Fun Tiny Design – An Adirondack Outhouse

Occasionally people ask me (especially at cocktail parties) what I’m working on in with my private clients and of course I do not want to sound boring.  I was thinking of what project recently would be the least boring and without a doubt, it would be “The Adirondack Outhouse”.

Last fall I completed the drawings for an addition to an Adirondack A-Frame and also was to look at a few out-buildings, one being an outhouse.  This summer “Camp” is remotely located on the “water access only” shore of a nice small lake in the Adirondack’s.  Although electricity has been run to this side of the lake, there is no public sewer and septic systems here can be dicy. Outhouses in these rural situations are still very common, and the normal solutions many times are not very pleasing.

An Adirondack Outhouse

An Adirondack Outhouse

So here I am… an Architect with an outhouse project.  And actually it was a blast to do… so much fun… and my first.  Just thought you might like a peek. The contractor, who will be starting the addition in the Spring, says he will have no problem building from the sketch you see here.  No permits are needed for anything under 100sf.

As always, I would love to have your opinion and feedback… please leave a comment below.




  • D. Becker

    Reply Reply January 26, 2012

    True, you don’t need permits to build 100 s.f. but you should check regarding building outhouses as many areas in the Adirondacks will not allow new outhouses. If there is already one there, they can be rebuilt on the same footprint, but no new builds.

    • Andy Sheldon

      Reply Reply January 27, 2012

      Good point… In our case there is an existing outhouse that this one will replace. There is still a possibility that a composting toilet be installed.

  • Keith Levy

    Reply Reply January 22, 2012

    I hope there’s a nice view out the door and it’s private enough to leave it open… there’ll be a composting toilet I presume…

  • Steve Traugott

    Reply Reply January 17, 2012

    Any ideas on the best design for the underside of the outhouse to minimize odor?

  • Martin Doyle

    Reply Reply January 16, 2012

    Hi – I’m from the UK. I really like the design of this, but my only concern is the steep angle of the roof and the low roofline at the back – is there a danger of the occupier hitting their head as they stand up? I’m interested in designs for ‘compost’ toilets and because they have no water tank, the actual toilet unit sits closer to the back wall.

    • Andy Sheldon

      Reply Reply January 16, 2012

      Hi Martin,
      The steep roof angle was so we could match the pitch of the main A-Frame cabin. The back wall height was designed so there would be full headroom in front of the seat without hitting your head during use. Since this was a true outhouse, there was no water tank either. In case of a composting toilet, the same design attitude would apply… If you can stand in front under the slope comfortably you should be able to use it sitting as well. Taking into consideration the exact requirements and dimensions of the composting toilet would be necessary of course.
      Best, Andy

  • dick patterson

    Reply Reply January 14, 2012

    this is just too darn cute!!!

    • Andy Sheldon

      Reply Reply January 16, 2012

      Thanks for your kind words Dick… I think it’s pretty darn cute too… and so does my client (a good thing).

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