Thanks to rising house costs, the Aussie dream of owning a three-bedroom home in the ‘burbs is out of reach for many. But now, the antidote to McMansions has arrived – and it proves that great things really do come in small packages.
For some, living in a house smaller than the average living room is akin to living in urban purgatory. But for others it’s a dream home – and before you call them crazy, imagine a life with no mortgage, no rent, barely any cleaning, and banishing clutter for good.
Recycled material builder James Galletly of The Upcyclist, who collaborated with The Bower Reuse and Repair Centre, wants to expose people to the possibilities in building with salvaged materials, and to open minds to alternate living options and simply living with less.
Plus, dont miss out on our brand new series, Tiny House Nation, on LifeStyle HOME!
James states that "tiny houses are a very powerful tool in allowing people to exit the cycle of perpetual home rental or long-term mortgage debt. Release that financial pressure and the possibilities of how you can spend your time really opens up."
Financial freedom isn’t the only benefit. “Living in a tiny house involves having minimal material possessions and a high degree of interaction with the outside world,” says James. “A desire for financial freedom, limited possessions and an outwardly focused lifestyle are all traits of an ideal tiny houser.”
It’s nothing new – in fact, Australia has some catching up to do. The tiny trend took hold in the States in the 70s – but it wasn’t until they were used to house the victims of Hurricane Katrina that they attracted large-scale media attention. Fuelled by the financial crisis of 2007, the popularity of tiny house continued to grow – and now, they are seen as viable alternative to traditional housing in Japan, Spain, England, Germany and Russia.
Based on functionality with nearly every item multi-purpose, space-saving solutions and innovation are at the heart of tiny house design. “Most furnishings are built to fold away, pack down or be utilised as additional storage space,” says James. “Sleeping lofts are a common option. Kitchens are often basic. Bathrooms are often ‘a wet bath’, (you close the door and everything gets wet). Toilets are often composting. Small wardrobes are generally the go. Carefully considered windows and natural light are utilised to make the home feel more expansive.”
It’s worth noting that Australia has certain regulations, something that James has discovered in the process of building his own tiny house. “The reason people started to build tiny houses on wheels was to get around certain regulations. They worked out by being on wheels it could be classified as a temporary structure, not a home, and exempt from certain restrictions."
Here, in Australia if you do plan to build a tiny house on wheels you need to comply with the road rules for a trailer, which include weight restrictions, size limits and lighting provisions.
"Tiny houses are not for everyone, but the freedom they offer and the lifestyle they provide can really allow some people to thrive, along with tremendously reducing their environmental impact."
Photos by Alicia Fox Photography
Could you live in a tiny house? Let us know by commenting below!
Don't miss TINY HOUSE NATION Thursdays at 9.30pm starting January 20 - only on LifeStyle HOME.