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Table of Contents

1. Introduction..............................................................................................................................1

2. Tiny House Movement.............................................................................................................3

3. Laws and Regulations..............................................................................................................6

4. Making Plans...........................................................................................................................8

5. Mock-up Build........................................................................................................................13

6. Conclusion..............................................................................................................................17

7. Incorporating Course Content................................................................................................18

8. Sources...................................................................................................................................19

1. Introduction

At the beginning of the month and the new year I turned 22 years old. I spend the day at home with

my family, enjoying our cosy fire place and watching bad movies with my parents. It was a

wonderful way to spend the day but but while the all time classic Pride&Prejudice&Zombies

played in the background, I was already stressing over the next birthday, the next year, the next

stage of life I was now getting closer to. Since basically every year of my late adolescence/ early

adulthood was plagued by this cruel world's catastrophes, ranking from an actual plague to the

Russian invasion and resulting market crisis, I never really considered moving on from my late

school mindset, at least in the regard of moving out. In my family we held the simple understanding

that as long as you do something people will help you get by, be it further schooling, higher

education or holding a job. Therefore, living at home while I get my degree just always made sense

to me. We get along great most of the time, we have the space and since we all operate on different

schedules it never feels like crowded or like we are trapped stagnated in a routine. I have my own

living and work space since I immediately declared my brother's room as an extension of mine

when he moved out.

And maybe therein lies the problem. My annoying, stubborn, brilliant older brother and his intense

need for independence. I can't help but notice all the positive changes in our family dynamic that

came with creating distance and often wonder if maybe my parents do not see our current living

situation through the same rose coloured glasses as I do. Observing their changed relationship with

my brother makes me believe that it is time for me to leave the nest as well. To be completely

honest, I still don't plan to move out until I gained my bachelor and I am somewhat stable in what I

will pursue after but I think that it is never to early to create some plans, starting by acknowledging

my fears and worries.

The biggest concern that needs to be addressed is money. Do I earn enough to support myself? Can

I afford my own place while still attending university? While many students see university as a

chance to move out, most of them end up still sharing space either in provided housing or in

independent group homes. If I'm already forced to share my living space because I cant afford my

own, I might as well continue living with the people that already know me and with whom I get

along. Furthermore, I would have to set aside time and resources to dive into the housing market

since I basically know nothing about the economy. There is a reason I'm studying English.

Another problem would be my CO2 footprint. Thanks to my hobby gardener mother and avid

bonsai collector father I was raised in high awareness of climate change and what we as individuals

and as a household can do to slow it down. Would I be able to keep up these efforts despite moving


or would I contribute more to the problem? Lastly, I am worried about my mental health. After a

depression and anxiety filled 2020, I am concerned how disrupting my routines and relationships

will affect me mentally and if I am even qualified to just make these changes without clearing them

with a professional.

On the other hand, since the idea of moving out has been registered in my brain for some time, there

must be at least a part of me that thinks it is a good idea and that looks forward to it. So I have to

create a housing situation that is manageable to sustain financially by myself, that is not to deeply

tied to the housing market where I loose complete overview and that does not make feel isolated but

still offers independence. Keeping all these points in mind I decided to look into tiny houses as a

full time living space. A tiny house offers independence because it is a private space that can be

build on any piece of private land and it does not necessarily needs to be connected to the city's

energy and water lines. A smaller living space means a smaller impact on the climate and smaller

room for things to fall apart or be overwhelming. It is also easier on personal finances. I know from

personal living experiences that I am more comfortable in small spaces and that I can efficiently

make them work for me. I tend to both want comfort and simplicity from my surroundings and I am

generally not a fan of having to fill big spaces. Also, paired with my personal interest in architecture

I would be able to really plan and design how space and form of the house can be best utilized.

Lastly, since our current house has been a work in progress for the past 15 years, I fully believe to

have my families support in this matter. With the decision made, I will treat this media project as a

collection of everything I need to construct and support my own tiny house.


