Off-grid tiny house keeps toes toasty in the coldest climes
Quebec's Minimaliste, the firm behind the Sakura tiny house, recently completed another towable dwelling that can handle very cold weather. The difference with the Laurier is that it runs off-the-grid with solar power and is warmed with a novel propane-powered underfloor heating system. It also boasts some clever storage ideas.
The Laurier measures 32 ft (9.7 m)-long and has a light-colored cedar exterior with metal accenting and not very much glazing. It serves as a full-time home for a retired woman in North Carolina who has some physical health issues, so the interior is designed with her comfort in mind.
Visitors enter into a living room with sofa bed, TV, and storage space. The kitchen looks spacious for a tiny house and includes cabinets, full-size appliances, cooker, USB plugs, sink, and a closet. There's also what Minimaliste calls its "mirrored table," which is a large mirror affixed to the wall that can be lowered to serve as a dining table when required. It's supported with a hydraulic strut and a couple of stools are nearby for seating.
Further into the tiny home, a door offers access to the Laurier's bathroom, which contains a shower, composting toilet, the smallest sink you'll ever see, and more storage space. Another door leads from here to the master bedroom, which has enough headroom to stand upright. It also has generous storage and a rolling table that enables the owner to use it while lying in bed.
Back in the main living area, a storage-integrated staircase leads up to the loft, which can be used as a guest bedroom or for additional storage.
We've no details on the insulation used in the Laurier, but Minimaliste reports that, like the Sakura, it can handle temperatures as low as minus 40° C (- 40° F).
The owner is kept warm with a novel propane-powered underfloor heating system which doesn't require a grid-based electricity hookup. The firm says this is the first time such a system has been used in a tiny house.
"Several challenges awaited us during the construction of the Laurier, since the beginning, from the start, we were bold in our design," says the firm. "The biggest challenge was the realization of a hydronic radiant floor system with propane, and not electric as what we have developed and installed until now. Our client wanted her home to be energy self-sufficient, and her heating source to be a radiant floor system.
However, with the help of experienced engineers, we managed to design a system working on propane and the 12 V [solar] energy system. Protected by a soundproof box, this heating system is the best heating system that a tiny house on wheels can have. We are proud to be the only tiny house company to have developed and installed this type of heating system in one of its homes!"
As well as the underfloor heating, the Laurier has ventilation with integrated heat exchangers and a standard ceiling fan. The solar power system consists of eight batteries, a like number of 260 W solar panels, regulators, and an inverter.
We have no price for this one but those interested in Minimaliste building them something similar can get in touch with the firm for more details.