Tiny Home Sweet Home An RV Alternative?

Already a thing in the USA and NZ, tiny homes combine a heavy duty caravan base with traditional house building techniques to produce a cost-effective, relocatable dwelling that sits under the RV banner (for registration and compliance) but is intended for full time living. RVs are usually optimised for road use. They are streamlined, lightweight and strong yet highly mobile.

A tiny home is constructed on a trailer base more as a way around restrictive council building codes although they do still require an engineering certificate. They can be moved from place to place but as the intention is that it be a home for full time living, space is generally maximised to the limits of the law around towing in Australia.

Tiny Houses Australia group founder, Darren Hughes (check out their festival in Bendigo coming March 2019) says, ‘from the ground to the roof, you can’t go any higher than 4.3 metres and no wider than 2.5 metres.' Length is less restrictive with the limit being 12.5 metres, but a home this size would probably run into weight issues. Hughes says ‘to legally tow a tiny home on Australian roads, the weight must remain under 4.5 tonnes’

While tiny homes are often built by their owners to minimise the cost of ownership, NSW based Häuslein Tiny House Co believe there is a market for them to manufacture high-end tiny houses for people seeking a more sustainable way of living without the learning curve required to build their own.

Carpenter and Co-Founder Scott Rohdich says ‘everybody needs a house, so we can do that in a workshop, be more efficient, have better quality control and get better bang for your buck’ And For Häuslein Tiny House Co, quality is their primary objective.

Composed of durable and weather-resistant materials

An RV left outside in the weather, year after year, requires quite a bit of maintenance. Gel-coat, plastics and silicones break down over the years and for this reason, many RV owners build expensive awnings or sheds to protect their RV when parked.

Häuslein tiny homes require as much protection as a Colourbond fence. The roof is tin and as durable as any building. The walls are likewise clad in tin augmented with weather-resistant Cedar timber. Co-founder Sarah Rohdich expects their homes to stand the test of time and to age beautifully inside and out.

Sam Verlaan, another co-founder (the company was formed between four friends) agrees. ‘Scott has a real passion for timber. We have used Cyprus pine for all of the walls and the benchtops and Cedar for the feature cladding’.

The Häuslein team steered completely away from MDF and chipboard due to the weight and poor performance if it ever gets wet. Of course you do still need a formidable vehicle to tow this tiny home which weighs 3.7t but Sarah says they handle relocations by simply calling a tow truck. Jobs done. 

Sarah says they handle relocations by simply calling a tow truck. Jobs done. 

Aside from being very cost effective to purchase (around the cost of a luxury SUV), tiny homes are very energy efficient to build and energy efficient to live in too. In addition to using fewer materials to build and less energy to heat and cool, the nature of living in a very small building promotes green living principals.

Scott Rohdich says people increasingly want to live more simply and a tiny home is a great facilitator for this. A clutter-free existence is difficult to obtain in a traditional brick and mortar home but when you have limited storage, you tend to question every purchase and only buy what you need.

The main challenge with living small is finding somewhere to legally park and live in your tiny home on a permanent / semi-permanent basis.

In NSW, Sarah Rohdich and the Häuslein team have had ‘very positive’ discussions with their local council. Sarah says Port Macquarie Hastings Council have indicated that if your intention is to park a tiny home in your backyard for someone within your household to live in, this will not be an issue. For use as a primary dwelling, there are permits required and these are assessed on a case by case basis depending on land zoning, fire risk etc.

The quality of finish in the Häuslein Tiny House is excellent and for some RVers, their smaller models could be a real alternative for traditional RV tourers. The larger models are ideal for permanent sites at caravan parks or as a quick way to gain a beautiful extra living space for growing or extended families (and then sell it to downsize again later). 

A huge thanks to Sarah and Sam for showing us through their beautiful tiny home. Floor plans, virtual tours and more tiny home images + current pricing can be viewed in more detail on the  Häuslein Tiny House Co  website. The team are also running regular ‘open house days’ so check their social media for the next event and get all your questions answered.

Interested in owning a Häuslein  Tiny House ?

About the author

Paddy McCann

Over the years, I’ve owned six motorhomes, two Caravans and three campervans so you could say I am a bit of an RV enthusiast. Chat with you soon in the comments area below. PaddyMac