A Mies van der Rohe Tiny House?

I have always thought that for modern tiny house design a good place to start is looking at the famous, incredible works of the mid-century masters. Even though one may pay a fortune for a Philip Johnson or a Mies van der Rohe designed home today, the use of post and lintel framing, simple open designs, little to no extraneous decoration, makes for an inexpensive construction.

Andy Warhol and Philip Johnson´s Glass House. The Glass House or Johnson House, built in 1949 in New Canaan, Connecticut, was designed by Philip Johnson as his own residence.





We can see the simplicity of the design of the Glass House by Philip Johnson. The unique feature of this house is the circular form seen on the right of the above picture that functions as a bathroom on one side and a fireplace on the other. This house scales easily into a tiny aspect:



Metal posts are not necessarily essential. A tiny house with so few supports is possible with wood since the small, flat roof does not require extensive bracing. Here is a tiny house model of a retake of the Glass House:

Philip Johnson Tiny House Floor Plan
Philip Johnson Tiny House Floor Plan
Tiny version of Philip Johnson's Glass House
Tiny version of Philip Johnson’s Glass House

With this house, standard windows and doors could be utilized as long as they fit the overall artistic aesthetic. Since the plan is entirely open, very little detailed carpentry is necessary. A lot of flexibility exists with the foundation as well. The house could sit on a platform above the ground and retain the mid-century modern adherence to the International Style. The total square footage of this tiny “Glass House” is only 224.



Back of the house showing the bedroom on the left and the kitchen on the right with the bathroom in the middle.



Looking in the direction of the kitchen and dining area.



Kitchen and dining area.



At the corner with the front of the dwelling.



The front of the house with the kitchen on the left and the bedroom on the right.



The corner of the house exposing the bedroom.



View directly into the bedroom.



A view of the back of the house.



An aerial view.



A view of the house at night.



Looking into the house with the roof off.


Now let’s look at Ludwig Mies van der Rohe’s the Farnsworth House.


Farnsworth House, Plano, Illinois, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, 1951
Farnsworth House, Plano, Illinois, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, 1951

This International Style house shares a similarity with the Glass House in that an open space surrounds a core.


Handmade floor plan drawing of Farnsworth House by Mies Van der Rohe.











A model showing the core bathrooms and kitchen.



Here is an example of translating Mies van der Rohe’s Farnsworth House into a tiny version of 279 square feet:

Mies van der Rohe Tiny House Floor Plan
Mies van der Rohe Tiny House Floor Plan


This is a side view without the addition of the flat roof.



A side view with a bar area on the left and the living area on the right.



A side view at night.



An oblique view showing the center media and storage wall.



The end of the building with a view of the bathroom with the light off.


Corner view of the bathroom.



The other side view showing the kitchen with the bathroom on the left and the dining area on the right.


Angled view with a look at the kitchen.



Looking directly through the house from the front porch.



Back again to the side view.




Interior view of bar area.



Kitchen view.




Looking through the living room.



Looking through the living room from the opposite direction.




The dining area.


Here we have taken two famous, modern buildings and translated them to tiny versions. Many more can be done. Some maybe very tough to shrink to tiny, such as Frank Lloyd Wright’s Falling Water. Yet we have only just begun. Due to the lengthy nature of this first attempt, the next effort will have to wait when we can take another couple of famous buildings and reduce them to a useable tiny home.










18 midcentury modern vacation homes – including a “Homarina” and a Japanese-style tea house – Retro Renovation

via 18 midcentury modern vacation homes – including a “Homarina” and a Japanese-style tea house – Retro Renovation.

Here is a treat for you! If you appreciate Mid Century Modern and tiny homes, this article features renderings of this very design subject. The tiny house movement today does not exclusively own the idea. Not far from where I live, a tiny house village exists that is Mid Century Modern with about a dozen cabanas. Although I have not been inside one, I would estimate they are about 300 to 400 square feet with the mid century high corner windows and the glass blocks. I think an article is in order in the near future. Enjoy the above link. I certainly did!

Vacation home for boaters
Vacation home for boaters

Julie’s Tiny House Design

Julie’s tiny house is, as with other recent designs, based upon the square. In fact, the house is composed of 8’ x 8’ squares. This leads to the idea of modularization, where the components of the structure are built elsewhere and then delivered later to the construction area. The vaulted area over the dining area is meant purely to open the central space up, while providing architectural decoration.

Julie's Tiny House Floor Plan
Julie’s Tiny House Floor Plan


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We start at the back of the house, looking through the large bedroom window with a covered patio to the left and accessible from the bedroom. The exterior lights are off except for the overhead patio light.


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Lights on!


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Lights on at sunset.


Julie's House Design 4.pngWe’re headed around the side toward the front.


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The side of the house with the front entry and porch to the right.


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The front entrance.


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The front of the house. The floor of this house is a highly polished stone and the reason for the high reflectivity.

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The front of the house almost straight on showing another corner patio. The wall directly facing us is the kitchen.

Julie's House Design 9.pngHere we see a window to the kitchen overlooking a little covered patio with a planter.

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Proceeding to the other side of the house with a view of the windows to the bathroom and a slight look at the patio off the bedroom.

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A direct side view with the window to the kitchen on the left and the bedroom patio doors on the right. The bathroom is, of course, seen through the two windows in the center.

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The bedroom patio.


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We return to a side view with the large window to the bedroom.


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A view of the corner that has no patio.


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At the front entrance, looking up into the round window to the vaulted area.

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We’ve entered the front door and see the living area. To the right is the dining area and we can get a peek at the bedroom through the glass door.

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Looking through the living area into the dining area, seeing the glass door to the bathroom, with the kitchen to the right.

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The dining area and the kitchen beyond.


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Looking back towards the living area and the front entrance.


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In the bathroom with a look through the glass door on the right into the kitchen.

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On the opposite side of the bathroom with a peek out of the glass door into the dining area.

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A view of the bedroom while to the left through the glass door is a view of the front entrance and living area.

Julie's House Design 24.pngAcross the bedroom seeing the patio doors with the door to the dining and living areas to the right.

Julie's House Design 25.pngLooking inside the square, vaulted area above the dining area with the large round windows.

Julie's House Design 26.pngExternal view of the vaulted area. The roof could also be made into an elevated deck.

You may have noticed a classical feature of this house is that it is based upon a Greek cross, much like some cathedrals. Although the round windows could be replaced with square ones, the intriguing juxtaposition of perfect square to perfect round would be lost. You may also have noticed that the warm colors of green and yellow orange on the outside, contrast with the cool colors of the inside, although other color schemes might work with this house built upon the cube.