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Tiny house from New Zealand is actually almost tiny

After years of tiny house bloat, it is nice to see a minimalist design that gets back to the essentials.

When you look back at the history of tiny houses, they were…. tiny. They could fit in a parking space. Then we got tiny house bloat, where they got longer, higher and heavier, squeezing in full-sized appliances and multiple lofts and weren’t really very tiny at all, like this one in Australia.

Build tiny camper plan© Build Tiny/ main level plan

That’s why I was so intrigued by this design from Build Tiny, a New Zealand company. It’s only 5 meters (~16′-5″) long, and weighs only 2838 kg (~6250 lbs). It doesn’t have any lofts so it’s only 3.5 m (11′-6″) high. This would be easy to move and could be towed behind almost anything.

Interior of unit© Build Tiny

What it does have is everything you really need to live comfortably with, although the designers say, “You’ll need the mindset of a minimalist to live in this home full-time.” But then, that’s what tiny house living was about. When Jay Shafer pretty much invented the Tiny House 20 years ago, he called this kind of thinking “subtractive design“: getting rid of everything that isn’t truly essential.

Build Tiny Kitchen© Build Tiny/ Kitchen

And this tiny house has all of the essentials. The kitchen has a two-burner cooktop, which is all most people need, a little dishwasher and a little fridge. This is becoming almost standard in apartments twice or three times the size of this tiny home.

build tiny bathroom© Build Tiny/ Bathroom

The bathroom has a composting toilet and a separate comfortably sized stall shower.

bunkbed in down position© Build Tiny/ Bunkbed in lower position

But the killer app that makes this really work (and makes it expensive) is the cantilevered counterweighted bed that drops down from the ceiling. It comes down low enough that one can climb in easily, it has a great view through the window, and you don’t fry or bang your head in a silly loft.

It’s an approach that many in Europe take with Clei beds, (or Resource Furniture in North America) where real estate is so expensive and apartments so small that expensive transformer furniture makes sense; it is cheaper than another room.

bunk configuration© Build Tiny/ bunkbed configuration

You could do without the magic bed and just use the convertible sofa that is also there (and probably save a lot of money), but that is more work and less comfort. It is shown below the cantilevered bed in bunk setup.

Build Tiny exterior of unit© Build Tiny

I also like the minimalist, maintenance-free steel exterior, basic and straightforward.

Steel frame and cantilevered bed© Build Tiny/ steel Frame and cantilevered bed

With its fancy steel frame and cantilevered bed, this is not exactly getting back to the cheap and cheerful roots of the tiny house movement. But it gets the basics right: keep it small, keep it easy to move, provide everything you need to live in a small, efficient space. A fine example of “subtractive design.”

After years of tiny house bloat, it is nice to see a minimalist design that gets back to the essentials.


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