Tag Archives: mobile home

Mobile Home Conversion II

Previously, we had taken a model and a floor plan from a well-known maker of manufactured housing and converted it into a modern small house. This is another attempt at such a conversion.

 

Manufactured Home Floor Plan.
Manufactured Home Floor Plan.

The above floor plan shows the dimensions and arrangements of the various spaces in our new home. The size of this plan is 374 sq. ft. and certainly fits within the definition of many people as a small or tiny house. As with the previous conversion, cost and speed will be strongly considered in any redesign. This house costs $19,500 before any changes. Obviously, asking a manufacturer to either use different cabinets or fixtures or not including them and installing  personal choices yourself, might be considered in the final price.

 

Mobile Home Before Conversion.
Mobile Home Before Conversion.

 

The above image displays the front of the mobile home before redesign. This particular home comes with generic siding and standard windows typically seen in manufactured housing.

 

Mobile Home Before Conversion (Front).
Mobile Home Before Conversion (Front).

 

Mobile Home Before Conversion (Front).
Mobile Home Before Conversion (Front).

 

Mobile Home Before Conversion (Gabled End on Kitchen Side.)
Mobile Home Before Conversion (Gabled End on Kitchen Side.)

 

Mobile Home Before Conversion (Back).
Mobile Home Before Conversion (Back).

 

Mobile Home Before Conversion (Side).
Mobile Home Before Conversion (Side).

 

Kitchen Before Remodel.
Kitchen Before Remodel.

 

The house is covered in a beige carpeting except for the kitchen area and the bathroom which have a dark, muddied tile. Unfortunately, my models are such that they look better than the real thing.

 

Looking From the Kitchen Area.
Looking From the Kitchen Area.

 

The backdoor is to the right, while the front door is to the left. The two doors on the right are access to the air conditioner and the water heater. The furthest away on the left leads to the bedroom. Through this little hall, on the right, is the bathroom door.

 

Bathroom Before Remodel.
Bathroom Before Remodel.

 

The Bedroom Looking at the Closet.
The Bedroom Looking at the Closet.

 

The Bedroom Looking at the Window and the Door to the Little Hall.
The Bedroom Looking at the Window and the Door to the Little Hall.

 

I have been pleasantly surprised about the floor plans of many of the manufactured houses that I have seen. Most times they are quite efficient, requiring little in terms of adjustment. This is certainly true of this model. Of course, gutting a place, moving things around including walls, would give one great leeway in the overall design. Yet this hardly seems economical, logical or necessary since one of our concerns is expense. Moving things like plumbing and electricity as well as a water heater and air conditioning would hardly make much sense. However, changing the air conditioning to a different system not taking up floor space or going with a tankless water heater that could be moved outside or occupying much less territory, is not altogether out of the question.

In our case, the floor plan remains the same. Things like cabinetry and fixtures do get updated. Nevertheless, the doors that came with this model surprisingly did not need replacing, just repainting with a glossy finish.

 

Front of Remodeled House.
Front of Remodeled House.

 

As with the first conversion, landscaping is kept at a minimum. Although landscaping can make a sizeable difference in the look of a house, for our purposes we will keep our focus just on the house. Compare the front here to the front of the original. The most obvious change is the addition of a deck. In this iteration, a deck on the front becomes necessary because of the layout of the bedroom which has a closet built into the back. So without tearing down the closet, the deck is placed onto the front.

The other major components added are the French style sliding doors which replace the windows on the kitchen and bedroom sides. Not only does this open the house up to much greater natural light, but it also provides access to the outdoors all along the front. To break up the long visual expanse that mobile homes have, different materials are applied as siding. Instead of the common external siding found on the original, 2/3 of the house is clad in a light grey English parquet, while the bedroom area is covered in a dark stained cedar planking. This helps distinguish between the unique spaces of the house without major construction and even though the house is only 374 sq. ft. The addition of a pergola does much the same thing.

 

Front Emphasizing the Pergola
Front Emphasizing the Pergola

 

Notice, also, the mobile home appears to be built on a foundation due to the rough stones placed around the bottom. The outdoor furniture comes from designs in a DIY book that I am currently working on and inspired by my published book: Outdoor Furniture You Can Make Using Simple Tools and Materials.

 

View of the Deck.
View of the Deck.

 

The doors did not need replacing and French style sliding doors were used to match them.

 

Side of Home.
Side of Home.

