House Tetris

Supplies needed for House Tetris:

1. Graph paper

2. Scissors

3. A flat cafeteria tray

4. Masking tape

5. A Math-brain. If this is not available to you, you can also use the Math-brain belonging to someone you know who loves you unconditionally and will tolerate doing this project with you.

Anyone can play House Tetris; it is not a Tiny House specific game. However, it is a bit more crucial to play if you’re putting together a Tiny House, because there’s literally not a lot of wiggle room. Seriously, the only good place in my house for wiggling is if you’re standing directly in the middle of the living room/kitchen/dining room. I can wiggle all I want if I’m right there, but other than that, my wind-milling arms have a 100% chance of crashing into something.

First, you need The Math-Brain to figure out the scale of each square of graph paper that will make it possible to fit the entire footprint of your house onto the cafeteria tray. Once that has been determined, tape down a full sheet of graph paper onto the cafeteria tray, with the outline of the house clearly marked. Ignore any coffee-ring stains that will inevitably end up on this blue print. Mark on the graph paper (with pencil) the exact size and location of any immovable parts of the home. For example, we had to mark out where the woodstove was, as well as the counter-top.

Second, cut-out little pieces of graph paper to represent different potential things that will take up floor-space in the home. Label these things appropriately. Voila! You can now push the little pieces of paper around the blueprint to your heart’s content, all over the cafeteria tray, in order to be able to visualize how everything will fit.

Come to think of it, the cafeteria tray isn’t really necessary. You could just as easily do this on a table. But we used a cafeteria tray so we could keep track easily of all the little cut-outs of graph paper and so that everything was self-contained. The true bonus of the cafeteria tray is that after you boil your brain playing House Tetris, you can go outside in the snow and use the tray as a sled. Make sure to remove the graph paper and all of its pieces before you use the tray as a sled, otherwise sadness, wailing and general melancholy are likely to follow.

An alternative blueprint plan is to make many graph-paper layouts of the floorplan, and go nuts with a pencil, sketching out different ideas. Once the plans are laid-out, the really fun part starts: tearing stuff apart and building new things!

Here are some of our preliminary sketches – unfortunately the final layout is nowhere to be found. Either we used it as kindling or it’s lost somewhere. Strangely enough, even in a Tiny House, you can still permanently lose things.

Layout1 Layout2 Layout3 Layout4

From here on out each of my posts will be about each particular part of the house and how each of those parts function as part of the cohesive whole. I’ll even explain how we made our living space functional for our two cats, though I’ll be honest, most of that is just being extremely vigilant about keeping the litter box clean, and giving lots of hugs and kisses and stuff, as per cat ownership norms.

Kit McCann

About Kit McCann

Kit McCann bought a tiny house in the spring of 2014, did a lot of work to build up the inside to make it in a permanent home, and have been living here there and everywhere in Maine ever since.