Eve Macfarlane and Chris Morrison built their house in Raglan for just $26,000. It's a Tiny Home on the back of an old trailer and is just 6.8 metres long by 2.4 metres wide by 4.1 metres high.

"It doesn't really feel small once you're in it," Mr Morrison said.

Ms Macfarlane said it was actually an upgrade from their previous home.

"It was this little shack that had a leaking roof, cockroaches everywhere. And then moving into here, we just have so much for space, it feels big now. This feels like a mansion now," Macfarlane said.


Building their own home has been a lot more affordable. The cost of materials was just $26 thousand dollars, though that didn't include Chris's labour or the help of friends and family.

"It was amazing how many friends came together for this project. So looking around, I can see lots of little stories everywhere about who did what, where, when and it's like there's so much love in here," Macfarlane said.

Morrison said it was ironic that when they needed a specialist someone would get in touch or turn up.

"It was crazy. We made these friends through friends who just happened to be a plumber as we needed a plumber. And [I thought] 'I need an electrician' and then this German guy, Alex comes knocking on the door a day later. He's like 'hey do you have any work, I'm an electrician', and I'm like 'yeah thank you!'"

Doing it all themselves was one way to help keep costs down and because the house is on a movable trailer it's not deemed a building and therefore exempt from the building code.

Nathan Orr of Tiny House Talk NZ is a proponent of sustainable, mobile housing solutions. He's built his own large-scale tinhouse and has documented the process. He plans to put his tiny home on the market and says there's a lot that people should consider before embarking on a build themselves.

"By building a TH house on a trailer you can get away from some of that unnecessary red tape, consents and things like that, that take a long time to get through and that is what pushes up the cost in most cases.

"With the building, you don't know what you don't know. I've had a qualified master builder overseeing this project and there's stuff I've been doing where I'm like 'I didn't know I needed to do that'.


"If you don't have that experience or someone making sure you're doing those things, you could miss a few things - especially when it comes to water tightness, electricity plumbing, all those things you want to get right."

Back in Raglan, Macfarlane and Morrison's life ethos is simple - less is more - and they're living a sustainable lifestyle, growing their own produce, composting, recycling and cutting down on consumption.

"I think it's a bit cliché but it's be the change you want to see in the world," Macfarlane said. "It's started to progress into other habits like trying not to use as much rubbish and all of these little adjustments that come with living in a tiny home."

"It's that whole 'closing the loop' kind of thing," Morrison said.

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