Tiny Homes Designed with Access in Mind

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I live in Portland, Oregon where tiny homes are a big hit. Like many growing urban centers, Portlanders are looking for creative solutions to population growth, rising housing costs, and ways to age in place.

Small houses are homes less than 1000 square feet where as tiny houses are generally those less than 400 square feet.

Some benefits of living tiny:

  • Smaller footprint
  • More ecologically friendly
  • Lower utilities, taxes, and maintenance costs
  • Necessitates fewer possessions and clutter

Tiny homes often take huge advantage of vertical space with features like floor-to-ceiling cabinetry for storage and lofted beds for sleeping. Not to mention the itty-bitty bathrooms. At first glance, tiny homes may seem like the opposite of the ideal living situation for somebody with limited mobility. However, these designs aim to shift the notion of tiny being inaccessible.

Wheel Pad

Wheel Pad is “an eco-friendly 200 square foot accessible bedroom and bathroom module that can be temporarily attached to an existing home.” In 2016 the design won the Small Spaces Award from World Architecture News. It is adorable. The Wheel Pad hits all the right notes, in addition to accessibility, it is mobile which helps to negate a lot of zoning issues and it is available to buy or lease. The leasing option, at $3,000/month with a 6-month minimum, seems pretty steep, considering the base price of the unit is $60,000 and in many cities, you can rent an accessible apartment for less than the price of the lease. However, in some cases, especially in rural settings the pricing might make a lot of sense.

Tiny House Hotel

The Tiny House Hotel, Caravan, is right here in my town of Portland, Oregon. It looks like it might be time to take a staycation. They added Pacifica, a high-end tiny house that sits in our favorite part of town for a night out, the Alberta Arts District. If you do make the trip you are required to visit at least one of these 3 eateries located in the neighborhood and report back to me: 1) Townshend’s Teahouse 2) Back to Eden (plant-based, vegan, gluten-free goodies) 3) Salt & Straw (try their Arbequina Olive Oil ice cream and you can die happy)


Seattle Tiny Homes

Seattle Tiny Homes has one model, the Magnolia, that can be made accessible, featuring “clean simple styling is designed to maximize first-floor space.”

Seattle Tiny Homes Ballard Model

Little House on The Trailer

Little House on The Trailer specializes in Home Care Cottages created a 400 square foot 1 bed, 1 bath cottage with full wheelchair access including extra wide doors, lowered countertops, roll-under cooktop and sinks, and grab bars in the bathroom.

Little House on the Trailer


While most FabCabs are closer to the definition of small than tiny, and most of them go beyond the traditional restriction of a Tiny Home, they are stunning. Seattle-based FabCab’s smallest home is a 550 square foot TimberCab. Their more economical design, the ModCab, starts at 800 square feet.

Fab Cab Design - Port Townsend Accessable Home

Country Plans

This TINY design won Country Plans 200 square foot or less Tiny Tiny House Design Contest and features a loft for able-bodied guests.



MEDCottage really hit it out of the park with the sex-appeal when it came to naming themselves. Then again, their tagline is “the grannypod people,” so somehow I don’t think that millennials like myself are their target market. I’ll give them some branding cred though because their models include the MotherShip and the LivingROO. MEDCottage garnered quite a bit of media spotlight this past decade including a feature in the New York Times.

The LivingROO is a kit designed for homeowners to assemble a tiny house in their garage featuring windows that are actually “HD monitors, framed as windows with a corresponding HD camera outside creating the illusion of seeing out.” If I am going to have an HD monitor as a window I’d rather look at something besides our side yard.


Books on Tiny House Living:



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