The best tiny houses of 2016
2016 has been a big year for tiny houses and our coverage has run the gamut from small, affordable weekenders to larger, more expensive towable homes that offer nearly as much space as a small brick-and-mortar house. Read on for our pick of the most innovative, interesting, and attractive tiny houses we've seen this year.
Canadian green living proponent Greenmoxie made a great first impression with its debut eponymous tiny house. Based on a triple-axle trailer, the towable home comprises a generous floorspace of 340 sq ft (31.5 sq m) and is clad in cedar treated in the ancient Japanese Shou Sugi Ban technique of charring, which preserves it and protects it from bugs and fire.
Access to the home is gained by lowering a drawbridge deck and entering a code into an electronic combination lock. The deck offers additional outdoor space when the home is stationary, but allows it to remain a reasonable length for towing. Off-grid tech on this one is impressive too, and the Greenmoxie includes a roof-based solar array, rainwater collection system, and a grey water recycling system.
The Greenmoxie cost in the region of US$75,000.
Taking part in the new SMUD Tiny House Competition, in Sacramento, California, Santa Clara University students designed and built a novel solar-powered tiny house that rotates to follow the sun.
The Revolve House was constructed using SIPs (structural insulated panels) and has a total floorspace of 238 sq ft (22 sq m). Its interior includes a kitchen and dining area with pull-down table, a wet-room style bathroom, and a lounge/bedroom with Murphy-style bed. An exterior staircase leads to a spacious roof deck.
The home gets all power from a roof-based solar array, so to boost its efficiency, the Santa Clara University students placed it atop a high-tech sun tracking ring that rotates the home to ensure its solar panels receive the most rays possible.
Olympia, Washington-based small living specialist Zyl Vardos has a real knack for producing charming fairytale-like tiny houses. The Moon Dragon is a great example of this and its curved roof also serves a practical purpose by allowing for more headroom inside.
Measuring 13.1 x 9 x 24 ft (4 x 2.7 x 7.3 m), the Moon Dragon is clad in Onduvilla shingles and has an interior of mahogany ply, cork, and cedar tongue and groove. It includes a small wood-burning stove for heat, and a kitchen with a range cooker that boasts five burners and two ovens.
The Moon Dragon has both a standard RV-style hookup for its power and a full solar kit for off-the-grid wandering. The price for this one comes in at around $96,000.
Ever since Escape appeared on the tiny house scene, we've been impressed with everything that the firm has released, but the Vista stands out for hitting that sweet spot between size, price, and features. One of the its smaller models, the Vista nonetheless has impressive glazing and workmanship, and looks a good choice for a single person or couple either looking to embrace a nomadic lifestyle or just enjoy vacations in a tiny house.
The Vista measures 20 x 8.5 x 9.6 ft (6.1 x 2.6 x 2.9 m) and has a total floorspace of 160 sq ft (14.8 sq m). There's not a whole lot of space in its open interior, which is laid-out all on one level, but Escape squeezed in a kitchen, dining and living area, bathroom, and bedroom area – all of which look well proportioned.
For those wanting to cut the cord, the Vista can be outfitted with off-grid technology, including a roof-based PV array, battery storage, and inverter.
The Vista will set you back $46,600.
Red Mountain 34' Tiny House
Durango, Colorado-based Rocky Mountain Tiny Houses has form for building tiny houses that are on the large side, but the Red Mountain 34' Tiny House is easily the largest, erm, tiny house we've seen so far.
Clad in rusty corrugated wainscot, barn wood board and batten, and cedar shakes, the tiny home measures 34 x 8 ft (10.3 x 2.4 m) and has a total floorspace of 410 sq ft (38 sq m), or almost three times the floorspace of Escape's Vista. This leaves plenty of room for a large kitchen and bathroom, a large living area, and two loft bedrooms. Owing to its size, we can't see this one being towed around too often. Perhaps reflecting this, power and water come from a standard RV-style hookup.
While the model pictured above already sold, Rocky Mountain Tiny Houses says that it would build another for $105,000.
Alpha Tiny House
Luxury isn't usually the watchword when it comes to tiny houses, but New Frontier Tiny Homes' Alpha Tiny House is an exception. The high-end towable home packs a full-size jacuzzi tub and shower, and a large eight-person dining table.
