Tiny House Goes Back to the Basics

The Japanese firm Muji has recently unveiled a their first offering in the tiny home sphere. The so-called Muji Hut is a minimalist tiny home, equipped with just the basic necessities, but it also looks very cozy and inviting. It would work great as a vacation cabin, a home office or a guesthouse, but might not work so well as a permanent home.

The Muji Hut measures 97 sq ft (9.1 sq m), but the exterior deck adds an additional 32 sq ft (3 sq m) to the floorspace. The exterior is made of cedar wood and was treated with the all-natural preserving method called Shou Sugi Ban. The interior cladding is unfinished Japanese cypress plywood, while they used polystyrene foam for insulation, and it appears that only the ceiling is insulated. That, together with the fact that the windows are only single pane, it seems that the Muji Hut is only suitable for mild climates, though it does have a fairly large wood-burning stove installed for heating. The Muji Hut also needs a reinforced concrete foundation, and has no electric power or plumbing installed.

The interior is comprised of a single room, which the owners can furnish according to their wishes. It would be easy to add a small kitchenette and maybe a composting toilet, as well as solar panels to the roof. This tiny home may not have a whole lot of extra features, but it does exactly what it is meant to do: it provides an affordable way to build a cozy dwelling anywhere you want to be.

The Muji Hut will be available in mid-2017 and will cost around $27,000 including construction. At this time, it can only be shipped in Japan.

Couple converts school bus into their first home

Rising rents and huge student loans, coupled with difficulty finding job security are leading more and more young people to reconsider what a home should look like. Brittany and Steven of Adventure or Bust are one example of a young couple who opted to convert a disused school bus into a full time home. They converted the bus themselves, and will use it to travel and work on the go.

The majority of the interior space is taken up by the lounge/kitchen area. The sitting area features an L-shaped sofa, which can be converted into a full-size bed for guests. There is also a flat screen TV in this area. The kitchen which adjoins this space is fitted with full-size, energy efficient appliances, namely a fridge, stove, and a washer/dryer combo unit. The bus they used for the conversion has a side door, and the kitchen counter they installed across it can be lifted up to make the door accessible.

The bathroom is fitted with a Nature’s Head composting toilet, and a small shower. The bus is very water efficient, since no blackwater is produced, and all the greywater is filtered and used to irrigate the vegetable garden. They use the compost on their fruit trees. The bus also features plenty of closet and storage space.

The bedroom is located at the far end of the bus and is just big enough to fit a queen-size bed. The latter can be lifted up to reveal a storage area, the 100-gallon water tank and grant access to the rear door of the bus.

They renovated the bus themselves, and the total cost came to just $17,600, which includes the purchase price of the bus. While the bus is very water efficient, it has to be hooked up to the grid for power. They are currently saving up for a solar power array so that they can use it completely off-the-grid. They also plan on painting the exterior as soon as funds allow it.

Affordable Tiny Off-The-Grid Weekend Retreat

The firm Modern Tiny Living just unveiled a tiny home, which makes other tiny homes appear like mansions in comparison. The aptly named Nugget comes fully equipped with everything you need for a cozy weekend retreat.

The Nugget rests atop a single-axle 12 ft (3.6 m)-long trailer, and weighs 4,500 lbs (2,040 kg). It’s floorspace is just 102 sq ft (9.4 sq m), which is tinier then even the tiniest competition. However, the Nugget has all one needs, including a kitchenette, a bathroom and a comfy sleeping area. They are marketing this one as a weekend retreat, which is quite accurate, since it is probably too small to be used as a full time home.

That said, they did maximize on the available space. There is a large sink in the kitchen, complete with a copper faucet, while the countertop is actually a hickory butcher block. There is a small fridge, but no stove, since the owner plans to use one of the portable camping ones. The bathroom is separated from the main living area by a pocket door, and is equipped with a composting toilet and a shower. The sleeping area doubles as the lounge, and features a good-sized bed.

