Many believe that it's impossible to raise a family in a space that's under 300 square feet, but there are brave souls experimenting with doing just that in a tiny house -- and like anything else, it depends a lot on thoughtful design to maximize the space available.
Fred and Shannon Schultz are raising their young daughter in a home that measures under 200 square feet, located in Australia, which obviously helps that they can spend a lot of time outdoors. But the beautiful thing is how Fred, who is a tiny home designer, builder and consultant, has handcrafted the modern but warm interior, which features a self-made wood-stove and hot water heater. Happen Films takes us on a tour of the Schultzes' lovely home:
Upon entering, one is greeted with a clever, L-section type of seating arrangement, with ample storage bins underneath. The seating can transform into a large guest bed, and by bringing down a table surface stored above, one can have a larger dining table installed in a couple of minutes. Right above the living room is the couple's bed, accessed by a ladder.
To the left of the seating area is the kitchen, and a convenient fold-up breakfast table. There's a lot to like about this kitchen: it feels spacious the way it's arranged; the design incorporates a wall-mounted dish-drainer, a ladder up to the child's loft that's integrated as part of the shelving, and a nicely done alcohol-burning stove and prep area. Fred's design manages to put a secondary door here as well, in addition to lots of windows everywhere.
Right above the kitchen is the daughter's future loft. Fred notes that there's even a spot for a possible future extension for another child -- though it may be pushing it a bit! As Fred recounts, he started this design three years ago when he was single, but modified it to include his new family. So far, it has worked well, and it does help that they live in a warm climate so that being outside often is an option. Fred has put the hot water tank on the roof (seen as the bump in the roof here).
The highlight is most probably Fred's impressive, self-built woodstove, which is part of a gravity-fed, wood-fired, passive solar, "rocket-stove-informed" water heating system. He explains his design and inspirations in his video below.
The bathroom is equally unique, featuring the first Japanese-style soak tub we've seen in a tiny home that fits all three of them.
Outside, the home boasts a full solar array, designed to have one fixed row and one that is adjustable. In all, the Schultzes spent AUD $45,000 (USD $31,000) for their build.
There's an ongoing, valid debate about whether tiny homes are too small for families. And it appears that it really depends on the family: some will say a tiny home is just not big enough; others with their families, who are absolutely committed to the notion of downsizing in exchange for mobility and greater financial freedom, will say it's fine. Careful design also makes a difference, and it seems that the Schultzes are striking that fine balance with a lovely home that's been made to fit their needs at this phase of their lives. More over at Happen Films, Fred's Tiny Houses and YouTube channel.