 

Back and Other Side of House.
Back and Other Side of House.

 

Showing the Bedroom Area Exterior.
Showing the Bedroom Area Exterior.

 

Back Around to the Front Deck.
Back Around to the Front Deck.

 

The inside of the house needs only a little updating. The major changes occur after adding the sliding French doors, which change the flow and nature of the rooms both inside and outside. First to go are the traditional cabinets, replaced by a contemporary design. I say contemporary rather than modern because the term properly fits. In this particular conversion I use contemporary modern finishes rather than those of the modernist. This includes shades of grey, although I avoid the use of beige since I have a distinct aversion to shades of beige.

 

The Front Door.
The Front Door.

 

In the Little Hallway Looking Toward the Kitchen.
In the Little Hallway Looking Toward the Kitchen.

 

The beige carpeting has been replaced with a light wood flooring and the dark tiles are gone from the kitchen area. When looking at the bookcase to the right, the doors and any trim, the color has not change but repainted to a glossy finish. New lights and fixtures are added throughout the house.

 

Looking From the Living Area Into the Kitchen.
Looking From the Living Area Into the Kitchen.

 

The window on the left and all the windows along the backside of the house have not been change. The cabinets are Shaker style cabinets painted grey with contemporary handles. The dining chairs are Platner chairs found at places like Knoll or any modern design store like All Modern. The blue chairs in the living room are of my design called Cube Chairs.

 

Another Look at the Dining Area.
Another Look at the Dining Area.

 

A Look From the Kitchen to the Living Area.
A Look From the Kitchen to the Living Area.

 

Looking Across the Cube Chairs to the Sliding French Doors.
Looking Across the Cube Chairs to the Sliding French Doors.

 

Bathroom.
Bathroom.

 

Only the vanity, mirrored medicine cabinet were changed in the bathroom. The original vanity and medicine cabinet were much like the dull, ordinary cabinets in the kitchen. A nice, new shower curtain embellishes the bathtub and a new modern overhead fixture brightens the bathroom.

 

Bathtub.
Bathtub.

 

The dark brown tiles become a soothing light blue epoxy.

 

Showing the Vanity and the Door to the Little Hall.
Showing the Vanity and the Door to the Little Hall.

 

The Bedroom.
The Bedroom.

 

To the left of the bed, the French style sliding doors bring in a copious amount of light. To the right of the bed, a modern armoires provides plenty of storage space.

 

Looking at the Builtin Closet.
Looking at the built-in Closet.

 

The doors to the built-in closet are changed to match the new armoires.

 

Looking Toward the French Style Sliding Doors.
Looking Toward the French Style Sliding Doors.

 

Viewing the Door to the Little Hall.
Viewing the Door to the Little Hall.

 

Besides replacing the doors to the closet, a new modern overhead fixture was added along with drapes for the sliding doors.

Amazingly, this inexpensive small mobile home can be converted to a delightful, comfortable, modern home with out spending a lot of money. This is only the first iteration. Without changing the floor plan, I will produce an alternative to this conversion by moving access from the front to the back for the kitchen/living area and orienting a deck to the side of the house off the bedroom. This alternative design will appear very soon.

 

Living/Dining Area.
Living/Dining Area.

 

HBosler

Self-Portrait in Red.
Self-Portrait in Red.

 

 

Mobile Home Conversion

Mobile homes are a neglected part of the tiny house movement. Or at least, the traditional mobile home. For some reason, even to this day, mobile home manufacturers continue to make mobile homes in their inimitable way; that look like the mobile home that we are used to seeing. Why these manufacturers do not see the opportunity to build tiny homes, defies reason. Of course, they know more about their market than I do, but one would think that making tiny homes in some capacity would cross their minds from time to time. And what about something more modern?

So, at this time, I have taken an actual floor plan of a mobile home from a contemporary manufacturer and created a model that would match their product, except for a few changes in regards to windows and doors and some of the finishes. This mobile home includes a bay window which ones sees many times. My model has this type of window since this an exercise in converting a mobile home to a modern tiny structure and this window is common. The simple stairs is also common as well as a simple square deck. The vinyl siding seems almost ubiquitous in manufactured housing, but the fake window shutters always turns my stomach a bit even when applied to more substantial houses.

