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Tiny houses Auckland's answer?

LAUREN PRIESTLEY
Last updated 05:00 27/06/2014
Tiny house
Melissa Nickerson

POPULAR CHOICE: It’s only a matter of time before tiny houses start popping up in central Auckland.

cedric
Melissa Nickerson
COSY SPOT: A lot can be done with a small space.
Bryce Langston
Lauren Priestley
DOWNSIZING FUN: Bryce Langston says living in a tiny house is about simplifying life.
Cedric
Melissa Nickerson
LIVING LITTLE: A tiny house in Glen Eden. ‘Cedric’ is a converted truck and can sleep five.

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What do you do if you can't afford a house in Auckland?

Why not build a miniature one?

The tiny house movement has been gathering worldwide momentum since 2010 and it could be one answer to Auckland's housing shortage, advocates say.

Bryce Langston, 29, is in the first stages of building his own tiny home with his partner Melissa Nickerson.

It's all about owning a home, being debt-free and simplifying life, he says.

A custom-built trailer for the base of the house is under construction and the couple hopes to have it complete by May 2015.

The home will be kitted out with state-of-the-art fittings such as planted walls, three solar panels and a composting toilet.

Just because it is small doesn't mean it can't be beautiful, the environmentalist says.

"We're doing a lot to make it a beautiful little house - not a caravan.

Langston says there are only a handful of tiny houses around Auckland but he's expecting the movement to take off very soon.

The average price for a tiny DIY-build is about $30,000 and the smaller size means better materials at a lower cost, he says.

Langston and Nickerson will use their house for work and travel accommodation which will cut down costs even more.

They live on the North Shore but the tiny house is portable, so they could live anywhere, Langston says.

"There's a lot of people that do feel helpless at the moment. I think owning our own home is something we have to fight for here.

"I heard about tiny houses and got really excited about it - that was a sleepless night."

Tiny house owner Lucy Reade says living in a "quirky" little house gives people another option.

Her house was originally a truck and is now permanently stationed in Glen Eden.

"Cedric" is rented out as a holiday home and a lot of people try it out when they're looking at their own build, she says.

"A lot of people do already manage in those smaller spaces, like sleep-outs, we just don't call them tiny houses. Cedric has this sort of cute, quirky element."

Greg Powell is a partner in a company that sells various tents including tipis and yurts. He says the term "tiny houses" has only really been used in New Zealand in the last few months.

Two of their yurts were granted council consent in Golden Bay last month to be permanent dwellings - a big step which could lead to a building boom, Powell says.

"As housing has become more expensive we've started to get more and more enquiries from people who want to live in them fulltime."

Getting council consents is the biggest obstacle, he says.

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A lot of people with creative housing alternatives "fly under the radar" so the movement is actually much bigger than people think, Powell says.

"I think a lot more people would be making a lot more really creative tiny houses if it wasn't so daunting with the permit process."

Go to livingbiginatinyhouse.com to follow Bryce Langston and Melissa Nickerson's progress.

- Auckland City Harbour News

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