A Photographer’s 331-Square-Foot Tiny Home Makes Room for Gear and a Drum Set

A Photographer’s 331-Square-Foot Tiny Home Makes Room for Gear and a Drum Set

By Laura Mauk
Ryan Tuttle’s airy tiny home in the San Francisco Bay Area has distinct work areas and a surprising amount of storage space.

"Going tiny was my opportunity to dream big and think very intentionally and creatively about my space," says Ryan Tuttle, a Northern California–based freelance photographer who designed her own 331-square-foot home on wheels as a way to manage the high cost of living in the Bay Area. "Building a foundation home with the same attention to detail and design quality would not be possible for me at this stage in my life," she adds. "Designing my own tiny home and creating an inspirational, inviting space to call my own—it was a dream."

The living room steps up from the kitchen, allowing for storage beneath the living room floor. "Underneath the living room floor, there are a couple of seven-foot-long drawers that store a ridiculous amount of stuff," says Ryan. "As a full-time freelance photographer, this is where I store all of my photo gear and outdoor equipment."

Ryan spent countless hours researching different tiny house designs and floor plans and eventually commissioned Minimaliste, a Quebec-based tiny home company, to construct her own design. "Minimaliste helped me bring it to life," she says. "The floor plan fits my lifestyle and reflects how I want my home to feel."

Ryan’s design, which Minimaliste named the Noyer, is suited to her lifestyle. "My main priority was to create separate and distinct living zones," she says. "I thought a lot about how I live day-to-day and where I spend my time." For Ryan, this meant creating a dedicated work space, a large amount of accessible storage, an open kitchen, and a living room with enough space for her musical instruments and a large sofa. 

"I had a lot of priorities, but everything fits together well because of the time spent coming up with solutions," she says. "Perceived space was more important than actual square footage. Elevating the living room gave me storage for my photography and outdoor gear and was a nice way to create depth and separation within the open space."

The living room is outfitted with a Joybird sofa, a wool rug from Eclectic Goods, and a selection of musical instruments. "I've been playing music my entire life, and having musical instruments in my home was super important to me," she says. "People might think it's crazy to put a drum set in a tiny home, but it makes me happy, and I designed the house with every intention of making room for all of it."

The living room steps down to the kitchen, the dining area, and the office area. "The majority of the windows in the house are north-facing," says Ryan. "This brings in indirect sunlight throughout the day and helps keep the house cool during the hot summers. The white-painted walls reflect light and keep things bright."

Located just across from the kitchen, the dining area features a long, narrow built-in storage bench, which provides more seating for guests. "It gives people a natural place to sit when they visit, which can sometimes be very awkward in a tiny home," she says. "It’s also a large bench for my dining table. I have a five-foot-long, IKEA gate-leg table that folds out in front of it." A smaller dining table is stored beneath the desk in the office area, which is adjacent to the kitchen.

A built-in storage bench in the dining area accommodates a fold-out table when guests visit. The dining area rug is from The Citizenry.

Ryan designed a small office nook tucked under the loft-style bedroom.

White shiplap walls contrast with vinyl flooring, a pine ceiling, and a pine feature wall in the living room, all three of which are stained a medium wood tone. In the kitchen, walnut counters and dark blue cabinetry help to create more contrast and interest for the interior. "Dark blue looked better with the copper pulls and the walnut counters I chose," Ryan says. "I was going for a very specific look. I knew I wanted to do walnut, but I didn’t want it to be one solid color. I wanted to see variations in the grain."

Ryan’s design is as personal as it is practical. Between the two open shelves in the kitchen, she borrows a pattern from her family home. "Many years ago, I gifted my mom a tiny ceramic planter with a gorgeous, blue-and-white design," she says. "I photographed the planter and Photoshopped it to fit the exact size and dimensions of the space. Muraluxe was able to print it on an aluminum panel." The nostalgic print was then affixed to the wall above the backsplash, which is also a printed aluminum panel. "Using these panels saves time and money, while still keeping the look and feel of tile," she says. "Every single person that comes in my house for the first time has no idea and thinks the tiling is real." 

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Walnut counters and open shelving complement dark blue-painted cabinetry and copper drawer pulls in the kitchen, where aluminum panels from Muraluxe give the impression of a tile backsplash.

Ceramic dishware adds more texture and richness in the kitchen.

The custom wood screen that divides the loft-style bedroom from the rest of the home provides more texture and a graphic linear pattern. "I wanted to separate the bedroom and maintain air flow, so I had the idea of creating a decorative screen," says Ryan. "This was designed and built by Dark Marquee Designs."

A wood screen lends privacy in the loft-style bedroom while still allowing for air to flow in and out of the space.

A wardrobe is nestled at the top of the stairs.

Ryan fit a washing machine and plenty of storage in the bath.

All of Ryan’s needs are met in just 331 square feet of space. "I can comfortably work from home in a designated work space, but also have a completely separate area to relax, watch TV, and play drums," she says. "I can spend all day here and never get bored. When you live in a tiny house, you spend a lot of face-time with your things. It’s all the more reason to design around these items, and put as much of yourself into the design as you can."

More Tiny Homes:

A Brother-Sister Duo Craft a Tiny Home in Hawaii With a Half-Pipe–Inspired Roof

A $70K Remodel Turns a Tiny Oregon Cabin Into an Idyllic Home for a Family of Four

Budget Breakdown: A DIY Extraordinaire Builds the Tiny Home of Her Dreams With $12K

Project Credits:

Architecture and Construction: Minimaliste / @minimaliste.tinyhouses

Interior Design: Ryan Tuttle / @tuttle.shuttle

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