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Mobile Home Front

 



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Mobile Home at Oblique Angle

 

If this home appears quite familiar, then you have seen them often before. With slight variation, this exterior pattern displays itself over and over all over America. The floor plan fits the manufacturer’s design very well and was chosen because it is very common.

mobile-home-floor-plan.png

 

Actually, for a 611 sq. ft. house, the arrangement is efficient. Mostly open, only the bathroom and bedroom garner total privacy with walls. With room for a pantry, linen closet and set up for a washer and dryer, ample space exists to fit quite a few things. The closet off the dining area, plus the closet in the bedroom extends the space for storage considerably. This trailer encompasses 14’ 4” X 48’.

The cost of this home new is $32,000 and comes with many appliances and features such as GFI receptacles, smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. However, depending on the level of remodeling, many used mobile homes are available for purchase at a much reduced price. Obviously prices vary widely from place to place in the United States and just this subject would fill a very large article. In the Phoenix area, where we are used to many winter visitors and a great number of mobile home parks, the market has many great values. It is possible to buy a mobile home of the size we are examining for less than $10,000 dollars. Not far from my house, a park advertises homes for $4999.00. The parks will sell such homes because of a vacancy for one reason or another that leaves the property sitting with the park receiving no income. Yet the home is movable and must remain movable to classify as a mobile home for tax and other purposes. If one buys it, one can move it.

One must also consider, if desiring new, asking the manufacturer to supply a home with custom changes to the finishes, appliances, design and even the level of finished interior. Remember, though, the current level of government interference. The local seller probably has good information in this regard. So ask questions.

mobile-home-wood.png

Looking toward the kitchen from the living room. The sliding doors on the right cover a closet and are much nicer in this model than the white, metal ones that come with the home. Indeed, the other doors are also plain, white hollow things, replaced here in the 3D model.

mobile-home-wood2.png

The living area from the kitchen.

Please excuse the level of detail. I purposely excluded furniture and other extraneous details just to give a general idea of this particular model which is somewhat exact. The side of the island facing the living room is graced with fake red brick and a hood above the stove has this same surface applied. The panels on the walls are not continuous. They have plastic strips that connect the edges to the other panels. To complete the look, the windows have frilly valances at the top. Here, I have not included the mini-Venetian blinds. Altogether, this digital model comes off better than actual pictures of the real thing!

mobile-home-wood3.png

A little hall to the pantry, linen closet, bathroom, and bedroom. One also sees the laundry area on the left, toward the bedroom door.

mobile-home-wood4.png



 

The pantry is the first door to the left, with the linen closet directly across the hall. The door toward the back is to the bedroom and the door to the bathroom just to the right across from the laundry.

 

mobile-home-wood5.png

The bathroom. The original model has the same red oak look on the vanity as the kitchen cabinet and, instead of a tub, it has a fiberglass shower cabinet.

 

mobile-home-wood6.png

 

The master bedroom looking at the two doors of the large closet. The doors used in the original model are much more mundane than the ones used here.

 

mobile-home-wood7.png

The two closet doors in the bedroom with the bedroom entry door to the left.

 

As for changing this mobile home into something more modern, an infinite number of transformations come to mind. For the purposes of this article, I will consider money as a factor, and therefore, keep modifications to less expensive redesigns. The floor plan will essentially remain the same, while changing fixtures, finishes and exterior improvements. Even so, replacing doors and windows help in converting this house into a modern mecca.

Conversion Number 1:

 

All revisions in this remodel must include different door knobs and fixtures. As with so many mobile homes, the original model contains those ghastly shiny brass knobs and light fixtures. The fake shutters are gone forever and the exterior siding demands improvement.

To get an idea of what is possible in terms of a serious remodel, check out this article in Dwell magazine on the subject.

 

This shows a mobile home that was in very bad shape transformed into a beautiful modern house. This photo originally appeared in Upwardly Mobile Homes. Trailer Wrap is the name of the project. Make sure you also get a look at the beautiful interior.

Trailer Wrap. Our variation will be a bit more modest.

Conversion 1 requires no walls torn down or extensive changes in the bathroom and bedroom. The major interior difference from the old mobile home is the removal of the kitchen and the removal as well as addition of doors and windows.

 

mobile-home-remodel-1.png

The front of the new house.

