Big ideas for SMALL SPACES
The worldwide tiny house movement not only provides many smart ideas for small abodes but also offers options for great holiday homes and creative retreats, writes ERINA STARKEY
Size isn’t everything, as anyone who owns a tiny house will tell you. In a country where our homes are among the biggest and most expensive in the world, many have found happiness and financial freedom by simply readjusting the scale.
One such person is Darren Hughes, founder of Facebook group Tiny Houses Australia and proud owner of a tiny house of 22.5sqm, which “fits” four people.
“In the lead-up to moving in, my wife and I spent a year living in a 5m-long vintage caravan to test out whether we could in fact live tiny and not want to kill each other in the process,” he says.
While living in such close quarters can certainly pose a challenge, there are many advantages that come with living the tiny life.
“Affordability is probably the biggest drawcard it offers,” Darren says.
With a large number of young people effectively locked out of the housing market, tiny houses present an opportunity to get a foot on the stepladder.
“Depending on how much of the work you do yourself versus how much you contract out, a tiny house can cost anywhere from $15,000 to $80,000, a far cry from the $695,000 average house price that Australians are now facing,” Darren says.
Substantial savings also extend across energy costs, plus you will spend less on homewares, simply because you’ll have nowhere to put them.
“Part of the appeal of the tiny house movement is the minimalist lifestyle,” Darren says. “It’s a chance to shed all the things that you’ve never used or don’t really need, while having time and money for the things that really matter.”
More than just an affordable housing solution, many are drawn by the idea of simplifying their life and minimising their environmental footprint.
“There is a shift happening and many people are starting to question what life is really about. When they see a high-quality, well-designed tiny house and step inside, they soon realise that they could actually live in such a space,” Darren says.
“For those actually doing this, it is not a case of them ‘settling’, this isn’t a last resort.
“This is a conscious decision that people are taking, for a life they want to lead.”
While Darren believes that there could be as many as 50 tiny homes in construction around the country, he anticipates we’re going to see a lot more in the future.