For their own residence in the San Juan Mountains of Durango, Colorado, Greg and Stephanie Parham—the owners of Rocky Mountain Tiny Houses—have crafted an eye-catching tiny home that’s packed with functional features including an elevator bed, a folding deck, and an awning made of solar panels. Above all, the design elements pay tribute to the spectacular surroundings.
The design and build of their own dwelling presented the Parhams with the opportunity to indulge in some ideas that they aren’t always able to explore with clients.
"It is more ‘organic’ than our other builds," says Greg. "When we build houses for other people, they are normally on a tight budget and timeline, and this dictates a lot of design decisions. For this build, since we were doing all the work and didn’t have to pay for man hours, we committed to making something a little more eye-catching and beautiful than normal." Additionally, since they didn't have a hard deadline, it became a chance for Greg to experiment with some ideas and brush up on some woodworking skills.
The Parhams used reclaimed wood for their build, finding various resources on Craigslist ("mostly people taking down old fences or sheds," notes Greg) and scoring the antique porthole windows on eBay. The hardwood flooring was milled from local barn beams, and the loft beams were pulled from a house that was being demolished. They sourced their light fixtures and hardware at antique stores.
The clever use of an elevator bed allows for a more comfortable sleeping space.
"Elevator beds are all the rage in the tiny house world!" says Greg. "They are a design tool that allows you to have a downstairs sleeping arrangement without lengthening your trailer another six to eight feet. Trailer length is the primary factor in cost, so keeping the trailer shorter will save lots of money, and make the house easier to tow."
However, an elevator bed adds a layer of complexity, since the space beneath needs to be clear for lowering. Says Greg, "Most people opt for a motorized mechanism, but I wanted ours to be manually operated, both for the novelty and in case we were boondocked somewhere and didn't have power. The house has an off-grid solar system, but even these can fail during a three-day snowstorm."
Shop the Look
Architect of Record: Rocky Mountain Tiny Houses, Greg Parham / @rockymountaintinyhouses
Builder/ General Contractor: Rocky Mountain Tiny Houses, Greg Parham
Lighting Design: Rocky Mountain Tiny Houses, Greg Parham
Interior Design: Rocky Mountain Tiny Houses, Greg Parham
Cabinetry Design/Installation: Rocky Mountain Tiny Houses, Greg Parham
Trailer Manufacturer: Trailer Made Trailers
SIP provider: Porter SIPS
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