When you live in a tiny house, you’re limited by space and the unconventional ways in designing and putting furniture in your home. But these are a small price to pay to have a living space that suits your personality and needs. If you’re stepping inside a home that you built with your own hands and conceptualized with your mind, you’ve already achieved the dream most people are still striving to achieve.
For Erin and Jake, they’ve already made their dream happen. Though not all people fully understand the advantages and peace of mind a tiny house can offer, they’re reaping the full benefits of their home—while they’re sitting cozily in a huge theater loft!
The couple’s home in Wellington, New Zealand, sits in front of a great view of the mountains. Their parking spot looks over the vast greenery of the North Island’s southern end. “Everything in the house is personalized. I really thought about what we needed out of a living space,” Erin revealed.
The couple adopted the space’s restrictions and built around their home’s limitations. Erin works in the field of architecture. It took her about a year to design the tiny house. Together as a team, Erin and Jake tweaked every little feature to maximize the small space.
“As an architectural technician, this was really a valuable experience for me,” Erin continued. “I was able to put myself in the shoes of the client and think about what was important to us to have in a living space…” Erin made use of her experience in architecture and interior design.
Jake is creative and free-thinking while Erin excels in the technical side of the build. When Jake comes up with crazy, out-of-the-box ideas, his partner comes up with a plan on how to make it work.
For the house’s interior, the couple made use of exposed timber contrasted by a beautiful black corrugated metal. The tiny house’s dimensions follow the required size and weight of what mobile homeowners can take on the road.
The glass door served as an entryway that connects the living room to the outside. It feels like the inside and out of the home are connected. The ceiling of the living room is quite high, making you feel like you’re not in a tiny house. The couch faces the big window for natural lighting. In the winter season, the couple cuddles in front of the small wood burning stove for warmth.
“It was really important to us to not kind of skimp on space in the [lounge], so we knew we wanted a nice big couch that we could lie down on,” Erin explained. The couch’s placement beside the big window and in front of the entryway gives the couple a terrific view of Wellington’s hills both day and night.
Right beside the door is a charming wooden shelf that ties up the entire room with its sleek finish and asymmetrical design. There were a few leftover timbers from the ceiling back when Erin and Jake were still building their home, so they didn’t waste any wood they have left.
Erin thought of incorporating a galley-inspired motif in designing the kitchen. The stove, pantry, and fridge are placed under the stairs to give the kitchen more working space. The kitchen’s storage layout and cabinetry are clear standouts in the kitchen.
“I really wanted to use a lot of natural timber. This is my personal preference for interior design, so I used a lot of this birch ply on the kitchen joinery,” Erin revealed.
The thick shelves are where the couple keeps glass jars of food and spices. The cupboard beneath the jars also doubles up as a storage space. When it’s time to eat, the shelf also has a compartment for the fold-out table. They tie the table on the ceiling and bring out the chairs and utensils for their lovely meal.
On the opposite side of the kitchen, you’ll notice the sink and counter-top, which adheres to the home’s motif. Erin and Jake also managed to sneak a dishwasher for added convenience.
The kitchen’s functionality and artistic elements reflect the couple’s combined efforts in designing their beautiful, tiny home.
Past the kitchen is the home’s bathroom. They’ve got the shower area on one side and the composting toilet on the other. Erin and Jake collect rainwater with their 200-liter tank outside the house. Though they have a limited supply of water, they’re both conservative with their usage.
Since they go to the gym every day, both showers there to conserve water even more.
Upstairs, you’ll notice how the loft is uniquely designed. “It’s important to use that we had a separate space for our ridiculously big TV, which was definitely a necessity because we get really into movies because Jake’s in the film industry.”
Still, Gina and Jake didn’t want to be lying in bed while watching, so they created a second room in their loft dedicated for days whenever they feel like binge-watching.
The bed and the movie room are separated by a big cabinet, which is also an additional storage space for clothes and blankets.
The movie loft shelters a 55-inch TV, which fits nicely on the wall. The window also brings natural light for a cozier atmosphere while resting or watching in front of the television. Erin and Jake didn’t forget about their love for movies in designing their home. “We do probably spend a lot of time up here. That’s for sure,” Jake admitted.
“You don’t spend a lot of time cleaning or worry about maintenance on the house and you don’t have a lot of stuff. So, it really just stress-free,” said Erin.
In terms of materials and the money in designing and building the tiny house, it took them $32,000 to $36,000. But this cost doesn’t cover the labor costs and time spent when they built and designed the house themselves.
“Sometimes it’s a bit surreal having gone through all of these stages of design, seeing the plans, drawing the plans out on the sand on the beach. You built a little scale model of the house and now we’re living in that model,” Jake said.
The feeling of waking up in a home you’ve built with your bare hands can be overwhelming, but it fills your heart with joy and contentment. Having spent almost a year in their in designing tiny house, Erin and Jake can’t help but look back on their journey while relishing how it worked out.
Here’s a quick tour of their lovely home:
If you love watching Tiny Homes, the best place to be is Living Big in a Tiny House YouTube Channel.