This stunning tiny home with modern features in a mountain ski town in New Zealand is nothing like you’ve ever seen before.
Made of structural straw and rendered in lime, the structure appears as though it has been carved out of stone.
Evan is the talented builder and owner of this home in Ohakune, which he likes to call “Pumice” because it looks like a giant stone.
The house with modern features was built by Evan and his business partner Kevin. Both men have been in the business of building straw bale houses for the last 30 years, but they knew nothing about tiny houses, which piqued their interest.
They started by shaping the straw and compressing it to give it a structural capacity. They then plastered it with lime, which Evan says is their “favorite medium.”
“Lime breathes really well. It’s water resilient, and it’s got some really nice healing attributes, so it doesn’t crack very much,” he told Bryce Langston of Living Big In A Tiny House.
The house looks extremely natural and gives off that cave-like feel, but Evan said many people have described it as an “oversized pizza oven.”
The fireplace outside is made of one-and-a-half-ton rock, which gives the home a lot of character.
Before getting inside, one would have to cross a threshold of water with flat rocks, which adds a level of separation from the outside.
“We have had people comment about the dangers associated with late-night returns from the pub, but it all seemed to work okay,” Evan said with a laugh.
Pumice is just over 10 meters long and 5 and a half meters wide, while the bales are 500 millimeters thick.
Going inside the home feels like walking into a modern cave. The ripples from the water outside create an amazing effect on the ceiling, giving the undulating plaster a definition of movement.
The whole space being rounded feels unusual yet calming at the same time.
“It’s part of the fact your eye doesn’t have anything to focus on or against,” Evan explained. “It’s just a soft nature that you’re inside.”
Evan has complemented the inherent shapes in the home with natural materials using timber, COR-TEN steel, and lime. Looking from the outside, one would never expect it to have such a spacious interior.
The main feature of the living area is a cozy-looking couch.
“We wanted to better sit next to your loved one and watch TV, see the mountain, still see the fish in the pond, and not for it to be too high in the space. So I think it’s pretty good,” Evan said.
The opening windows of Pumice are placed really low to the water, which helps cool down the whole place.
“If you open the windows at the bottom close to the water, the air is always cooler. So if we open our skylight or we have our fan going, it convects cool air in so the house naturally aspirates,” Evan said.
In the kitchen, the lime render runs straight off the wall and into the kitchen counter and sink, which looks pretty cool. There’s also a beautiful breakfast bar for two running from the bench.
The bathroom is stunning and looks like it was carved out of rock rather than built.
“It’s that luxury of not having defined edges,” Evan said. “We can just curve things, and you just have to have this ability to appreciate what it’s going to look like at the end because backwards from here, there’s a lot of work to get those curves to have the flow that appeals to your eye. There’s an art to that. There’s no doubt about it.”
Moreover, it has heated floors, one of Evan’s favorite features.
“We’ve run the heat up the back of the seat as well, so when you sit in the seat in the shower, the seat’s warm, which is a bit of a treat,” he added.
The coziest nook of the house is probably the bedroom, which has no direct windows. One can really feel the “cave aesthetic” in this part of the home.
“I think it comes back to the fact that there is no definition between the wall and the roof,” Evan said.
“It’s all just encompassing in that curvy nature, so that sense of safety and security is definitely all-encompassing. And if the fire’s going and we pull the curtain, it is pretty luxurious.”
There’s a bioethanol fire in the bedroom with open flames against the plaster, giving the space a lovely natural glow. The fumes are so minimal that it’s completely safe even without a chimney.
Another clever idea is positioning the television on the back of the bed’s headboard, which they just wheel out when it needs to be used.
The combination of modern features and natural materials makes this house incredibly special. Enjoy a tour of this one-of-a-kind home in the video below.
If you want to see more stunning tiny home tours visit Living Big in a Tiny Home on their YouTube and website.
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