When we began dreaming up our home, we first imagined a little Tudor style cottage, the kind of charming white plaster and black beamed cottages you see in old fairy tales. However, the rooftops of those buildings are pitched quite steeply, which results in a critical loss of space when you consider that homes on wheels are legally restricted in height. Looking through images online one day, we stumbled upon the solution; it was an image of an old steamer trunk, with a gently rounded top and tapered sides. The sound, simple and elegant shape struck a chord. It recalled old gypsy caravans and railroad cars, and old wooden ships. Here were three very old designs, each well evolved for tiny living. They each had brilliant uses of space, and beautiful classical features. The timber framing would surely marry well, and the contraptions we had planned would decorate as naturally as would they were fixed to any old ship or train.
There were several mediums that proved invaluable during the design process. Ultimately, we used Google SketchUp, a 3D design software that Google kindly provides as a free download. It’s very precise, and it’s fairly easy to workout with the help of some Youtube tutorials. What we found most helpful about this software, however, was the ability to move through the structure once it was drawn, and to place the “man” into the drawing, who is of average height, so you could see what the reality of the design’s specifications were, and decide to adjust measurements here or there to improve the space.
However, our first renderings were simply hand drawings, sketches of this idea or that, which amounted to a kind of heap of features that we wished to include. From there, we switched to foam models, cutting one piece of Styrofoam into many little timber-like pieces, and using bits of toothpicks to pin them together. Working in scale, this proved a great way to explore rough ideas, especially the moving components.