Architect couple build the 'Mighty House' from scratch

What's the most difficult part of building a house? Brian Rubin and Siena Shaw have two different answers to that question. They are the architects, designers and homeowners of this tiny home known as the Mighty House. With a background in construction and a desire to complete a small-scale project, they essentially became their own clients when they built this dream home.
Siena's answer to the question is below, but for Brian, the hardest part of the process was getting started. They said it took about six months to plan the design. "As designers, we never really stop designing," he said. It was difficult to take that first step and lay down the first board.
Brian Rubin & Siena Shaw
After that first step, simply finding time was a challenge. They did all the work themselves, mostly on nights and weekends, while meeting the needs of their young family at the same time.
Brian Rubin & Siena Shaw
Taking the time to finish each stage correctly, such as making the home airtight with this Siga house wrap, would pay off in the future with a more comfortable home.
Brian Rubin & Siena Shaw
They set the example that creativity, patience and teamwork will reap great rewards for their family in the years to come.
Brian Rubin & Siena Shaw
The exterior of the home is wrapped in Roxul insulation "like a big wool sweater," Brian said.
The insulation helps reduce the variation in temperature inside the home. The Metal Sales corrugated roof and the reclaimed redwood siding add rustic details to the exterior. The ERV Lunos e2 provides a high-quality ventilation system.
Their goal was to build a tiny home that was modern with clean lines.
It was important for the design to be functional but have a simple form. They wanted to let the materials speak for themselves.
Because they were working on a smaller scale, they were comfortable choosing high-quality materials based on their performance and not because of the cost. The eco-friendly interior paint is from Ecos, and Alpen made the windows and sliding glass door. Together these elements create an open and spacious feeling with a lot of natural light and cross breezes.
Brian and Siena say that they faced criticism for making the kitchen so large, but they both love to cook and "we wanted to have a place where we could roast a chicken," Brian said. They know that most people congregate in the kitchen, and so "sleeping quarters are secondary for us — it's more important to have the cooking space or the outdoor living space," he said.
The lighting is subtle yet still powerful enough to illuminate various spaces throughout the home.
The custom-made cabinets are white oak, and they set the tone for the modern, efficient kitchen. The U-Line undercounter refrigerator provides just the right amount of storage in the ideal location.
The sleek grey countertops are made of Richlite. The smooth grey surface is a warm backdrop for the elegant stainless steel Kohler sink and polished Delta faucet.
Brian and Siena can indulge their love of cooking with this beautiful Bertazzoni cooktop. Its gleaming surface beckons the family into the kitchen to prepare a meal together and share it with friends.
The Bertazzoni oven coordinates beautifully with the cooktop, and it's easy to imagine a chicken or turkey roasting inside. Every element in the kitchen is sophisticated and reinforces the priority for a stylish and welcoming kitchen space.
Brian and Siena say that the sleeping area doesn't need to be the largest room in the house, but although the loft is small and cozy, it has loads of charm and a clever design.
Note the window with a view into the kitchen and living area so the person relaxing in the loft can still participate in the activity below. There's a separate entryway to gain access to the loft or to deliver a cup of tea.
Siena enjoys the loft because it is light and bright, and being up so high makes her feel like she's in the trees outside the windows.
The bathroom is also sleek and modern with a plan to install a composting toilet in the future.
Open the window in the bathroom to enjoy a cool breeze as you enjoy washing up in this handsome sink and faucet combination from Ikea.
Handcrafted Metal created this custom stainless steel tub basin. Its exquisite craftsmanship is a beautiful setting for the Grohe shower control with a Kohler slide bar and handheld showerhead.
There is plenty of storage in the Mighty House thanks to these large and open bookshelves. Find a new book to enjoy reading in the loft, or use the space to display a favorite family photo.
The Ecotemp tankless hot water heater provides the family with endless hot water. It's a powerful solution for a small home.
The utilities for the Mighty House are compact and easy to access, and a number of outlets exist, positioned throughout the home.
Brian and Siena created this detailed plan for their home, and it reflects the couple's preference for a generous kitchen and large outdoor living space.
Now it's time to hear Siena's answer to the question "What's the most difficult part of building a house?" Although Brian said that getting started is the most difficult phase, Siena declares, "The most difficult part of this entire process is finishing!"
For these talented architects, it's hard to stem the flow of ideas and creative solutions they have poured into their tiny home. It's this partnership and the incredible outcome of their labor that make this a truly Mighty House.
Watch SmallerLiving's full video interview with Brian Rubin and Siena Shaw below.

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