With the tiny house movement accelerating, there has been a wealth of new ones to look over this year, both local and international.
1. THE ESCHER
This beauty is the creme de la creme of tiny houses, hand built by owner David Latimer, CEO and founder of New Fronter Tiny Homes in Nashville.
He designs plenty of cool stuff, including a roll-up fire station door that opens out to a deck, and an extra bedroom. And Latimer still provides ingenious storage solutions, including a slide-out table and bench seats.
But this time he has also added a copper splashback, Escher-style wall panel, a play space, and of course that extra bedroom, behind decorative sliding glass doors.
The Escher has a strong, modern aesthetic that is contrasted with beautiful natural, textured materials, which include shou sugi ban cedar cladding and hardwood floors.
2. LE WORKSHOP IN NAPIER
We especially love the 7m by 3m tiny house built by Napier builder Francoise Guittenit and his wife Sarah-Lee for their three children.
The family moved into their latest tiny house in June and survived the winter with no problems. “This was the most comfortable winter we’ve ever had,” Guittenit said. “We are used to living in old villas where we would spend heaps of money trying to heat the place. This has been super warm. And living in Hawkes Bay, you never get two weeks of rain non-stop.”
A ladder leads up to the loft bedroom for the parents.
But how do they cope with three young children – Poppy (8), LouLou (5) and Francis (3)? “We have kept the house as minimalist as possible, so it is not crammed,” says Guittenit. “There’s a place for everything. It’s a good way to teach the children about living together.
The Napier tiny house has a sleek galley-style kitchen.
3. THE LOVE SHACK
Millennials Amanda Morrissey-Brown, 25, and her partner Cam Watson, 26, of Auckland, were hamstrung by student debt and in no position to break into the housing market in Auckland. So they bought a tiny house from Love Shack.
“We were sold immediately,” Morrissey-Brown said.
“To finance the tiny house we have had to take a considerably smaller loan from the bank, compared what we would get if we bought a house, which we can comfortably pay off over the next five years at roughly the same price that we would be paying if we were renting,” she said.
“This way, we are putting our money towards an asset that we will eventually own and that is manageable to pay off. It also gives us the freedom that if our situation changes, to take the house with us.”
Millennials Amanda Morrissey-Brown, 25, and Cam Watson, 26 have opted for a tiny house from Love Shack as their first home.
Marcel Syron of Love Shack.
4. UNI STUDENTS BUILT THEIR OWN
Fed up with living in a cold, damp, mouldy flat, university students Christoph Riedel and Anna Naygrow spent their summer holiday building themselves a tiny house in Nelson, then towed it all the way to Christchurch to live in while they attended uni this year.
To fight the cold, their tiny house is well insulated and double glazed, with a fire.
Initially, the couple bought plans but they weren’t suitable so they designed their tiny house themselves.
“We spents hours watching TV programmes on tiny houses,” Ridel said. “We picked the best bits that we could find.”
They bought the trailer base and then second-hand windows. The team at Menzshed Waimea let them use some of its flat land to park the trailer for the build. While they handled the bulk of work themselves, they had some help.
A roofer, who is also a friend, laid the roof. Some suppliers including Hunters and Konstruhkt Industries provided timber and spray foam insulation respectively at cost or for free.
Some friends gave their labour at times and Riedel’s dad was also \very hands-on, particularly with the heavy jobs. All that help enabled the couple to keep the cost to about $50,000 including the purchase of a Land Rover Discovery to pull their tiny house.
5. RAGLAN TINY HOUSE
This one was a George Clarke favourite – and at 35 square metres, it’s a little bigger than most tiny houses, but Jacson and Dominique Kluts and their two children are all squeezed in there.
This is a couple who wouldn’t compromise where it mattered. Sure, they have compromised space in opting for a 35 square-metre tiny house in the first place. But a smaller house means fewer materials, so they could afford to spend a little more on good-quality materials, fixtures and fittings.
And what’s not to like? The living area is light and airy, and doesn’t seem cramped with three adults inside. There’s a ladder up to the loft bedroom, which also has a ceiling high enough for Clarke to stand up easily. Once up there, it’s an easy climb out onto the roof deck and spectacular views.
The kitchen is compact, but there’s a vertical pantry and storage within every nook and cranny. Dom’s decision to used different veneers on the overhead cabinets is a quirky touch that works.
6. TINY HOUSE RED ZONE
Kyle Sutherland, a professional in his 20s who shares his 17 square-meter tiny house with his partner, believes tiny houses are an ideal solution for Christchurch’s red zone, and a perfect choice for retirees.
“The land may not be suitable in 20, 30 or 50 years time due to sea level rise, climate change or even future potential earthquakes,” he said. “We see our model of housing as perfect for the red zone, because it doesn’t require foundations, it’s very low impact and it’s an affordable option.”
Sutherland said the size of tiny houses, which were generally less than 25 square metres, meant little land was required to establish a community. His house is just 17 square metres.
He said he was attracted to the idea of a tiny house after struggling to find affordable options elsewhere in the city. “Because of how unaffordable housing is in New Zealand, Kiwis are finding ways to get around the crisis and find their own solutions,” he said.
“For the cost of a deposit on a house, people can buy or build a tiny house – which enables so much more in terms of living.”
The house, which also has a 6 square-metre loft sleeping space, was powered by four solar panels and featured a compost toilet.