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Tiny Houses: The Big Picture

2014 is a big year for the Tiny House movement -- with the documentary movie Tiny riding the top of the Netflix queue, and the new TV series Tiny House Nation, it's clear that even if the majority of Americans aren't living in Tiny Houses, the idea of smart, low-cost & tailor-made living situations has hit an inspiring note to many people worldwide.

Great natural light is crucial for making any tiny home feel comfortable

It's also true that the Tiny House designer's tool of choice has proven to be SketchUp -- quick, easy, and available to anyone; professional quality even if they're not already a professional. Which makes Visualizer a perfect tool for anybody interested in just-for-me home design.

Ask anyone who's lived in a tiny home - great natural lighting is a key part of a happy experience. Making the right choices: about window placement, shade, light bouncing from window sills into the house, colors of wood and paint... all can make the difference between feeling cramped or spacious in any home. SketchUp alone can't show you these crucial aspects of livable design -- SketchUp plus Visualizer makes it easy and instant.

Curious abut a design? As you can see for yourself in the pictures below, Visualizer gives quick photo views of 3D house plans for any tiny (or large) house, without the need for elaborate or expensive rendering software, special expertise, or special graphics hardware. Visualizer's fast realistic lighting lets you "visit" home ideas in ways that SketchUp alone can't. You get an instant feeling for any choice about the space or location. Should you finish your home in natural wood, or paint it? Should the house face north or south? How it will feel in morning or evening, summer or winter?

Try it yourself with some of the many tiny house plans that can be found around the internet and in the 3D Warehouse. There's even a You Tube series describing how to build-up a complete tiny house design from scratch in SketchUp (posted, unsurprisingly by TinyHouseDesign, who also created the core design for the first house ever featured on Tiny House Nation). Here are some examples:

SAIL House by F9 Productions

The house above is SAIL by F9 Productions. Initialy intended to help solve part of North Dakota's current housing crunch, it's a great design with lots of natural light, solar power, and a fold-down deck that covers the glass facade during transport. F9 Productions can build you a SAIL on demand, or you can load the SketchUp files yourself -- they're complete right down to the framing, as shown below.

Framing 'skeleton' for the SAIL house

This "Uncut" plan from Tiny Home Design, shown below, can be made without resorting to a saw to minimize waste in construction. We see it here at lunchtime and late in the afternoon.

Uncut Tiny House

VIsualizer makes it really easy to evaluate house placement -- often overlooked until late in the process. Below we see a variant of Jay Shafer's design for the "Lusby" house, modeled on the 3D Warehouse by "Matt L" -- each photo shows the house at 4:46PM on the same November day, but with the house facing north, south, east, or west -- a lot easier to compare in Visualizer than having to turn the whole house!

Lusby Lit from 4 Points of the Compass

Do you have a favorite tiny house design? Try our free trial of Visualizer and see if it doesn't change the way you look at house plans forever.