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Do you really need A BIG HOUSE?

Settling and levelling the house.


Bruce Hedge, EG’s permaculture chief wizard, looks at a stylish, commercial tiny house recently delivered to its delighted owner in the bush near Melbourne.


WHAT’S the smallest amount of house you need? I must say I despair when I drive through new housing developments and see immense houses being built on tiny blocks with no back yard, three quarters of them facing the wrong way for passive solar gain, and therefore condemning future owners to high energy bills.

When we started living the EG lifestyle back in 1978, we wanted to build our own small passive solar mudbrick house, but were rather surprised to learn that the minimum sized house they allowed in our shire at that time was 1200 sq ft (12 squares — 111 sq m). We just didn’t need a bigger house at the time, and wanted to build it cheaply, and quickly.

Fast forward 40 years. Home ownership is increasingly difficult for many people these days, and it’s not only the young having difficulty. There is a large group of seniors who have limited resources but still want the security of their own home, but cannot afford to enter, or re-enter the housing market. All of a sudden interest in tiny houses is taking off all over the world, especially in Australia and New Zealand. It seems every real estate supplement is recognising the rise of tiny houses, and shires are having to adjust their rules to accommodate this new phenomenon.

I recently became aware of a tiny house in our area, owned by a young man who just wanted to live a low impact lifestyle in a beautiful environment, but could not even start to enter the race to save a deposit.

Shernon Hague had rented in Melbourne for eight years when one day he decided to change his lifestyle. He investigated ‘alternative living’ scenarios like camper vans (too small) caravan parks (too . . . “not quite what I wanted”), large bus conversions (again no) when one day two years ago Youtube introduced him to the concept of tiny houses.



Settled in.


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