Introduction to the Tiny House Owner and Builder:
The tiny house featured in this blog is located in Auckland and belongs to Shae, who has a notable background in building tiny houses.
The First Tiny House
Shae initially lived in a green tiny house named Lucy with her ex-partner Tom and daughter Hazel. Lucy was Shae’s first tiny house project, sparking her passion for the tiny house lifestyle and building. At only 18 square meters, Lucy provided cozy and eco-friendly living for the young family.
Over the years, Shae’s life underwent changes, including moving out of Lucy, renting in the city, and eventually desiring to return to tiny house living. While small, Lucy had provided a happiness and freedom that Shae longed to recreate.
Returning to Tiny Houses
After spending years in rental properties, Shae felt drawn back to the tiny house lifestyle. She decided to build a new custom tiny home from scratch that would be perfect for her needs.
With years of building experience under her belt, Shae set out to construct her dream sustainable home. This time, it would have everything she had loved about little Lucy, plus all the features and space she had come to desire as an adult.
Evolution into a Tiny House Business:
Discovering a Passion
Shae’s passion for building tiny houses led her to start her own tiny house construction business after completing her first house, Lucy. What had started as a personal project quickly grew into a full-time occupation.
After seeing how rewarding tiny house living could be, Shae worked hard to make customized tiny homes accessible to others seeking affordable and eco-friendly housing options. Her business specialized in using quality materials to construct bespoke tiny abodes optimized for comfortable living.
An Unexpected Passion Returns
Despite being a full-time mom and running her own business, Shae also unexpectedly became a professional diver, returning to a passion she had as a teenager.
She started teaching scuba lessons and leading dive tours when she moved to be near the ocean. The flexible schedule of small business ownership allowed Shae to balance her various passions while modeling resilience and determination as a entrepreneur.
Design and Construction of the Dream Tiny House:
A Collaborative Design
Shae collaborated with her mother, who has interior design expertise, to design the current tiny house she calls home. They worked together incorporation elements from Shae’s previous tiny house builds along with her own evolving preferences.
The design aimed at being future-proof – creating flexibility to allow for potential changes in Shae’s family size or living situations over the years. Movability and reconfiguration ability were key considerations during the planning process.
The Build Process
For the physical build, Shae again relied on her significant construction experience to bring the design plans to life. The exterior features a classic combination of cedar paneling and ironclad metal roofing with a living sod roof.
Inside, Shae optimized the layout to feel spacious yet still compact and efficient. Natural light flows in through ample windows and large bi-folding doors connect the interior living space with the outdoors.
Innovative Features and Functionality:
Optimizing Size and Transportability
Shae carefully designed the structure to be within standard road transport size limits for ease of mobility. She also constructed an add-on module that can connect to the main tiny house using steel framing and sheathing to allow the space to grow in the future.
Large sliding glass doors open up the inside to merge interior and exterior spaces. This provides an enhanced sense of openness and connection with nature despite the home’s small footprint.
The house is filled with Shae’s creative tiny house solutions and unique personal touches. Some highlights include a projector screen that drops down for movie nights, a custom river table built from locally-sourced timber to pay tribute to resources used in construction, and a well-organized kitchen with specialty pull-out storage.
Budget and Final Thoughts:
Coming in Under Budget
The total budget for Shae’s tiny dream home, excluding the add-on porch and additional module, was approximately 150,000 New Zealand dollars. Through savvy designing and strategic material choices, Shae successfully built a one-of-a-kind tiny abode tailored exactly to her lifestyle needs while coming in 15% under the initial budget.
A Beautiful and Functional Home
Filled with attention to detail and thoughtful personalization throughout, this tiny house now serves as a stable and gorgeous home for Shae and occasionally her daughter Hazel. It emphasizes the power of an intentionally designed space that fully caters to the unique needs and priorities of its inhabitants.
From her earliest tiny home to now operating her own tiny house business while inhabiting her custom dream build, Shae’s journey with tiny living illustrates an evolving passion catalyzed by the freedom, satisfaction, and connection these special small spaces can provide. Her constantly improving design skills and detail-oriented craftsmanship allow Shae to create thoughtfully optimized houses that balance aesthetics, functionality and environmental sustainability.