2. Tiny House Movement


For visual depiction of some of the dates I created a story map on knightlab

According to an Article from Alex (no last name given) on Tiny House Talk – Freedom in Small

Spaces, the tiny house roots can be found in the earliest stages of humanity. They go back to the

beginning of agriculture where humans first settled down. Back then houses were really only places

to rest since life fully took place outside in the real world. In the Neolithic Age (100,000 BC to

2200 BC) homes were mostly small buildings for one family without any division of the inside area.

Similarly, Native Americans of the Great Plains had tee-pees. Yurts have been the primarily style of

building in Mongolia for thousands of years. Even jumping forward in time several millennia, the

pioneers who came to the prairie with basically nothing build one room claim shanties to have a

roof over their heads. The general idea that we need a big living space with lots of stuff is a rather

recent and western chapter in the heavy, heavy book we call history.

The roots of the modern tiny house movement lie in Transcendentalism. This school of American

theological and philosophical thought originated in New England in the early 1800s and became an

organized group in the 1830s. It combined respect for nature and self sufficiency with elements of

Unitarianism and German Romanticism. In the year 1854 famous transcendentalist Henry David

Thoreau published his book Walden; or, Life in the Woods. Thoreau moved to Walden Pond for two

years, two months and two days where he lived in a 14m2 cabin to find himself. Walden retells his

experiences from living off grid close to nature, away from the words materialism (History.com

Editors, 2023). Ideas like these lie at the core of the tiny house movement .

The next big revival happened in the 1970s. During this time many artists jumped in to explore the

idea of tiny living. Allan Wexler, Bob Easton and Lloyd Kahn were some to name. In the 1990s two

women, Andrea Zittel and Sarah Susanka in the United States, brought the tiny house movement

into modernity. With the great recession hitting the world economy from 2007 on the movement

attracted more attention as it offered affordable, ecologically friendly housing. Many of the

influential figures have published books that describe their experiences and offer advise for people

that are interested. Kahn and Easton released their book Shelter about different t construction

techniques from all over the world in 1973. Lester Walker released Tiny Houses, or How to Get

Away From It All in 1987 when culture focussed on materialism. Susanka published The Not So Big

House which four years later led to the Small House Society being formed. In recent years it was

not just books being published but also a growing presence in the media. Two TV shows, Tiny

House Nation and Tiny House Hunters, were launched. These shows offered real life examples and


made it possible for people to share their reasons for joining the movement (Tiny House Movement

Timeline: A Brief History of Tiny Homes, 2019).

While the homeland of the movement is the USA, Germany also has its own niche. The community

of Vauban, Freiburg created 5000 households on an old military base, creating 50 dwelling units per

acre. Additionally architect Richard Horden together with the Technical University of Munich

developed the Micro Compact Home, a high-end 7m2 cube designed for 1-2 people with functional

areas for cooking, working, hygiene and sleeping (andreas@live-eo.com, 2021). There are several

companies geared towards offering models for tiny homes to purchase or that work with you

personally to create an individualized one fitted to your personal needs and preferences.

By the way, I have been using both tiny house and tiny home as interchangeable terms but the

corpora shown in fig.1 disagrees:

Figure 1

Google N-Gram viewer [Tiny house, tiny home], English


The two curves show that tiny house used way more often in English and in German tiny home is

not used at all (fig.2).


Figure 2

Google N-Gram viewer [Tiny house, tiny home], German



3. Laws and Regulations

According to Brumme from the GartenHaus Magazin (2021), it is important to distinguish between

two types of tiny homes: a stationary house or a mobile one. Furthermore, mobile can mean either

that the tiny house has a mobile base that the house is build upon, which makes it a vehicle or a

trailer with special construction, or it means that it can be moved without special equipment onto

and off of a trailer, interchangeable chassis or a low loader, in which case it would qualify as cargo.

Mobile tiny homes need to adhere to traffic law so they need approval from for example, the TÜV

or DEKRA. According to road admission it can have a maximum height of 4m, a maximum width

of 2.55m and a maximum weight of 3.5t including a mobile base. This type of home is not really

relevant for my since I a) don't have a drivers license and b) get car sick rather easily, so I'll skip

straight ahead to the stationary type.

