Two Years in a Modern, Off-Grid Tiny House

it's been almost two years now since I first visited Britt and his tiny house today I'm back at the stunning location to see how he's getting on go Bryce get a Brit welcome out again good to see you again mate welcome it's been a long time that's a couple of years a couple of years now yeah and you're still in the same spot I see I knew loving it no need to move how has that all worked out with actually being on this spot because when I first met you you had an agreement with the landowner that you were gonna do some carving and some work on the property is that still how it's all playing out here yeah well I started off I wasn't working so I was doing a lot of work in the gardens and I completely changed up the whole garden scene here and caught up a lot with pulling out all the old weeds and many many vines that was starting to choke everything and then when I got a job I started paying just a little bit minimal ground rent and just carry it on like that so easy do you find it easier working like that is it easier just to pay rent and not have to do the labor do you find that a better arrangement or do you kind of miss the old agreement I think the landlord probably misses the old agreement because when I was doing the old gardening I was in the garden for an hour hour and a half at least every day if you are paying rent then he's actually getting a better deal with my time doing the gardens but for some people it's different and I just enjoyed being in the gardens and and making the place look good and how are you finding the location in general ah this it can be a little bit testy sometimes because there's no cell phone reception and I've got no internet but that's also quite a cool thing about it is you don't have your phone going off all the time if I want to get a little bit of reception I walk up a hill over there and I stand up on top of the hill and I walk around with my phone like this and I get one to two bars of reception and that's enough to get a message yeah text message and on the very rare occasion I've actually been able to call out but that's it so living with minimum reception as can have its advantages and it can be appealing there sometimes because I've got to get in my car and drive them to town to make sure I can make a phone call now I think that you were one of the very first tiny homes to actually be completely off the grid how's that working out for you it's great like my bills are about five dollars a week and that's with propane gas because I've been one 9kg tank propane gas every five weeks and it's like twenty-five dollars for a fill so that's my bill five bucks a week and my water I clicked on my own water and there's nothing else I need so it's it's great living off the grid it definitely has its advantages of not receiving those evil bills you get in your little box I don't have to deal with that so you have 380 liters of onboard water storage yes how are you getting on with that are you finding that enough or is that a challenge it's enough you know I watch it like I'm not a splash the water around this for sure I'm very careful with the water yes and I manage if I have a girlfriend staying then they certainly go through the water a lot farther the pros and cons of having a girlfriend yeah but I just bought myself 390 liters I've managed and this year there wasn't a drought so we had the odd bit of rain that I was able to collect and I've kept on top of it well I'm really keen to see inside and see how everything's looking now few little changes it's a little more homely wow this place is still looking fantastic a still got a nice feel to it this is new isn't it yes that is the new old new old right old but it's new that came out of a 1954 Bedford House bus from Waikiki Island and it was a gift so one day I bring it home and carrying it on the ferry back to Auckland and installed that and as you see the tiles around the top I've still got to extend up a little bit the fire guard in the back because it's the heaters still getting to the wall that's why I've just put the tiles there right but that is fantastic I won't even use the full basket of pinecones in an evening are used like a small bucket of pinecones and a night and you're sitting around t-shirt takes nothing to warm a small place like this up and what about the kitchen space how are you finding that that's great I use this space a lot for different things all sorts of projects and stuff this this is fantastic I don't know why people would build less yeah because it's all used it might not look used right now it's very tidy but I use every inch of it yeah for different things you know I'm preparing my food needs to projects like my little models and things it's very handy that really goes to show even if you're not necessarily using a space for one thing it's it always has multiple purpose so even if it's just just because it's in the kitchen doesn't mean it has to be used for kitchen things I knew when I was building this that I was gonna need some working the area you know it's kind of like my workshop if it's not to to tea I can work with my stuff in here but if it gets dirty then I go outside and work on our table outside what about your bathroom setup how's that working out fine the only thing that isn't working great is my my shower it's almost too big because it's quite a large shower with the shop and everything there as well you really don't need it that big yeah and so I'd better to remove like this much of that and devote that little space to having a small sink here because you're only in it for ten minutes a day so you don't need to take up so much space and what about the composting toilet how have you been finding that great no problem at all using the old pine sawdust gotcha yes no problem at all I empty it like once a week and I emptied it into a purpose-built compost that I built about 50 meters that way now your bathroom and your kitchen area are divided by this clever curtain contract how are you finding that how's that working out for me it's fine it's minimalist if I've got a group of people around here and somebody wants to go to the loo it's not very private so they might feel a little bit conscious just being behind a curtain doing your business I only put that