21 August 2015

Ridiculously Small Doors | Tiny House Living On A Boat

Compared to most Americans, we live in a pretty tiny house. The average size of a house in the States is probably somewhere around 2,000 sq ft (610 sq m). Our house is less than 400 sq ft (122 sq m). Our house also has one other big difference from most American homes - it's on the water. Yep, we live on a boat. A tiny boat.

Do you know what happens when you live in a tiny boat? Your doors are ridiculously small.

You would think I wouldn't be too surprised by this. After all, we spent some time living on an even smaller boat, which was probably less than 250 sq ft (76 sq m). And we lived in a tiny Scamp travel trailer which only had enough floor space for one person to stand up at a time.

Compared to our first boat and our travel trailer, our current boat is enormous. Except for the doors.

Do you know what I've learned from my ridiculously small doors? 

1 - I need to wear a helmet.

2 - Measuring things is important.

Take the door to our bedroom in the aft cabin. It's only 46 in (117 cm) tall. Just take a minute and have a think about how tall you are. Chances are, you're taller than our door. 

A normal sized door is around 6 1/2 ft (2 m) tall. They're designed to fit normal size human beings. Ours is designed for hobbits. Scott is 6 ft (1.8 m tall). The contortions that he has to do to fit through the hobbit hole are pretty funny.  I'm 5 ft (1.5 m) tall and don't have to bend down as much, but pretty much every single time I go through the door, I bang my head. You would think I would remember to duck more, but I never do. I really need to start wearing a helmet. 

And then there's the door to our v-berth (the cabin at the pointy end of the boat). It's taller than our aft cabin door, but it isn't very wide - only 16 in (41 cm). A door you'd find in a normal house would be around 30 in (76 cm) wide. 

This is where measuring comes in. I recently bought a new Sailrite sewing machine, but I was too cheap to buy the carrying case. Instead, I went and got a plastic storage container at Walmat to put the Sailrite in so that we can store it in the v-berth when we aren't using it. I measured the Sailrite carefully and got a container that it would fit in.

One problem - I didn't even think about measuring the door. Wouldn't you know it, the storage container was too big to fit through the door, not matter which way I turned it.  

I guess I still need to do a lot more tiny house / boat living before I get used to our ridiculously small doors!

If you want to see more pictures of our tiny boat - click here.

Do you live in a tiny house or boat? How big are your doors? 

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  1. LOL - we live in a big house, even by American standards, with big doors, but tight narrow hallways and stairwells, so we still have problems getting things into rooms. Not as bad as you do however. We sold our boat quite a while ago, but I thought the cabin door was taller than that. My problem wasn't the top, but rather tripping over the bottom.

    1. The one to our aft cabin is really short because we have a center cockpit and you have to walk under the cockpit benches it to get to the cabin. Sorry, hard to explain.

  2. Jason hits his head on the regular in our Vagabond 42. He's 6'3. At 5'3" I manage to hit my head more than I'd like to admit. Oh, the joys of boat living!

    1. Right after I wrote this, I hit my head again. You would think I would learn, but I never do :-)

  3. Ha! It's not limited to our small boats -- the 170-foot tall ship we've been working on for the past 3 months is a full-size replica. The first level below deck is fitted out as a museum; the ceiling height here is raised for the comfort of visitors. To keep the overall dimensions true, the height that was given to that deck was taken from -- you guessed it -- the crew areas. Every single one of us, except 4'-11" B., has hit their head in the galley. Even the guy who helped BUILD the boat six years ago (you'd think he'd know, yes?). OTOH, our sailboat was designed by a guy who was 6'-4" and we have lots of headroom. Except the cabinet over the galley sink, Dan still bangs his head on that one. What can I say; sailors are a hard-headed lot?

    1. Wow - I'm really surprised by that. Very interesting. I figured bigger ships had bigger doors. Go figure!

  4. My wife and I finally found a boat we could vacation on. Everyone thinks I'm the boat guy, but it's my wife who loves boats. I found a boat she fell in love with, and it has a nice place for us to sleep while we are floating on the water during our vacations. She's so happy with our new boat!

    Kent Garner @ Whites Marine Center


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