"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."
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."
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.
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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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."
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."
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