Ever thought about living in a lighthouse? I have! / by Jamie Warne

As I'm sure a lot of you have realised (given the beach cabin designs last time), I have a fondness for the seaside. Perhaps it's the ever-changing views, the calming sounds of waves, or just an amalgamation of all of these and more. Whatever the case, I stumbled upon a gallery of 10 000 lighthouse images whilst doing my daily ritual of searching for inspiration. Let's just say that my next 3 days were sorted! I've long been drawn to lighthouses, so it occured to me just how fantastic it must be to live in one.

I'm perfectly matched for the remote nature of a lot of lighthouses, but even I don't mind admitting that lighthouses may not be the most efficient use of space for living in. Nethertheless, the fact that the original lantern room makes for a perfect space to hang out during the day and enjoy 360 degree views totally makes up for this. It is true that lighthouses are traditionally very crampt, and you certainly would only be able to have one room per level... but I wanted to maximise the space as much as possible, so that means sacrifices! (We'll get to those later).

Quick Stats.jpg

The Plan (click on images to expand)

The Ground Floor

  • You enter through the door into the little entry vestibule
  • On your left as you enter is the reading nook (with storage below), with a narrow window and cushions
  • Straight ahead is the narrow spiral staircase to the upper level
  • Heading forward and to the right is the kitchenette. It features a double oven, a 4 ring hob cooker plate, a large sink, a built-in fridge, and plenty of storage. The narrow window above the sink makes for a pleasant view whilst washing up, and obviously brings in much needed natural light.
  • Finally, to the left is the reasonably sized wetroom, with fullsize walk-in shower, wash basin, toilet, and shelving. A tilting porthole window gives both natural light and much needed ventilation. Oh and there's also a heated towel rail.

The 1st Floor ('lantern' room)

  • As you get to the top of the stairs, the door to the balcony is on your right. The balcony is around 1m wide, plenty wide enough to sit outside on a summer day on a deckchair!
  • Back inside, the open-plan room is set up into two main sections: The desk/table/dining area, and the bed/sofa area.
  • The large curved desk has two levels for maximum use of space, and its legs are as minimialistic as possible to reduce the impact of the large desk on the room.
  • Between the desk and the door to the balcony is a log burning stove on a stone plinth. Ideally it would be downstairs so that the heat would also benefit the ground floor more, but there simply wasn't enough room, so upstairs it had to be.
  • Finally, the lounge section. Featuring a continuous sofa with inbuilt storage under the seat, it follows the curve of the wall and stairs. A lift-off section can be added to turn it into a bed.

SACRIFICES

...It wouldn't be a truly tiny home if there weren't some fairly big compromises to be made. The most obvious one is the spiral staircase; it will probably become pretty annoying to traverse (especially if you have to carry anything up or down!). And good luck getting any furniture upstairs without a crane! Maybe I should've added a hoist above the balcony door...

The lack of a proper bedroom could also be somewhat of a problem. Another level added between the "lantern" room and the ground floor would be a good idea I think - just so you can have a dedicated bedroom (and bed!). I suppose if I wasn't trying to cram in 2 rooms downstairs, I could add a more typical staircase that follows the inside wall of the "lighthouse". I'm probably going to come back to this with an enlarged version. So I guess - watch this space!

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the upstairs seems to have been the trickiest place to design. Mostly because it's that bit smaller, but also because it's much harder to make use of what little space there is. Bear in mind that the spiral staircase will eat into a bigger proportion of space here than it will downstairs. It's because of this that there is no proper bed here, a major problem if you intend to use this building all day, every day!

WHY I LOVE IT!

Now we've got the pitfalls of this design out of the way, there are a lot of positive points with this "lighthouse"... I mean for starters just look at the adorable interior! I've given the interior of this design a nautical theme to match the lighthouse aspect, and I think it's worked well. Especially with the splashes of blue, and the model boats/lighthouse. Oh, and let's not forget the porthole in the bathroom (my sisters great idea I might add!). Other than that, it's my usual concoction of white painted wood floors and walls, with the odd splash of blue instead of the more typical green featured in past designs. I also think the balcony makes for a fantastic addition, and also lifts the appearance of the building.

