A Tiny House in Australia

by Kent Griswold on October 24th, 2008. 28 Comments
Share on FacebookShare on Google+Pin on PinterestTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedIn

Update added two new photos

David Bell from Australia has posted his story about his little house over at our Tiny House Forum. I know not everyone gets over to the forum so I ask David to let me share his pictures and story here. I’ll let David tell you “the rest of the story.”

Hi from my tiny 100sq ft house in Birchip, Victoria, Australia. My house is L shaped with a total floor area of less than 100 sq ft (10sq meters). Above the main arm of the L shape is a mezzanine floor where I sleep. The smaller arm of the L shape is my little kitchenette and it is open to the ceiling above. I can roll over in my bed and see what is cooking down below.

North side (sunny side) view showing solar panel and rainwater tank

I started off with the idea of an L shaped building because I like having a little space off the side. I limited the size of the building to less than 100 sq ft because anything larger would have required a council building permit.

Through careful planning of my building I find that I can fit all my treasures (books, DVDs, and works of art) and still have room to relax.
The secret of living comfortably in such a small space is to have a recliner chair where I can lie back and dream, or sleep, or watch my movies.

The house has a single 85 watt solar panel, which powers my lights and radio, and charges up my mobile phone.

View of wind driven fan which cools my sleeping area in the roof.

I live in a very hot part of a very hot country so I was extremely conscious of heating and cooling issues (cooling moreso than heating.) I designed a series of vents that encourage drafts to flow through the house on hot days. One of these vents is just above my bed and includes a wind driven roof fan. I also invested in double glazed windows to maintain heat retention.

I live on a half acre of land which cost me $7500 Australian (This when a block of land in Melbourne or any other big city is at least $100,000.) I built the tiny house myself, including the plastering and tiling, the electrical installation and the plumbing and all up it cost me about $10,000. So my total investment in a truly lovely little home is less than $20,000. Yet the people who think the city is great are paying at least $300,000 for a home and spending their whole lives attempting to pay for it.

Eastern view showing even tinier shed near house, colour coordinated of course.

The credit crunch matters little to me. I live like a free man in a tiny house which I built with my own hands and which costs nothing in terms of bills (electricity, water etc).

My inspiration for this way of life was Henry David Thoreau who in his classic book “Walden” pointed out how senseless is the life that is burdened by large houses, and large debts, and has little time to appreciate the natural world that is all around us.

A tiny house is the first step to escaping the charge that “The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.”

Ladder leading to my bedroom is near the door.

Yes, the inside is brightly coloured. My inspiration for this was the movie “Frida” about the life of the Mexican artist (and wife of Diego Rivera) Frida Kalo. I loved the fact that her house and garden were so vivid. I intend to create a similar palette of celebration here in the sunburnt country. I love vivid colours and hope to turn my whole property into an explosion of colour which is a celebration of life.

Living Area

Note the electrical nerve centre near the kitchenette (which is yet to be painted)

If you enjoyed this post, subscribe to our feed

October 24th, 2008and filed in Stick Built
Tags: Stick Built
28 Comments

28 Responses to “A Tiny House in Australia”

  1. Very nice design – I’m working on a 400 square foot home for a family of four- I’ll post drawings and details on my site: Offgrid-Living.com – I’ve come up with an exterior wall design (double insulation) where the home does not require any heating and cooling. I’ve also added a post and link to your excellent blog.

  2. Carla Evans says:

    Where’s the bathroom?

  3. kit homes says:

    Hi there, What council do you live in? Unfortunately our council requires permits for anything over 10sq metres…

  4. Denis says:

    Cool! I like it. I wanna built something like this.
    David, can you post here more photo? I.e. living room from other angles?

  5. [...] your goal, so there are plenty of resources for this sort of thing. Have you seen Earthships or this post on Tiny House Blog? Somewhere I saw that a few states still have some form of homestead program going, where they [...]

  6. if you have a black,white and copper in the switch then the switch is poweredin the light so you can unhook the wire going to the switch and not use it. it will be dead when you unhook it from where the light is. then hook what wires are left up to the supply terminals and then you can use your pull chain. hope this was helpful

  7. Mo Skba says:

    It would be nice if more municipalities could figure out a way to allow for the style of living you are doing. Well done.

  8. Me'chelle says:

    Awesome house, it’s rather lovely and I’m glad to see you are enjoying it.

    Not many people can do much with that little amount of square feet.

    I’ve been wanting to see this house finished for some time.

    I hope to have something as good as this.

    Good job!

    Where I live you need a permit for any size building unless if it is mobile.

