To use a turn of phrase my granddad employs regularly, a tiny house is ‘exactly what it says on the tin’. That is, it’s a small house.
Depending on whether you’re claustrophobic or not, Tiny House UK homes are both energy efficient, cute, and completely DIY. They load up everything from a conventional house into a neat north-European inspired compartment. Like a studio, but portable.
Below is an interview with Mark from Tiny Houses UK
When did you start building tiny houses?
I started building my first tiny house in August 2011. Unfortunately, the first one suffered a broken axle due to the weight of the structure when I was towing it down the highway. Not a great start! The second house was built on a caravan chassis, which again did not cope with the sheer weight and bowed at front and back, causing the roof to part in a few areas. Back to the drawing board!
The third house, after a lot of re-calcs and structural re-thinking, turned out very well and solid as a rock.
What was your inspiration?
I first saw tiny houses on the Internet – Jay Shaffer’s blog (Tumbleweed Tiny House) – and loved what he had accomplished.
Are there any unique challenges associated with designing and constructing a tiny house?
The weight was the main problem to overcome. Tiny houses [originated] from the USA. Vehicles in the USA are a lot bigger and heavier, which means conventional trailers are designed to cope with … much more weight. It seems trailers in the UK are made [more cheaply] (save as to cost), which is why my first [two] tiny houses were not successful. The rainfall in the UK is far higher and, as we all know, timber can weigh two and a half times its dry weight once it has been exposed to the good old British weather.
Do you think tiny houses will become a viable alternative to traditional dwellings in the future?
Property [values have] risen over the last 10 years at an astonishing rate and [have] effectively priced the younger generation out of the market. … Living in a tiny house for a few years gives people the opportunity to live cheaply and save money.
What do your customers most commonly use the tiny houses for?
Most enquiries seem to come from guest houses, B&Bs and homeowners looking to use one as an extra room or to rent out. Rather than living cheaply, extra income seems to be the area that attracts customers.
What are the costs associated with tiny houses?
Apart from the initial payment, the cost of living is very low. Our tiny houses can be installed with low voltage lighting [and] solar power is a viable option. We insulate our houses with Celotex, Kingspan or Super Quilt, which have very high insulation values. The bed area is elevated, and because heat rises, the sleeping area stays warm for longer.