Clad in Shou Sugi Ban-treated cedar siding (like the Greenmoxie), the Alpha Tiny House sits on a custom double-axle trailer and measures 24 x 8.6 ft (7.3 x 2.6 m), with a total floorspace of 240 sq ft (22 sq m).
Inside, the lounge/dining area is relatively spacious and includes a large eight-person dining table with two bench seats hidden away under some steps. Meanwhile, at the opposite end of the home lies the bathroom. This includes a composting toilet, a jacuzzi tub and shower, and a washer/dryer.
The Alpha Tiny House gets its juice from a standard RV hookup, but New Frontier Tiny Homes offers off-grid options at extra cost. A turnkey model exactly as pictured, with all appliances, is available for $95,000.
If a tiny house is too large it'll be tricky – or even illegal without a special permit – to tow it on a public road, while too small and the result is a cramped shoebox. Canada's Zero Squared aims to offer the best of both worlds with a tiny house that expands in width at the push of a button.
The Aurora tiny house will be based on a relatively short 26 ft (7.9 m) double axle trailer and measure 8.6 ft (2.6 m) wide while being towed. Once the RV-style slide-out system is activated, its electric motors push the sides out to a maximum width of 15.1 ft (4.6 m) and a floorspace of 337 sq ft (31 sq m).
Inside, the Aurora will be arranged on one floor, except for a small storage loft. It includes a dining area seating four, a kitchenette, a lounge, and a bathroom with shower and toilet. An office space reveals a Murphy-style bed that can be pulled-down to serve as a bedroom. Off-grid options including a composting toilet and solar power are available at cost.
This home hasn't actually been built yet, but when it is available for sale, it'll cost around $75,000.
Vintage Glam Tiny House
Oregon City's Tiny Heirloom specializes in building unique tiny houses to a very high standard. The recently-completed Vintage Glam Tiny House is no exception.
Based on a 33 ft (10 m)-long double-axle trailer, the home comprises 200 sq ft (18 sq m) of floorspace, all on one floor. As the customer wanted a bed that could be easily stashed away, Tiny Heirloom installed a motorized platform.
The motorized platform includes bench seats, table, bed, and stairs, all of which is revealed with the flick of a switch. Thanks to the space it saves, there's room left for a large kitchen and a bathroom with a living wall section, a full-height ceiling and a full-size clawfoot bath and shower.
The Vintage Glam cost a total of $150,000.
Tiny Ski Lodge
Utah's Maximus Extreme Living Solutions recently completed the Tiny Ski Lodge for a couple of skiing enthusiasts. Designed to withstand extreme temperatures, the home was constructed with SIPs, which the firm says enables it to take temperatures ranging from minus 50 to 150° F (-45.6 to 65° C ) in its stride.
It's based on a 30 ft (9.1 m)-long triple axle trailer and has 240 sq ft (22.2 sq m) of floorspace. Inside, the downstairs includes a hobby room with low ceiling for sewing and crafting, in addition to the bathroom. The lounge and a sleeping loft lie upstairs and the home sports two decks: one accessible from inside, one from outside.
While this tiny house may not have a built-in jacuzzi hot tub, Maximus Extreme Living Solutions sourced a portable wood-fired hot tub, which can be set up outside. We've no word on the price for this one.
Though the other Escape model to make this list, the Vista, is a small tiny house suitable for one or two people, the firm's Vintage XL goes to the other extreme and sleeps up to eight people while remaining a towable home.
The Vintage XL measures 30 ft (9 m) long and features 355 sq ft (32 sq m) of floorspace. The interior layout is centered around a lounge area that contains a couch that pulls out into a double bed. A fold-down dining table and a kitchenette lies nearby, while the bathroom includes a toilet, bathtub and shower, and a vanity unit.
The main bedroom is on the ground floor and includes a queen-size bed with storage underneath. The upstairs loft is reached by ladder and can be used as either a secondary bedroom or a storage area. The optional second loft contains enough room for another double bed. The Vintage XL can also be outfitted with a solar power package for those wanting to run off-the-grid.
The total price for the Vintage XL is $73,400.
That completes our selection of this year's top 10 tiny houses, hit the gallery to take a closer look each of the homes.