Tiny Houses

Ex-boat builder designs unique off-grid tiny house

Ex-boat builder designs unique...
The owner, Briar Hale, paid a total of NZ$130,000 (about US$87,100) for the tiny home built by ex-boat builder and carpenter Jeff Hobbs
The owner, Briar Hale, paid a total of NZ$130,000 (about US$87,100) for the tiny home built by ex-boat builder and carpenter Jeff Hobbs
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The 23.95 sq m (257.8 sq ft) house was built using structural insulated panels (SIPs) made from plywood and foam
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The 23.95 sq m (257.8 sq ft) house was built using structural insulated panels (SIPs) made from plywood and foam
The tiny home gets built above a steel trailer on wheels
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The tiny home gets built above a steel trailer on wheels
The gorgeous polished wooden floors is one of the first steps
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The gorgeous polished wooden floors is one of the first steps
Hobbs chose to build the home using 62 mm (2.45 in) thick SIPs due to their lightweight, strength, durability and excellent insulation qualities
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Hobbs chose to build the home using 62 mm (2.45 in) thick SIPs due to their lightweight, strength, durability and excellent insulation qualities
Exterior plans of the Room to Move tiny house on wheels
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Exterior plans of the Room to Move tiny house on wheels
Panels measuring only 62 mm (2.45 in) thick meant he had extra floor space to work with when designing the home's interior
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Panels measuring only 62 mm (2.45 in) thick meant he had extra floor space to work with when designing the home's interior
The 23.95 sq m (257.8 sq ft) house was built using recycled wood materials and sports multiple off-grid solutions
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The 23.95 sq m (257.8 sq ft) house was built using recycled wood materials and sports multiple off-grid solutions
The living room is filled with natural light due to the inclusion of numerous large windows
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The living room is filled with natural light due to the inclusion of numerous large windows
The living room features double glass doors which open out onto a wooden terrace
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The living room features double glass doors which open out onto a wooden terrace
The owner, Briar Hale, paid a total of NZ$130,000 (about US$87,100) for the tiny home built by ex-boat builder and carpenter Jeff Hobbs
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The owner, Briar Hale, paid a total of NZ$130,000 (about US$87,100) for the tiny home built by ex-boat builder and carpenter Jeff Hobbs
The tiny house features a series of sustainable features, including PV panels, a solar collector used to heat the water, composting toilet and grey water recycling
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The tiny house features a series of sustainable features, including PV panels, a solar collector used to heat the water, composting toilet and grey water recycling
Hobbs chose to build the home using 62 mm (2.45 inch) thick SIPs due to their lightweight, strength, durability and excellent insulation qualities
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Hobbs chose to build the home using 62 mm (2.45 inch) thick SIPs due to their lightweight, strength, durability and excellent insulation qualities
The overall costs of the materials to build this tiny house were higher than your usual tiny build, coming to a total of NZ$75,000 (about US$50,250)
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The overall costs of the materials to build this tiny house were higher than your usual tiny build, coming to a total of NZ$75,000 (about US$50,250)
The ground level of the home measures 16.75 sq m (180.3 sq ft) and features a multi-purpose living zone
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The ground level of the home measures 16.75 sq m (180.3 sq ft) and features a multi-purpose living zone
The tiny house features a series of sustainable features, including a solar collector used to heat the water
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The tiny house features a series of sustainable features, including a solar collector used to heat the water
Loft bedroom floorplans
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Loft bedroom floorplans
Lower level floorplans
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Lower level floorplans
The living room is filled with natural light due to the inclusion of numerous large windows, a central skylight and double glass doors
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The living room is filled with natural light due to the inclusion of numerous large windows, a central skylight and double glass doors
The home also features two 300 watt solar panels located on the roof
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The home also features two 300 watt solar panels located on the roof
The outdoor terrace wraps around three quarters of the dwelling, adding the feeling of extra room and expansiveness to the home
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The outdoor terrace wraps around three quarters of the dwelling, adding the feeling of extra room and expansiveness to the home
The kitchen features a sink hand-made by owner
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The kitchen features a sink hand-made by owner
There are eight different types of wood featured in this little house, most coming from recycled natives
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There are eight different types of wood featured in this little house, most coming from recycled natives
The ground level of the home features a staircase next to a small combustion fireplace
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The ground level of the home features a staircase next to a small combustion fireplace
The lounge area can double as a guest bedroom, with the L-shaped sofa transforming into a double bed
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The lounge area can double as a guest bedroom, with the L-shaped sofa transforming into a double bed
The kitchen features a two burner gas stove and gas oven/grill
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The kitchen features a two burner gas stove and gas oven/grill
The kitchen features lots of cupboard and storage space
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The kitchen features lots of cupboard and storage space
The home's small office area
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The home's small office area
There are eight different types of wood featured in this little house, most coming from recycled natives
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There are eight different types of wood featured in this little house, most coming from recycled natives
The design was a collaboration between the owner Briar Hale and carpenter Jeff Hobbs
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The design was a collaboration between the owner Briar Hale and carpenter Jeff Hobbs
Final touches in the bathroom
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Final touches in the bathroom