One thing that came out better than expected was the bathroom/wetroom. It's actually pretty big considering how small the building is, and takes a sizeable chunk of the downstairs. I love the fact that the toilet is recessed into the void formed by the spiral staircase wall. Makes use of a really awkward space. The shower is pretty generous, and there's plenty of shelf storage behind the toilet. There's even room for a towel rail, and the porthole lets in enough natural light without losing privacy.

The kitchen, whilst compact, is still a useful size. I would imagine that you could have a wooden cutting board/bread board that fits perfectly over the sink should you need more worktop space. Since this is only a 1 person "house" you wouldn't need a dishwasher. It would've been useful to have a washing machine I guess, but it wasn't a huge priority if I'm honest. The oven is huge for the size of the kitchen, plus there's a 4 hob cooktop with extraction hood. Finally there's ample storage space, with wall mounted cutlery racks to make the most out of every inch of space.

As you can see, I've tried not to stray too far from the aesthetic design qualities of real lighthouses - windows are tall and narrow downstairs on the "tower" section, whilst the whole "lantern" room is fully glazed from the knees up to the rafters. I could've just kept the "lantern" room the same diameter as the lower floor, but that's not how the vast majority of lighthouses are designed. The balcony (predominantly used on real lighthouses as a place to clean the lantern room windows from) is probably a bit wider on this design than it should be, but I also wanted there to be enough space to pull up a folding chair or 2. The overhang also helps to maintain just a little more privacy, which is fairly important given the fully glazed nature of the upstairs space (and the fact it's only 2.5m or less from ground level).

END THOUGHTS

I almost want to call this a dream house...but even I don't mind admitting that an extra floor would be beneficial here! Aside from that though, this tiny space is really rather cute, and I genuinely think with a bit of work, and an extra floor, it would be the perfect house for me. It's fair to say it's not for everyone, but quite frankly I can't think of many scenarios I'd prefer. Which reminds me, if you're looking for some other inspiration, go and have a look at fire lookout towers (not a thing you find in the UK), which in many ways are very similar. People have also converted old coastguard towers and water towers into permanent residences, which are also an asocial persons' dream!

I hope you enjoy this little foray, and I'll see you for the next one. As always, feel free to comment below with your thoughts and suggestions.

Jam


Other peoples' models used

1st Floor:

  • 3D man (resting) - Sketchup
  • Beach sling chair - nickrocker
  • Black laptop - Sketchup
  • Cable stayed lamp - Sketchup
  • Ceramic mug - Joe
  • Desk lamps (simple) - Sketchup
  • Fire wood - TommyK
  • Globe hanging light - Sketchup
  • Hammock - Jeanette S.
  • Mini fridge - fridal8
  • Notepad and pencil - TP
  • Office chair - janetm1000
  • Starfish (decoration) - Vickey J.
  • "Westfire" log burner - joshcaleb

Kitchenette:

  • Fishing boat - TJS Engineering
  • Kitchen cabinets - Sketchup
  • Kitchen cabinet with built-in oven - Sketchup
  • Kitchen cabinet with electric range hood and range - Sketchup
  • Ladle - honobono
  • Utensils - skink

Wetroom:

  • Bathroom tap - Ratty
  • Lifebelt - Seeadler
  • Lighthouse (model) - Cody
  • Porthole - Philip Watts Design
  • Sea shell - Ah Bear
  • Shower - pedro
  • Shower drain - jhopra
  • Simple pedestal sink - XYZ Visualizations
  • Toilet - Unknown
  • Toothbrush, toothpase and cup - Oscar
  • Towels - cristiane R.
  • Towel rail - enga

Multiple rooms:

  • Barn door - Marcus H.
  • Can light - Travis B.
  • Canvasses & fish decoration - 5000objets
  • Pillows - MeasuredMove
  • Spiral staircase - Sketchup