Tiny Cottage Renovation – Big Transformation

Tiny Cottage Renovation – Big Transformation

Heres a renovation story straight out of the Tiny Homes handbook.

You know you need to make the most of every square inch of your layout if your home is 300 square foot ?

We don’t quite have tiny house ‘movement’ in Ireland. What we do have are lots of old tiny cottages. They can be pretty challenging to renovate when the time comes to bring them up to modern living standards. Lots of them still exist that have outdoor toilets.

So often they have been ‘redesigned’ by previous owners by simply tacking on a bathroom or a bedroom at the back. While that ticks the box on the one hand, it can leave an already tiny house still feeling cramped and awkward.

One room often leads to another. The flow of the house feels more like a series of hallways, than each room being a destination in itself. Storage space is almost always lacking and it feels like doorways and walls get more of the space than the actual floor itself. You end up feeling like light and space are something you have to go out to get … not good.
So looking to the tiny house builders for inspiration … where space is always made to work extra hard and light floods a space can be really helpful.

This cottage was just under 300sq ft. to begin with. It opens onto the street at the front, and has a tiny yard at the back which is only another 300sq ft. In many ways the fact that the cottage was in such bad repair was a blessing. There was nothing worth saving in the existing house. It was easier to rework the plan as a blank slate project.

Tiny House layout with bedroom bathroom renovation

The Brief:

The owner Marla is a freelance graphic designer who needed to be able to work from home. In an ideal world she wanted to be able to separate her work from her life in the evening or when friends call over. She really needed more than just a space for her laptop – as a designer she needed more desk space. She also needed to be able to leave it laid out for a few days if she was working on a project.

" I constantly have visuals, samples, sketches and swatches surrounding me as I work…the idea that I need to pack all that away every evening or if someone drops in for coffee is really a struggle "

The New House Layout

The design of the cottage was focused around a tiny courtyard with glass on 3 sides. The little courtyard provides a much needed space to sit outdoors. It also brings light into the bedroom, the office space and the dining area. Obviously all three of these rooms also benefit from being able to open a window and get fresh air. Marla also likes to cook…so she grows fresh herbs out there too…total bonus in a tiny house.

That’s one hard working little courtyard.

Modelrooms Tiny House renovation plan

The other main change from the original cottage layout was to break open all the small rooms at the front of the house. Originally the house had a tiny bedroom and skinny living room and kitchen. The house now opens onto one big open plan kitchen living room space. So if you need to open the room up for dinner guests you can push back the couch and extend the table.

When Marla wants to relax and watch TV then the table can be pushed back to make the living space feel more generous. By combining the spaces into one you get to benefit from the same space in multiple ways….true to the tiny house ethos of making every space earn its place.

Want to try your own tiny house layout? Check out our Modelrooms Home Design Kit All illustrations for the layout for Marlas’ cottage done using our Home Design Kit

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