How a young Brisbane family with a baby live in an 18-square-metre tiny house.

A movement is emerging towards smaller and more sustainable homes, as the dream of buying a house increasingly becomes out of reach for most young people in Australia.

The tiny house movement is well established in the United States, where it grew steadily in the wake of the Global Financial Crisis, but is a fledgling idea in Australia.

The houses are not much bigger than a caravan, but have been providing a small growing rebellion to Australia’s McMansion housing trend.

Lara Noble and Andrew Carter built their freestanding tiny house in a friend’s backyard in Red Hill, within walking distance of Brisbane’s CBD.

They rent the land and brought in the tiny house, which they designed themselves.

Ms Noble said they could never have afforded to buy a standard house so near the centre of the city, where they needed to be for their work as an architect and carpenter.

“We started over a year ago scheming about the idea of building a tiny house,” Ms Noble said.

‘We’ve had heaps of support too from the community in legitimising tiny houses, which is really exciting at the moment.”

Putting minimalist ideals to the test.

And putting their minimalist living ideals to the ultimate test, they have just added a new addition to their tiny house in the form of Charlie, their four-week-old daughter.

“I think she’s loving it. It’s hard to know yet, she’s too young to speak,” Ms Noble said.

Mr Carter said they hope to show there are alternatives to the lifetime mortgage, and energy-sucking homes in Australia’s growing urban sprawl.

“When Charlie’s two or three years old that will really test this form of housing for ourselves,” Mr Carter said.

“We’re under no illusion that this will suit the three of us forever.

“But at the moment it’s perfect and for a lot of people at a certain point in their lives it’s perfect.


“We’re following in the footsteps of a lot of people especially in the US — they’re miles ahead of Australia in tiny houses.

“Tiny dwellings are nothing new.

“It’s often portrayed as this new sort of craze but living in small spaces used to be the norm and we’ve lost our way in Australia.”

‘Much more than just a shed’.

While it may be only 18 square metres inside — about the size of two car parking spaces — Mr Carter said the tiny house was much more than a shed.

“It’s confined to two and half metres wide so it can travel on the road without special permits,” he said.

“The kitchen’s running down one side (of the house), on the other side there’s a foldout bench to become a dining table or a desk you can bring chairs in for a lounge,” Mr Carter said.

“Down the end there is as close as we can get to a full bathroom, so the shower is bigger than most of the showers we had in share houses.

“We wanted to have as nice a house as we could afford and our solution on our budget was to make the house very small and still fit it out with nice things.”

“To make it feel wider we’ve put the deck — a demountable deck which you can assemble like a Meccano set — off to the side.

“The windows are aligned and there’s high louvres to get really good cross and stack ventilation in the space … it’s really responsive if you want to cool it down quickly.”

Even the bed has some space-age appointments to make the most of the limited space.

“There’s a remote control and we push a button and the bed will drop down (from the roof),” Mr Carter said.

“And it squeezes between the paintings on the walls and the pictures and drops down onto the lounge.”

This post originally appeared on ABC News.

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