"Homes-for-the-Homeless ‐ built by the homeless"
A design for small, low-cost demountable homes with full facilities (cooking, washing, shower and toilet).


•   Original Concept
•   Basic Layout
•   Prelim. + Planning

Main Panels
•   Floor Panel
•   Side frames
•   Bed-side fit-out
•   Table-side fit-out
•   Roof details
•   Front Panel
    • L Bed-support
•   Back Panel

•   Water Closet/toilet
•   Divider Cupboard
•   Hot-Water tank
•   Electrical/safety

•   Erection sequence

•   Major variations
•   Materials



© Plateau Group


This H4H design is available to any volunteer groups for non-commercial use, but please make a formal request.

H4H Fabrication Details

Divider Cupboard

[Modest Skill Level]

This is a relatively standard cupboard, only distinguished by the need for a waterproof ply backing and for the fact that it needs to be fixed back to the wall over the Raised Floor area and the Shower-tray. It may possibly need some simple drip-sealing measures behind.

This cupboard will be made from 15 x 200 pine planks, with a backing height of 2070mm and a side height of 2100. This means that the uppermost shelf/top should be 30mm down from the top of the side walls. Since the cupboard sits on the main room floor, it will have a gap of about 70mm between the top of the cupboard and the ply ceiling liner. This gap is needed for both an air-drying and for light entry since there is no electrics in the back area.

Shelving: There is no need for a base shelf on the Divider (purely for cost savings); the two sides can sit directly onto the floor surface. The first of the fixed shelves should be supported by battens on all three sides, so that the back batten can be screwed into the shower-tray which is directly behind. The space below this shelf is (300mm + 50mm) 350mm in height which is about right for a lidded polystyrene food box (used by the fishing industry and for delivery of vegetables to wholesalers and supermarkets). With battens on all three sides, the lowest shelf will also be capable of both carrying heavy objects.

We are not suggesting a mini-fridge, etc. so there is height enough here for a Polystyrene food-crate with a lid, which can be obtained free or for less than a dollar. It probably keep food as cold as an Esky. Fish markets have them for sale with dimensions of 280x190x140.

The only other shelf height that benefits from specification, is to provide batten supports on each side for a shelf which will align with and support the fold-down kitchen bench. The top of these battens should be 875mm up from the bottom of the cupboard and we recommend glue and screw to fix this in place because it can also be used to lock to the WC and side-wall together to strengthen the whole corner of the room.

You might chose to make this shelf wider than the others, projecting out 100mm or so if you have spare heavy ply, etc. By allowing extra space above, it becomes an extended work area for cooking and food preparation.

Adding the other shelves is a matter of personal choice. Some of the most useful will only half the width (100mm) to provide standing room for bottles in front, while supporting smaller items behind. This is why we suggest floating shelves, which sit in peg-shelf supports drilled into the side walls. Perhaps you might add a raised edge to at least one of the higher shelves so plates can stand vertically without slipping off. The highest of the fixed shelves should probably have a batten across the back ply for a few hooks to hang cups and mugs.

Moveable shelf supports: There are a number of different types which allow the householder to shift shelving up or down. The cheapest are packets of plastic plugs while the best (and more costly) are L-shaped metal, which uses the shelf-width to lock them into their holes (the others just rely on friction).


The unit needs two 730mm curtain rods (one serves also as a clothes drying hanger) which pivot on single screws across the shower-tray to the top plate of the back wall. The flanges are screwed to the top-plate of the Back Wall panel. To roughly match this height, the pivot points of the rods above the cupboard should be raised on blocks, using offcuts of 30x30 frame timbers.

Check that the flange fittings you buy have a screw to lock the rod in place. If not you may need to drill and add a small metal thread. Unless both rods can be locked into the flanges, their value as stabalisers is lost.