I posted this story a while back but have refreshed it because so many people are getting interested in tiny houses at the moment. James The Upcyclist builds all sorts of things with recycled materials. This project is the Tiny House prototype, in conjunction with The Bower Reuse and Repair Centre in Marrickville, Sydney, made mostly from recycled materials n 2014.

The tiny house movement is a social and architectural movement that advocates simple living in small spaces. Although well established in the USA, the idea is just beginning to gain momentum in Australia. Many people see tiny house living as an antidote to the exorbitantly high cost of housing and the culture of consumerism. While small homes are nothing new, the emerging “movement” has created an architecture and community all of its own.

The Tiny House Project is an experimental build. It is a collaboration between The Upcyclist (AKA James Gallelty) and The Bower Reuse and Repair Center, James and friends providing the design and construction know-how and The Bower providing the recycled materials. The idea has been to build a small living space out of recycled materials and along the way expose Sydneysiders to the Tiny House concept and demonstrate what can be done with second hand materials. It is a brilliant concept and I adore this house.

James was able to use upwards of 95% recycled materials which is fabulous. These came mainly from The Bower, as well as donations from Tiny House supporters, curbside finds and other salvage yards. The materials range from fence palings as exterior trimming, to Tasmanian Oak cupboard doors which have been upcycled into the desk and shelving. The small deck is made from pallets and the Western Red Cedar doors and window were treasured finds at The Bower. This may give you some inspiration and ideas for projects you can do in your “normal” sized home too!

The “Tiny” was auctioned on 20 September, coinciding with The Bower’s 15th Anniversary Celebrations with proceeds from the sale split between The Bower and The Upcyclist. James is using his share to fund the start-up of a business building tiny houses from recycled materials. I can’t wait to see where this ends up.

James is passionate about building in the most sustainable way possible. Formerly an Environmental Scientist, James applies his love for the environment to his carpentry work, by building with salvaged materials. He takes great pride in creating beautiful and practical objects without depleting the earth’s resources. The Bower takes `hard waste’ which is heading to landfill and makes these items available to the public for reuse. They work to raise awareness of the value of waste reduction and advocate for long life design, repairable products and the use of sustainable, recyclable materials for appliances and furnishings.

In order to keep it simple they did not tackle building a complete tiny house for this first project. They designed a single person living space, minus a kitchen and bathroom. It’s essentially a backyard studio. The initial design idea was to create an extra living space for a family who had outgrown their existing home. As the building has taken shape a number of people have expressed interest in using the space as an artist retreat, a home office or even an boutique Airbnb listing. The “Tiny” incorporates a single bed which folds into the rear wall, a desk and some nifty storage options. The Bower’s signature recycled timber boxes will be included in the house, serving as both storage and seating. LED Lighting is powered by second hand car batteries and a solar panel. There is also one 240V power point, which acts as a charge station for a laptop.

The house sits on a box trailer, which means it can be considered a temporary structure and doesn’t require council approval.  It is fully insulated and water tight. It reminds me of a gypsy caravan, which I love. The build took about 2 months. James worked 4-5 days a week and had volunteers help as well.  A working bee was held early on which was both an information day for other tiny house enthusiasts, and a chance to get some extra work done like sanding and varnishing the beautiful window, and prepping wood for the roof. As James was working with salvaged materials rather than standard sized materials from the hardware store, it took longer than it otherwise may have.  He held off on certain parts of the build, waiting for the right materials to be available – and they always were, eventually.  But he says that made it a much more creative and rewarding process.
It definitely is a beautiful building and I can see this really taking off. It really is a wonderful example of what can be done with salvaged materials and a bit of thought and skill.
Photos – all photos by Alicia Fox
What do you think? Would you love to live in a tiny house? I think this is a brilliant idea for a Studio or teenage retreat as well, or perhaps a parent retreat! Or imagine it as you beachside holiday home. Perfect. More details on the Upcyclist Facebook page.
Helen
xx

61 Comments

  1. Annette Sax on September 16, 2014 at 8:25 am

    Victoria Morphy I thought you might like this!

