Meet Bento

from Wikipedia:
from Wikipedia:

The FORGE system from my earlier post inspired me. I’ve tried to see how much I can push the limits to keep my shipping container looking unmodified when it’s closed up. By basing the design on the use of a side opening configuration, I can have a container that is largely open along one side as well as the short end. Those doors are big and heavy, however with simple finishes, my overall project should still be roadworthy. 20140614-232214-84134780.jpg

So, on to the good stuff. I have spent a few hours reconsidering nearly every part of the layout and removed the traditional tiny house loft. It is instead replaced with a storage/sleeping platform. Nearly everything that is not being used, which doesn’t contain plumbing, could sit its own little compartment. It’s like a Japanese bento box., or maybe a traditional wooden puzzle box. I’ve tried to have elements of the design serve more than a single function, which really will make this feel like a house that is many times larger than the footprint suggests. So, here it is. I’m taking the lid off my design and I hope you enjoy it. I present, Bento: This series of vignettes is modeled on my iPad, using Autodesk FormIt, a free 3D modeling environment. I will take you through the transport mode, to standard living, to food prep, dining, sleep time and ‘party mode’ (where the center floor space opens up). Click on an image to view the gallery as a slide show.

I still need to work out how the pop out breakfast/reading nook will function. That’s one of the pieces I removed so you could see into the great room. Also, there’s opportunities to explore the storage and access to the covered porch off the bedroom. Now, to begin detailing this design, while continuing to complete a deal with a trailer fabricator. I’m down to three options, and I could have more to share very soon. Exciting! I’m really curious to hear your thoughts, so please leave a comment. Thanks.

5 thoughts on “Meet Bento”

  1. Hey Sean – I shared this with the FormIt development team – all were suitably impressed. I wanted to share some of their responses with you:

    -Great post! I love the different states of the FormIt model. This proves the author used some very specific modeling techniques that keep elements separated. How was this achieved? Save As and remodel, or moving elements around in one file?

    -Our community is currently debating whether and how to allow “tiny houses” as inhabitable structures on a residential property. Structures other than the main residence are now allowed to be permanently inhabited, such as garages, tree houses etc. Very relevant topic. Being able to present Tiny House designs to City Councils and Zoning Boards is a huge potential to make a difference in that process.

    -The Tiny House movement is so fascinating to me. I love the idea of living more with less. I guess “tiny house” could be interpreted in a lot of different ways that might not be appealing to some, but it’s also a fascinating opportunity for designers to leverage their skills. I wonder if we’ll see anything about TIny Houses at AIA.

    1. Fantastic to hear the feedback! Thanks so much. I think it’s safe to say, I am a FormIt fanboy! Yes, I did create a copy of the model as a precaution, however all of my images were created by move, rotate or extrude of elements that were already there.

      Yes, most communities are still unable to deal with this movement. It’s estimated that there are several thousand people living in Tiny Houses on wheels in the US. Portland, OR and a few other communities are making progress on this issue. A few exemptions exist in certain local codes, such as caring for an elderly or ill person. You can also live in a RV park, or campsite in many cases for as long as 6 months.

      At some point, I will be taking a tour after this project is built. In a future post, I will share some of the places where you could stay in a Tiny House hotel or B&B.


      1. I am really hooked on this whole concept and your approach has my highest level of interest. Thanks for showing some options for brainstorming. Still trying to figure out how to “Follow”

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