Big things ahead for Tiny Homes

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What’s not to love about the Tiny Home movement? Creative spaces, energy efficiency, environmentally friendly, transportable and cost effective! Grant Emans is the man behind Designer Eco (Tiny) Homes and has been receiving a lot of positive press with the creation of his latest tiny home. Having recently visited America, attending the Tiny Home Conference in North Carolina, a big thanks to Grant for taking the time to answer these questions and share his love of the tiny home movement.

There are so many possibilities for Tiny Homes in the Inner West and Designer Eco (Tiny) Homes is offering a $2000 cash back across their whole range of tiny homes to any “I Love the Inner West” member. Off valid till Christmas 2016. Just use the code: ILOVETHEINNERWEST with any enquiries.

How did you get interested in the tiny Home movement?
I have been in the residential housing industry all my working life, so when I came across the tiny house movement in the US it grabbed my attention straight away. And they are just so versatile. If you want to move, just hook up your tiny to the back of the car, and off you go! For a lot of people, Tiny homes will be the solution to their housing needs. They are the most all round sustainable housing option available to people on the market. They tick the box for energy efficiency, environmentally friendly, and economic viability.

How can a Tiny Home be adopted by Inner Westies who might not have a large block of land?
If you have the space for a single car, you have space for a tiny home! Sizes vary from 9m2-60m2. If there is no access point, then we can crane it in. They are all custom designed, so as long as you have some space we can get one to fit. But you may want to use it as a mobile office, art studio or weekender. A tiny home is a registered vehicle and can be parked on the street. Maybe one day you want to work by the ocean, or down the coast. Simply hook it up to your car and tow it away.

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What are some of the benefits of a Tiny Home?
So many benefits! No lengthy council development application process, highly energy efficient for both heating / cooling and lighting and power usage, appropriate use of our precious natural resources to provide housing, completely transportable if you ever decide to move or sell, can be doubled in size by adding a side extension once delivered on site for added storage, lounge room, extra bedroom or just a little more space to entertain, and the most cost effective housing solution on the market today!

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A tiny home maximises the use of our precious natural resources. Building a tiny home is a good choice in managing the environment. We all have to live somewhere, so we need to use these materials, but do you need to build a huge house for 1-2 people. Australian culture seems to say we do, but our environment will tell you otherwise.

As well as being an appropriate use of materials and resources, a tiny home is also extremely energy efficient. Full insulated walls and ceiling, double glazed windows and skylights allows temperature management for both summer and winter extremely easy. Your energy bill for heating and cooling will be almost none existent. Especially given that for all my tiny homes, solar with battery storage is a standard feature. For the lights, we incorporate a 12v system so that you don’t require any mains power. And if you want to be completely off grid for your power as well we can easily increase the size of the system.

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From my experience in the residential house industry over the last 16 years I can tell you the biggest headache in building your home is council. It can take years for some projects to get through the lengthy development application process. Plus some of the fees that they charge are quite outrageous. A tiny home is not governed by local council rules in NSW. It is not classed in the same way a regular house is because it is on wheels. And in some cases, once the tiny house has been delivered to the site, the wheels can be removed.

Your average price for a tiny home is around $65,000. Compare that to Sydney medium house price and it’s over $1,000,000! You would spend more on one year’s mortgage repayments for the average Sydney home than you would the total cost of a tiny home. Which brings me to the last benefit I will talk about (although there are many others), freedom.

Freedom to live a life! So many people are trapped in a job because they need the money to cover the bank repayments or even the cost of rent. Imagine your house cost you $65,000! If you wanted to stop work for a while and pursue a hobby, do some travelling, write a book, who knows! But for so many life is determined by the bank. Life is just too short to be like that.

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What did you learn from 4 day Tiny Homes conference in North Carolina that you recently attended?
The biggest thing I learned at the conference was that the tiny home movement is no fad. This will be the future for housing across the globe for a vast number of people. I mentioned earlier that it wasn’t for everyone, but it is for most. Attitudes will change towards this type of living for most people in the near future not just because it is an option for house, but a necessity. We simply cannot continue to build the way we have for the last 100 years and expect everything to be ok. Not on any level, social, environmental or economical can we continue on this path. The conference was clear on that, and the people who attended already knew it to be true. Others will see soon enough.

What size do the Tiny Homes come in?
Tiny homes come in all shapes and sizes. They are custom designed to suit your needs. The overall size constraints of a tiny home are governed by the road rules (must fit under a bridge) which is 2.5m wide x 12.5m long x 4.3m tall. Once on site you can double the size by adding an extension equal to the size of the main tiny home. Being 4.3m tall it also allows you to install a loft bedroom if you like. Carports, decking and pergolas are also additional things you can add once installed on site.  The largest tiny home I have designed is 60m2 as an alternative to a granny flat.

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What materials do you use in construction?
The tiny homes I construct are made very similar to that of a residential house. I stay clear of masonry type products due to the weight, but other than that if you see it in a regular house, you can probably have it in a tiny house.

Do Tiny Homes require council approval?
No!

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