If the tiny house stands on the earth it is classified as a building of the building type 1. For these,

you need permission from your federal state's regional building regulation. Depending on the state

building law you might need a building permit, which in turn depends on how you plan to use the

tiny home. If you plan to use it as a tiny home to live in permanently, a tiny home for the holidays

or a tiny home for week-end get ways, you will need a building permit for either full-term or

temporary use. Assuming, of course, that the house stands on a piece of land either privately owned

or intended for this use by the community. Furthermore, you need to be able to supply the house

with energy and water and be able to get rid of resulting waste. The plot acceptable to build on must

be approved for habitation in accordance with the Ordinance on the Use of Land for Building

Purposes (BauNVO) and must be appropriately developed, i.e. connected to the public road network

and supply&disposal network. If both requirements are met, it depends on the legal text of the

applicable state building code (LBO) either or not you need a building permit. For a tiny house

without a permit you are on your won regarding the responsibility of making sure that plot and

plans will work out the way you want them to. You are also alone responsible for making sure that

all the necessary paperwork is ready and accounted for. The lower building supervisory authority is

responsible for issuing building permits for the tiny house should you need one. The application

must be submitted in writing to the local authority. It needs to be signed by you and a person

authorised to submit building documents like an architect or a civil engineer. If you want to put your

tiny home on a campsite you obviously don't need a building permit as long as the campsite is fit for

residential use regulated in the associated development plan. A parking place permit is also

unnecessary. The camping ordinance of the federal state in which the campsite is located or the

relevant municipality sets the regulations that must be adhered to in regard to building law like e.g.


the allowed maximum size of the house. They are also the ones that decide if the home can be used

as permanent residence. On average, tiny houses have a living space between 20m2 and 50m2.


4. Making plans

Figure 3

Mind-map “Tiny House”, made in OpenOffice

In order to sort of categorize my thoughts I created a mind-map (fig.3) of what I want the tiny house

to have. This just holds the most basic ideas and definitely needs to be more refined but for a first

collection it's not so bad. I will have to see how much of it it actually doable. Mostly, I am worried

about connections and networks simply because I would like to create as much as possible by my

self however, these are the parts of the building process where most can go wrong. From this point

on I filled out a checklist (“The Ultimate Tiny House Checklist (Plan of Attack),” 2014) to see what

else I need to consider.

Research building code:

- most of that already happened in the law section

→ look back

- determine minimum and maximum size requirements

→ I want 26qm base area and 25qm floor area inside

- can the tiny house be designed as an accessory building?

→ don' really want that

- does the state offer plots specifically for this purpose?

→ communities in BaWü exist

- are there authorities I can discuss my plans with?

→ needs to be check locally


Determine space:

- how many people will live in the home?

→ 1

- do I want to cook?

→ yes

- how often do I plan to go shopping?

→ once a week

- should I invest in a separate storage space?

→ could be useful but I might just pester my parents to let my store things in the attic

- do I want comfort over practicality?

→ only in a few things

Building myself:

- how much time do I have?

→ depends on when I actually want to start building

- how many tools?

→ we already have a lot

- do I have experience/ construction skill?

→ some but I'm surprisingly confident

- can friends/family help me in places I struggle?

→ they can the question is if they want


- have the plans been checked by a professional

→ is a possibility ( I know a guy)

- are they approved by the local authorities?

→ needs to be done locally

- did I account for space distortions like wall thickness?

→ yes


- what do we already own?

→ like I said a lot

- what can be rented?

→ I know that the local hardware store here rents out bigger machinery

- am I ready for spontaneous trips to the hardware store?

- can I transport materials?


→ should be fine

Electrical considerations:

- am I comfortable with this process or should I look for a contractor?

→ right know I am uncomfortable with doing it myself but I know people that have

experience and would be willing to help

- what gauge wire do I need?