  2. Sally Anne Campbell on September 16, 2014 at 8:41 am

    Like like like X

  3. Andrea Howard on September 16, 2014 at 9:18 am

    Daniel Cullinan

  4. Terri Sue Lundy on September 16, 2014 at 12:08 pm

    The boxcar children! U0001f609

  5. Ebony Hogan on September 16, 2014 at 1:43 pm

    Jennifer Dominiak

  6. Angela Mellows on September 16, 2014 at 6:14 pm

    What a great holiday hut or guest room

  7. The Restful Nest on September 16, 2014 at 6:56 pm

    I’d love to have one in the back yard as a personal retreat, just for me. As for living in one permanently – it could never house all my vintage goodies.

  8. Amanda King on September 16, 2014 at 7:01 pm

    Diana Nielson

  9. Recycled Interiors on September 16, 2014 at 7:29 pm

    me too Sally Anne Campbell x

  10. Recycled Interiors on September 16, 2014 at 7:30 pm

    indeed! Me either The Restful Nest but would be a great studio!

  11. Recycled Interiors on September 16, 2014 at 7:30 pm

    i thought down by the sea Angela Mellows

  12. Siobhan Claire Dillon Rodgers on September 16, 2014 at 8:54 pm

    Here you go Tegan Ashleigh your new house!

  13. Nicole Clenton-Sullivan on September 16, 2014 at 9:37 pm

    Deb Finemore, i know its not a container n u probably wouldnt need steps, but if ur looking at a rustic idea, i reckon these are really cool steps n love the doors U0001f60a

  14. Tilli Boo on September 17, 2014 at 10:45 am

    Cute!

  15. Kumi Robinson on September 17, 2014 at 11:24 am

    I am regular checker of tiny house site!

  16. Recycled_Interiors on September 17, 2014 at 6:41 pm

    fantastic Kumi!

  17. Recycled_Interiors on September 17, 2014 at 6:41 pm

    that is a great description! it is very cute

  18. Shan Phillips on September 17, 2014 at 8:09 pm

    I’d like to live in a tiny house like this! Well, maybe a little bigger 🙂

  19. Carol Goslin on September 17, 2014 at 8:45 pm

    A great craft room:)

  20. Marie Wilkens on September 17, 2014 at 9:11 pm

    Can you put this in your backyard for me wen you buy your house Cathy 🙂

  21. Julie Shinnick on December 20, 2015 at 7:35 am

    not with 3 adult children, NO! lol

  22. Recycled_Interiors on December 20, 2015 at 7:43 am

    ha!!

  23. Kaye Woods on December 20, 2015 at 8:49 am

    Well I could but what would I do with all my stuff?

  24. Maureen Garratt on December 21, 2015 at 10:13 am

    Not much house work, that’s very appealing U0001f608

  25. Fiona Lee on December 21, 2015 at 10:42 am

    I would love to one day!

  26. Matt Butterfield on December 21, 2015 at 11:01 am

    In a few years that would sell for big money in Sydney’s real estate market!

  27. Danielle Sushames on December 21, 2015 at 11:14 am

    Sally Jelbert – tiny art studio in the garden perhaps ?!?

  28. Megan Cameron on December 21, 2015 at 11:45 am

    Michael Cameron art studio??

  29. Sally Jelbert on December 21, 2015 at 12:47 pm

    Art studio/library/garden shed – I need this in my life!

  30. Sandy Mullen on December 21, 2015 at 1:01 pm

    Flick Schmitt love this

  31. Flick Schmitt on December 21, 2015 at 1:03 pm

    I need a Lady Shack.

  32. Sandy Mullen on December 21, 2015 at 1:05 pm

    I wanna try this as I’ve got a trailer sitting in the orchard just waiting for a project like this Flick, so inspired

  33. Pauline Williams on December 21, 2015 at 6:45 pm

    Love it put it on my Christmas list

  34. Phoebe Barnes on December 21, 2015 at 8:06 pm

    Golden plains? Kyran Kelly

  35. Kyran Kelly on December 21, 2015 at 8:59 pm

    That’s pretty cool.

