BUILDING OUR FIRST TINY HOUSE
We at In2thwild have just completed our very first Tiny House build. You’ll get an opportunity to see it at the 2017 Living Smart Festival this year in September. If you’re thinking about building a Tiny House of your own, we've put together some insights from our experience in planning, designing and building a tiny house.
Firstly, you need to know how much space you think you will need. This sounds obvious, it’s a Tiny House, but you really do need to think this through. For us it was relatively simple, our Tiny Houses are used for short stay accommodation in rural locations (shameless plug… check out In2thewild.com.au if you want a bit more info about us), so we focused on making the Tiny House feel as open as possible whilst having a small amount of storage for useful items on short stays. We tried to achieve an open feel by adding more windows to our design with a minimal feel to the interior. Make sure you consider what you need day to day, whether that’s a space to cook, to chill, or to work/study - it all has to flow and give you enough space to move around.
We highly recommend working with a designer. We at In2thwild are all novices when it comes to building a Tiny Home so partnering with a great designer really helped us (Grant at Designer Eco Tiny Homes was a wealth of knowledge for us and super easy to work with. If you’re planning on building a Tiny House check him out http://designerecohomes.com.au). It keeps your ideas in the right frame of mind because it’s certainly not like building a normal house. Everything needs to fit in a small space but still have enough open areas to ensure you can relax in your cool little space.
There are so many decisions you need to make: size, (from square meterage to height, loft/no loft… we recommend a loft as it leaves so much room for activities!), materials for the outside (strong enough to sustain harsh weather but still keeping a great look as it’s the first impression). Then there are indoor fittings (storage and space are like yin and yang, just make sure you have enough of both).
Off Grid Technology
Once you have your Tiny House design it’s time to start thinking Living Smart… this is where the fun begins. Our journey took us to a place where we wanted a completely off-grid offering. Working out your power needs can be a real challenge; the AC/DC decision can put you on a highway to hell if you’re not an electrician. Working out how many amps you need in your battery to run your electrics is crucial so you can get the right sized batteries and enough solar panels to charge it. Most simple appliances have information on the amperage so it’s not too difficult, its putting it all together that is the difficult part. Your builder can help work all this out but it’s really your call as to how much power you think you’ll need so think lights, fridge, power points and water pumps as a start. If you are off-grid we recommend keeping your appliances to 12V DC as most solar runs on 12V.
Water is the next challenge, for us in our Tiny House location a source of water is difficult, if you are able to connect to mains you’ll be fine, but we are in off-grid locations where water sources can be limited. We are trying to keep to only a few hundred litres per day (a water saving shower head expends 7 litres per minute so keep that in mind when getting your water needs worked out). Depending on your design you may be able to get some rain water off the roof, but it’s a good idea to have some spare as there is no way your (tiny) Tiny House roof will capture enough to keep you going all year round.
Now we get down to (the dirty) business… composting toilets. There is a heap out there but we went with the team at Ecoflo. They were super friendly and so much help in choosing our composting toilet. If you can plug into mains you're probably OK, but composting toilets are the way to go if you’re planning on Living Smart.
In the kitchen think simple design and simple appliances. You can always use the great outdoors and set up a camp oven if you’re in the bush. Just have enough to boil a kettle, keep your food cold and you should be pretty sweet.
If you partner with a great builder you’ve probably got to a point where you can put your feet up, twiddle your thumbs now and wait a short while for them to do their magic. Our builder took a couple of months to build our Tiny House so it wasn’t long at all and we are super excited to show you what it looks like at the Living Smart Festival coming up soon.