Tinyhouse build: we’re nearly there…

Despite saying these words for the last year or so, this time I mean it. We’re nearly there. 5 years of planning, building, learning, dumpster diving, salvaging, making, wishing, waiting, thinking, re-thinking, improvising, budgeting, re-budgeting and hammering later… we’re about to move in.

I have made a little promise with myself that I won’t regale you with twisted tales from the last 12 months of ‘nearly there’-edness. Suffice to say that we are very happy to be at this point, and that it has been the biggest learning curve of our lives. But anyway. Check out our (nearly finished) kitchen!

Tinyhouse kitchen + stairs leading to bedroom

Nick’s beloved salvaged sink, my beloved green tiles, and awesome kitchen shelves crafted from recycled hardwood by Shane…

Rayburn woodstove next to emerging under-stair woodbox, which we can fill from the outside (hence little door). Can’t wait to make our first cuppa on this!

The entirety of the bottom level that is kitchen + living space in a total of 25 sq meters. Click to enlarge.

I feel now that we are, indeed, nearly there, I can start to discuss the tinyhouse again. For the last year it’s been a bit of a sore point as we’ve struggled to find the time, funds and expertise to finish the build (i can hear all the owner-builders out there nodding silently).

But now I can start to talk about it.

About the intricacies of the stand-along solar install. About the tedson coil system to allow our wood heater to talk to our solar hot water system without exploding. About the earthpump system, and our greywater strategies, and our lovable loo, and the under-stair inside-outside woodbox.

And about how the winter light floods in and warms the concrete-slab floor, and about how the dam right outside reflects a shimmering mass of sunlight onto the ceiling. About how good it all smells in there with the linseed oil on all the beautiful recycled timbers.

The ‘passive solar’ aspect of the tinyhouse. Direct winter sunlight on the floor, reflected sunlight from the dam outside on the ceiling

May 2011

July 2012

Hooray! Especially to Nick the extremely tenacious owner-builder, and to Shane Mills, a fencer who came to our property to help clean some paint off our salvaged shed frame 18 months ago, and has been helping build our tinyhouse since then, with a skilled and steady hand.

>> The whole backstory of this Tinyhouse is here

35 Comments

  1. Gini Oliver Brown
    Posted July 22, 2012 at 6:18 am | Permalink | Reply

    Very nice, very well planned out and functional. I like the woodstove and the woodpile under the stairs. It is wonderful that you have salvaged things to build with as well as the thought to passive solar. Well done.

  2. Posted July 22, 2012 at 7:40 am | Permalink | Reply

    Owner builder houses are always interesting to watch unfold. I think the tiny house has been unmasked as a timid beauty – took a while to come into her own, but still beautiful nonetheless.

    Personally, I would’ve been more intimidated with building the dam than the house. Yet you managed to pull both off well.

    I’m sure you already feel it, but you should be proud of all your efforts.

  3. Posted July 22, 2012 at 8:15 am | Permalink | Reply

    a whole lot of awesomeness in a tiny package! (I lurve the inside/outside door for the woodbox…..genius!)

  4. Posted July 22, 2012 at 8:41 am | Permalink | Reply

    Bravo guys! Again you share your triumphs along with the tribulations and give us all hope that there is light at the end of those sustainable tunnels that we all find ourselves in…it sometimes seems like you no sooner get out of one tunnel then you end up in another one sometimes and its always great to head on over to Milkwood Farm and get a boost of camradarie and hope…cheers for your constant sharing, and your generosity with how to get in and out of those tunnels :)

  5. Posted July 22, 2012 at 9:06 am | Permalink | Reply

    Great stove we have identical Rayburn in our cottage here on the Central Coast, heats or water when no sun for solar and last night baked Cornish pasties in the oven. Idea – I got hold of a cast iron barbecue plate that matches size of the hotplate and we have indoor barbecues in the winter – enjoy :>)
    Nick Baron NSW Central Coast

  6. Posted July 22, 2012 at 9:35 am | Permalink | Reply

    Oh, it’s beautiful! :)

  7. Posted July 22, 2012 at 9:55 am | Permalink | Reply

    Love the light and colour and the integrity of the materials that comes through. Must be lovely to stand in that room. I’m building a 35 square metre place in stone and the going is slow – following your progress has been very inspiring and the info you’ve shared about your systems and process very helpful. Enjoy the beauty you’ve created!

  8. Posted July 22, 2012 at 10:29 am | Permalink | Reply

    Ahh this was just what I needed! Your new home is GORGEOUS. We’re just at the start of our project, and I’m so relieved to see that someone struggled for years before actually completing their build, but that you DID IT!! You were quite right, I was silently nodding my head. Congratulations.

  9. Posted July 22, 2012 at 11:03 am | Permalink | Reply

    Your home looks really beautiful. Nothing beats wood with history in a home.
    To build your own home, (and especially a slow living and thoughtful eco home), is an outstanding achievement. Well done!!!

  10. nopalito
    Posted July 22, 2012 at 11:21 am | Permalink | Reply

    Beautiful work! Your house looks truly gorgeous, warm, earthy and with such a wonderful sense of scale – I love the salvaged windows, and the shimmering reflected light on the ceiling.

  11. Craig Gallagher
    Posted July 22, 2012 at 12:16 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Nice work Nick

  12. Posted July 22, 2012 at 1:21 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Your house is a thing of DIY splendour, Nick and Kirsten. Lovin the green tiles and the inside/outside wood box. Very clever. Congrats to you both!

