7 Lessons In Space-Saving Design From A Tiny House On Wheels in Hawaii

This Polly Pocket-style Hawaiian portable home incorporates a few clever tricks and ideas that maximise every square inch of space.

A brother and sister team in Hawaii have started to design and build tiny homes that can be ordered, custom-built, and towed to just about any location.

Founded by Dan Madsen, 33, and Ellie Madsen, 28, the ‘Paradise Tiny Homes’ structures are completely transportable and built on wheels.

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The 260 square foot homes come with everything you’d expect to find in a small home; a kitchen, dining area, living space, and bedroom, plus a full size shower (with rainfall shower head) and loo, and a washer dryer, as well as some stylish extras like exposed beams, a large circular window and two breakfast bar areas.

Needless to say, they’ve had to maximise every square inch, and there are plenty of space-saving ideas that can be taken and applied to our own homes. Here are a few design take aways to steal…

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1. UNDER STAIR STORAGE

Most of this home’s storage is built under the steps that lead up to the mezzanine bedroom, with the tallest step housing a fridge freezer as well as extra storage on top. It shows how you can really squeeze quite a lot in, despite the treads not being particularly wide. Often under-stair storage is one cupboard, but that leads to a lot of wasted room. Here even the tallest parts have been maximised.

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2. MEZZANINE BED

Housing the bed in the eaves makes one room work as two, as a mezzanine level creates extra floorspace. The same principle was also applied in this space-saving house in London’s Brixton, where a guest bedroom can sit on a mezzanine level within the study/home office. Floating shelves (instead of boxy cabinets or tables) help save space too, as does using wall lights instead of table lamps.

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3. UNDER BED STORAGE

In places where every inch counts, it’s worth making the most of the dead space under the bed. You could buy a bed with drawers built-in underneath, or commission something bespoke, or even just buy pretty baskets or storage boxes.

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4. BREAKFAST BAR

No space for a dining table and dining chairs in the kitchen? A breakfast bar takes up much less room, as the counter can be created from a kitchen island or kitchen peninsula, or even just a window sill. With chairs on just one side and not the other, this frees up floor space too.

The outdoor dining area of this Hawaiian home was approached in the same way, with an outdoor breakfast area that connects with the kitchen.

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5. CORNER SINK

A compact corner sink also frees up floor space, as it’s easier to manoeuvre around it. A floating basin also frees up space underneath.

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6. FLOATING SHELVES

Make the most of an unused corner or wall space with some floating shelves that don’t encroach on floor space or head room – for example above the sink and above the loo.


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Wall space is also maximised in the kitchen, with floating shelves and a towel rail placed against the walls that would otherwise be wasted.

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7. SHOWER SHELF

One of our favourite take-aways is the tiled built-in recessed shelves in the shower space, so the bottles don’t end up encroaching on the space you need to wash.

Designer Dan Madsen has spent the last decade working on numerous tiny homes including a select few featured on HGTV. He has gone on to create the signature tiny-home designs of Paradise Tiny Homes. Meanwhile co-founder Ellie Madsen has strong roots in property management and interior design, and is behind the overall look and aesthetic.

The tiny houses are for sale and come fully furnished and also include the deck and the trailer. The brother and sister team are looking forward to building more houses like these. Ellie tells us ‘we will likely be building similar projects in the near future.’

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