As one can see, a deck of darkly stained wood has been added to the house. Orange railing provides a lot of color and is always dramatic against a grey or brown background. The exchange of the siding with dark, engineered wood brings a contemporary feel to an otherwise boring rectangular box. The original front door is gone, replaced by two sliding glass doors at the corner of the living room, while the other windows on this side give way to round porthole windows. If one can not find round windows, small square windows will work in the same pattern. Not altogether necessary, the gable end of the mobile home becomes glass, much like in a mid-century modern home.

mobile-home-remodel-2.png

A more direct view of the front.

In creating the 3D model of this mobile home renovation, I purposely neglected landscaping because of the speculative nature of this article. The likelihood that someone would purchase the exact model of trailer, remodel it exactly as I have done, and then set it in a similar landscape scheme, would considerably stretch the imagination. The whole point of this article is to point out that a mobile home does not have to look like one and to start creative juices flowing.

mobile-home-remodel-3.png

The two vertically aligned round windows are where the laundry resides.

mobile-home-remodel-4.png

Coming around to the bedroom side of the trailer, one begins to see the second deck.

mobile-home-remodel-5.png

The other deck shares access to a side door into the dining area and a sliding glass door into the bedroom. This extends the bedroom to the outside.

Extending living areas outside is a mid-century modern idea and continues as such through modern architecture today. Besides tall ceilings, nothing gives the feeling of greater space than to utilize outdoor areas.

mobile-home-remodel-6.png

A better look at the backyard deck. The bathroom window was not changed except for the color of the frame. A door was added where there was a window before leading to the dining area.

In case one wonders, for design purposes, two separate areas do not necessarily have to look the same if they are not in the same viewable aspect. Both decks are separate entities and can have their own character. Obviously, considering an entire structure as a cohesive design becomes important, but not so rigidly that every surface or feature must look the same.

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Coming back around to the front.

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Direct view of the front (and side) deck. Through the sliding glass door is the living room.

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Viewing the kitchen from the living room.

The kitchen remodel uses models of actual furniture found at IKEA called Varde, the chairs at the table are Vitra and I designed the dining table. The dark wood floors are replaced with a light flooring. Dark wood is not a problem in itself, but light colors promote a feeling of more space in less expansive rooms. This is a common design error in manufactured homes.

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Another look at the dining area.

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This shows the living area with its Eames chair, both sets of sliding glass doors and designer carpet.

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The bathroom painted white, with a new shower curtain, IKEA vanity and metal shelf.

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The bedroom with its new sliding glass door to the deck.

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Looking from the bed toward the entry door with one closet door on the right.

In the case of this house, I have replaced the exterior siding, applied two decks, removed and replaced some windows, while adding sliding glass doors and an external entry door, added new fixtures, exchanged the vanity in the bathroom, painted the walls gloss white and did a few small sundry things. As one can see, one of the most important aspects of this remodel is simply furnishings. The right interior decoration makes a significant difference; a few rugs, a few pictures…

Not all remodeling requires new. I doubt one would find decent doors to work with in a mobile home, but replacing knobs, painting or covering doors, can save some money. The exterior siding, rather than replaced, could be treated to look more like this design and stock doors and windows and not custom would be much less expensive.

At any rate, the floor plan remained the same and no walls were knocked down. Plus the roof line was untouched. The advantages of taking a mobile home and remodeling it to something worthy of living in are obvious. Everyone has seen a bus or shed converted into a tiny home. Why not a mobile home? Hopefully, this article gets one thinking about what can be done in small spaces toward a clean modern design.

This article covers one conversion. More conversions will come in later articles.



 

HBosler

self-portrait.jpg

 

From Gizmag: Alpod mobile home shows its metal

Gizmag has an article on the Alpod mobile home. It’s called a mobile home, but at 480 sq. ft. one can easily classify it as a tiny house. It doesn’t have wheels, yet the home is designed to be carried on a trailer to its destination.

Alpod Model on Trailer
Alpod Model on Trailer
Alpod Interior
Alpod Interior

 

Why there are not more examples of the manufactured or modular home industries supplying modern tiny houses is a question of demand. There are businesses constructing tiny houses on wheels, but nothing like the manufactured, modular housing companies. Besides people stuck in their thinking about what a house should be, imagination seems to go out the window when it comes to providing models to the public. Nevertheless, the modular housing makers have consistently offered incredible, modern designs at the size of a typical house. Here are some on Curbed, some of which qualify as a tiny home or range in size from small to average size.

K6 by KitHAUS
K6 by KitHAUS

 designboom also has an article on the Alpod: