Tiny Houses

Bigger isn't always better: Standout small homes

Bigger isn't always better: St...
Top tiny homes: Increasing numbers of people are choosing to embrace simple and inexpensive living in homes with a small physical (and carbon) footprint
Top tiny homes: Increasing numbers of people are choosing to embrace simple and inexpensive living in homes with a small physical (and carbon) footprint
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The Salsa Box, by Portland, Oregon-based firm Shelter Wise (Photo: Shelter Wise)
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The Salsa Box, by Portland, Oregon-based firm Shelter Wise (Photo: Shelter Wise)
Salsa Box proves just how far a mere 9 sq m (96 sq ft) of space can go (Photo: Shelter Wise)
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Salsa Box proves just how far a mere 9 sq m (96 sq ft) of space can go (Photo: Shelter Wise)
The Salsa Box boasts a queen-sized bed, a flushing toilet, an electric hot water heater, a combined shower and mini-tub, and a basic kitchenette (Photo: Shelter Wise)
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The Salsa Box boasts a queen-sized bed, a flushing toilet, an electric hot water heater, a combined shower and mini-tub, and a basic kitchenette (Photo: Shelter Wise)
The Salsa Box sits on wheels and is towable with a standard trailer (Photo: Shelter Wise)
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The Salsa Box sits on wheels and is towable with a standard trailer (Photo: Shelter Wise)
The Salsa Box will set you back from around US$22,500 (Photo: Shelter Wise)
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The Salsa Box will set you back from around US$22,500 (Photo: Shelter Wise)
The students at Vermont's Green Mountain College Renewable Energy and Ecological Design class designed and built a tiny home called OTIS
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The students at Vermont's Green Mountain College Renewable Energy and Ecological Design class designed and built a tiny home called OTIS
OTIS (or the Optimal Traveling Independent Space) measures 6.5 sq m (70 sq ft)
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OTIS (or the Optimal Traveling Independent Space) measures 6.5 sq m (70 sq ft)
Inside OTIS, there's a bed, desk, composting toilet, a rudimentary sink, and a small wood-burning stove
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Inside OTIS, there's a bed, desk, composting toilet, a rudimentary sink, and a small wood-burning stove
A solar panel is affixed to the front of OTIS to provide electricity, and there's also a rainwater collection system on the roof
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A solar panel is affixed to the front of OTIS to provide electricity, and there's also a rainwater collection system on the roof
The total cost of OTIS (not including labor) came to around US$8,000 – $10,000
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The total cost of OTIS (not including labor) came to around US$8,000 – $10,000
Alas, The Skit is just a concept for now (Image: Dachi Papuashvili)
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Alas, The Skit is just a concept for now (Image: Dachi Papuashvili)
Based on two shipping containers arranged in a cross shape, The Skit is designed for just one person (Image: Dachi Papuashvili)
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Based on two shipping containers arranged in a cross shape, The Skit is designed for just one person (Image: Dachi Papuashvili)
The Skit comprises three very snug floors measuring 4 sq m (43 sq ft), and a fourth, larger floor, measuring 12 sq m (130 sq ft) (Image: Dachi Papuashvili)
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The Skit comprises three very snug floors measuring 4 sq m (43 sq ft), and a fourth, larger floor, measuring 12 sq m (130 sq ft) (Image: Dachi Papuashvili)
Off-grid tech slated for The Skit includes a composting toilet, rainwater catchment system, solar panel and battery array (Image: Dachi Papuashvili)
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Off-grid tech slated for The Skit includes a composting toilet, rainwater catchment system, solar panel and battery array (Image: Dachi Papuashvili)
Alas, The Skit is just a concept for now (Image: Dachi Papuashvili)
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Alas, The Skit is just a concept for now (Image: Dachi Papuashvili)
ESCAPE is a small home that's designed by Kelly Davis and draws design cues from Frank Lloyd Wright (Photo: Canoe Bay)
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ESCAPE is a small home that's designed by Kelly Davis and draws design cues from Frank Lloyd Wright (Photo: Canoe Bay)
ESCAPE measures 37 sq m (400 sq ft) (Photo: Canoe Bay)
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ESCAPE measures 37 sq m (400 sq ft) (Photo: Canoe Bay)
ESCAPE can optionally operate off-grid and such goodies include solar power and rainwater catchment systems (Photo: Canoe Bay)
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ESCAPE can optionally operate off-grid and such goodies include solar power and rainwater catchment systems (Photo: Canoe Bay)
ESCAPE is perhaps the most fully-featured example of our pick, and features luxuries like a dishwasher, steam shower, porch, and air-conditioning (Photo: Canoe Bay)
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ESCAPE is perhaps the most fully-featured example of our pick, and features luxuries like a dishwasher, steam shower, porch, and air-conditioning (Photo: Canoe Bay)
An ESCAPE unit will set you back from $79,000, depending on options (Photo: Canoe Bay)
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An ESCAPE unit will set you back from $79,000, depending on options (Photo: Canoe Bay)
YMCA London South West and Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners have designed what they think could be a solution to UK's housing issue (Photo: YMCA LSW)
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YMCA London South West and Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners have designed what they think could be a solution to UK's housing issue (Photo: YMCA LSW)
The interior of a Y:Cube (Photo: YMCA LSW)
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The interior of a Y:Cube (Photo: YMCA LSW)
The Y:Cube is prefabricated and built from mostly renewable materials. It measures 26 sq m (280 sq ft) (Photo: YMCA LSW)
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The Y:Cube is prefabricated and built from mostly renewable materials. It measures 26 sq m (280 sq ft) (Photo: YMCA LSW)
The Y:Cube sports excellent insulation and, according to tests, can be lit and heated to 20° C (68° F) throughout the day and night for just £7 ($11) per week (Photo: YMCA LSW)
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The Y:Cube sports excellent insulation and, according to tests, can be lit and heated to 20° C (68° F) throughout the day and night for just £7 ($11) per week (Photo: YMCA LSW)
The Y:Cube is prefabricated and built from mostly renewable materials. It measures 26 sq m (280 sq ft), and costs £30,000 (US$49,900) to construct (Photo: YMCA LSW)
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The Y:Cube is prefabricated and built from mostly renewable materials. It measures 26 sq m (280 sq ft), and costs £30,000 (US$49,900) to construct (Photo: YMCA LSW)
Tiger Log Cabins recently unveiled its debut fortified cabin, the ZFC-1 (Image: Tiger Log Cabins)
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Tiger Log Cabins recently unveiled its debut fortified cabin, the ZFC-1 (Image: Tiger Log Cabins)
The ZFC-1 comprises a garage, storage room, and a two-story living quarters (Image: Tiger Log Cabins)
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The ZFC-1 comprises a garage, storage room, and a two-story living quarters (Image: Tiger Log Cabins)
The ZFC-1 currently priced at £69,995 (US$112,820), including a 10-year Anti-Zombie Guarantee. (Image: Tiger Log Cabins)
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The ZFC-1 currently priced at £69,995 (US$112,820), including a 10-year Anti-Zombie Guarantee. (Image: Tiger Log Cabins)
Tiger Log Cabins recently unveiled its debut fortified cabin, the ZFC-1 (Image: Tiger Log Cabins)
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Tiger Log Cabins recently unveiled its debut fortified cabin, the ZFC-1 (Image: Tiger Log Cabins)
The ZFC-1 comprises a garage, storage room, and a two-story living quarters (Image: Tiger Log Cabins)
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The ZFC-1 comprises a garage, storage room, and a two-story living quarters (Image: Tiger Log Cabins)
Chris Robinson has built a "tsunami-proof" floating dwelling in his backyard, called the Tsunamiball (Photo: Chris Robinson)
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Chris Robinson has built a "tsunami-proof" floating dwelling in his backyard, called the Tsunamiball (Photo: Chris Robinson)
The Tsunamiball measures 6 x 3 x 2.5 m (22 x 10 x 8.5 ft) and features a captain's window and several portholes (Photo: Chris Robinson)
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The Tsunamiball measures 6 x 3 x 2.5 m (22 x 10 x 8.5 ft) and features a captain's window and several portholes (Photo: Chris Robinson)
The interior of the Tsunamiball includes bench seating with five point harnesses that fold into beds, a small electric stove, composting toilet, kitchen area, and plenty of storage (Photo: Chris Robinson)
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The interior of the Tsunamiball includes bench seating with five point harnesses that fold into beds, a small electric stove, composting toilet, kitchen area, and plenty of storage (Photo: Chris Robinson)
The Tsunamiball is a real labor of love for Robinson (Photo: Chris Robinson)
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The Tsunamiball is a real labor of love for Robinson (Photo: Chris Robinson)
Chris Robinson has built a "tsunami-proof" floating dwelling in his backyard, called the Tsunamiball (Photo: Chris Robinson)
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Chris Robinson has built a "tsunami-proof" floating dwelling in his backyard, called the Tsunamiball (Photo: Chris Robinson)
The Gregory Project by DesignDevelop seeks to turn billboards in the Republic of Slovakia into small homes for the homeless
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The Gregory Project by DesignDevelop seeks to turn billboards in the Republic of Slovakia into small homes for the homeless
While still on the drawing board at present, the Gregory Project renders depict relatively comfortable digs
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While still on the drawing board at present, the Gregory Project renders depict relatively comfortable digs
DesignDevelop hopes to either connect the Gregory Project units to local electricity, plumbing and water facilities
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DesignDevelop hopes to either connect the Gregory Project units to local electricity, plumbing and water facilities
The Gregory Project by DesignDevelop seeks to turn billboards in the Republic of Slovakia into small homes for the homeless
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The Gregory Project by DesignDevelop seeks to turn billboards in the Republic of Slovakia into small homes for the homeless
Forest Retreat, by Czech firm Uhlik Architekti is pushing the definition of "house," but we still like it (Photo: Jan Kudej)
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Forest Retreat, by Czech firm Uhlik Architekti is pushing the definition of "house," but we still like it (Photo: Jan Kudej)
What the Forest Retreat lacks in amenities it makes up for in charm (Photo: Jan Kudej)
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What the Forest Retreat lacks in amenities it makes up for in charm (Photo: Jan Kudej)
The Forest Retreat measures 16 sq m (172 sq ft)(Photo: Jan Kudej)
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The Forest Retreat measures 16 sq m (172 sq ft)(Photo: Jan Kudej)
The Forest Retreat features a small wood burning stove (Photo: Jan Kudej)
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The Forest Retreat features a small wood burning stove (Photo: Jan Kudej)
What the Forest Retrear lacks in amenities it makes up for in charm (Photo: Jan Kudej) (Photo: Jan Kudej)
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What the Forest Retrear lacks in amenities it makes up for in charm (Photo: Jan Kudej) (Photo: Jan Kudej)
The Shepherd Hut, by Canadian company Güte can be used as a small dwelling, office space, or guest room (Photo: Güte)
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The Shepherd Hut, by Canadian company Güte can be used as a small dwelling, office space, or guest room (Photo: Güte)
The Shepherd Hut can also operate off-grid (Photo: Güte)
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The Shepherd Hut can also operate off-grid (Photo: Güte)
The Shepherd Hut starts at around CAD 32,900 (US$29,146) (Photo: Güte)
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The Shepherd Hut starts at around CAD 32,900 (US$29,146) (Photo: Güte)
The Shepherd Hut, by Canadian company Güte (Photo: Güte)
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The Shepherd Hut, by Canadian company Güte (Photo: Güte)
The Shepherd Hut is designed to withstand a Canadian winter (Photo: Güte)
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The Shepherd Hut is designed to withstand a Canadian winter (Photo: Güte)
Flexibility is a good thing when space is limited and MAPA Architects took this on board with its Minimod (or Minimal Modular) prototype small home (Photo: Leonardo Finotti)
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Flexibility is a good thing when space is limited and MAPA Architects took this on board with its Minimod (or Minimal Modular) prototype small home (Photo: Leonardo Finotti)
Minimod sports an adaptable interior (Photo: Leonardo Finotti)
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Minimod sports an adaptable interior (Photo: Leonardo Finotti)
Minimod measures 27 sq m (290 sq ft), and comprises a shipping container-like lightweight steel frame (Photo: Leonardo Finotti)
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Minimod measures 27 sq m (290 sq ft), and comprises a shipping container-like lightweight steel frame (Photo: Leonardo Finotti)
The designers didn't have off-grid living in mind with the Minimod, but will fit solar panels and a composting toilet if requested (Photo: Leonardo Finotti)
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The designers didn't have off-grid living in mind with the Minimod, but will fit solar panels and a composting toilet if requested (Photo: Leonardo Finotti)
The Minimod will set you back around $27,000 (Photo: Leonardo Finotti)
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The Minimod will set you back around $27,000 (Photo: Leonardo Finotti)
The Rhino Cube is the debut product from Boulder, Colorado-based small home firm Rhino Cubed (Photo: Rhino Cube)
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The Rhino Cube is the debut product from Boulder, Colorado-based small home firm Rhino Cubed (Photo: Rhino Cube)
Based on a shipping container, Rhino Cube's interior comprises 15 sq m (160 sq ft) of floorspace (Photo: Rhino Cube)
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Based on a shipping container, Rhino Cube's interior comprises 15 sq m (160 sq ft) of floorspace (Photo: Rhino Cube)
The firm is definitely going for an artisan feel. and the Rhino Cube sports some handmade touches (Photo: Rhino Cube)
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The firm is definitely going for an artisan feel. and the Rhino Cube sports some handmade touches (Photo: Rhino Cube)
The Rhino Cube is the debut product from Boulder, Colorado-based small home firm Rhino Cubed (Photo: Rhino Cube)
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The Rhino Cube is the debut product from Boulder, Colorado-based small home firm Rhino Cubed (Photo: Rhino Cube)
The smallest Vivood unit is on the cheaper end of the spectrum, and will set you back from €6,800 (around US$9,160) (Photo: Vivood)
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The smallest Vivood unit is on the cheaper end of the spectrum, and will set you back from €6,800 (around US$9,160) (Photo: Vivood)
Vivood's interior is pretty sparse (Photo: Vivood)
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Vivood's interior is pretty sparse (Photo: Vivood)
Vivood can be assembled in just one day and, depending on the model you choose, can also sport optional off-grid tech (Photo: Vivood)
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Vivood can be assembled in just one day and, depending on the model you choose, can also sport optional off-grid tech (Photo: Vivood)
Vivood is promoted as suitable for use as a glamping retreat, guesthouse, office, or a basic tiny home (Photo: Vivood)
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Vivood is promoted as suitable for use as a glamping retreat, guesthouse, office, or a basic tiny home (Photo: Vivood)
The smallest Vivood unit is on the cheaper end of the spectrum, and will set you back from €6,800 (around US$9,160) (Photo: Vivood)
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The smallest Vivood unit is on the cheaper end of the spectrum, and will set you back from €6,800 (around US$9,160) (Photo: Vivood)
A team of students and professors at Georgia's Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) has produced a tiny house prototype that fits into a standard sized car parking spac
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A team of students and professors at Georgia's Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) has produced a tiny house prototype that fits into a standard sized car parking spac
The SCADpad costs around $40,000 to produce
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The SCADpad costs around $40,000 to produce
SCADpad is still early in development and comprises a simple wooden structure that's set on wheels and measures 2.5 x 4.8 m (8 x 16 ft)
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SCADpad is still early in development and comprises a simple wooden structure that's set on wheels and measures 2.5 x 4.8 m (8 x 16 ft)
Inside SCADpad there's a kitchen area, hammock bed, and folding table – but no toilet
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Inside SCADpad there's a kitchen area, hammock bed, and folding table – but no toilet
The idea of a car park sized house is certainly intriguing
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The idea of a car park sized house is certainly intriguing
Top tiny homes: Increasing numbers of people are choosing to embrace simple and inexpensive living in homes with a small physical (and carbon) footprint
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Top tiny homes: Increasing numbers of people are choosing to embrace simple and inexpensive living in homes with a small physical (and carbon) footprint

Constraints often fuel creativity, so it is perhaps unsurprising that despite inherent limitations in size and budget, the small living movement punches far above its weight in terms of innovation. With the end of 2014 fast approaching, Gizmag takes a look back at 14 of the best tiny homes that we’ve reported on this year.

The following projects hail from all over the world, but share a somewhat similar design elements. With a few exceptions, they are generally wooden, transportable dwellings that are relatively inexpensive and can operate off-grid. Most reflect a lifestyle that increasing numbers of people are choosing to embrace, too: living simply and inexpensively in a home with a small physical (and carbon) footprint.

Without further ado then, and in no particular order, here's our pick of our favorite tiny houses for 2014.

Salsa Box

The Salsa Box boasts a queen-sized bed, a flushing toilet, an electric hot water heater, a combined shower and mini-tub, and a basic kitchenette (Photo: Shelter Wise)
The Salsa Box boasts a queen-sized bed, a flushing toilet, an electric hot water heater, a combined shower and mini-tub, and a basic kitchenette (Photo: Shelter Wise)

Designed by Portland, Oregon-based firm Shelter Wise, the Salsa Box proves just how far a mere 9 sq m (96 sq ft) of space can go with the right design. The interior features a queen-sized bed, a flushing toilet, an electric hot water heater, a combined shower and mini-tub, and a basic kitchenette – though this requires a tradeoff in usable floorspace.

The Salsa Box sits on wheels and is towable with a standard trailer. It can also be outfitted to operate fully-off grid with a composting toilet, solar array, and rainwater catchment system. Models start at US$22,500.

OTIS

The students at Vermont's Green Mountain College Renewable Energy and Ecological Design class designed and built a tiny home called OTIS
The students at Vermont's Green Mountain College Renewable Energy and Ecological Design class designed and built a tiny home called OTIS

The students at Vermont's Green Mountain College Renewable Energy and Ecological Design class designed and built this tiny home – and it's a great example of what's possible for tiny house builders, even at amateur level.

The OTIS (or Optimal Traveling Independent Space) measures 6.5 sq m (70 sq ft), and can be towed by a car on a standard trailer. Inside, there's a bed, desk, composting toilet, a rudimentary sink, and a small wood-burning stove. A solar panel is affixed to the front of OTIS to provide electricity, and there's also a rainwater collection system on the roof. The total cost of OTIS (not including labor) came to around $8,000 – $10,000.

Rhino Cube

The Rhino Cube is the debut product from Boulder, Colorado-based small home firm Rhino Cubed (Photo: Rhino Cube)
The Rhino Cube is the debut product from Boulder, Colorado-based small home firm Rhino Cubed (Photo: Rhino Cube)

The Rhino Cube is the debut product from Boulder, Colorado-based small home firm Rhino Cubed. Based on a shipping container, the interior comprises 15 sq m (160 sq ft) of floorspace, and includes a generous kitchen, bunk beds, and a small lounge area.

The firm is definitely going for an artisan feel and the Rhino Cube sports some handmade touches, like hand-drawn artwork, for example. It can operate either on or off-grid with the help of a Yeti 1,250-watt solar-powered generator, and costs $60,000.

The Skit

Based on two shipping containers arranged in a cross shape, The Skit is designed for just one person (Image: Dachi Papuashvili)
Based on two shipping containers arranged in a cross shape, The Skit is designed for just one person (Image: Dachi Papuashvili)

Alas, The Skit is just a concept for now, but it's such a striking design that it warrants a mention. Based on two shipping containers arranged in a cross shape, the dwelling is designed for just one person and comprises three very snug floors measuring 4 sq m (43 sq ft), and a fourth, larger floor, measuring 12 sq m (130 sq ft).

Each level is navigated by ladder and comprises a bedroom, combined lounge and study, kitchen and dining room, a prayer room, and a bathroom with composting toilet. Off-grid tech slated for The Skit includes a rainwater catchment system, solar panel and battery array.

SCADpad

The idea of a car park sized house is certainly intriguing
The idea of a car park sized house is certainly intriguing

A team of students and professors at Georgia's Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) has produced a tiny house prototype that fits into a standard sized car parking space and costs around $40,000 to produce.

The SCADpad is still early in development and comprises a simple wooden structure that's set on wheels and measures 2.5 x 4.8 m (8 x 16 ft). Inside, there's a kitchen area, hammock bed, and folding table – but no toilet. As we said, early days yet, and it's certainly not ready for full-time habitation, but the idea of a car park sized house is intriguing.

ESCAPE

ESCAPE measures 37 sq m (400 sq ft) (Photo: Canoe Bay)
ESCAPE measures 37 sq m (400 sq ft) (Photo: Canoe Bay)

Measuring 37 sq m (400 sq ft), ESCAPE is a small, but not too small home designed by Kelly Davis that draws inspiration from Frank Lloyd Wright. Though it's on the larger side compared to most of our selection, it still enjoys legal status as an RV thanks to it being mounted on a chassis and wheels. ESCAPE is also perhaps the most fully-featured example of our 14, and features luxuries like a dishwasher, steam shower, porch, and air-conditioning.

ESCAPE can optionally operate off-grid and such goodies include solar power and rainwater catchment system. An ESCAPE unit will set you back from $79,000, depending on options.

Y:Cube

The Y:Cube is prefabricated and built from mostly renewable materials. It measures 26 sq m (280 sq ft), and costs £30,000 (US$49,900) to construct (Photo: YMCA LSW)
The Y:Cube is prefabricated and built from mostly renewable materials. It measures 26 sq m (280 sq ft), and costs £30,000 (US$49,900) to construct (Photo: YMCA LSW)

Increasing numbers of British people are finding rent too expensive, leading to an increase in homelessness. YMCA London South West and architectural firm Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners have designed what they think could be a potential solution to this issue: a low cost housing unit called the Y:Cube.

The Y:Cube is prefabricated and built from mostly renewable materials. It measures 26 sq m (280 sq ft), and costs £30,000 ($49,900) to construct, which will be paid for by a housing charity, registered housing provider, or local authority. It sports excellent insulation and, according to tests, can be lit and heated to 20° C (68° F) throughout the day and night for just £7 ($11) per week.

Vivood

The smallest Vivood unit is on the cheaper end of the spectrum, and will set you back from €6,800 (around US$9,160) (Photo: Vivood)
The smallest Vivood unit is on the cheaper end of the spectrum, and will set you back from €6,800 (around US$9,160) (Photo: Vivood)

Spanish architectural collective Vivood's eponymous shelter is promoted as suitable for use as a glamping retreat, guesthouse, office, or a basic tiny home. It can be assembled in just one day and, depending on the model you choose, can also sport optional extras like solar panels, composting toilet, and rainwater collection system to enable off-grid living.

The smallest Vivood unit is on the cheaper end of the tiny house spectrum, and will set you back just €6,800 (around $9,160), but doesn't include a kitchen at that price. Therefore, unless you're a big fan of dining out, you'd probably be better off checking out the firm's larger units.

Zombie Fortification Cabin

The ZFC-1 currently priced at £69,995 (US$112,820), including a 10-year Anti-Zombie Guarantee. (Image: Tiger Log Cabins)
The ZFC-1 currently priced at £69,995 (US$112,820), including a 10-year Anti-Zombie Guarantee. (Image: Tiger Log Cabins)

Though each of the tiny homes featured above are suitable for those wishing to downsize, few, if any, would stand up to an attack from an army of the undead. This might be an exception. Tiger Log Cabins recently unveiled its debut fortified cabin, the Zombie Fortification Cabin (ZFC-1) concept as part of a brilliantly-conceived marketing campaign.

The ZFC-1 comprises a garage, storage room, and two-story living quarters. Since it's all for fun, Tiger Log Cabins will throw in a flame thrower and water cannon at extra cost. The ZFC-1 currently priced at £69,995 ($112,820), including a 10-year Anti-Zombie Guarantee.

Tsunamiball

Chris Robinson has built a "tsunami-proof" floating dwelling in his backyard, called the Tsunamiball (Photo: Chris Robinson)
Chris Robinson has built a "tsunami-proof" floating dwelling in his backyard, called the Tsunamiball (Photo: Chris Robinson)

Sticking with the post-apocalyptic theme for a moment, though in a far more serious vein, designer Chris Robinson has built a "tsunami-proof" floating small dwelling in his backyard. He was inspired to do so following the devastating tsunami that hit Japan in March, 2011.

The Tsunamiball measures 6 x 3 x 2.5 m (22 x 10 x 8.5 ft) and features a captain's window and several portholes. The interior includes bench seating with five point harnesses that fold into beds, a small electric stove, composting toilet, kitchen area, and plenty of storage. It's a real labor of love for Robinson and while not a tiny house as such, could potentially serve as a tiny floating home in a worst-case scenario.