Ex-boat builder and carpenter Jeff Hobbs from New Zealand-based studio Room to Move was recently commissioned to build a special bespoke tiny house for local resident Briar Hale. The 23.95 sq m (257.8 sq ft) house was built using structural insulated panels (SIPs) made from plywood and foam; recycled wood materials and sports multiple off-grid solutions. Hobbs chose to build the home using 62 mm (2.45 in) thick SIPs due to their lightweight, strength, durability and excellent insulation qualities, and also meant that he had extra floor space to work with when designing the home's interior.

"Thedesign was a collaboration between the owner (Briar Hale) and myself,but it really is her baby as she had a clear idea of what shewanted," Jeff Hobbs tells Gizmag. "There are eightdifferent types of wood featured in this little house, most comingfrom recycled natives."

Theground level of the home measures 16.75 sq m (180.3 sq ft) andfeatures a multi-purpose living zone, a large fully equipped kitchen,bathroom with a walk-in shower andcomposting toilet, a small office area and combustion fireplace. Theliving room is filled with natural light due to the inclusion ofmultiple large windows, a central skylight and double glass doorswhich open out onto a wooden terrace. The outdoor terrace wrapsaround three quarters of the dwelling, adding the feeling of extraroom and expansiveness to the home. The tiny house also features anelevated loft bedroom, measuring 7.2 sq m (77.5 sq ft).

The lounge area can double as a guest bedroom, with the L-shaped sofa transforming into a double bed
The lounge area can double as a guest bedroom, with the L-shaped sofa transforming into a double bed

Thelounge area can double as a guest bedroom, with the L-shaped sofaeasily transforming into a double bed. The loft bedroom, which has aqueen-sized bed, also features an additional sleeping space where theowner's young niece stays sometimes. The kitchen features a twoburner gas stove with overhead range-hood, an oven/grill, 130liter under-bench fridge, cupboard and storage space, wallpantry and a sink hand-made by owner.

"Oneof my favorite features of the home is the staircase because wewrestled so hard to get stairs that looked good, that were safe, nottoo expensive and functional," says Hobbs. "We obtained allthis plus we managed to put extra storage underneath them."

Thetiny house features a series of sustainable features, including asolar collector used to heat the water, which feeds into a 90 liter(approx. 24 gallon) water tank located on the home's roof. A wet backis also connected to this tank from the small fireplace, providinghot water during the winter.

"Thewater system is low pressure and is fed by a 110 liter (29 gallon)header tank," says Hobbs. "This means you use less waterand the shower uses only four liters of water per minute. It's a niceshower though and we are very happy with the Separette villa 9010composting toilet. It has no smell and the urine diverter goesdirectly into the grey water tank, making it very low maintenance."

The home also features two 300 watt solar panels located on the roof
The home also features two 300 watt solar panels located on the roof

Grey wateris collected into a 200 liter (approx. 53 gallon) tank via astainless steel mesh which strains all food waste and hair etc. Thewater is pumped out into the garden on a weekly basis, and thestrainer is emptied onto the compost heap. The home alsofeatures two 300 watt solar panels located on the roof. The panelsare hooked up to a 12 volt battery bank with a capacity of 445 amphours. A 1,300 watt Outback inverter runs the washing machine.

Theoverall costs of the materials to build this tiny house were higherthan your usual tiny build, coming to a total of NZ$75,000(about US$50,250). The home took 2,400 hours to construct, with theowner paying a final figure of NZ$130,000 (about US$87,100).

