Did you know the average Australian household is 214m2. To put that in perspective: Denmark’s average size is 137m2, America comes in at 201m2 , France is 112m2 and Hong Kong is a modest 45m2. So yep, Australia is “winning” in the worse way as the bigger your house, the bigger your consumption levels. As you generally need more energy to run the home, more things to put in it – more of everything.
In the midst of the tiny house movement, we’d like you to meet Yani and Ben. We first met Yani as a student on one of our permaculture design courses and have kept in touch ever since. They’ve recently finished building their own small strawbale home in southern Tasmania – not quite a tiny home but tiny compared to the average Australian house, coming in at just 44m2.
In Yani’s own words…
After two and a half years as owner builders of our little house, we now live in the most beautiful space we could imagine for ourselves. With the help of many builders and experienced people we were a part of constructing the build every step of the way with the clay render definitely being the most hands on. We love every bit of our place and have achieved all the key elements we dreamed of.
Our home is around 44sqm and includes kitchen/living, bedroom, enclosed bathroom and we have a composting toilet outside. We are completely off grid with solar power, gas hot water and cooking, a wood heater (that also has oven and cook top) and collect all our rain water.
The insulation that straw provides is superior to anything we’ve come across, the rendered walls give great protection against bushfire and the straw itself is a by-product of grain harvest. We are on about 5 acres of bush with a vegetable garden, food forest, two ducks, two ponies and two dogs.
Recently, we started making our own bread after realising just how many plastic bread bags we were going through! We will continue to aim towards a low waste lifestyle and think that a small home is a big part of that.
A well designed small home doesn’t feel cramped, funnily enough – it can feel spacious and an absolute delight to be in. Yani and Ben’s place does this – check it out…
Obviously other benefits in building a small home is that it’ll cost less, which is always a helpful bonus! I think about small homes a fair bit – what is it in our culture that often makes people think bigger is better? When is enough, enough?
Our own house was built by someone else in 1925 and is 110m2. Its always felt big to us, admittingly having a little toddler makes it feel smaller, but not enough that we could ever consider having more. If anything we dream about living in something smaller – especially when we see folks like Yani and Ben create well designed homes that meet their needs in the most beautiful, functional and soulful way!
*Big thanks to Yani for providing all the photos.