We’re Going Tiny!

Kia Ora, I have exciting news! Some of you observant friends and followers may have already noticed what I’m planning, especially as I keep sharing posts like these…

I just wanted to let you all know that I’m going to be super busy over the next few months. I’m currently working fulltime for the Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand’s election campaign, and as this is something I’m passionate about, I am putting a lot of my energy in to it. The second reason I’ll be super busy is… My partner and I are building a tiny house! I’ll try my best to post regular updates on the build process as well as the usual waste related blogs.

What is a tiny house?

If you aren’t familiar with tiny houses, they are small houses that are (usually) on a trailer, called a Tiny House On Wheels (THOW). The tiny house movement is very popular in the USA and NZ. Typical housing in NZ is old, cold wooden houses, or new, huge, brick houses. We are currently flatting in a massive 100-year-old house, our bedroom space is larger than our tiny house will be (our house pictured above; photo: Sophia Brown). I’ve been interested in tiny houses for years, at first thinking they were too extreme but slowly starting to realise it was something I could see myself living in. Our tiny house will be 7.2m long by 2.5m wide and 4.25m tall (from the ground)! 

Brainstorming our answer to the #aucklandhousingcrisis. #tinyhouse #planning #ecohome

A post shared by Callan Auger (@callan.a) on

Why a tiny house?

Auckland’s housing market is not in a good way. Not only are houses really expensive and hard to buy, but the rental market is also atrocious. Our massive rental house is cold and damp. We are lucky that it is reasonably affordable because the landlords are considerate enough not to put up our rent as the roof continues to leak. We looked briefly at buying in Auckland, but decided it wasn’t for us. 1) we can’t afford anything decent, 2) we’re not wanting a mortgage, 3) we don’t even want to stay living in Auckland long-term. What we wanted was something warm, dry and small that we could call our own. I have lived in approx 23 houses (I’ve lost count), so perhaps you could understand why I want a place of my own.

Callan & I have been discussing building a THOW for quite some time now. I’ve been extensively researching tiny homes for at least a year now, having read every tiny house book Auckland Libraries has (and have even had some on hold for months as the wait list is so long). I have scoured the internet for tiny house blogs and videos. These are some of my favourite tiny house tours (and all from my favourite YouTube channel):

This year we have visited quite a few tiny houses. The first tiny house we saw in person was actually a fluke. My other half & I were driving down a random dirt road to our WWOOF host in Raglan, I was reading a tiny house book and looked out the window and spotted a tiny house under construction! We spoke to the builder and owners and had a wander around the house.  I’ve been following the builder’s Instagram for updates (it’s nearly finished now).

I visited the Mitre 10 tiny house, with my fellow zero waste friend Candace, and saw George Clarke there too of course. The same weekend another Auckland couple did an ‘open home’ of their very tiny house, PIP.

            

I then hit up the wonderful Kate & Willem of Building Tiny Auckland on Instagram who kindly showed myself & my friends their tiny build which was still in progress. This is one of my favourite tiny houses, as the layout is really similar to our plans. We had 6 people inside chatting and the space did not feel small at all (with the couch, stairs and kitchen in place too).

We went WWOOFing to work on a tiny house in Hamilton. The guy building it, Everett, is an apprentice builder and is building for himself. Everett took the time to explain a lot to us, so it was a really valuable experience and we are still in contact with him.

Spent the long weekend with @callan.a weatherboarding and staying in this big tiny house! #wwoofing #tinyhouse

A post shared by Amanda in Waste Free Land (@chamandarino) on

A friend recently put us in touch with a couple who were underway with their tiny house build. We got in touch and visited their build, where we spent a solid few hours picking their brain. They had been building for about a year but had done the whole things themselves, and on the cheap using mostly reclaimed materials.

tiny house on wheels

Ben and Katie’s Tiny House (Render courtesy of Ben Masterton)

We also went to a Tiny House meetup, which I spotted about an hour and a half before it was due to start! There were about 14 other people there, but we only spoke to about 5 of them. The tiny house community in NZ is growing, and there are now a number of Facebook groups and other resources available, which will make the process easier for us. The main Facebook group, NZ Tiny House Community, has over 4000 members at the time of writing. It’s amazing how much the Tiny House movement is booming in NZ at the moment, so many people I know are aware of THOW’s and either want to build one themselves or know someone building one! 

I’ll write another blog post soon about our tiny house plans. At the moment we are still drawing up the plans and we are picking up our custom-built trailer very soon (it’s already been registered!). In the meantime, if you are wanting more info/resources on tiny houses in NZ I’ll drop some links below…

For more info on Tiny Houses (NZ):

P.S if you are an avid reader like I am, please add me on Goodreads, I’m always looking for more book suggestions! And of course make use of your local library, I always have a heap of books out and on hold.

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  12Comments

  1. Sarah   •  

    Congratulations! I’m looking forward to following along with your progress.

  2. Kate van den Bergh   •  

    YAY!! This is so exciting guys! Cant wait to see you and Callan start your build! I’m sure you will build an amazing home xx

    • Amanda Chapman   •     Author

      Thanks Kate, and thanks for your help so far! We are very excited but mainly nervous eeek!

      • Rose   •  

        Sounds like an adventure

  3. Candace Weir   •  

    Soooo exciting!!! Cant wait to visit your home x

    • Amanda Chapman   •     Author

      That’s a long while a way, I also can’t wait for that haha!

  4. Carina Pereira   •  

    This is wonderful! If these tiny houses are well thought out they can store a lot of stuff in a small space and have furniture that adapts to what you need! Congrats on the decision, can’t wait to follow you on this journey! 😀

    • Amanda Chapman   •     Author

      Thank you Carina! I totally agree, it’s all about effective use of space!

  5. Rach @ The Green Lips   •  

    Congratulations on your tiny house plans! I look forward to seeing how it progresses. I know it’s early days but do you have any thoughts yet on where you’ll park up once it’s built? (I’m curious since vacant land in Auckland seems to be almost as expensive as housing!)

    It’s also great to hear you’re helping out on the Greens campaign – keep up the good work!

    • Amanda Chapman   •     Author

      Thanks heaps Rach! Not sure where we are going to it just yet, hoping to rent someone’s large yard perhaps!

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