Tiny Living in a Motorhome
Updated: Feb 5
I live in a tiny house on and off, here and there, and every now and then; it's a small motorhome with all of the comforts of home built into a 24' x 8' space (11' when the slide-out is extended). Joining me in the tiny house on wheels is my husband and our dogs. It can feel crowded at times, but then once we are settled and parked it doesn't feel crowded.
My primary home is a four-bedroom home with living room, dining room, family room, eat-in kitchen, multiple bathrooms, porch, and attached barn with Barn Lounge. This means I have ample space for stuff and to move about. On the flip side, my tiny home is like a small studio apartment where every item put into it needs careful consideration. Even so, I find it easy to live in this small space.
Thirty years working as an interior designer has made me an expert in space planning. I have maximized space in a multitude of ways in both homes and corporate offices. I use those principles for the design of and modifications to our mobile condo on wheels.
My overall design vision was to create a cozy interior that was uncluttered with the goal to have a place for everything. (I wrote about why I chose the rig we have here.) Initially, we used the motorhome for long weekends and for a couple weeks in the early spring, and we rent it out during peak summer season. Now we have extended our trip lengths, shortened the rv rental season, and are traveling more often as I practice being retired.
Our longest time in the motorhome was a full month in April when we traveled for the fourth time to Hilton Head Island. (See photos of that trip here.) Living tiny for that period of time was very enjoyable. Fortunately, my husband and I get along well and work together to keep the space neat and organized. The dogs, however, do nothing to help us in this effort.
Here is our mobile condo ready to hit the road when everything is tucked away in its place before the dogs are onboard.
Now here is the space with life and work happening. Still roomy enough to move about.
We did several modifications to our rig to suit our lifestyle and to maximize the space. The first task was to change the overall look including replacing the cabinet pulls. I didn't want to make too much work for us so I created a color scheme that would work with the brown cabinets (painting dark wood a lighter color is a monumental task).
Step two was to make the dinette area cozy and to replace the ugly plastic laminate tabletop with a painted wood one.
The over cab bunk / sleeping area was repurposed; that was not needed for us, so I created a storage area instead. The cushions and curtain were removed. We made a plywood platform and inserted "drawers" to store our laptops. Rug grip material holds the drawers in place. When we are done using our laptops, we stow them away in the drawers. This allows us to work on the road yet have a place to put work away when we want to free up the table.
The bathroom was lacking towel racks and the sink was ridiculously small. Towel bars are adhered to the wall using suction; amazingly, these stay in place. This is a simple solution for towel bars.
The countertop replacement was not so simple. Fortunately, my husband is detail oriented and a talented craftsman. I come up with ideas, he makes it happen.
He also replaced the countertops in the kitchen. The change was made not only because the laminate counter is ugly, but it was also delaminating at the edge. Changing to solid butcher block allowed for an undermount sink eliminating that edge on top of the counter which gave me two additional inches of countertop. Seems silly, but two inches is a lot when you only have inches to work with.
Living tiny requires organization and paring down items to live with. Cooking requires the most planning since the space is extremely limiting. Stacking and creating multi-purpose surfaces are a must when preparing food.
I manage pretty well in the ultra-tiny kitchen. I cook the same way I do at home, just a bit less spread out. A large cutting board is a requirement so that it can be moved around to cover the stovetop, or the sink based on what task I'm doing.
The single sink works very well to create a wash and a dry space using a bin yet allow for a one larger area, when need be, for washing larger items. As you can see, I can cook up a storm in the tiny kitchen.
The one thing I don't like about this mobile condo is not having a washer and dryer. I have to plan accordingly, especially with senior dogs.
While I like and appreciate an abundance of the living space in my big house; living tiny gives me experience with adapting and rethinking the way to live and cook. It highlights that mega amount of space is not needed to have a good life, good food, or good times. All that is needed is know-how, flexibility, and a positive attitude.
As much as we love our old drafty house and the little town in which we reside, we always love getting in our tiny house and hitting the road. I think it has to do with a change of scenery and new places to visit. The view is always changing outside of our windows with each destination. This rejuvenates my mind.
Here are snapshots of easy storage solutions.
The few inches of space near the entry steps is a good place to put essentials that you want on-hand. I found a rack meant for inside a cabinet and screwed it in place.
At the entry door is a side panel that is upholstered. I purchased a "blow-dryer" rack meant to hang on a cabinet door. This hangs over the panel and provides us a place for all of the doggie essentials.
RV bathrooms (most of them) are extremely small and not built with much storage, especially inside the shower. I took two tension rods (for shower curtains) and placed them inside the shower and hung a mesh pocket thing from that. The rods are a place to hang towels or the bathmat as a bonus in addition to supporting the mesh bag.
The mesh bag fits all of our bathroom products, and they stay secure as we are driving down the road.
The closet had one rod (in front); we added a second rod. Also added is the battery-operated light because otherwise the closet is a black hole. The two white bins are for either shoes or pantry items easy to pull them forward to reach items. The shelves have tension rods to hold items in place when on the move. Felt hangers are a must for RVers; clothes will stay on the hanger.
Our rig is a 2019 Thor Freedom Elite 24FE on the Mercedes Sprinter chassis with full wall slide.
Suction Towel Bars (we used the adhesive pads to adhere to the wallpaper)
Suction Hooks for Mirrored Doors These stay in place for months at a time.
If you would like to see more of our RV travels and life in our bubble, get in touch and I'll share the link to my lifestyle blog.
Thanks for reading!