→ that is something I would leave to the professionals

- can I use propane as a gas?

→ green energy source and works well with solar

- can I circumvent a traditional hookup?

→ should be possible, might need professional opinion

- can I use solar energy plus a secondary source for emergencies?

→ definitely needs professional opinion


- traditional plumbing?

→ not really a fan but still a possibility

- rain water reuse?

- cistern?

→ I know that my father wants one and it would be a good alternative

General building materials:

- can they be transported?

→ as long as it is done in portions it should be fine

- complete list

→ roof, outside finishing, flooring, insulation, wood, drywall, wall finish, windows, doors


- can I mooch of relatives?

→ definitely yes

- can I keep the stuff I already have?

→ definitely yes

- list

→ sitting area

- small couch

- kotatsu (just because I want)

- storage space


→ kitchen

- appliances

- cabinets

-counter tops

- sink

- plumbing

- burners

→ bathroom

- sink

- toilet

- shower

- plumbing

- storage

→ bedroom

- bed

- storage

Heating options:

- inbuilt heating system or separate?

→ so far I'm thinking space heaters

- fire hazard?

- list of possibilities

→ space heater, window unit, electric fire place, wall heater, wood stove, propane


- how much work will I do myself?

→ planned is most

- how large will the house be?

→ relatively small

- access to low cost recycled building supplies?

→ I'm keeping an eye out but quality is also important

- loans?

→ not a fan

- time is money → prioritize

- insurance?

→ needs to be checked by a professional



- add plants

→ a definite must

- decrease use of heating system

→ good insulation will do that

- solar power

→ is a must

- take advantage of windows

- eco-friendly insulation

→ also a price and shipping question


5. Mock-up Build

Now all that's left is actually drawing the plans. Since I'm a traditional girl this is really just

happening on paper. I use DIN A3 Milimeterpaper from Soennecken for no other reason then I

already have it and I like the colour. After thumbing through a few books at my local library I came

up with the following concept (fig.4):

Figure 4

Drawing of a house

With a total area of 26qm I want the house to be 6.5m long, 4m wide and 4m high. The outside

walls will be 25cm thick, leaving me with an inside area of 25qm. The ground floor will be

separated into kitchen/living area and bathroom. Additionally at a height of 2.25m a loft will be

build over most of the space, leaving an open space above the door site living/kitchen room. All

together there will be eight windows of varying sizes and heights.


Figure 5

Drawing of a house frame

In figure 5, I drew a skeleton conception, using beams to create the frame, for easier understanding.

Figure 6

Drawing of a floor plan


This drawing (fig.6) further illustrates the usage of space will also accounting doors and windows

on the ground level floor.

Figure 7

Detailed drawing of a floor plan 2

In this drawing (fig.7) I started to tentatively add in where I wanted furniture and appliances to be.

The same process was then repeated for the loft (fig.8):

Figure 8

Drawing of a floor plan 3


I plan to have the longest window facing south for maximum daylight usage.

Figure 9

Drawing of a floor plan 4

Here (fig.9) I decided on putting the bedroom (red x) in the Southeast corner and using the other

loft space for storage. There are no windows on that side needed since they would be blocked by


After I was done with the blueprints, I sat down at my laptop and brought them to life with the help

of DreamPlan Houseplaner, a NCH Software for visualizing designs. I created three different

buildings, first a design of the ground floor without any interior. In the second build I added the

mobiliary and appliances in kitchen and bathroom. The third build was of the loft and only really

separated the two spaces. After that I put them together in one video and added a soundtrack from



6. Conclusion

In this book I documented everything I believe to need for building my own tiny house. I think that,

given my so far experiences and maturity, this project is well within my capabilities to build.

Whether or not I could live in it full time is another question. There are still many things I am

unsure of in regards of independent living and how to sustain it but I suppose these things come

with experiences. In order to not get caught in a catch-22, I would prefer to get maybe a small

apartment or a room in a WG before starting this project and fully committing to it.

