Everything we need

“It’s simple and gives me everything I need. I wanted to escape the rent trap in Auckland, get rid of overheads and continue to work in a creative career.

My partner Rasa and I finished this house in January. It’s 6 x 2.5m, about the size of an average parking space. It feels much larger inside. It’s also customised to me – I’m 6'4", so I raised the countertops to suit my height.

The materials are very similar to a normal home but lightweight: wood floors, steel framing and roofing, polyester insulation, thermally modified pine weatherboards. Because you’re constructing with less, you can use better-quality materials.

I’ve kept the design open, light and modern, with warm homestead touches – wood trim and floors, strips of pāua.

A small tank on the home collects rainwater and we connect to mains water when required. Not all tiny houses are off-grid; some you just plug in a power cord and away you go, but we have four solar panels.

It’s fun to learn about generating energy and it’s much simpler to reduce our overall consumption. Having a small environmental footprint is important to me.

Ongoing expenses are minimal. Some tiny houses use gas and might need a $20 refill every three months. I’ll have to re-oil my weatherboards every year but, since the house is so small, it won’t take long!

I met Rasa about three years ago. We had to learn to communicate well: you can’t just go into another room and slam the door, you have to talk things out and know when the other person needs space.

A big part of making tiny houses work is knowing yourself, your habits and how much energy you need. There are people who are very suited to tiny house living, and there are people – hoarders! – who shouldn’t consider it. I’m not a super-material person, so everything I get rid of feels like a weight off my shoulders.

In this home, I can live free of debt. It allows me to live a much bigger life outside my home than I would otherwise.”

Bryce showcases tiny houses from around the world at livingbiginatinyhouse.com

Reported by Mary de Ruyter for our AA Directions Summer 2019 issue

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