Our Tiny House Build – Progress To Date

Tiny-House-Exterior

When we first started down the path of building a tiny house, I thought that because of the small size of the house it would be a quick and simple job. After all, how long could it take to build a 15 square meter (161ft²) home? How complicated could it be? After our first few design meetings with our architect Johann and designer Eddie,  I already began to realise just how tricky it was going to be (especially trying to stay as close as possible to the living building challenge), how much research would be involved (with the best, eco-friendly materials to use that will also keep us underweight) and then how much time it would take to actually go through all the stages of construction. After all everything that you need to consider when constructing a full size house needs to be take into consideration in a tiny house build and more.

You still need a bathroom with all features, a functional kitchen, living room, entertainment, bedroom, joinery, plumbing, wiring – and then because it’s a tiny house you also need to look at trailer, tires, brakes system. We’re off the grid, so water collection, tanks, fireplace, composting toilet, solar panels, water heater, wetback, charge controller and batteries have all needed to be extensively researched and chosen also. All in all, what I thought would be a very simple project, very quickly got very complicated. Add to that the fact that we have also been filming the whole process, and wow – what a journey!

Tiny-House---Bryce+Mel

We are happy to report that we are now well under way with our construction and I’m feeling great about our design, the features and the materials that we are putting into our home-to-be. After over a year of planning and the first stages of construction, I wanted to do a quick summary of where we are at so far, and where to from here.

Tiny-House-Wheels

For those of you who have watched the videos on our trailer build, you’ll know that this house isn’t sitting on an ordinary trailer. Our custom design from the team at Monoway has (we think) revolutionised trailer design for tiny homes. From the special design of the outriggers to take the weight of the walls and roof and transfer them effectively back to the axel, the under-truss providing support to the frame, the commercial tires, the radio controlled electronic brake system and the galvanised finish, I am confident that our home sits on foundations that will stand the test of time, and travel.

Tiny-House-Interior

Inside the tiny house, our steel frame form FRAMECAD is holding the whole structure together. This allowed us to create a good size stud (90mm) whilst still staying very light-weight. The whole steel frame, including connections and fastenings weigh only around 550kg’s and give the whole structure an incredible sturdy feeling to it. We have started using masking tape to draw out the floor plan and check if our design will feel good when we actually stand in the space. So far, we think we are on the right track when it comes to the internal lay-out. Our stairs (constructed as part of the framing) are incredibly functional, yet still tuck away gently against the wall. This is something that we will be featuring in a later video.

Tiny-House-Sleeping-Loft

Inside the loft, our sleeping area is really beginning to take shape. The wonderful triangular windows form Windowmakers are fantastic feature that really helps to open up both ends of the loft area. They each have an awning opening window below the triangle which helps to add a lot of ventilation to the loft. Perhaps our favourite features in the loft though are our Velux Roof Windows which will allow us to watch the stars as we fall asleep or look out to the clouds when we sit in bed with a book. I can’t wait for this cosy space to be completed.

Tiny-House---Bryce+Mel3

Overall, both Mel and myself are ecstatic with how the tiny house is coming together and we are incredibly excited to move to the next stage of our interior fit-out, which includes lighting, wiring, plumbing, fireplace, insulation and also the cabinetry.

Tiny-House-Exterior2

Back outside, the house is really beginning to look like an actual home! Alan and his team from BioBuild have been very busy installing the roof, fitting the joinery and installing the weatherboards. The weatherboards that we have chosen are Vulcan Plus Cladding from Abodo. This is a fantastic, sustainable, high performance and lightweight cladding for our home that provides a wonderful combination between a modern architectural profile and rustic warmth. We will be featuring this product in our next build videos as we show how to install them, so more information on that to come.

Tiny-House-Cladding+Window

The BioBuild team are doing an incredible job and the house is looking wonderful from the outside. We are so happy how all the materials are coming together. With the anodised aluminium finish of the joinery, the rustic wood with the graphite oil and the white colour steel corrugate roof the aesthetics of the house are truly coming together even better than we had hoped for.

