Whether its to save money, re­duce im­pact on the en­vi­ron­ment or sim­ply avoid com­mit­ment, some peo­ple are choos­ing to “live tiny”

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - TV - NEALA JOHN­SON

Size, says An­drew Win­ter, really does mat­ter. The Queens­land­based property ex­pert, who moved to Aus­tralia from Eng­land with his fam­ily 11 years ago, reck­ons his new show Tiny House Aus­tralia is a barom­e­ter of a chang­ing Aus­tralian property mar­ket.

“If you’re a house ad­dict, it’s fas­ci­nat­ing. We all wanted three bed­rooms, one bath­room, a quar­ter of an acre. Now we want four bed­rooms, two bath­rooms, 600 square me­tres and a dou­ble garage.

“But this is the start of some­thing else ... it’s the start of Aus­tralia con­sid­er­ing more compact hous­ing, ba­si­cally.”

Tiny House Aus­tralia also serves as a barom­e­ter of the de­mand to see more of the stars of Fox­tel’s high­est-rat­ing se­ries, Sell­ing Houses Aus­tralia.

Add Win­ter’s new ef­fort to gar­dener Char­lie Al­bone’s Chelsea Gar­dens spe­cials and de­signer Shaynna Blaze’s World of De­sign spe­cials and makeover se­ries Dead­line De­sign (which will pre­miere in 2016), and all three of the team have now had solo TV shows.

“Let’s be hon­est, they’d be noth­ing with­out me,” Win­ter jokes. “But really, real es­tate is not as sexy as de­sign, so I’m de­lighted to have done this. Be­cause, in fact, this (tiny homes) is one el­e­ment of the mar­ket I know quite a lot about and have a real in­ter­est in.

“I’m just hop­ing that lots of peo­ple watch so that we get a chance to do it again and I get a bit more in­volve­ment. I don’t think any­body re­alised I was that in­ter­ested in it.”

Win­ter is re­fer­ring to the fact that, though filmed by a lo­cal crew, the sto­ries in Tiny House Aus­tralia were ac­tu­ally made by US net­work A&E for their se­ries Tiny House Na­tion. Win­ter was a late ad­di­tion to give THA some lo­cal flavour and ex­per­tise.

Win­ter laughs that he and the Life­style chan­nels team “ba­si­cally com­pletely ig­nored” the US script that came with the footage “be­cause peo­ple didn’t live ‘be­side the bush’ they lived ‘in the woods’.”

And who­ever the host of the US version is, there’s no way he’d be able to out-quip our Winty. (Al­though, says Win­ter, “he’s prob­a­bly much bet­ter look­ing. Pos­si­bly not browner, but cer­tainly more toned”.)

Sam­ple Winty quote over footage of a tree-change couple milk­ing a cow: “I pre­fer my milk from plas­tic bot­tles.”

The se­ries fol­lows peo­ple look­ing to buy small, al­ter­na­tive hous­ing for dif­fer­ing rea­sons. One young couple spent years trav­el­ling Aus­tralia in a bus and want to recre­ate that vibe in their first tiny, and pos­si­bly still por­ta­ble, home to­gether.

“Lit­er­ally mo­bile,” mar­vels Win­ter. “I would say that’s tak­ing it a bit too far from me. I’d like to come home, not have it mov­ing around the coun­try. And did you see the one where they don’t have a kitchen and bath­room? No. No. That’s not for me. That’s why I wish I’d met them, be­cause I’d have said, ‘Stop it!’”

In an­other episode, a wife wants to have less im­pact on the en­vi­ron­ment while her hus­band just wants to save cash.

“Peo­ple au­to­mat­i­cally think liv­ing tiny will save money, but it also very clearly emerges that it’s very much a life­style choice,” says Win­ter.

In­deed, there’s as many choices in the tiny sec­tor (from bush shacks to con­tainer homes) as there are rea­sons to go small. For many young peo­ple, it might be the only af­ford­able op­tion in our high­priced cities. Oth­ers don’t want the pres­sure or com­mit­ment. For older cou­ples, it could be about liv­ing mort­gage-free and leav­ing some­thing be­hind for the kids.

An­drew Win­ter (cen­tre) has joined Char­lie Al­bone and Shaynna Blaze in fronting a solo show.

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