A Visit Inside The Hilltop Tiny House

Tell me about your tiny house journey. What inspired you to start this lifestyle?

Since I first started seeing tiny houses I became so intrigued and just thought they were the

coolest things (I also loved the idea of being able to move your house to a new location in the future if you wanted to). My partner and I liked the idea of only having the space you actually need and use. We started following all the tiny house Instagram’s, YouTube channels and Pinterest boards and decided we could totally make this happen! With housing prices sky-rocketing in New Zealand, it makes it very challenging for first time home buyers here, so my partner and I thought this would be the perfect solution to having our own home. It would allow us to live mortgage free with very little expenses so that we would have more time and money for actually living and doing the things we love.

Describe the design process. What was that like?

The design process was so much fun! It was made easy by the build company we went with.

We basically sent through all our ideas as well as a vision board and just went back and forth

with the designer refining it until we had exactly what we wanted, working to our budget and

what was realistically possible to manufacture in a tiny home.

Can you share your design influences? Were there any sacrifices between aesthetics

and functionality?

I had been gathering interior design inspiration for years, and still do! Also travelling to

places like Morocco, Greece, Bali and Scandinavia—countries which all have such distinct and beautiful home designs really influenced my style. The decor I’ve collected from all over the world and managed to get home to New Zealand has also created the aesthetic and style of our home.

There were definitely some sacrifices between aesthetic and functionality, for example I

loved the arched and temple shaped doorways I saw in Morocco and asked the designer if we could have something similar for the doorway to the bathroom, but sadly it wasn’t possible. I also really wanted a bathtub and have seen this done in other tiny homes but unfortunately, it would have taken us over the legal weight limit. The butlers sink is a good alternative and something we use multiple times a day so that made more sense, especially when considering water consumption. We wanted everything to be functional or serve a double purpose. Like stairs, tables and even our bedhead that are all also storage spaces. In a tiny home things have to be functional to make for comfort and ease of living.

What's your storage situation like? 

We have so much storage!!! I was apprehensive that with it being a tiny house it wouldn’t have enough storage, yet we still have so many empty cupboards. We snuck storage into every space possible. It’s also taught us how to be more minimalistic. Prior to moving into our tiny home, my partner and I were actually Superyacht crew, sharing a very tiny cabin. This taught us to travel light and only stick with what’s important.

It’s so fulfilling and inspiring to know that everything in our tiny home is useful and holds a travel memory. You don’t need stuff, excess belongings only weigh you down. I think having clear, simple spaces in your home also makes you feel relaxed and lighter which is the energy I’m trying to create.

What was the most challenging part of the design process?

The most challenging part of the design process was keeping things under a certain weight limit for it to be road legal here in New Zealand. Things like built in cabinetry can really add up. We originally had doors on our wardrobe but had to make some weight cuts towards the end which meant non-crucial things like this had to be removed. Another challenge was envisioning the space during the design process. Seeing it on a computer screen is one thing, but trying to imagine ourselves living in it and how we would move around the space was a completely different thing.

What were some of the lifestyle changes you adapted from moving into your tiny home and how have those changes resonated in your lives today?

Our lifestyle change was huge coming straight off the yachts and into our tiny. For one, we

felt like we had so much space and enjoyed nesting and settling into a permanent place of our own. We also became more environmentally aware of our impact. We recycle everything we can and have reduced our waste to just one very small rubbish bin per week (if that!) We compost, we collect rain water, and we have a compost loo. We are growing a lot of our own vegetables and minimizing our plastic use. I feel living this way is a part of a tiny house lifestyle, but should be a part of everyone’s lifestyle!

Can you give us insight into some tips on how we can all live sustainability in our homes?

It’s about doing what you can to minimize your impact on Earth. We always take our reusable bags to the supermarket and avoid plastic bags and packaging. We also like to support our local farmers market and small local businesses. If you're fortunate enough to have some garden space, grow your own vegetables or herbs. Reduce your water and electricity usage as much as possible. Compost, reuse and recycle where you can.

Move in day was April 9, 2021. Tell us about the experience seeing your home for the first

time IRL!

It was surreal! We waited MONTHS to see our tiny home as we were stuck overseas due to COVID-19. So, when we did finally see it in real life it was such a happy moment and exceeded our expectations. My initial thought was 'wow it’s so much bigger

than I pictured!' It took a few days for us to stop pinching ourselves. This is our first home,

and for your first home to be something you have designed yourself is so cool, we feel very

fortunate that we could make this happen!

What were the non-negotiables that you HAD to have in your home? *noting the butler's sink was one of them.

Definitely the butlers sink! That’s probably the biggest one and also the custom built couch. I love changing and rearranging my home, it’s something I’ve always done and I was worried with it being a tiny house that I would eventually get bored of it always being arranged the same way. By having the couch in two pieces and on wheels, it's given me the creativity of being able to make the lounge different. I also needed a breakfast bar with windows that open up to the outside. We have trifold windows with the bench on the inside and outside. The outside bench will be so perfect once we finish building the deck. It’s so nice to be able to have all the windows and doors open and let the afternoon sun just stream in.