basically to take care of myself eventually you'd put like a folding door here gotcha now my subsequent designs I have like a three way door that will fold in and out two to make a little more private so nobody's going to hear the noises going to the toilet good idea a good idea otherwise it's fine you know I've got plenty room in here for a space for drawing off or going to the bathroom and now when it's not in yes you just put it back and you go in all that vital floor space back which is really clear so it's basically I'm standing where I was just now but now I'm in the kitchen and you're sleeping loft how are you finding that area comfy my little haven see this is really a comfortable space isn't a super cozy it's interesting because since I first visited you I've obviously seen a lot more tiny houses and this is still one of the most spacious loft areas the design and the this roof profile really has given you so much extra space up here hasn't yet definitely it creates an air flow that comes in this window it comes over me here it drops down and then I get the hot air from the house coming up the slope here on the ceiling and it goes out that window right so this what I didn't know it was gonna quite work like that I guess it does change with the breezes but if there's no wind at all that's what happens a fantastic design and so far I have not needed a fan so one of the things I enjoy about just how this design turned out is the handrail aspect I haven't needed to install a purpose handrail because this here I've got I could swing on that and this is good and solid that I can just support myself all the way down to the bottom and how are you finding your office and project space here very very well used sometimes I have a meal here or watch a video or something on my computer I do my drawing I make my little my little models my house design models and card this over here I can move to give me a little more space mm-hmm so I can put that up there well here and opens up more more space here gotcha hey look at that it's a little girl drew that very clear is that I think there's a striking resemblance and the lounge area back here this is all looking very comfortable still it is comfortable it could be more comfortable I feel because this is this is nice but it it doesn't it's not conducive to to cuddling if you're on a big nice comfy couch you nice and laid back and you have a nice cuddle this is more functional right well I think if you want a nice really comfy space then maybe you make it slightly wider or something but because my tank is underneath it I hate to make it functional sure so it's uh it's it's adequate it's it's not like your big cushy couch so it works but it's very much the bachelor model it's the bachelor model right gotcha so you've been in this space and for two years how would you say this is working out for you this is one of the best things I've ever done it's freed me up yeah I've I haven't actually had a job for the last 11 months and I haven't been stressed one little bit because a few bills are like $5.00 a week and if you can live cheaply for you know cooking for yourself and you know you're not a heavy drinker or a heavy smoker and you can survive very cheaply and this is taking the whole stress out of needing to go and find a job you know taking the job you know because they're the film industry has been quiet recently and there's just been no opportunities for work so I do my own projects I do my own designing or my other hobbies now don't just keep myself busy so after all of this time in the space is there anything you really don't like about a tiny house I like a garage more space for the projects more space for the workshop the project maybe somewhere to keep the car covered not many pitfalls it's all pretty good I mean I'm warm I got my water I got my gas and everything it's all covered I just don't have that big fat cushy couch that some people sloppy at it but that's alright so how are you finding this space for entertaining and having guests over yeah people quite enjoy it I've had a few people come and stay several times had overseas visitors come I've had people camping outside and sleeping on the couch here that's fine there's plenty kitchen space and those three up there three burner stove as is plenty there's enough room in the fridge that's fine if you want caught beers you have a chili bun bring some ice and what advice would you have for people who are either building a tiny house or who are in the design phase right now in thinking what do I need to consider when I'm constructing this space I think that's just down to doing some good research online and looking at all the designs what I've done here is my design I made is a little model to be able to see it proportion-wise I made it four centimeters equals a meter and I have my loft to that I can pull out and I can look underneath and so if you're if you're wondering about a final design then make it make a little model of it and then you can go now there doesn't quite work or whatever you could even chop it out and and rearrange it it is so good to see you here in this house and really get an idea of how the space is working for you I'm so happy to know that you're really enjoying your time here and I think when I first saw this design it was really innovative and really clever and it just goes to show how when you pay that extra attention and the design process and really think something through that you can actually construct a small space that will work for you in the long term a definitely excellent yeah no regrets thank you so much for showing me around Nate it's great to see you again for a lot of people who are considering building a tiny house one of the big question marks surrounding it is how is this space gonna work for me long term I think Brit scenario really goes to show just how well a small space can work if it's designed appropriately and now not only is there providing a great alternative living solution for him it's also opening up a whole new world of opportunities for Bret this space isn't just a home it's also freedom and it really is the opportunity for him to live a larger life I don't think that's something that any of us would say no to you

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