Patti’s Tiny Ocean House

This is a special Tiny House!

Up top it’s a cheerful beach cottage, with sailboats and chaise lounges, and below it’s an underwater-hotel-type experience, with 360° views of ocean life.

I’ve looked at this one online ever since I started making these kits but was too chicken to try it. Then, as we neared the Midwest where we’re seeing friends and I asked if anyone wanted a Tiny House, Patti (hi Patti!) requested this one. I’m on it!

Made for Nighttime

Before I get into the weeds (literally), I want to show this one off at its best, which is when it’s lit in the dark. This is one of those houses with lots of exterior walls and rooftops with skylights, designed for you to peer inside to see what’s there. So the interior details are not spectacular, but they’re a pleasing surprise when you do see them. Its the overall effect that’s so cool.

The ocean ”basement” has a blue ceiling and two walls, plus two small blue lights that give the whole thing an underwater glow.

Prelim Work

I took a ton of photos while making this kit to show Patti the process.

Even when I opened the package, she wanted to see the basics: pages from the instructions (which I’m grateful were in English this time), some of the sheets I cut the paper pieces from, and the “ingredients” as I do an inventory.

After I spread everything out, I’ll open some of the ziplock bags stuffed with items and divide them into additional bags (I have a stash) and label them to match the instructions. I also pair the pieces of material and paper with any blueprints that go with them and put those in their own bags, as well.

I know what works for me re: finding parts I’m looking for in the middle of the night while Tracy is sleeping and I’m trying to be quiet. Seems like half of this process is looking for pieces—unless you organize them first.

Initial Structural Problems

This is my biggest complaint about this kit, and I came across it first with the Tiny Castle: the instructions have you assembling the basic structure in mid-air, not glued to the floor. It’s practically impossible to get the walls at 90° angles and the floors level this way.

This one actually expects you to attach a spiral staircase to a ceiling without attaching it to the floor, and to run wiring behind it. That’s kind of like trying to juggle while doing a spacewalk.

I added to the gravity-defying problem a big mistake I made with the lighting that made me have to take apart the basic structure twice. I made and installed two small chandeliers with the wires running behind the staircase, and then I realized I’d used the blue lights meant for the ocean instead of the white lights meant for the house.

Lucky for me, the glue was still wet, so I gently pulled the lights and wires out, recreated the chandeliers with the correct bulbs, and then carefully placed them back on the structure and fed the wires in behind the staircase. Every time I tried to feed those wires in that corner, the spiral staircase would spiral around to an impossible angle.

It’s not as neat a job as it should be, but at least the house doesn’t light up blue now!


This was the first room I worked on because, well, you know! Unfortunately all the walls and the ceiling were in place by the time it was finished, so I had a hard time getting good photos.

There are liquor bottles behind the bar, little saki-looking cups on the bar with a bowl of green snacks, and posters of beer and liquor labels above the entrance. I like the hanging purple lights and the macrame door decoration, myself.

Satin Living Room

When I saw the photos of the sofa, I hoped those cushions were made from leather because I have a beast of a time working with cotton. It frays and sticks together in the wrong ways and just won’t become the cushions I want.

Damnit but these require satin! Talk about fraying easily and slipping around with glue on them.

Once I placed them with all the other living room stuff, they look fine, though. And check out that wallpaper that runs throughout the first floor: fall leaves? How is that beach-like? I guess when you live in the tropics, you like to be reminded all the seasons you miss.

Pizza Parlor

The kitchen in the house is just one table and two chairs, and there’s supposed to be a sign nearby advertising pizza, so I’m guessing this is more of a BnB, maybe? Patti wanted a private home though, so I ditched the pizza sign and tried to make the dining area as homey as possible.

It’s in its own little sunroom, with windows on all sides, so once assembled you peek in to see what’s on the table.

Piano Lounge

The entire top floor of the house is for the piano! (The bed is under the water level.) Here’s a view before I installed the roof, then views through the skylight and window. I see Audrey Hepburn, Marilyn Monroe, and Elvis. I bet Patti can ID the rest.

After dinner, anyone up for some martinis and singing around the piano?

Sun Bathing Deck

One of my favorite parts of this house. I loved cutting the astroturf and placing it just right! The lounge chairs were trouble though: they are made simply from paper I’ve gently bent and glued onto the wire armrests.

Everything had to stick together in the right places at the same time, all while every piece is also sticking to my fingertips and the tweezers. I can’t tell you for how many minutes I had two arms and one backrest stuck to various of my fingers and not to each other in any way. They magically ended up looking inviting, though.


In case the weather is too fine to eat pizza in the sunroom, you can sit on astroturf on the deck and enjoy mysterious yellow buds for your lunch. Mango slices, let’s say!

The piece de resistance for the above-water part of the house is the wrought-iron fencing around the balcony and the edges of the deck.

When I first saw I’d be making each piece individually from wire, bending each bit to exact dimensions, I thought there would be no way, just no way. But as usual, somehow it all came together! The final shot is with the dust cover on top, which I’ll explain later.

Under the House

Okay, here comes the fun part. The top part of the house perches on the framework for the ocean part, and the basement is glued to the floor of the top. In the second picture I’m merely holding the basement on to see how it might work.

Here’s what the basement rooms look like; it’s very hard to see them once installed, so I’m glad I took shots before.

Here the wallpaper is beautiful: a scene of subtle, abstract woods and then light seaweed. I wish this wallpaper were upstairs as well; you can’t see it once installed in the ocean.

Once furnished, the rooms are a sitting area (with another lounge chair!) that leads down into the bedroom, with netting that pulls across the bed to add an extra underwater feel.

I then added rocks and seaweed to the joints to cover up where the plastic has been glued across all windows (this is a sealed environment so no water gets in).

Next came lots of sea plants, shells, coral, fish, and a little platform that I’m guessing you swim out to to collect shells. How you lie on the outside lounge chair (it’s fully in the ocean) is a mystery. Maybe that’s for your mermaid guests.

Music and Lights

The battery box for the lighting is cleverly hidden in a shelf built inside the underwater bedroom part; you slide it out to flip on the lights.

The tricky part was the music box, as in, there wasn’t one.

Seriously, every single Tiny House I’ve made has had a music box incorporated, and this one advertises having one, which Patti expressed delight in. And the kit did include a music box. Just nowhere to put it, and no mention of it in the instructions.

So I drilled a hole under the basement area for the winding bar and glued the box on the back, then camouflaged it with extra greenery I had from the tiny mermaid house. You can barely see it under there, and all that shows on the outside is the winding bar. Voila!

Room for Improvement

The top half has a dust cover, like most of the kits I’ve made, but this one adds to the house with seagulls glued on and one of two sailboats. I have to admit I was hoping the boat and seagulls were plastic models that I would hang from tiny strings, but these paper ones nevertheless give a good effect once over the house.

The plastic casing around the ocean I left unattached so we can take it off and add to the scene as needed (and reglue stuff that might unattach before I can get this to Patti in a week.)

Overall I like the two effects: direct access so you can look closely at what’s inside, and a finished look with the cases in place.

And here’s my traditional selfie to show the size according to my (small) head. I took this one in the trailer bathroom with the lights off to show the ocean at its finest. I hope Patti enjoys having this one as much as I enjoyed making it!

4 thoughts to “Patti’s Tiny Ocean House”

  1. It’s so cute! But I had no idea your houses all have music boxes, I swear you’ve never mentioned that before. I think you need to do a video of one to show how they work

    1. They’re those standard, small little mechanisms that, when you wind the bar, the bumpy cylinder turns and the little arms clang when they hit the bumps. You know that kind?