  9. Kate says:

    This has got to be the best thing I have ever seen. I can’t believe you built it yourself! Your philosophy is very sound: why stress over paying for something you don’t want when you have so beautifully demonstrated that you can live comfortably – no, zestfully – with all your treasures and conveniences at such a low cost? I would love to see more pictures if you are able. You have inspired me to move in the same direction.

  10. David says:

    I am the builder and occupant of this home. Now unemployed I am so glad that I live this life of simplicity. I don’t pay bills (except rates) and I grow much of my own food. Most of all I love my little home, particularly in a storm. I am forever tinkering with it, improving this or that and trying to make it as livable as possible. My only regret is that I did not put more power points around the building, both 12V and 240V before doing the plastering. If you want to write to me my email is david@biggles.com.au

  11. uppitywoman says:

    Fantastic to see tiny a tiny house here in Australia, good on you David!

  12. Edward James says:

    David Bell I Love it and the most interesting is the council telling you how tiny it needed to be to not attract their attention. i wonder how council will adopt me when I visit them in the Severn Shire NSW Cheers Edward James

  13. frogga says:

    this looks like the future of small enviro community living. buy a chunk of land in the country build a bunch of tiny houses have a community garden and maybe some livestock and your set (oh and a good internet connection).

  14. Plan says:

    a pic of the floor plans would be great :D

  15. nax says:

    From japan.
    I’m planning 9.9sq meter house.
    How about drane especially showering or bathromm of?

  16. Greetings, Kent. Homes which are ‘as small as they can reasonably be’ will almost certainly be the ‘survivors’ several decades into the future. These tiny homes have very low running, maintenance, repair and depreciation costs and rate very highly in terms of practicability, utility, durability and functionality. They are truly ‘green’ as their ‘embodied energy’is small.

  17. Kylie says:

    Great stuff, I am also in Australia and quite close to Birchip and would love to contact David as we are embarking on our own tiny house build. How can I get in touch?

  18. David says:

    Kylie you can email me at david@biggles.com.au

  19. christina says:

    Wish I could build one

  20. Karen D says:

    Hi there What a beaut house. I wonder how it could be linked to another small house? Would it be possible to do co-housing of small houses? Well done. I’ve bought into an Eco-Neighbourhood in Bega, BEND for short. I’d like to build a couple of tiny houses on a block with a width of only 12m. The families on either side of me are building eco-McMansions and are using all of their building envelope but I’d rather spend my money on the water tank, composting toilet, solar panels, wind turbine and suchlike. Looking forward to seeing your place for real. Thanks muchly, Karen D

  21. David says:

    Hi Karen. The smaller the house the bigger the garden. I have enough garden space on my half acre to have a date palm plantation with a projected income of at least $100 a week in the not so distant future.
    I am then thinking of weaving a mud brick domed vaulted house around these trees, but not too big. Only because I love these kind of houses which you will find at http://www.lavoutenubienne.org

  22. David says:

    Hi everyone.
    With a gentle push from my local council who were concerned about a lack of certain facilities I am now starting on a new tiny house on my block. My current house is 10 sq metres and the new house will be about 25 sq metres. My local council is to be congratulated for allowing tiny houses. It must be one of the only shires in Victoria which does not have a minimum house size regulation. I would therefore encourage all lovers of tiny houses to move to the shire of Buloke in the Malle region of Victoria.

    • EatPrayLove says:

      Ah the Shire of Buloke deserves a medal as do you for the ‘gentle push’ to get them on board!I am building a list now of ‘ pro tiny’ shires so my options are clear or of course I could gently push for a new one!

      Happy Days

  23. EatPrayLove says:

    How happy I am to see the tiny house movement in reality and with so much expression of a love of life! Currently I am living in a converted motel room – 12 feet by 20 feet with a 15foot high lined gable roof and already I have picked up on the joys of simplifying everything! Like others I am now on serious mission to get started!

    My volunteer labour is available in return for the learning I would gain if anyone else in the tiny house zone would like a hand with a project. I can organise temporary shelter, have my own transport as well the time and enthusiasm for a short stay.

    First of all, like some others I am very interested in the councils that allow this kind of off grid, sustainable and imaginative approach to housing! I am in Victoria and looking to buy a ‘small’ piece of land possibly big enough to share with one or two other like minded thinkers.

  24. Hen Weder says:

    Love this post and the whole idea of a tiny house movement. I’ve been trying to pay off a mortgage (not the same one) all my life and I’m close to 60 and still don’t own my house. I wish I could build a house like yours David.

Add Your Photo: To add your photo to your comments just visit Gravatar and upload your photo.

Leave a Reply