  36. Jayne Davidson on December 21, 2015 at 9:50 pm

    Katie Edwards don’t you think that this totally resembles our prototype we made in third year? U0001f633

  37. Shelley Jordan McCarroll on December 22, 2015 at 12:04 am

    Caitlin McCarroll, maybe we could build you this.

  38. Katie Edwards on December 22, 2015 at 11:06 am

    Right you are 😉

  39. Bree Joseph on January 17, 2016 at 9:27 am

    Lee Chapman we need to make you these pallet steps just to put out on your adventures x

  40. Lee Chapman on January 17, 2016 at 9:41 am

    I don’t want to over capitalize on the van. It has a step. If one day I live in it we shall get our tools out then

  41. Alice Love on January 17, 2016 at 9:52 am

    This is just Devine pop the little cottage in the middle of knowhere and I’d be in absolute heaven as long as I had my cards and contact with my Maggie Belle I’d be sweeeeet
    U0001f497U0001f497U0001f497U0001f497U0001f497U0001f497

  42. Maggie Belle on January 17, 2016 at 10:12 am

    Me too Alice .. Is as a little Morrie truck done up as one .. Looked like a snail … How simple ! House in wheels cheap and see the country … I pair of shoes . Buy new ones when they wear out

  43. Bree Joseph on January 17, 2016 at 10:53 am

    It’s just a pallet Lee U0001f61c

  44. Recycled Interiors on January 17, 2016 at 5:10 pm

    isn’t it lovely!

  45. DaveandMeg Stroud on January 18, 2016 at 8:12 pm

    Yes ! No Problem !

  46. Donnah Maull on January 18, 2016 at 10:47 pm

    On your own, yes! As a family, no! I’ve lived in one growing up, I couldn’t breathe. Very constricting.

  47. Sarah Synnott on April 1, 2016 at 1:53 pm

    Russell Synnott can you please help me build this??? U0001f64fU0001f3fbU0001f64fU0001f3fbU0001f64fU0001f3fbU0001f64fU0001f3fbU0001f64fU0001f3fb please please please

  48. Manda McElroy on April 1, 2016 at 8:04 pm

    Rik McElroy ~ blue trailer?

  49. entry mats on April 23, 2016 at 11:23 pm

    have one in the back yard as a personal retreat, just for me. As for
    living in one permanently – it could never house all my vintage goodies.

  50. Taryn Bacon on June 22, 2016 at 11:53 am

    Lol. Another idea Jasmine Evans-Boylen! Hehehe.

  51. Fiona McCumstie Barrett on June 22, 2016 at 11:58 am

    Lilla Barrett this is cute

  52. Cherre Blossom Owen on June 22, 2016 at 1:06 pm

    Wow so cool

  53. Loretta D'Cruze on June 22, 2016 at 2:34 pm

    I love that

  54. Anna Williams on June 22, 2016 at 4:18 pm

    I really love it Alex, how much per night?

  55. Sheree Spencer on June 22, 2016 at 7:21 pm

    Linda new accommodation for Symon lol

  56. Linda Connell on June 22, 2016 at 7:27 pm

    Way too flash!!

  57. Kylie Ruthjersen on June 22, 2016 at 7:52 pm

    Karlie you inspire me to be more creative

  58. Jasmine Evans-Boylen on June 22, 2016 at 8:18 pm

    So doing it. Just got everything ready for dog kennel tomorrow lol.

  59. Mieke Steele on June 22, 2016 at 10:14 pm

    Michael Newman could we build this ?

  60. Nicole Carbone on June 23, 2016 at 8:59 am

    Scott Feldt this is what I was thinking for that trailer

  61. Donna Smith on June 23, 2016 at 8:40 pm

    I would love that to have coffee n smoke my cave ☺☺☺

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