Friday, May 15, 2009

Modified Floor Plan

Our cottage will have inside dimensions of approximately 7’-6”x18’-6”. We started with plans for the fencl because we like the architectural detail above the doorway outside but found that the floor plan just wouldn’t work for our needs. This won’t be a cottage for one person, we both plan on living in it together, so we’ve modified it.

The original bay window was too short to make into a sofa/guest bed and we also need a double desk which wouldn’t fit there either. Sure, the front door is cute to look at from directly out front but function won over form. All available space needs to be usable in a tiny space like this.

What we decided is to swap a window and the front door location so that when you step into the cottage you will be standing in what would have been the bay window. We essentially made a foyer; a place to hang our coats and take our shoes off. We also deleted the far side of the bay window but added a window on either side of the cottage in the living area a little farther back so that we’d still be getting quite a bit of natural light.

With the front door opening to the right instead of straight ahead, we now have the full wall on the left to make into a double long desk with storage below and the fireplace mounted just above it between the two work areas and windows. We’re planning on making a customized sofa/bed to go on the opposite long wall. Both the desk unit and the sofa/bed will cover the wheel wells because they jut into the living area and we don’t want to see them. Between the two desk work areas we’ll have a fold up cabinet door to use as a dining table/additional work space.

We also moved the kitchen and bathroom. Before deciding to build the cottage we laid out string on our (current) living room floor outlining the suggested built ins. We didn’t like the original bathroom location because it was so small that someone sitting on the composting toilet (this one is large) could shower at the same time. While this is probably a time saver to someone, we wanted more space to shower and dress. We also found that two people couldn’t comfortably work in the kitchen at the same time when it was alongside the bathroom. If we enlarged the bathroom using the original floor plan then the kitchen would be further reduced and vise versa.

The bathroom is now about 2’-9”x7’6” and runs along the back wall and we will install the same sized window in there as in the rest of the cottage. From back of the cottage to the front we now have the bathroom, closets/storage, galley kitchen, living area/office, then the foyer.

We thought about enclosing the whole loft area (we wonder about having enough storage space) but would miss daylight upstairs. The loft above the kitchen and bathroom will be the sleeping area and a small loft above the foyer/front door will be for storage.

We have considered adding eyebrow windows or shed dormers on both sides of the roof so that we could park the cottage sideways (the front door could face the front and the cottage would have more character). Right now we've decided against those options but we're not yet up to the roof so we might change our minds. Currently we plan to install a skylight above the sofa so that both upstairs and downstairs gets natural light as well as better ventilation.

We're very happy with our modified floor plan. The cottage will be much more comfortable for two people to live in and the space now better suits our specific needs without sacrificing anything that was important to us.


  1. Sounds good -- could you post the revised floorplan?

  2. Sure, David.

    I don't have the floor plan handy but I added a sketch of the interior views along the long walls. If you double click on the picture then it will enlarge so that you can read it.


  3. Oh, and I reversed the interior sketch showing the front door/desk so that it shows what would be opposite the other wall.

    Actually, standing in the middle of the room, the front door would be on the left if you looked at that wall and the bench with shoe storage will be to your right if you look at that wall.


  4. This is very good! I've been turning and twisting Jay's designs in my head wondering how to make it work for both me AND my daughter. I like what you've done..., and think this will be more spacious looking, too. Love the foyer.

    I believe I need a 24 ft. trailer to extend the front loft over the 6ft porch to include a loft for her, as well.

    My question about the placement of the fireplace....won't it melt the computers there? or at least the monitors? And sitting that closely while it's in use, won't it parch your faces? I have no idea about how that tiny little fireplace works, but those are somethings I wonder about.

  5. Hi Donna,

    If someone will be sleeping in the front loft you'd definitely need a way to enlarge it. It's super small because the front roof slopes in as well as the sides.

    Have you thought about extending the loft to be the whole length of the fencl? The access hatch for the loft could be in the center so you'd only need one ladder. Your daughter could be at one end and you at the other with a curtain/wall between you for privacy. This would be a less expensive option than enlarging the building footprint, buying a bigger trailer, needing more lumber for framing, siding, roofing, etc.

    About the fireplace, both of us are cold weather lovers so the fireplace might be used infrequently. Though we don't know for sure yet, possibly only to take the chill off the house on colder mornings before a shower since we like to sleep with the windows open. We've also talked about using it when we'd like to sit on the sofa together (across the room) to watch the flames. I doubt we'd be working at the desk with it on and Jeff's flat panel monitor will be as far away on the desk as possible (2'6").

    I'm very interested in what your floor plan will look like since you'll also have 2 people living in the house. I'm sure there are things we haven't thought of yet that you can improve on. Please write back to update us on your design.

    Good luck on your project!


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