Tiny homes are ideal for singles and couples, but once you bring a small child or two into the mix and things get complicated. Most people opt to move to a bigger home once their family grows, but UK-based architect Tim Francis, his wife, teacher Laura Hubbard-Miles and their three children have chosen to downsize into a very small home.
Their new home is actually a renovated stone building that was used in Victorian times to store fruit. It’s located in the countryside of Gloucestershire, on Francis’ parents’ estate. Their apartment in London was much bigger than this new home, but the nearest park was quite far away, and with today’s prices they were unlikely to be able to afford another home with more of the qualities they sought.
They call their new tiny home Fruit Store, and it took awhile to get all the permits to turn it into a dwelling. The exact measurements of the home weren’t revealed, but the interior appears quite spacious and cozy, probably due to its open, minimalist design. The home features a loft, which houses the children’s bedroom and playroom. The lounge downstairs features built-in benches, which can either be used as a sofa or transformed into a bed for the parents.
There is also a well-sized kitchen, and a bathroom, though an indoor toilet seems to be missing. The house does have running water and electricity though. the family spends a lot of time together outdoors, gardening and exploring the countryside, which is a definite plus in their new living arrangement. The downsizing has also given Tim a chance to get his design firm, Rural Workshop, off the ground.
A family of three living together in such a small home certainly challenges a whole host of preconceived notions about what a family home should be like. However, what a child really needs is a roof over their heads and a family that loves and protects them. So bedroom size is a secondary consideration.
The firm Miller Kendrick Architects of London, UK recently completed a unique pop-up cabin in the Welsh Countryside. It’s called Arthur’s Cave and was the winning entry in a recent Wales’s Year of Legends festival, which invited designers to come up with proposals for mini-hostels to be built in Wales. Arthur’s Cave draws inspiration from the legend of King Arthur who according to folklore once took refuge in a cave in the area.
The cabin is very small and cave-like. It features a small living area, a bathroom and a den-like bedroom in the back. It has an undulating rib structure and sheathing made of CNC-cut birch plywood. Each section of the ribs is made up of many smaller pieces, which are joined together by jigsaw joints. A small woodstove is also installed in the cabin and takes care of the heating needs. The cabin also has hot and cold running water, and LED lighting throughout. Power comes via an array of solar panels while it is also equipped with a composting toilet. In other words, it functions off-the-grid.
The cabin is located in Castell y Bere and the materials used to build it were sourced locally. They include dark-stained larch boards from the nearby Esgair Forest, which were milled in Machynlleth . They also used sheep’s wool for insulation and they obtained this material from the town of Ty-Mwar.
This first Arthur’s Cave will soon be a part of a popup hostel, along with eight other cabins like it. The hostel is set to open later this summer, and will offer a comfortable, sustainable and unique glamping experience. There is no word on what the prices to rent one of these cabins will be.
Tiny homes are all about downsizing, and in the beginning of the movement that meant getting rid of everything but the bare essentials when it comes to clothes and other material possessions. But with some clever design techniques this is no longer the case. And the newly constructed Juniper house proves that even a very small house can pack a lot of storage.
Juniper house was built by Backcountry Tiny Homes, and they created this home for Alexis and Brian of Living the Tiny Dream. The home measures 290 sq ft (27 sq m) (which includes the lofts) and features an advanced form of framing known as ladder framing, which reduces material costs and weight, as well as limits thermal bridging. It also makes the process of insulating the home easier. Beetle-kill pine was used in the construction process.
The interior of the home features a large multi-purpose unit, so to speak, which was made for IKEA parts and contains a transforming seating area and foldaway table. The seating area also features a hidden coffee table and ottoman, which can be rolled under the sofa when not needed.
The bedroom is located in a loft, which is accessible via a set of stairs with integrated storage space. There is also an elevated platform here for storing shoes, while there is additional storage space hidden in the floor of the loft.
The kitchen is located under the sleeping loft and is fitted with a large sink and refrigerator, as well as an all-in-one washer, and plenty of pantry space. The bathroom features a shower and composting toilet, while the ladder leading up to the second, so-called “reading loft,” is incorporated into its door to save space.
In an effort to save money, Alexis and Brian assisted in the construction of their tiny home, which also meant that they learned a few things along the way. Because of this the total cost of the home was only $53,800, which includes all the furnishings and appliances.
In many cities across the globe, the shortage of affordable apartments has led to more and more people living in micro, or shoe-box apartments. London is one of the cities facing the worst of this housing shortage crisis, and the local architecture studio CIAO recently redesigned a tiny apartment into a spacious home, which is now big enough to host guests.
The apartment in question measures just 376 sq ft (35 sq m) and is located in a Victorian-era house in the Islington area. The apartment has high ceilings which is a plus when it comes to micro apartments. They kept the layout of the home open and with the help of clever convertible furniture they were able to transform this place into a comfortable home. The workspace which the client uses during the day can be transformed into a sleeping area for guests when needed with the help of a pull-out trundle bed. The lounge is also in this area, and features a corner sofa.
A half-height bookcase separates the main living area from the bedroom. The bed is placed atop a custom-built platform which hides the roll-out trundle guest bed. The platform is accessible via a couple of stairs which contain storage drawers. Higher up, in the mezzanine area there is another, larger storage space. The home also features a small, but functional bathroom.
The apartment also features a kitchen, which is fitted with lots of metallic COR-TEN steel that gives it an interesting industrial look. This look is nicely balanced by the warmer, natural wood elements elsewhere in the apartment, such as the table and shelving, as well as the brick wall in the living area which was left in it’s original condition.
This is definitely another prime example of how even a micro apartment can be transformed into a comfortable home with a few clever space saving techniques, and some outside the box thinking.
The firm Escape has been making tiny homes for a while now, and their latest offering, the so-called Escape One, is just as well built as all the others. It features a charred wood façade and an interior layout that maximizes the available space in the most thoughtful way possible.
The Escape One is built atop a 25 ft (7.62 m)-long trailer and measures 276 sq ft (25.6 sq m). The home is clad in wood throughout, and the exterior cladding was treated with the traditional Japanese Shou Sugi Ban method, which both preserves the wood and protects it from pests and decay naturally. The interior walls are also clad in wood, but these were left in their natural state.
As is the case with most tiny home builds, the interior was kept simple. The ground floor features a sitting area, a spacious kitchen, and a bathroom. The kitchen features a good amount of counter space and shelving, as well as a stove, sink and fridge. The bathroom is large enough to fit a toilet, sink and shower. The bedroom is located in a loft, which is accessible via a set of stairs. There appears to be a lot of headroom here, especially if the bed is low. There is also a second loft above the bathroom, which can be used for storage.
The home is very well insulated and has an average R-rating of R-30. The lighting is LED throughout, and while the base model features a standard RV hookup, a solar power system is an option. Other off-the-grid optional add-ons include water storage, and a composting toilet package. Customers can also opt to install a mini-split air-conditioning unit with a heat pump, and a propane furnace for heating. Luxury items such as a flatscreen TV with Blu-ray, stone countertops, and more are also available as an add-on to the base model.
Prices for the Escape One start at $49,800, which is quite a bargain.