kitchen area to the left, the open staircase on the right hand side leading up to the bedroom area. I found drawing the staircase a challenge. The second drawing has a piece of tracing paper on top showing how a table and chairs would look in the space. Thirdly, I have drawn some bi-fold doors on another piece of tracing paper, this shows how the indoors would look from the outside.
A selection of sketches and ideas of how the interior and exterior could look, I’m very much hooked on having wood on maybe both the interior and exterior of the micro-dwelling. I’m also very keen to include a green living roof which would complement the rural location of the site.
Another selection of sketches and ideas for the micro-dwelling, this process is so good to do, helping me explore ideas that I may not have even initially thought of. By doing this process has helped me realise that a small space would not benefit from so many smaller windows but maybe a few larger ones, a nod to the same windows in the Georgian building. Lots of ideas to take forward to my final design.
I also wanted to draw sections on paper first before drawing them in Autocad. This helped immensely when putting the same information onto computer aided design. I have never used Autocad and so I was teaching myself the software for the first time and so to have the drawings in front of me meant I could follow the dimensions and shapes a little easier.
Whilst designing my micro-dwelling and considering my client’s needs I have designed a dining area next to the bi-fold doors so that once they are open the seating will continue out to the decking area, this will be a sociable space to extend to outside as and when the weather allows.
This style of seating and eating area would sit 6 people comfortably but more stools could be stored away incase they are needed, folded stools would be perfect and they could be stored in the under stairs cupboard.
I chose to design tall stools and a tall table to compliment the tall bi-fold doors and the large Georgian style windows. I have sketched some more ideas to show the seating area and I have also sketched a section through the staircase to show the storage. As you will see there are two different styles of stair case, the first you would have hidden storage on one side, the other is open plan.
Fig. 1 – 4 Walker, T (2021) Drawings and sketches of the staircase and treads in different elevations [pencil/pen on paper] in possession of: the author: Stoford