Tiny-House---Bryce+Mel2

Our solar system install has also kicked off and the solar panel and tank are sitting in pride of place on the roof. Soon, the Solar Group team will be back to finish off the plumbing, and also install our solar panels. We have lots to share on our off-the-grid features and we are really excited to get into these topics in-depth for our videos.

A big thanks go out to all of the wonderful people who have been involved in our build so far. Building this house and creating the videos for Living Big in a Tiny House is an absolute pleasure and an experience that will last a life-time. Now close to the half-way point of the build I can already look back at the journey that has played out so far, and look forward to the adventures that lie ahead in finishing this wonderful little home. Most of all, I want to thank you, our audience for following our story and helping to make this all possible. It’s certainly going to be an exciting few months to come!

Posted on by Bryce Posted in Tiny House Build

About Bryce

Bryce Langston is a New Zealand based actor, musician, filmmaker and environmentalist who has spent the past five years travelling the globe exploring the Tiny House movement as the creator and host of the popular online web series Living Big in a Tiny House

29 Responses to Our Tiny House Build – Progress To Date

  1. hunter

    are you and Mel still broken up? the last video said you were and I felt really bad for you. still living in the belle tent? wishing you peace, and future happiness.

  2. Edith

    I just love your build, you have inspired me in many ways to the point I want to incorporate some of your ideas into my own tiny house design. the good news for me is that i am retiring in no less than 5 years, so I have the time I need to design and save $$. I see the long term cost savings your design will have on your return in up front cost in the design you have put into your Tiny Home. I’m guessing your are going to go with some kind of eco-friendly soy-based spray foam to insulate your home? will that include under the floor?

    • Bryce

      Hey Edith. Great that you are currently planning your own build, and I’m glad you’ve found some inspiration in our project. For insulation in the Tiny House, we are actually using GreenStuff, which is a recycled polyester insulation. It’s non-allergenic, 100% recyclable and also has great acoustic properties.

  3. Ryan Walton

    Hey Bryce and Mel, love the build and all the hard work you have put in to creating it and also filming it at the same time. Can’t wait to see the finished product , I too am designing my self a tiny house , i was curious what the price difference is for the steel framing to timber framing was or what price your framing cost. I’m working my way though all your videos love em

    cheers 😀

    • Bryce

      Thanks Ryan and best of luck with your own build! Please keep us posted on your progress. 🙂

  4. Sherazade Kappos

    Hi Mel and Bryce,
    Thanks so much for making such interesting and informative videos. I had no idea about tiny house living until I happened upon one of your videos on YouTube and I’ve become an absolute convert. As a Kiwi living in London ive wondered how I will manage with rental rates going through the roof when I come back home. You have opened me up to such an incredible path following an affordable, eco friendly and sustainable way of living. Keep up the good work and thanks again 🙂

    • Bryce

      Hey Sherazade! Thanks so much for watching our vids! Awesome that you’re finding them helpful. 🙂

  5. Jon Grinols

    I have watched as many of the presentation pages that you have produced to date and find myself incorporating your design work into some of my own planning. I live in Minnesota, U.S.A. and wish to learn what you must incorporate into your design to accommodate for the coldest evening temperatures in the Southern Hemisphere. What insulation R value will be fashioned into the floor? Same question for exterior walls and roof. I live in a home I had built for me in an area that sometimes experiences -25ºF. Although a tiny house is pretty easy to heat I wonder if an off-grid existence without natural gas or propane is workable. What potable water source will fill your water heater tank?

  6. Lisa

    So enjoy watching the progress on your build from across the world here in The States. It’s interesting to see the techniques being used at each step of the build. Can’t wait to see the interior take shape.

