INNOVATION

Inside The Tiny House With Two Architects And A Baby

The super small dwelling has had a court win to pave the way for affordable homes.

02/12/2016 10:16 AM AEDT | Updated 07/12/2016 7:46 PM AEDT

A tiny home about the size of a car space is making a big shift towards affordable, sustainable living after winning a council case.

The 18-square-metre Brisbane home has wooden accents and a clever descending sleeping loft, but it's also on wheels and can be towed on the road like any other trailer.

It's the home and passion of new parents Lara Nobel and Andrew Carter, who, along with Greg Thornton, run The Tiny House Company, that sells similar designs from $49,000 a module.

The Tiny House Company
Greg Thornton, Lara Nobel and Andrew Carter in the tiny house's Brisbane location.

The couple decided to live in their own tiny house but a neighbour complained to Brisbane City Council, causing them to prove their dwelling was, in fact, a trailer and not a permanent home.

"I think sometimes people complain when they don't understand something," Carter told HuffPost Australia.

"It was a good opportunity to talk to council though, because part of the idea of living here was to design the tiny house, to build it, then to experience living in it, going through all the steps and working with council.

"We're doing the whole gamut of owning a tiny house."

The statewide Queensland Building and Development Dispute Resolution Committee gave them a thumbs up this month, paving the way for more widespread use of small homes on wheels without the need for an expensive building permit.

Living in a tiny home as a couple is one thing, but as Nobel told HuffPost Australia, they've also welcomed baby Charlie just five weeks ago.

"It's the perfect house for us right now," Nobel said.

"If it's not ideal for us in five years with a walking little person, we have the flexibility to add a module, or move it somewhere else."

"Tiny houses give you that flexibility we don't normally associate with buying a house," Carter added.

They said the transition to a tiny house wasn't a difficult one.

Andrew Carter / The Tiny House Company
The house is compatible with Ikea furniture and can be augmented to fit people's needs.

"We've spent the last few years in big share houses with about seven other people, so the amount of private space is actually quite small," Nobel said.

"We like having a sense of community which is one of the reasons tiny houses appeal to us.

"The other side is on a city scale how you deal with density of population, can you keep sprawling suburbs outwards with big houses on big blocks, or do you sacrifice that for high little boxes stacked on top of each other.

"We are interested in the in-between. A sensitive infill I guess."

Andrew Carter / The Tiny House Company
The home can be packed up in a few hours and towed behind a car.

"When you look at international examples of more mature cities, you can see how often small dwellings are a lasting solution," Carter said. "That's the endpoint lots of cities arrive at after hundreds of years of development.

"For people struggling to afford a house but still wanting to enter the property market, this is a solution.

"It's a snapshot for the future for Australia."

Currently, homes like this one are classed as caravans, with differing rules for each council area.

"It's slow progress, these things are always more complex than they appear, but when we had the team from council here all sitting on our tiny deck, it felt like they saw the benefit of a house like this for people struggling with housing affordability.

"It's a useful precedent here in Brisbane but we need more of a discussion about tiny houses."

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