Block It

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Allison Woolbert: Planning Her Tiny House - Part 1

So what would it take to be in the zoning code to make a Tiny House in New Jersey-

Let’s start with some of the basic info from the NJ Uniform Construction Codes and consider that for the most part, it might be able to be done and in code. 

A few assumptions:
1.     Let’s assume this house is for TWO (2) total people to stay there. 
2.     Let’s also assume that it doesn’t have to be portable but can be on a fixed foundation.

§ 5:28-1.11 Use and occupancy of space
 (a) Every dwelling unit shall contain at least 150 square feet of floor space for the first occupant
thereof and at least 100 additional square feet of floor space for every additional occupant thereof, the floor space to be calculated on the base of total habitable room area.
(b) Every room occupied for sleeping purposes by one occupant shall contain at least 70 square
feet of floor space, and every room occupied for sleeping purposes by more than one occupant shall contain at least 50 square feet of floor space for each occupant thereof.
(c) At least one-half of the floor area of every habitable room shall have a ceiling height of at least
seven feet. The floor area of that part of any room where the ceiling is less than five feet shall not be considered as part of the floor area in computing the total floor area in the room for the purpose of determining the maximum permissible occupancy thereof.

So here is the basic square footage that would be required:
Bedroom:  For two people a bedroom would require a minimum square feet of 120 square feet. 
Common areas:  For total habitable rooms 250 square feet at a minimum of floor space would be required. 

So for the first round of thoughts on this- basically you would need a bedroom that is about 10 x 12 and an area as a minimum of 25 x 10 for the overall internal tiny house in total.  Not so tiny, but not totally incapable of being mapped out if you consider the top bedroom of 120 sq ft part of the (a) requirement of the 250.  So I am now pondering all of these little twists and turns on making a tiny little Allison Woolbert house J

Next considerations for my tiny house- a bathroom and kitchen and how to make that totally awesome tiny house computer room!

 Allison Woolbert has done many tasks of journey work for most of her  life. Her father trained her in carpentry, electrical and plumbing as well as an assortment of other building and maintenance skills and opportunities as she grew up.

Disclaimer: Allison Woolbert is NOT a licensed builder nor is she suggesting she is.   This is a pondering of the considerations of how to build a tiny house within the constraints of New Jersey Law and Building Code requirements and making a new fun project to consider.


  1. 250 SqFt is pretty small even for one person and would have to have a loft bed.there is much to consider given where you are going get real winter triple glazed windows would be a must big "R'S" in the insulation also a must and what type of heating . then there is the living area kitchen dining and living would have to be whole down stairs with a small bathroom / shower.
    500 SqFt would be smarter me thinks which is still not that big and depending on the property you could put in a garden.botton line do your home work look at plans

    1. I think you are right- even 500 sq ft is a bit small. But just in the sense of minimum NJ requirements. that is the start of one bedroom and the first thoughts on minimums. Then everything else is what next (ie; ;bathroom, heating, kitchen, walking room, places for dungeon :) )

  2. A dungeon is definitely a necessary item! The first home I owned was exactly 600 sqft, and was identical to every other house on the street there in Austin, TX. It consisted of 2 bedrooms, bathroom, kitchen and living room. We lived there with 2 teen children, and then added 2 more - infant twins. It was tight, but we did it. I sold it about a year after the twins' birth, and we bought a 2,600 sqft home. Point is, you can do it. It is all in how comfortable you can be in a small space. I currently live in an apartment that is just over 600 sqft, and I am comfortable here.