Living in a tiny home doesn’t have to mean sacrificing luxury. Room to Move’s Jeff Hobbs designed and built an incredible off-grid tiny house that offers all the comforts of a larger home without the backbreaking mortgage and utility bills. Topped with solar panels, the gorgeous micro-home is 100 percent self-sustaining and is set on a trailer with wheels so that it can be moved from place to place. Bryce Langston of the web series Living Big in a Tiny House took a tour of the beautiful interior—keep reading for an inside look.
Built for a client who will live in the house full-time, the tiny mobile home is entirely powered by a 600-watt solar array and a solar collector that heats the water supply. The solar setup powers an impressive variety of appliances, from a washing machine to the hairdryer, on 230 volts through a 1,300-volt inverter. The home, which measures 6.7 meters (22 feet) in length and 3.2 meters (8 feet) in width, is built with 62-millimeter-thick structural insulated panels (SIPs), a material Hobbs prefers for tiny house building because of its thin and light profile, superior insulation, and rigidity. A covered veranda and timber deck expand the home’s living space to the outdoors. An outdoor utility cupboard located on one end of the structure contains the electrical unit with two 6-volt batteries, a washing machine, and the gas and plumbing units.
Large glazed folding doors lead from the veranda to a light-filled interior that feels surprisingly spacious thanks to the high ceilings and spatial arrangement that begins with a cozy living room with an L-shaped sofa. Storage is hidden beneath the cushions in modular cabinets that can be pulled out and rearranged to form a double bed. A galley kitchen with a recycled Kauri countertop—the gorgeous recycled Kauri timber is also used for flooring—is located on the opposite end of the home and features a 12-volt range hood, two-burner cooktop, an oven and grill, a 130-liter fridge, and a handmade ceramic kitchen sink. A bathroom with a shower and composting toilet is located next to the kitchen.
A staircase with some in-built storage leads up to the roomy lofted bedroom surrounded by windows. A large skylight positioned above the bed swings open and allows access to the roof. The spacious interior includes 2 meters (6.5 feet) of height beneath the loft and 1.4 meters (4.5 meters) above the loft. For extra warmth, Hobbs installed a Wagener Sparky wood burning stove that sits next to the entrance on a metal plate. Rainwater is harvested off the roof and, since the home will be located in New Zealand’s Waiheke Island, the system is expected to collect 32,000 liters (8,400 gallons) of water per year. While the tiny home is on wheels—the wraparound deck and veranda unbolt and can be removed in two hours—the house is expected to stay in one place.
This high-end tiny house cost over NZ$70,000 (US$46,000) just on materials and equipment. Hobbs estimates that the total cost including labor is approximately $120,000 (NZ) (US $77,000).