Gaines Group Architects
Tiny House Kitchen

Project Update: East Johnson Tiny House

Tiny House

The average size home in the United States for a new single family home has grown from 1,780 sf in 1978 to 2,662 sf in 2013. With the growth of the average home footprint also a decrease in the average size of the US family. From this push for bigger homes has come a counter-culture movement to create highly functional and efficient intentional livable spaces called the Small House Movement.

Tiny House

A small house is less than 1,000 sf and more than 400 sf. A tiny house is typically less than 400 sf. So technically, our tiny house is really just a tiny small house at 448 sf.

Tiny House Kitchen

Tiny House Kitchen

Built by Beck Builders, this home that hit the market today for $99,400 is designed with adaptability in mind. The open floor plan and wide doors allows for flexibility of space. The storage loft above the bedroom could be used for storage or a cozy sleeping space for overnight guests. The bathroom is set up to accommodate someone in a wheelchair or two people getting ready in the morning. It also has plenty of rear yard for a large garden and very friendly neighbors.

Tiny House Storage

Tiny House Storage

Designed for efficiency, this home features a high performance building envelope and heating / cooling system. The large front porch will be the perfect place to enjoy the late day sun and plenty of windows allow in lots of natural light. At 448 sf, this house feels grand with the 12’+ tall vaulted ceiling in the gathering space. The wall mounted mini-split provides warm air on a cool Fall day to the space even with the doors open for the open house it stayed very comfortable. The conditioned crawl space prevents indoor air quality issues and the dehumidifier adds an extra layer of protection. Clean lines and open shelving in the kitchen area makes the house feel crisp. The most common phrase I heard was today was “it does not feel small at all” and “cute.” What a wonderful home within a few minutes walking distance to the heart of downtown Harrisonburg. If you want a tour let me know, I am sure this home will not stay on the market very long.

I owe a special thanks to my wonderful client for letting me be part of this incredible project!

See process blog posts herehere, here, and here

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Tiny House

Tiny House Open House

Tiny House


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East Johnson Street Tiny House update

The East Johnson Street Tiny House is rolling along. As you might expect, the speed of construction of a home this size is much faster than a larger home. When I stopped by the site earlier this week the house had quickly gone from a hole in the ground to a structure that has form and will soon have windows and wiring.

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There is plenty of storage space above the bedroom.

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Let us know what you think so far.

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Click HERE to see previous posts about the project.

Project Update: East Johnson Street Harrisonburg Tiny Home

Project Update: East Johnson Street Harrisonburg Tiny Home


Dirt is moving and a foundation is in for one of our most recent design projects. The East Johnson Street, Harrisonburg Tiny Home is taking shape. This project is a test to see how you can build small, intentional, energy-efficient, healthy, and durable. Beck Builders is working hard to balance budget while meeting the design goals. Stop by and take a look at the project when you are in town and let us know what you think.

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Related Blog Post: Tiny House and Can you live in a “tiny” home?

Green Terms Defined: Tiny House

No matter what you have heard, size matters (when it comes to energy-efficiency). The larger your home the more you have to do and spend to make it energy-efficient and to keep up with maintenance. As a result, the tiny house movement has found a market and is growing in popularity. 


So what is a tiny home? It is a popular term used to define a home designed to be less than 1,000 sf. They range in scale from a one room living area as small as 80 sf up to a 2 -3 bedroom living space closing in on 1,000 sf. Often these homes go hand-in-hand with the living simple movement as there is not room for much stuff.


A tiny home has a lot in common with boat construction. You look for opportunities to create flexible living spaces – bed in a loft, shelves built into walls, kitchen tables that fold down from the wall, and lots of windows and access to the outside space. These homes are sometimes built on wheels and have both water and energy sources built into the envelope. However, these homes could look like a shed in the backyard or a typical home on a city lot. They are simply just smaller than the average american home which has grown to be more than 2,500 sf.

Can you live in a “tiny” home? What is “right sized?”

The tiny house movement has gained a huge amount of momentum since Katrina Cottages became mainstream news. Do you think you can live in 150 sf? What about 6oo sf? So what is a tiny house to you?


When designing a green home determining the right size for you is as important as designing for energy-efficiency. Conserving resources comes in many forms in the building industry. Local resources are a huge part of creating a sustainable solution as well as making your home energy-efficient. However, both of these strategies are directly dependent on the size of your home. How much space do you really need to live life to the fullest?

Nelson County Custom Home

Making your home right sized takes careful thought and planning. There are no universal sizes for a dining room that works for all families. How do you use the space, do you even need the space? Learning how you live life, think about planning for the future ways you may live, and working through your personal values will inform size of rooms. Taking care to think through these questions is one of the more important aspects of the design process. These are the kind of questions that come with custom design and does not get addressed when purchasing plans online or from a drafter. 
Mt Crawford Basement Renovation
So what is the right size home for you? How many bedrooms do you need? Do you need a formal living room, what about a dining room? How much time will you spend in the bonus room, how much stuff do you have that you need to store in the off-season (decorations, sports equipment, keepsakes)? Perhaps a 150 sf house is too small for you, but maybe we can reduce your 2,500 sf program into a 2,000 functional solution with a little conversation.