"I makedouble that amount building boats, but these little houses are verysatisfying to create," says Hobbs. "Wewanted to create something that was functional, beautiful and thatwould last a long time. Hopefully it will become a classic in 50years and I know they will be quicker to build in the future. Ourbiggest difficulty was building the tiny house in a time frame thatmade it affordable for both the owner and where the builder didn't gowithout in the process. We started building this one in April andfinished in December 2015. Most of the time there were two of usworking on the project at a time."

The kitchen features a two burner gas stove and gas oven/grill
The kitchen features a two burner gas stove and gas oven/grill

Hobbsis currently building a tiny house shell for his son and hisgirlfriend, and although he is tempted to go back to boat buildingfor the money, he is passionate about the tiny house movement and thefreedom it offers the younger generation.

"Ilove working with small spaces, because of the challenges to achievefunction and beauty," Hobbs explains. "I hope I can work out away of making SIPs available to young people so they can make theirown tiny houses to a high standard. I would love it if bio foambecame more affordable or even available in New Zealand aspolyurethane foam is oil based, but I'm convinced SIPs are the futurefor tiny houses, especially when they are on wheels. I'd like to beable to help in some way to make the tiny house movement become apractical and viable option for young people and for the older too.My hope is for urban tiny house villages, all self-sustainable, usinggardens to deal with the grey water."

Source: Room to Move via Living Big in a Tiny House

9 comments
PaulRodriguez
Furnishing a Tiny House properly is key to better living. There is a company who’s tag line is “Double Your Space” that has revolutionized the Murphy Bed and turned it into something much more useful, check out some very cool designs at http://www.hiddenbedusa.com that could easily be designed into these tiny homes . I think they are a better alternative to Loft Beds (I wouldn’t want to come down in the middle of the night to use the bathroom or god forbid in an emergency).
Milton
Great looking house, and I love the patio. I agree with Paul that a loft bed just isn't practical for me. But only because sleep issues require that I be able to jump out of bed at the drop of a hat.
DexterFord
Wow, a "tiny house" on wheels. I bet you can take it anywhere, and live in an off-the-grid, sustainable community. It's almost like it was....a trailer? Call me crazy, but can't you go out and buy a trailer just about anywhere? Or is there some force field that keeps "tiny house" people from understanding that they are reinventing the Airstream trailer from 1936?
Michael Crumpton
Those solar panels are not going to do much in the shade.
Tinyhousehold.com
Thank you for sharing this beautiful house. It is very clear you spent a lot of time and care with this house. I think it is the perfect combination of form and function. We would love to see more pictures of the bathroom.
Powell Gammill
Mixing urine with greywater is a solution I advocate. Storing greywater is really a bad idea. Would have used an 8-12 gal cooling tank with a bell siphon that directed the output to one or more fruit or nut trees. I'd prefer a non-electric composting toilet solution (like an Omick with 1 yr barrel storage mod.) That way no solid waste goes unused. I certainly hope that is a photoshopped onsite image as the solar panels are shaded out which points to an issue of PV and solar heating panels. The hot water storage tank should be painted black. This home is definitely for an area with fairly mild weather. Owner should buy one of those fans on an iron that use a closed sterling engine to drive the fan that sits on the fireplace top to blow air around and use the heat to power the engine. That would heat up the place in no time. Suspect the owner will want a bit better light diffusers on those overhead light fixtures to soften the light up. Might want cup hanging hooks under the stair steps. Might want a raised edge on the other side of the steps to lessen anything being kicked forward (knocked off the shelf/stair) into the sink area. Might want rainwater runoff directed as well. Good idea using a boat builder. I liked the seals. Beautiful use of wood. A very well thought out, nice looking home.
Riaanh
Well done, it is a lovely project. This is something which I will be able to call home.
BendBrad
Due to the numerous articles regarding tiny houses, I wonder where people put them. Do they use them the same as travel trailers (caravans) or do they park them in mobile home parks. Or maybe they own a parcel of land? I would like to see cities develop areas that are specific to tiny houses allowing for urban living without the cost and waste of conventional stick built homes. What are you all seeing out there?
boby7
A tiny house with big price. Get back to me when someone builds one at $125 a sq. ft.the going rate in my area.