Tiny house, big impact

Green Lifestyle

The thought of living in a really tiny, moving house may be daunting to some, but it offers impressive eco-credentials and brings great simplicity to your life. Especially when they're made with reclaimed materials, like this one is...

James' tiny house built from recycled materials.

Living in such a small space means you can only have a small amount of things inside, naturally eliminating unnecessary consumerism, and encouraging more time spent outside than inside your house.

Credit: Alicia Fox

James Gattetly, the Upcyclist loves sharing his passion of sustainability

James Gattetly, well traveled man who has come home to Australia to continue building Tiny Houses for people to have as studios in their yards, or on properties as a single dwelling.

Credit: Alicia Fox

A truly humble man, James has been inspired to build Tiny Houses to promote a more sustainable lifestyle.

James working on the red cedar windows - lovingly restored for his first tiny house.

Credit: Alicia Fox

Cute recycled door handles for the Tiny House James build

The recycled antique door knobs on the tiny house were found at The Bower. These are mismatched, which adds to the character.

Credit: Alicia Fox

A happy man, James lives a green life that brings much joy.

James demonstrating the fence paling that has been upcycled to be the trimming on the tiny (the red wood next to the old wood).

Credit: Alicia Fox

- Advertisement -

Tiny houses, are exactly what they sounds like: really, really small houses.

James Galletly, also known as The Upcyclist, was inspired to get involved in this growing global movement, and he's just built his first tiny house.

“Reading Lloyd Kahn books and going through The Bower seeing everything that gets thrown out inspired me to start designing and building our own tiny house five months ago,” explains Galletly.

“I sat down with some architect friends and we designed it together.”

After traveling through Central and South America with his partner Alicia Fox building straw bail structures and Earthships, and a with background in environmental science and carpentry, Galletly put all of his passions and skills to good use.

“The environmental benefits of living in a tiny house are huge. For a start, the energy, materials, resources, everything used to build your house is absolutely minimal compared to a standard house, it’s not even comparable.”

“If you actually live in your tiny house, and it's not just a holiday house, it cuts out consumerism right there. You can’t fit anything in it. The only things you can put in your house comes from conscious consumerism, you can only buy things you really, really want and will use every day.”

Galletly and Fox see huge financial benefits to tiny houses. Fox told us that, “we're going to build a tiny house in Crescent Head. We won’t need a mortgage, so we're free to go and travel whenever we want – we won’t feel the pressure of a nine-to-five, and we'll just feel free”.

Tiny house options are endless. Being small on space and big on design, as Galletly has said, “small space living is exciting. It is mostly build your own, crafty designs, and is multi-functional”.

The tiny house that Galletly has just finished building was constructed on the back of a second hand trailer. “Being on wheels is a practical solution to a problem like restrictions of minimum sizes, but it is not the point of tiny houses.”

“It really depends on how the house is built, there is no standard tiny house. A lot of people design them so they can go on a trailer or foundations.”

Like any other house, tiny houses can and do have electrical and plumbing systems. Galletly’s recently completed tiny house doesn't have any plumbing as it is designed to be used an add-on to a preexisting house, but there is electricity – what he calls a “super down sized power system”. The house has just two bright LED lights and one 240 volt powerpoint, all powered by a reclaimed solar panel and a second-hand car battery. This low-energy intensive system is meant to be more of a charge station for a few hours for a laptop or mobile phone, rather than for running appliances like a television.

Small space technology already exists, such as in caravans or yachts, and tiny houses use similar systems – especially when it comes to plumbing and electrical.

Dee Williams is an advocate for tiny houses. She's super cool, based in Portland, Oregon, and is an inspiration for the most basic type of water supply, with no plumbing in her tiny house for the past eight years.

“Her version is one of the most simple and neatest examples of a tiny house. Not going tiny and cramming everything thing in, but really grasping the concept. Going small, and being small, and living outside more to enjoy nature.”

Head along to The Bower’s 15th Birthday in Sydney this weekend, where this tiny house will be auctioned, and they’ll be taking bids of $10,000–$15,000. James is just hoping it will simply go somewhere it will be well used and loved.