  7. Dan

    Hi Bryce, Is The 550kg steel framing include the trailer weight?
    I think the 550kg converts to roughly 1200 lbs

    • Bryce

      Hey Dan. Nope, the trailer itself weighs an additional 660kgs.

  8. Alexander López

    Congratulations! Your Tiny House is certainly destined to be a solid reference for future builders. The appeal of its classic looks and advanced technology is simply irresistible. Keep on working!

    • Bryce

      Thanks Alexander! 🙂

  9. Gael Lewis

    Hi Bryce and Mel,
    I’ve been following your journey closely from the beginning. Great job. Thanks for the inspiration. I’m curious about the directions. Have you built the house with North aspect for indoor/outdoor living flow? Usually that entails having living space north facing and kitchen in the north/east. I’m interested in learning how you’ve dealt with this to provide the right sort of light throughout the day. I’m planning to build my own Tiny House this year so gathering all the ideas I can find. Your journey has been the most helpful to date. Thanks again.
    Cheers
    Gael

    • Bryce

      Hey Gael! Yup, we have build out house with a North facing aspect. The strongest reason for this was actually for the solar technology on the roof so that it could be positioned to make the most of the sun. Our kitchen is actually two sided, and faces both North and South. The bedroom and bathroom face West and the Lounge area east.

      Hope that helps a bit! 🙂

      • Gael Lewis

        Thanks Bryce, that makes sense. I was trying to figure out if the front door was on the northside or the southside. I’m happy with that 🙂

    • Larry

      Gael, One of the things I thought about is not mounting the solar panels on the house. Mount them on a folding rack on the ground. Then when traveling, store them on the floor of the tiny house. This way you can orient your house however is convenient.

  10. Tanya

    Hi, house looks a great idea. I do have question regarding where the house will be placed and whether there will be some sort of land mortgage, body corporate fee etc.

  11. Patty c

    Unfair! I’ve been anxiously awaiting the finished exterior in your videos and found these photos today. It looks so awesome. I love the sideing you chose, and the windows look fantastic. I also love the fact that you show the framework inside your tiny house. Steps, I love the fact that you are going to have stairs and I imagine storage. So cute! Great job, and congratulations to both of you. Can’t wait to see your next video. Keep up the great work.

  12. Michael

    If you don’t mind me asking. How much did you spend on the framing?

  13. Adam Greenberg

    Awesome. Looking forward to learning more about the off-grid features (and everything else). Thanks for documenting and sharing your journey. Good luck.

  14. Rebecca sears

    It looks so awesome thus far! I have been watching your progress and am so very happy for you guys! I can’t wait to see what is to come! Thanks for your passion for the Eco and tiny house movement! You have me intrigued and I am now trying to learn as much as I can about it myself as a possible future for me! Many thanks!

    • Bryce

      Thanks Rebecca! And thanks for following our videos. 🙂

  15. Kurt

    I’ve been waiting to see what the exterior would look like with the siding on. Looks awesome!
    Can’t wait to see the interior finished.

    • Bryce

      Thanks! We are really excited to get the interior all done too. 🙂

  16. Sharla May

    Hi Bryce

    Thanks for sharing your journey on here, I have been toying with the idea of building a tiny house for a few years, recently after following your story so far I have finally decided to build my own! I have been lucky enough to have offers of help come in from a local engineer, plumber and builder which is great as I am a single woman in 30’s with no building experience so this help is very much appreciated. I will make sure to send some updates on my progress in the months to come! – Sharla

    • Bryce

      That’s awesome Sharla! Yes, please do keep me updated with your progress! 🙂

  17. BrianPearson

    Huge congratulations. Thanks so much for blogging and videoing your build. Such a professional process, using best practice from established experienced suppliers is very clever of you. Creating a repeatable process for anyone building the same design after you. As a manufacturing engineer, experienced in working on automotive robotic production lines I can even picture your house design in volume production. Looking forward to seeing her finished and watching your terrific videos along the way. Well done.

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