DIY Trailer Home - Schematic design progress

DIY Trailer Home - Schematic design progress

[Originally posted at]


Although I still believe this would be a perfectly livable home with numerous environmental benefits, for legal reasons it didn't prove feasible.  There's no good place to put it.  With wheels and an axle permanently attached, it qualifies as a trailer park home (with its own set of building standards), but there is no suitable method for getting it inspected and tagged.  The Residental Park Trailer Industry Association handles these legalities but inspects factories rather than individual homes.  And every trailer park I visited requires valid tags.  One could simply park it on residential land (especially in non-incorporated areas) and this is what "tiny home" DIY builders do.  Unfortunately you are then subject to removal if neighbors complain or the city inspects the area.

This trailer home would be the perfect size for two people and it provides the perfect level of mobility.  Neither RVs (maximum mobility) nor park homes (built off-site) are quite right.  RVs are built around a truck chassis, with an engine and front-facing seats and all the compromises of being a vehicle first; a waste if the home only moves perhaps a few times in its life.  On the other hand, trailer park homes are better homes, but they are intended to be transported once and installed permanently.  The DIY trailer home described in this post splits the difference.  It could be safely and easily moved (by hiring a professional truck), when moving to a new city for example, but unlike an RV, it would have high insulation and be made with a long-lasting chassis and steel structure.  We even worked with a hydraulic company to determine the lift mechanism would be feasible and reliable.

These designs are still extremely appealing to us, but don't currently have a legal route in Torrance.  With my mom's purchase of a triplex in Torrance, our housing solution suddenly became much more conventional.

Original post

(click images for larger ver)

We've made progress on the mobile home design.  Take a look and help us find a name for the home!

In the summer of last year, I realized that my dream home might be a mobile home.  A mobile home could be compact and resource-friendly, appealing to my eco-tendencies and my hope of a simplified life.  And making the home mobile eases the hardest question; where should we live?

Over the last 8 months or so, Hiro and I have read books, done research, and teamed up with the extremely talented and clever architect, Ron Golan.  Ron has been hard at work designing the basic layout of the spaces Hiro and I want and modelling them in SketchUp (3D design software).  We've got a rough draft of the schematic design, so it seemed like a good time to share some renderings of the mobile home.

The design is a two-story, trailer home of approximately 380 square feet that can be pulled by a commercial semi-truck.  The second story collapses like the lid of a shoebox for transportation.  On the first floor is the kitchen, living room, office space, and toilet room.  On the second floor is a project room, the shower, and a bedroom.

The image at the beginning of this post is the whole structure, viewed from the back left.  The red boxes are the cabinets in the kitchen.  The project room is directly above that, with the blue shelf workspace and storage.  The orange and blue box to the left side is a pop-out that contains a couch (orange) and office desk (blue).  The yellow thing buried in the middle is the toilet room sink.  And the green stuff above on the second floor is the bed and under-bed storage.

Next is a view of the whole structure from the back right.

First floor from above (2nd floor removed) with the stairs leading up to the upper floor.

View with the second floor exterior walls removed.

The rough layout of the galley kitchen.

The first floor toilet room from above.  The stairs snake around and over the lavatory.

Please let us know what you think in the comments below! [comments disabled]  Name suggestions would be greatly appreciated! [later called "Shoebox House"]