The Nugget is completely independent of the grid, and is fitted with a rooftop mounted solar power array, which is connected to an inverter and a battery system. They also installed a 100 gal (378 l) fresh water tank and pump, which provides all the necessary water. A propane heater is used to heat both the interior as well as the water.

The home is also reasonably well insulated, with the ceiling and floors having an insulation rating of R-28, and the walls a rating of R-21, but the home is not really suitable for use in extreme climates.

To go with it’s size, the Nugget’s price is also small. It is currently being sold for $36,000.

Large Tiny Home

This newly built tiny home for two in Australia proves that downsizing does not mean you must sacrifice comfort. It’s called Zen Tiny House, and it is quite large for a tiny home, and certainly big enough to accommodate the two owners, Nadia and Kester Marshall and their two Australian shepherd dogs. Nadia designed the home herself, and commissioned the local tiny house builder Sam Commerford to build it.

The home is 24.6 ft (7.5 m) long and 9.8 ft (3 m) wide. It also features a window box that is 1.6 ft (0.5 m) long and is quite a clever extension of the space. The home features a large patio, 8.2 ft (2.5 m) sliding door in the lounge area, which effectively opens up the space and makes the interior appear larger. The sitting area features an interesting custom-made couch which is connected to the stairs leading up to the bedroom. The latter is in a loft, which appears quite spacious, with a good amount of headroom.

The generous width of the home allowed them to make the kitchen more spacious. It is fitted with a full-size stove and fridge, and features lots of counter space. There is also plenty of storage room here. The bathroom is quite spacious as well, and features a shower and a composting toilet. There is also an extra door here for easy access to it after a swim in the sea.

They used Weathertex for external cladding, which is made from 98% recycled Australian hardwood that is mixed with paraffin wax and painted with an ageing stain. The window box and the extruded window were clad in cedar treated with the shou sugi-ban technique. All the cabinetry inside the home is made of plywood that was coated with Rubio monocoat oil. They used whitewash v-join pine for the ceiling, and gyprock (dry wall) for the walls. The flooring is made of vinyl wood-look planks. The outdoor deck is modular, and can be completely removed and packed away in a single day.

The total cost of building the home came to $55,000, which does not include the deck.

Flat Pack Home That Will Bring You Closer to Nature

We spend more and more time indoors, glued to our computers and tablets. One solution to this is certainly changing our habits, but another is also living in a home that allows more contact with the world outside it. And that’s exactly what the recently unveiled Breathe house, designed by the NYC firm SO-IL offers. The design of it may be a bit “Haute Couture” but it is still a great idea.

Breathe is being marketed as an active living experience home. It is narrow and three stories high, and instead of traditional walls, the home is wrapped in a breathable, light-permeable skin of “purifying fabric” which lets in and filters light and air.

The home was designed in collaboration with MINI Living and erected on a 538 sq ft (50 sq m) lot. The home has a minimal carbon footprint, and features a modular steel frame that divides the home into six living spaces. There is also a garden on the roof, which is fitted with a rainwater collection system that provides water for the household.

The ground floor features a kitchen that opens into the outdoors. A spiral staircase leads from this level into the lounge and work area, and further up into the sleeping area. Semi-opaque screens separate the different spaces of the home, offering privacy while at the same time letting in light and air.

The skin covering the home is reusable, and made from a translucent PVC mesh, which creates a sort of microclimate inside the home. It filters in light, while also filtering air since it’s coating captures dust and dirt and prevents it from entering the home. At the same time, these walls do not keep the outside out, meaning that inhabitants can still experience everything that goes on around them.

Breathe features a flat pack design, so it is easy to both assemble and disassemble it. It is also easy to transport it to just about anywhere. It is not, however, suitable for all climates and locations. The main aim of the design was to challenge traditional ideas about what housing must be like, and instead offer a solution that could bring us all closer to nature. It is certainly innovative.