A tiny house for two


Why are you building a tiny house?
That’s a really good question…

My husband Willem and I live in Auckland New Zealand. We got married 10 months ago and the next ‘step’ in life was to start focusing on buying a house. I have to admit that we hadn’t really given much thought to preparing for our future other than by setting up kiwisaver accounts for our first home.

At the moment the housing market is going crazy. You can’t buy a house in Auckland for less than half a million.

I am 32 and my husband is 34. No kids and no major responsibilities. We both have good careers but when we crunched the numbers there was going to be no fast way of us being able to get on the housing market.

We were looking at being renters for life and I started talking myself into believing that this was going to be ok. There’s going to be lots of people our age that can’t buy a house right? We will just be a part of the generation of renters.

We resigned to the fact that if we did want to buy a house we would have to move in with mum. Not paying rent was definitely the key to buying a house. But mums house is so little and we have so much stuff!…

I worked as a graphic designer for a magazine called Green Ideas – it was a sustainable living magazine. A while back we had done a feature on my friends sister, Shaye, who had just built her own house for 24k. It was called a ‘tiny house’ she had built it on top of a flat bed trailer. see Shaye’s tiny house ‘Lucy’ here I was in awe. The house was stunning and it was just so clever! She could tow it to whatever destination she wanted. I remember showing Willem the article and saying that we should build one. Willem works in the city as an architectural designer. We had already started looking into alternative housing options and had a plan to one day build a shipping container house on the outskirts of Auckland. “No way” he kept telling me – “there’s no way I will ever live in a tiny house! It’s way too small!” That was the end of our discussion. And a bit of me did agree… it really was way too small. I tucked the idea away, because I was pretty sure it was NEVER going to happen.

A year goes by and the housing market is getting more and more expensive and we are still renting.

The neighbors’ place in front of mums house goes up for sale. As a family we had always said that if THAT house goes on the market we would have to buy it. It was the perfect run-down-do-up. The auction was in 3 weeks. We sat around the table crunching the numbers. The plan was that as a family we would buy the house all together. My sister and brother in law would live in it as they had the bigger deposit and Willem and I would spend 80k on building a tiny house to live down the back of mums property. We would all chip in to be able to do the badly needed renovations to the front house and then in 4 years we would sell up and buy our own property. It meant that Willem and I wouldn’t be paying rent and our money would be going into two assets.

I contacted Shaye asking if she was interested in helping us build a tiny house. She had in fact just completed a tiny house for her first client to see photos and buy plans of this tiny house click here she was setting up a project management/tiny house design business and she would love to help us out. She was a wonderful enabler of our crazy dream! We told her about our plans and we all started to get excited.

We had come to love the idea of living in a tiny house. Willem and I had started to research it and make plans. He is in architecture so it would be great for him to design his own house. We had started to realise that we didn’t need all that much space and that we had to think outside the square to be able to get out of renting. Building a tiny house was the key!

We missed out on buying the neighbours house, but our plans for building a tiny house continued to grow. What if we just did it anyway?…

What if we built the tiny house, lived in it on mums land for 2 years to save up a house deposit?


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