Sim­ply happy in wheely tiny house

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS - By RAN­DALL WALKER

A 10sqm house cost­ing less than $10,000 and built in Paekakariki is billed as a model for low-cost hous­ing.

Aus­tralian d’Arcy Lunn says he has al­ready at­tracted the in­ter­est of Welling­ton Mayor Celia WadeBrown, among oth­ers, for his project, dubbed Happy Sim­ply.

The tim­ber and ply­wood house was con­structed within a month, in­clud­ing de­sign, from mainly do­nated ma­te­rial, on a boat trailer at the Tilley Rd end of Queen Elizabeth Park.

Mr Lunn, of Ade­laide, said he has worked, vol­un­teered and taught around the world for the past 12 years. A school teacher by trade, he works for ed­u­ca­tional and cam­paign­ing or­gan­i­sa­tion Global Poverty Project, which aims to help end ex­treme poverty.

‘‘In my free time I really en­joy . . . not so much look­ing at how we can sup­port those in de­vel­op­ing coun­tries but how we can learn from peo­ple in de­vel­op­ing coun­tries. They’re forced into sim­plic­ity, but it’s a pretty amaz­ing way to live when you’re more con­nected to your com­mu­nity, your fam­ily, your en­vi­ron­ment.

‘‘The idea of Happy Sim­ply is to live more life with less. It’s a holis­tic life­style model and the house is just one com­po­nent of that.’’

The house he and a team of vol­un­teers are build­ing will be ‘‘off grid’’, cre­at­ing its own elec­tric­ity, col­lect­ing rain­wa­ter and with a com­post toi­let. It will be fully in­su­lated and have a ‘‘ goretex coat’’ be­tween the frame and cladding for wa­ter­proof­ing. He will cook on a gas stove and is on the look­out for a wood­burner.

The house will have just one room with a loft for sleep­ing. ‘‘I’ve lived in coun­tries where you’d fit 10 peo­ple in a house that size . . . they lay the mats down by night,’’ said Mr Lunn.

He ad­mit­ted not ev­ery­one could live in a house so small, but said the idea was for peo­ple to take ideas from the project.

Span­ish de­signer Javier Car­rasco, who is teach­ing mud brick home build­ing in Tu­rangi, is lead­ing the con­struc­tion.

De­sign work started on Wai­tangi Day and the build was to fin­ish last week.

Mr Car­rasco said the project had been chal­leng­ing, par­tic­u­larly get­ting the foun­da­tion level on the trailer, and sourc­ing the ma­te­ri­als in the time­frame.

The house will be four me­tres long by 2.4m wide, and from ground to high point stand at 4.2m, just un­der the max­i­mum al­lowed.

A team of up to 10 had been work­ing on the project.

Among the crew was Paekakariki’s Daniel McClel­lan, an ap­pren­tice builder who lost his job this month in the Mainzeal col­lapse.

‘‘I’m really in­ter­ested in small houses and af­ford­able liv­ing,’’ he said, adding he be­lieved the project had po­ten­tial.

Mr Lunn first came to New Zealand in 2009 and ‘‘fell in love with the coun­try’’, par­tic­u­larly Paekakariki, say­ing it was the one place he could con­sider set­tling down.

He said the Paekakariki com- mu­nity had been dur­ing the project.

The busi­ness com­mu­nity and other or­gan­i­sa­tions had also helped him by do­nat­ing ma­te­ri­als, mean­ing the house was cost­ing him less than $10,000, in­clud­ing koha for those build­ing it.

The boat trailer, bought from Trade Me from an Up­per Hutt man for $ 900, was the most ex­pen­sive item, he said.

Tim Bishop, from Sus­tain­able Habi­tat Chal­lenge, which teams engi­neers, ar­chi­tects and builders with groups want­ing to build af­ford­able, sus­tain­able hous­ing, was also in­volved.

He be­lieved there was a ‘‘real need’’ for peo­ple to find ways to live in more af­ford­able homes, and, rather than be­ing tied to a mort­gage for 30 years, have more money for what they ‘‘really want to do’’.

Mr Lunn plans to live in the house un­til April when he has to travel again, and hopes it can be used by some­one in the com­mu­nity un­til he re­turns in De­cem­ber.

Be­ing on a trailer it was trans­portable, he said.


Happy builders: D’Arcy Lunn, cen­tre, and vol­un­teers build a house on the back of a boat trailer in Paekakariki.

Match­box house: What the fin­ished home will look like with win­dows and a ranch­slider door.

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