Living Big in a Tiny House

15 October 2013
3 min read

While in New Zealand I had coffee with a super inspiring guy called Bryce Langston, who is working on a project to build a tiny house.

Bryce and his partner Melissa have decided to downsize. Like really downsize. To a home that is only 2.6m x 5m, so small it fits on a trailer (part of its appeal).

Bryce says the tiny house is a way to simplify their life, reduce their environmental footprint and avoid being yoked with a massive mortgage debt.

Their tiny house will be completely off-grid, with high spec solar panels on the roof. DC power will mean they can’t simply plug in their existing household appliances but will massively reduce EMF exposure.

Space will obviously be at a premium and their architectural team are putting a huge amount of thought into the layout of the tiny house. Storage will be minimal, definitely no room for hoarding!

They are committed to using the most eco-friendly, sustainable and locally sourced products in their tiny house (when living in such a small space you really want to avoid chemicals). Bryce and his team are searching far and wide to find products which meet their strict criteria. They have chosen to use the international Green Building Standards Code, which means they have to consider a whole raft of things, including distance travelled for all materials used.

And what about the toilet? (I had to ask)

‘We will be using a composting toilet’ says Bryce. ‘I believe composting toilets should be in every house. They turn something which we have been taught to consider a ‘waste’ product, into a valuable resource. In a world with a very limited supply of fresh water, taking clean drinking water, soiling it, then flushing it away to be chemically treated should simply not be an option for anyone.’

The coolest thing about this project is that Bryce and Melissa will openly share their designs, research and suppliers to support and encourage others to build their own tiny house.

Bryce is making a documentary about their tiny house journey, and is looking forward to their ‘Christmas Special’ when they will be cooking their Xmas day feast in the tiny house.

I asked where they were planning to locate their tiny house, and Bryce told me they want to barter time and services in return for ‘parking’ their house on someone else’s land. (Bryce is a permaculturalist, regularly goes out foraging for wild greens, and once planted an urban food forest in Auckland).

Bryce says they are working to a budget of around $35,000 for their tiny house, of which a significant chunk is the high tech solar panels.

The tiny house movement is gaining momentum worldwide and with the price of home ownership being so high the tiny house is an alternative that may appeal to more and more people.

I LOVE the tiny house concept and hope to have a crack at building my own wee house one day. Having lived on a yacht for several months I know what it’s like to live with limited space and power. I love the simplicity of it.

Could you live in a tiny house? Leave a comment in the speech bubble above to let me know what you think about the Tiny House concept 🙂

Check out the project at Living Big in a Tiny House.

Me and Bryce Langston caught up to talk about living in a tiny house

I caught up with Bryce Langston to talk about living in a tiny house


Jo Mahony

I think this is a great idea. Though for myself I would like to build a permanent small place (eco friendly / sustainable materials / passive solar design) in one spot and grow as much food as I can around me on a piece of land which I share with like minded people.

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