Gregory Project

DesignDevelop hopes to either connect the Gregory Project units to local electricity, plumbing and water facilities
DesignDevelop hopes to either connect the Gregory Project units to local electricity, plumbing and water facilities

The Gregory Project concept by DesignDevelop seeks to turn billboards in the Republic of Slovakia into small homes for the homeless. While still on the drawing board at present, the renders depict pretty comfortable (though perhaps noisy) digs for those who are in desperate need of a roof over their heads.

DesignDevelop hopes to either connect the units to local electricity, plumbing and water facilities, or use off-grid technology like as solar panels and composting toilet – either way the costs would be covered by advertising. Far-fetched? Maybe not, as the firm is currently looking to make the idea into a reality with a Kickstarter campaign.

Forest Retreat

Forest Retreat, by Czech firm Uhlik Architekti is pushing the definition of "house," but we still like it (Photo: Jan Kudej)
Forest Retreat, by Czech firm Uhlik Architekti is pushing the definition of "house," but we still like it (Photo: Jan Kudej)

Admittedly, even for a tiny house, the Forest Retreat, by Czech firm Uhlik Architekti is pushing the reasonable definition of "house" – there's no running water, lighting, or mains electricity – so is perhaps better thought of as a charming shelter.

The Forest Retreat measures 16 sq m (172 sq ft) and features a small wood burning stove, two large shuttered windows and four large steps which provide seating, and when operated, reveal hidden storage space and a double bed.

Shepherd Hut

The Shepherd Hut starts at around CAD 32,900 (US$29,146) (Photo: Güte)
The Shepherd Hut starts at around CAD 32,900 (US$29,146) (Photo: Güte)

The Shepherd Hut, by Canadian company Güte can be used as a small dwelling, office space, or guest room, and sports distinctive old-fashioned looks. It's designed to withstand a Canadian winter so should be relatively hardy, and is mostly constructed from wood, with cast iron wheels and a choice of cedar or corrugated steel roof.

Inside, available furniture includes a folding hardwood desk, a kitchen unit, sofa bed, bunk beds, and a bookcase. The Shepherd Hut can also operate off-grid, and Güte offers an optional solar array and battery bank. The Shepherd Hut starts at around CAD 32,900 ($29,146).

Minimod

The Minimod will set you back around $27,000 (Photo: Leonardo Finotti)
The Minimod will set you back around $27,000 (Photo: Leonardo Finotti)

Flexibility is a good thing when space is limited and MAPA Architects took this on board with its Minimod (or Minimal Modular) prototype small home, which sports an adaptable interior.

Minimod measures 27 sq m (290 sq ft), and comprises a lightweight steel frame that's enclosed with plywood and glass. The interior contains a bedroom, living room, kitchen dining room and a bathroom, but this layout is flexible and can be swapped around relatively easily if required. The designers will fit solar panels and a composting toilet if requested and it comes with a green roof and rainwater tank as standard The Minimod will set you back around $27,000.

You can check out each one in the gallery, and if you know of any other notable tiny homes from this year that we've missed, or if you have a first-hand experience of tiny living that you're willing to share, please post a comment below.

5 comments
George Shorter
This is some really cool stuff!
Schuyler19
the scadpad is on here! I know one of the professors that helped make it a reality. go SCAD!
Roger Lambert
With better design, we can look forward to ever smaller homes - culminating with a house the size of a coffin. And, in our coffin house, we will be able to enjoy future green cuisine - like all the highly-touted delicious insects, grubs, and seaweed-sourced nutrient bars that are so heavily promoted by some freakish journalism that everyone seems to think is not the Propaganda of Diminished Expectations.
Omen
Here's some: http://www.gazettenet.com/news/19049089-95/hadley-tiny-house-owner-in-legal-limbo-over-zoning-regulations-may-have-to-move http://www.gazettenet.com/living/15626659-95/living-small-tiny-house-gives-family-of-four-crash-course-in-what-matters http://www.gazettenet.com/living/6419675-95/smaller-cheaper-beloved-tiny-house-fans-inhabit-their-niche
EUbrainwashing
Robert L - I second that .... Well stated.