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

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - HOME -

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.

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