The smallest house in Yorkshire is now up for sale and its portable
Craftsman joiner Paul Robinson likes a challenge and after reading about the international Tiny House movement, an architectural and social ethos that advocats living simply in small homes, he decided to try his hand at making a compact and bijou property.“I’d also been watching George Clarke’s Amazing Spaces on TV at around the same time and that was also very inspiring so I thought I’d have a go at building a tiny home.“It became a hobby, something I did at weekends and Bank Holidays over two years, but if you add up the total amount of time I spent on it, it was about three months,” says Paul, who runs Homeworks joinery and lives in a conventional house in York.The result is The Tiny House, which is now for sale with RM English estate agents for £25,000.
Paul's wife outside the Tiny House
James Burley of RM English says it could be a full-time home, though he admits that it is more likely to appeal as an office, studio, writer’s retreat, guest accommodation or as an income generating holiday let.He rightly points out that the beauty of it is in the clever design and the close attention to detail.Sat on a metal trailer base, which makes it mobile and less restricted by planning conditions, it measures 18ft by seven ftUpon entering, there is a sitting area, coat hooks and a built-in wardrobe. There is a kitchen at the rear with oak work surfaces, a built-in four-ring Calor gas hob, a fridge, sink and under counter storage.
To the side is a shower room and a toilet. The latter could be chemical, composting or even water flushed as plumbing has been installed ready for connection.A lightweight ladder, which hangs against the side of the wardrobe, is used to reach a loft bedroom and can also be used to access the storage space above the front door. There is also scope to add bench seating with storage and fold-down tables.
The loft bedroom
The framework of the house is solid timber protected externally with construction ply, a breathable membrane and vapour barrier topped with tanalised timber cladding. It is clad with tongue and groove on the inside.The roof is sheet metal covered with a vapour barrier and insulation then clad with ply and covered with pantiles.All the wood is from sustainable forests and the building is insulated with sheep’s wool while the windows are double glazed.The trailer base was built in Yorkshire to conform to transport regulations and the size of the Tiny House meets towing requirements.“The concept of living in a small space that impacts less on the environment is one that is becoming increasingly attractive as people become more aware of the effect that our modern lifestyles have on the world around us,” says Paul.
“The Tiny House movement has been growing apace in the U.S. with numerous TV programmes following people’s’ lifestyle changes to ‘go small’. Interest is also beginning to pick up in the UK.”Along with being more eco-friendly and less burdened with possessions, the idea of living in compact, affordable spaces is gaining momentum as a long-term financial saving.“It makes sense as young people struggle to finance the purchase of more conventional homes, student costs of accommodation contributes largely to their ongoing loan repayments and senior citizens in retirement complexes struggle with maintenance charges,” says Paul, who has thought of every possible use for his pint-size property.
Space for a few treasures
“For those with different needs, such as growing families, a Tiny House can create extra space at a fraction of the cost of building a more conventional home extension. It could also be a holiday rental or a business space.“Tiny Houses can lend themselves for use as a mobile coffee shop, café or nail bar.“I also think they would also be great for older people who want to spend their time and money in different ways. They would be perfect for ‘grey nomads’ who like to live abroad in winter and come back home for summer. In short, the list of uses is as long as your imagination and they are certainly a head turner.”
Running costs are likely to be low. The lighting, electrical points, fridge and water heater, can be linked to standard power supplies or to alternative energy sources, such as solar power. The sheep’s wool insulation also ensures that the house retains heat.The result of Paul’s Tiny House adventure is that he may make more to order if the demand is there. He says: “I really enjoyed doing it. It was interesting and something I’ve never done before. I like to think that whoever buys it will have an escape to a small space and a simple life without distraction. It is a sanctuary away from the pressures of a busy world.”
*The Tiny House is on wheels and is not classified as a permanent structure. Its size and height should fall within usual planning parameters so it will generally be classified as a permitted structure, as long as it is not used as a permanent dwelling. However, each site is different in terms of land use, boundaries and proximity to existing buildings. Rules also differ for those who live in a conservation area, listed building, a National Park and Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Rules differ if you want to use as a commercial venture.If in any doubt, seek advice from your local planning department.*English-born, American-based architect Sarah Susanka is credited with being the originator of the “Not So Big” philosophy of residential architecture, which aims to “build better, not bigger”. Susanka initiated the Tiny House movement. Homes under 400sq. ft are considered tiny.
*The one-bedroom house on wheels is £25,000 and is available to view through RM English estate agents in York.James Burley of RM English says: “It’s definitely caught people’s interest and we have already had a few viewings. It’s very different and very versatile.”It may also make the ideal Christmas present for those who long for a “room of one’s own”.For details contact RM English, tel: 01904 697900, www.rmenglish.co.uk