A home is not just a building, it's also a state of mind. For New Zealander Lily Duval, it meant creating a charming, cozy space out of her self-built 150-square-foot tiny home, where she could have her beloved book collection front and center, while also showcasing some colorful vintage items in her sunny kitchen.
Duval, who had no previous building experience, constructed this tiny home last year in a small Christchurch community run by a land trust. She started from scratch, building over a trailer that she purchased for around $8,000. The scheme was designed around a custom-made bookshelf with cupboards that Duval made herself, and which she modified to fit into the new home.
Like many other tiny housers around the world, one of the main reasons why Duval chose to live smaller was for financial security. "The idea of having a mortgage just seems too frightening," she says.
It is a warm, welcoming space that exudes comfort and character. To maximize a 5.5 metres long, 2.5 metres wide and 4.2 metres high small space by adding some multi-functionality, Duval has a unwritten rule that everything has to have more than one function, or can be stored in unexpected places. For example, the kitchen table also doubles as a office space where she can work. Tools and small items have magnetic tape attached to them so that she can stick things on her refrigerator. A book shelf on the sleeping loft doubles as a safety rail. There is a trap door that reveals extra storage.
Other things, like the stained glass windowed door that she bought used off TradeMe, are indulgent touches of necessary beauty, something that Duval looks at and enjoys everyday. A good portion of the house, from flooring to exterior cladding to the $20 galvanized shower-tub, is made from free or recycled materials.
The $30,000 build was funded by a small inheritance that her father left for her when he passed away. Duval's intention was to make good use of this legacy. Building a tiny house meant she could have shelter, while saving as much money as possible.
"For me, the big motivation was doing something worthwhile with my money, but also challenging myself to not keep acquiring things," says Duval, who admits she's an avid thrifter. "Every single thing I ever pick up, I have to say, ‘do I really want this?'"
UPDATE: To clear up any confusion, there is indeed a bathroom in this tiny house -- it's located behind the yellow door in the back.