This stylish and energy efficient 10×10 foot micro home from NOMAD in British Columbia comes as a flat-pack micro cottage that can be assembled in just a few days. The NOMAD can also be customized to include a wet bath and appliances or no bathroom or appliances at all if you want to save some money. No matter what you choose, this cottage will still run you under $30,000.
The micro home was designed and developed by Ian Lorne Kent who has been designing family and commercial developments for more than 35 years. His dream with the NOMAD was to create an efficient and cozy home with a minimal impact on space and the environment. He also wanted it to feel open and airy with the use of large windows. The NOMAD Live version includes a kitchen with a propane stove, fridge and sink next to a small living area and a bathroom. His innovative staircase curves around the kitchen and leads to a loft bed and closet area that floats above the main room. The NOMAD Space includes the same space but without a bathroom or appliances. The Live is $28,000 and the Space is $25,000 and both versions are designed to be on-or off-grid.
Both electrical (12V) and plumbing systems come with the delivered materials. The entire structure is built with metal structural insulated panels with an R-12 rating and a roof and floor with an R-24 rating. The exterior is galvanized metal siding and the interior walls are pre-finished metal panels. Add-ons include stair drawers for extra storage, a surrounding deck, a sliding sun shade and solar power, gray water and rain water collection systems. The NOMAD can be shipped worldwide and can be assembled or disassembled by two people with some handyman skills.
Photos by NOMAD Micro Home
One of my favorite tiny house pre-fab design companies, Cabin Fever, is having a Black Friday sale on their stylish Zip Classic cabin. The Zip is a 120 square foot one-room structure that normally costs $12,500, but is being sold November 23-29, 2013 for only $9,900. The Zip building package comes delivered complete with everything required to build a tiny space.
The insulated wall sections of this cabin come assembled and are easy to bolt together with a few helpers. The building includes a raised foundation with steel brackets and 3/4 inch plywood floors, a 8 foot wide glass sliding door and two windows, 3 inch insulated roof panels with trim and solid wood beams on metal columns, wood paneled interior walls and vinyl tile floors and all the hardware necessary to put the house together. The Zip also has a 12×16 ft front porch made with 1×6 inch planks.
The Zip falls into the category of tiny homes that are permit exempt in most localities and this tiny building can be turned into a guest house, artist studio, yoga room or full-time tiny home. Multiple Zips can also be placed next to each other to create a larger dwelling.
Photos by Cabin Fever
You wouldn’t normally think of a 5th wheel trailer as a tiny house, but when I was invited over to Matt and Kathleen’s Forest River Cardinal trailer which is parked behind a friend’s home, I was astounded at how cozy and “house-like” it felt. The couple, who downsized from their home in Seattle to this 30-foot trailer about a year ago, have turned it into a little mobile retreat.
A few years ago, a trip to India opened the couple’s eyes to an alternative way of life and they decided to sell their home in Seattle and most of their belongings. Kathleen said they were both “ready for wheels on a house” and wanted more time for themselves and each other. Matt works as a freelance multimedia designer and Kathleen is an acupuncturist, so their jobs can go on the road with them. Their cats, Mojo and Chloe, also travel along with them and seem to love their new, sunny home.
The couple’s travels have taken them to several RV parks and campgrounds in the West and they spent last winter on a relative’s ranch in Arizona. They currently live in the large acreage behind a friend’s home and pay $500 a month which includes their utilities and Internet access. Since this winter will be colder than the one in Arizona, the 10,500 lb trailer has currently been fitted with a plywood skirt to protect the tanks and pumps. Matt mentioned that the skirting keeps the bay and bottom of the trailer about 4 to 10 degrees warmer than the outside air.
The reason the couple chose a fifth wheel rather than a wooden tiny house on wheels is simple: Matt is 6’2″ and needed the headroom. This particular trailer was also rated one of the highest in insulation value. The couple purchased the fifth wheel from Fife RV in Washington for $14,500 and it contains a slider for the living room, a cozy kitchen and dining area, a stand-up work station for Matt, a shower and separate toilet, full bedroom, and they keep it warm with the propane/electric furnace and small space heaters. Gray and black water is first sent through a grinding pump before being pumped into the home’s septic system.
Kathleen said that while it can be difficult to keep the trailer warm and that cleaning out the tanks is not fun, she loves the freedom of the trailer.
“I love the mobility and the idea of being totally self contained,” she said. Matt added that he also loves that there’s no wasted space and he totally digs the trailer’s “Command Center” where they can keep an eye on the level of the tanks, the lighting and battery system.
“We were a bit worried about what people would think of us,” Matt said. “But the response to our decision to move into the trailer has been overwhelmingly positive.”
Photos by Harry Thomas
For the new year, I’m planning on taking some time away from the computer to contemplate the next few months, practice some yoga and do some quiet meditation. While searching around for a retreat location, I kept running into meditation retreats and centers that had some sweet tiny houses, yurts and cabins for rent. Each of them are also located in some beautiful locations.
Staying at one of these meditation or yoga retreats is not only a good way to cleanse your body and soul, but you can also get some great tiny house and small space ideas.
The Sivananda Ashram Yoga Farm in Grass Valley, California teaches classical yoga, ayurveda, vegetarian cooking, jyotish and vedic sciences, and permaculture. You and your family can stay in several different accommodations including a tent, a dorm and shared or individual cabins located in a beautiful valley.
The El Capitan Canyon luxury nature lodging (a little out of my range) is not a spiritual retreat, but does offer some beautiful cabins and yurts to stay in on the California Coast. The center offers massage, food and room packages and tours of the coastal area. You can stay in safari canvas tents, yurts and tiny cabins with names like “Peace Tree”, “Lone Stone” and “Shaded Creek”.
The San Francisco Zen Center at Tassajara offers an introduction to Zen meditation and has several places you can stay like wooden yurts and Japanese tatami cabins. The center is quiet, rustic, gets its power from solar energy and offers vegetarian meals. The redwood yurts like the one shown above have views of trees and mountains and can accommodate up to three guests.
Affordable retreat cabins which happen to be next to bubbling waterfalls are available at Spirit Falls in Pine, Arizona. The small cabins (Cave of the Heart, Hopi Creek and Bodhi’s Place) are located in the pine trees with views of local wildlife like elk, deer and hawks.