  13. Rauf
    Posted July 22, 2012 at 5:28 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Very Very Adventurous.

  14. Posted July 22, 2012 at 7:53 pm | Permalink | Reply

    bet that’s a wicked sense of achievement! Congrats. Looking forward to seeing it in it’s ‘all-moved-in-edness’ state :)

    While I’m here… your post prompted me to ask about the Rayburn. As in… wood burning in general. I was thinking how I’d kind of always put it aside as not a very… ‘eco’ option in terms of emissions. But then I was thinking well if it’s compared to coal/gas/electricity based heating options, then overall it’s probably got the edge? esp since your fuel source would be local. Just wondering out loud really and figuring you’d covered that base, so keen to hear your thoughts… you know… in your spare (haha) time :)

    Congrats again on the TinyHouse. Looking forward to seeing it grow along with you all xo

  15. Posted July 22, 2012 at 9:10 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Gorgeous, well done. So lovely to have watched your journey from the first video clip of you two in the car leaving the city. Just remember slow and right is better than fast and wrong.

  16. celia
    Posted July 22, 2012 at 9:39 pm | Permalink | Reply

    from one owner builder to another, a huge congratulations on your beautiful creation! it is a credit to your strength of character and authenticity to perservere in building a home that fits with your ethics – even when takes longer and costs more than is convenient……the photo of Nick and Asha at the top of the story warms the cockles of my heart….such a loving look on Nick’s face x

  17. Posted July 22, 2012 at 9:56 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Yay! Well done! I hate to say it, but… I predict the need/desire for a splashback at the sink. Don’t know why, but it was the only thing that stuck out at me. Annoying comment aside, I have nothing but admiration for this achievement.

  18. Posted July 23, 2012 at 12:23 am | Permalink | Reply

    Beautiful!

  19. Posted July 23, 2012 at 7:23 am | Permalink | Reply

    What a gorgeous magical home. Congrats on getting this close!

    I’m envious of just how ‘tiny’ your home is. We’re currently designing our future home and there’s a lot of negotiation around the size. I want it small and he wants enough space for family to visit. I think we’ve finally found a solution that we are both happy with – but I’d choose a tiny tiny home anyday.

  20. Posted July 23, 2012 at 7:25 am | Permalink | Reply

    and I LOVE that sink. I’ve managed to pick up an old enamel laundry sink for our shed but it’s not deep enough for a milk bucket. Yours would be perfect ;-)

  21. Posted July 23, 2012 at 7:43 am | Permalink | Reply

    I love your TinyHouse. We’re starting to think about planning our own TinyRuralParadise and would love to use salvaged material, passive solar and many of the other things you have done. I’ll have to bookmark the rest of the TinyHouse story for future reading.

    Very inspirational, thank you!

  22. Posted July 23, 2012 at 8:45 am | Permalink | Reply

    Don’t know how you do it all you guys, and so very well. As Narf77 said, thanks so much for sharing it all with us. I built my own home 20 years ago from mud and recycled everything, it took a lot longer. Most satisfying thing you can do is create a cosy abode for family and friends that costs little to run.

  23. Damian Stephenson
    Posted July 23, 2012 at 12:34 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Gday Nick and Kirsten, Seems you finally finished and the ideas we chewed over 2 years ago worked well, especially the inside outside wood box. Well done. was glad to be of help.

  24. Libby Keane
    Posted July 24, 2012 at 3:55 am | Permalink | Reply

    Its beautiful. LIght and bright. Love all the windows!

  25. Posted July 24, 2012 at 8:15 am | Permalink | Reply

    Yay! We’re about to move into our tiny hand-made house very soon as well (though ours is quite a bit tinier than yours). It’s so very rewarding to be (almost) living in something built with your own 2 hands. Congratulations!

  26. Posted July 26, 2012 at 4:17 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Yay! Congrats guys. Like everyone else, I’m loving the indoor/outdoor woodpile door idea. Genius!

  27. Posted July 29, 2012 at 1:06 pm | Permalink | Reply

    WOW, it looks great, very jealous of the kitchen and the Rayburn. I cant wait to start collecting our bits for our home. Even though we have only just moved into our temporary residence the shed.

  28. Posted July 30, 2012 at 7:42 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Beautiful home!!!

  29. Posted August 1, 2012 at 10:18 am | Permalink | Reply

    What an inspiration!!!!!

  30. Nicky
    Posted August 1, 2012 at 10:40 am | Permalink | Reply

    Nick and Kirsten you are such an inspiration!! I love reading about your activities at Milkwood. Congratulations on your tiny house completion! I am curios to know what material is the cieling lining on the bottom floor? Cheers

  31. Megan McGowan
    Posted August 1, 2012 at 1:29 pm | Permalink | Reply

    So wonderful So inspirational. I wish you’d made a documentary about it. Perhaps a book?

  32. Posted August 1, 2012 at 2:03 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Love, love LOVE the tiny house! What a beautiful, peaceful place to nurture your family. You are both such a great inspiration! May your house and all the precious lives it holds be blessed.

  33. Danny OBrien
    Posted August 2, 2012 at 6:21 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Congratulations to both you and Nick on such a beautiful work of art. I know it’s been a slog, but just think of the conversations you are going to have sitting there on a winter morning in the sunshine admiring the way the light reflects off the lovely polished timbers. YAY!

  34. Posted August 5, 2012 at 4:00 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Good luck to you all! Wouldn’t it be wonderful to be in for xmas? :)

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