This couple applied precious life lessons -- learned from years of bicycle touring -- into designing their modern tiny house on foundations.
Many people are intrigued by the idea of downsizing and tiny houses on wheels, but might find it hard to see themselves living in one. There are other obstacles too -- finding land to park a tiny house, minimum square footage regulations and the social pressure of 'keeping up'.
But what if some of these barriers were lifted -- especially the concerning minimum square footage that many municipalities have? In the small town of Wanaka, New Zealand, one couple was able to build their own tiny 355-square-foot tiny house on foundations, in a new subdivision, thanks to an enlightened developer that was thrilled to have something different being built. It's a sign of the times, and an indicator of the influence that the tiny house movement is having on the housing industry. Watch the video tour via Living Big In A Tiny House:
After years of drastically minimizing their lifestyle to do cycle touring in Australia, Will and Jen then got tuned into the idea of tiny houses as the next step in their life. They sold their property in the countryside and moved into town, into a modernist little home that's made with structural insulated panels (SIPs), clad with shingles and larch, and which is built and well-insulated to "80 percent" of the Passivehaus standard. The home's outdoor spaces such as the deck and yard enhance the impressive experience of the house, providing a great view of the landscape beyond.
As it is not a home on wheels, the couple was able to construct it wider and taller than is typical for tiny homes. While the largest and most-used space is the lounge, the home is nevertheless filled with great space-saving ideas -- for instance, Will's office which magically folds out of the television cabinet, and is set up with an extra portable desktop.
The efficient kitchen features a breakfast bar, and is full of carefully considered slim appliances such as the toaster, kettle, drawer dishwasher, hidden washer -- all helping to increase counter space. The couple decided to eliminate toe-kicks in the kitchen to gain even more storage space. For the range hood, the pair opted for a more streamlined, recessed vent that sucks air down and out, rather than up.
The bathroom is more on the narrow side, but is designed as an open wet room in order to save space. The shower has a spout, perfect for filling up buckets and -- get this -- an inflatable bathtub (first time we've seen this, but quite ingenious, and likely inspired by the couple's experiences in packing for cycling).
Going up the stairs, there are some under-tread storage drawers here, which for safety's sake, have springs added to the drawers so that they automatically close -- no tripping down the stairs at night!
The sleeping loft has tons of headroom, and privacy is enhanced with the simple curtains that hook into the wall. Extra storage can be found under the bed, which can be lifted up.
In total, the home cost about USD $145,000 (NZD $220,000) to construct, but that doesn't include the price of the land. According to the couple, it could have been built for much less, but they wanted to invest in extra features that would carry them along for many years into the future. More than anything, Will and Jen's project shows us that tiny houses truly can come in a variety of forms and functions, and if more municipalities catch on and change the rules, more people will likely build smaller and more energy-efficient homes. To see more, visit the couple's Facebook page and Living Big In A Tiny House.