Lofty Expectations

Our house is looking more and more like a house every day! Last week both houses got all 4 walls standing and joined together, as well as the framing and flooring the lofts (aka “permanent scaffolding”, “storage shelves” or “drop ceilings”)!! That’s a great enough feat on it’s own, but Friday was spent on roof framing, and everything for our house is well on it’s way to becoming a roof, and the other house isn’t far behind.

It’s hard to believe that 3 short weeks ago we had a trailer and a pile of wood, and now we have what is very obviously the start to a house. There’s only 1 week left in the course, and on the agenda for that week is roofs! Our house is going to have a fairly standard roof for 10’8″ of it, but for the 8′ over our “storage area” we will have more of a dormer style with shallower pitch (allowing for more head room while we’re sitting on the mattress that will be “stored” up there).

We deliberated for a long time about loft height. For me it’s less of a concern, if it’s more than 5’6″ high I can stand under it and I’m a happy camper, but Raphael throws a wrench into it with his 6’3″ height. Our dilemma was this – if he can stand under the loft, we have about 3.5 feet of height at the absolute maximum up top. When you add in 10+ inches of a mattress that means you couldn’t even sit up in bed if you were smack dab in the middle, let alone if you’re off to one side or another.

During one of our sessions of hemming and hawing in our dining room our roommate walked in and suggested a split height loft – kinda like the lofted bunk beds with desks underneath that some dorm rooms have. He mentioned it in passing, but over the next couple of weeks we started to consider it more and more. Our plan for under the loft is a seating area anyway (living room/dining room type thing, with built in bench seating in a U shape), so do we really need to be able to stand up fully? Raphael brought up sitting in a booth at a restaurant – you sit down and one end and scootch your way in to the middle… so theoretically as long as the ceiling isn’t right on top of your head when you’re sitting down, you don’t necessarily have to stand under it. Plus, less ceiling height down below means more up top!

We went back and forth for a while until the deadline of the class needing to know where we were putting it came up. We decided to put the top of the floor of the loft 6′ above the main floor. That means with 1.5″ of flooring and then 3.5″ rafters, the bottom of the rafters is just barely over 5’6″, and in between them is about 5’10”. I can stand barefoot under the rafters no problem, but Raphael needs to lose 6″ of his height when he’s under there, and we’re really hoping that this was the right choice! We haven’t found many, if any, examples of this being done in other tiny houses, so we’re crossing our fingers that it’s just because no one else has thought of it yet, and not because there’s some glaring reason not to do it that we just haven’t found yet.



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