Tiny House 1 – FAQ

A few of the usual questions about the ‘Tiny House 1’ build

What is it?

‘Tiny House 1’ is the first build initiated by John Baxter, the ‘founder’ of Own Home.  He’s building it to live in himself.

He is getting council approval for it to be installed in the backyard of a suburban Adelaide rental property.  He will rent the property, but own the tiny house.

The main reason he decided to do this was to have a tangible demonstration project and to test out ideas and solve problems before working with other people, or sharing from the lessons for others that want to do it themselves.

The first house has been a good excuse for a build workshop, working bees and things like that.

What sort of a house is it?

It is a transportable ‘tiny house’ – but it’s not on wheels.

It is 2.5 by 6m long, and around 3.2m high.

This is similar dimensions to what others are building on trailers (similar to a caravan).  Because we are getting development approval and plan to only move every couple of years (at most!), it makes more sense to us to put it on the back of a truck than pay the $6,000+ for a custom trailer!  (You would be surprised how cheap this is – less than $400 to truck it within the metro area.)

We are building with as much salvage as possible, ideally from demolished old buildings, but also offcuts and unused materials from new construction, pop-ups and the like.

It will be a ‘shed style’ skillion roof slanted to one side, with beautiful, window-filled north facing main wall, tin roof and partial cladding, with a shou sugi ban burned timber front ‘feature wall’.

Where will it be?

If all things go according to plan it will be located in the backyard of a rental property in suburban Adelaide – with all the permits and approvals to make it a legitimate long-term living option.

It is presently being built off site.

Unique features

Possibly the first development-approved (& building code compliant) ‘tiny house’ in the country.  We haven’t yet confirmed anything that fits the ‘tiny house’ mold that have gone this route, though a handful of cool projects are in the pipeline (like Tiny Homes Foundation in NSW).

As such, this may well be the smallest, most affordable and most environmentally sustainable, council-approved ‘house’ in the country (although technically, it is not a ‘house’ under SA planning laws, but ‘dependent accomodation’).

We are also pioneering a number of housing features such as unique models for

  • community-supported DIY building
  • renting the land but owning your own home

So what do you consider a ‘tiny house’ anyway?

We don’t follow a fixed definition (see some of John’s thinking here) but the most important factors are:

  • comfortably liveable— so people want to live there, not just because they have no other option
  • transportable— so that you can own your own home (and build it if so inclined), without the barrier of land ownership

Is this a business or non-profit what?

The ‘tiny house 1’ build is a pretty straightforward owner-built housing project.

As far as how this fits into ‘Own Home’ and later building, it’s too early to say.  It will probably play out somewhere in between.

John loves the idea of making a living helping people create modest housing that they can afford, that makes them happy, and that respects the planet.

So far the only people making money out of anything are the insurance companies, and maybe parts suppliers: John is building his own house, with his own money, and mostly his own time (but with plenty of volunteer contributions!).

Some professionals will be paid for support such as running workshops, plumbing and electricals (though we are always happy to find volunteers!)

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