A tiny home solves two very different housing problems

Here's a wonderful solution to the housing affordability problem. Our team member, Karen, has been buzzing at the prospect of her new home and has had us all very enthusiastically following her progress in this build.It takes an entrepreneurial spirit to lead the way in any innovation so Karen is right in her element. Our NZ houses have become huge, especially for an aging population, so the alternative shown here shows that it is a choice, not a necessity to build so big. With the movable home featured in the below article on Karen's journey, it is likely that others will be motivated to get onto the property ladder, or down-size, in a similar way. Exciting times which we hope others will be motivated by. Go Karen. An inspired choice for many a need.

Karen Brinkman is joining the growing number looking for a freer way of life, with less stuff and less financial hassle.

Only a month out from moving into her brand new tiny home, 64-year-old Karen Brinkman is positively brimming with excitement.

The internal fit-out will be finished over the next few weeks and then her place will be ready to hit the road to Kairaki Beach Motor Camp.

For most of her life, Karen has lived in a regular suburban home.

She's willingly forsaking three bedrooms and two bathrooms for a space that's only 7.6m long, 2.7m wide and 4.2m high. Why?

Once it's finished, Karen will park her new home up at Kairaki Beach Motor Camp.

DAVID WALKER/STUFF

Once it's finished, Karen will park her new home up at Kairaki Beach Motor Camp.

"It all started with watching this TV programme about tiny homes. It made sense to me. Circumstances had changed with my job, my daughter had moved away. I realised I didn't need a big house with a mortgage and a massive rates bill."


So she sold her home at Pegasus, started renting with a friend in Rangiora and got in touch with Christchurch tiny house maker Mihaus.

Rather than buying land straight away, she's opted to park it up at Kairaki while she gets used to her new way of life. "It's a small campground near the beach, walkways and cycle ways so it feels like the right fit for me."

Brinkman's tiny home is being built by MiHaus in Christchurch.

DAVID WALKER/STUFF

Brinkman's tiny home is being built by MiHaus in Christchurch.

Her new 'apartment on wheels', clad in easy care corrugated iron and cedar, will have everything she wants: a spacious loft bedroom, with a ventilated bathroom (plus washing machine) tucked in underneath; a kitchen with benchtop oven, gas hobs, microwave, fridge and dishwasher; a sofa bed for guests; corner space for her TV; it's fully insulated and double-glazed and will even have its own hardwood deck.

Downsizing possessions has not been as hard as she had thought. "You sit down and think about what you want and what you don't need. I've sold virtually all my furniture."

Karen Brinkman has downsized to a tiny home to free herself from the costs and hassle of regular homeownership.

DAVID WALKER/STUFF

Karen Brinkman has downsized to a tiny home to free herself from the costs and hassle of regular homeownership.

For Karen, a tiny home means a retirement free of financial worries. "I can travel and be independent ... Everyone is entitled to a new home once in their life. This is my new home."

Mihaus formed a year ago and is producing around one high spec tiny home a month at its Redwood workshop. Buyers coming from all walks of life are seeking them out either as permanent homes or for temporary/short term accommodation.

Dan Gillespie (pictured) and his partner Hayley, both in their early 20s, see their tiny house as a step towards full homeownership.
JOSEPH JOHNSON/STUFF
 
Dan Gillespie (pictured) and his partner Hayley, both in their early 20s, see their tiny house as a step towards full homeownership.

In central Christchurch, Dan and Hayley Gillespie have answered the puzzle of how to get on the property ladder as a young couple. They started building their tiny house on a vacant section belonging to Dan's parents at the start of March and moved in three months later.

As Dan explains, this is actually their second tiny home and he designs and builds tiny homes for other people too. He is currently doing an apprenticeship with his father's building company.

He and Hayley see their tiny home as a stepping stone towards eventual full home ownership. "This is not a forever solution for us - it's a means to an end."

The house is warm, dry and easy to clean - vacuuming takes three minutes flat.
JOSEPH JOHNSON/STUFF
The house is warm, dry and easy to clean - vacuuming takes three minutes flat.

Their double-glazed, insulated tiny home is 7.2m long, 2.3m wide and 4.1m high. It has a surprisingly roomy loft bedroom.

The kitchen is underneath that and their bathroom is tucked away at the opposite end, next to a small living room area.

They have made clever use of space, such as stashing the washing machine away in the kitchen joinery beneath a fold-out table. The interior finish is white-painted ply and cedar.

The washing machine in the Gillespie's tiny house is stashed away beneath a fold-out table.
JOSEPH JOHNSON/STUFF
 
The washing machine in the Gillespie's tiny house is stashed away beneath a fold-out table.

"It's easy - it's warm and dry and everyone who comes here loves it," Hayley said. "It takes three minutes to vacuum the house and you're done!"

Dan observes that consenting rules around tiny homes-on-wheels remain somewhat ambiguous and that's something he'd like to see changed. "There needs to be some agreement or new legislation around tiny homes and I'd like to be a pioneer of that."

Meanwhile, those with land suitable for a tiny house - or those with a tiny house looking for land - can hook up online at www.landshare.nz/

Dan also builds tiny homes for other people.
JOSEPH JOHNSON/STUFF
Dan also builds tiny homes for other people.
 
You can view the full article on Stuff.co.nz (Click here)

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