Still I think it would be fun to do something like this. The possibilities to customize a private living

space are basically endless. And even if I decide to not do it as a DIY project there are still

companies offering to do most of the work for me. While the German law is of course as

complicated as it can be (because we just love bureaucracy), I think that a actual deep dive into the

book can answer all questions that I might have missed in this initial reading. The situation in

Germany is also favourable in offering space for tiny houses and encouraging communities.


7. Incorporating Course Content

I want to preface this by saying that despite what the introduction may make you believe, I did not

just start this project three weeks before the deadline. My birthday just seemed like a good way to

easy into the topic and was a convenient excuse. I started with the content creation somewhere in

late October as changed quite a lot of things as time progressed. The storyline was actually the

easiest part to create, a simple chronological walk along to my thought process and practical

examples. I did not follow the hero-mentor-quest story line that was introduced to us ion the

seminar because it didn't really fit. After all this project is for me and not really a guide for others to

follow. Still the seminar helped to remind me that things needed to be in some sort of order and how

important it is to structure the content so that other people can follow easily and don't lose interest

halfway through. Regarding the content itself, I changed my original idea from a small DIY project

to essentially a big one to make it easier to incorporate the corpora section. For digital humanities I

decided on a visualization of the timeline I created in text via Story map. That way I am not

overwhelming the reader with new content and I'm offering the same information in a compressed

and visually more pleasing format. We talked about using knightlab to create all sorts of content in

the seminar and it was very easy to use practical. Since digital humanities is kind of hard to narrow

down I wanted to keep it simple. Incorporating corpora was definitely more challenging and I once

again went for the “better simple than wrong” mindset and used the tool I was most familiar with.

The Goggle N-gram viewer provides a simplified timeline of word use and is perfect for comparing

terms and languages. All my sources where from websites which did not really specify any level of

scholarly seriousness. The only thing I could really do was to make sure that my sources were

somewhat modern, that there were no spelling mistakes and that the text was formates in a

professional manner. Only a few webpages provided sources but those who did were painstakingly

double and triple checked. When it came to copyright and formatting sources I struggled for a bit

with keeping track of all the licenses I used and where found pictures but after getting into the flow

it became a lot easier. Creating the media content was definitely my favourite part. I used

DreamPlan Houseplaner to create my setting and filed it via screen recording. The music comes

from freemusicarchive. I probably spend too much time on Adobe trying out all kinds of filters,

transitions, effects and god-knows-whats, to the point where I basically had to start over. Once

again I had to remind myself to keep it simple. Lastly putting everything together into the format I

wanted proved no challenge.


8. Sources

andreas@live-eo.com. (2021, November 18). Tiny House Cultures in Comparison – Germany, USA,

Netherlands. LiveEO. Retrieved November 10, 2022, from https://live-eo.com/tiny-housecultures/

Brumme, D. (2021, November 1). Tiny House Baugenehmigung: Das müssen Sie wissen!

GartenHaus Magazin. Retrieved October 29, 2022, from https://www.gartenhausgmbh.de/magazin/tiny-house-baugenehmigung/

History.com Editors. (2023, January 10). Transcendentalism. HISTORY. Retrieved January 12,

2023, from https://www.history.com/topics/19th-century/transcendentalism

Search music on Free Music Archive - Free Music Archive. (n.d.). Retrieved December 27, 2022,

from https://freemusicarchive.org/search/?adv=1

The Ultimate Tiny House Checklist (Plan of Attack). (2014, October). Learn.Compactappliance.

Retrieved November 25, 2022, from http://learn.compactappliance.com/wpcontent/uploads/2014/10/Tiny-House-Checklist.pdf

Tiny house movement timeline: A brief history of tiny homes. (2019, May 13). Tiny House Talk -

Freedom in Small Spaces. Retrieved November 18, 2022, from


Google Books Ngram Viewer – Google Product. (n.d.-a). Retrieved November 12, 2022, from


Google Books Ngram Viewer – Google Product. (n.d.-b). Retrieved November 12, 2022, from



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