Tiny homes of the future | Lara Nobel | TEDxSouthBank


Translator: Dauhalevich Valeria
Reviewer: Rhonda Jacobs Some of my friends have bought a house, a reasonably priced,
three or four bedroom. Not expensive, but enough to tie them
to a 30-year mortgage. They work a nine-hour day, and travel
two hours to get there and back. By the time they get home, relax, sleep; they have to get up and do it all again. Sometimes they say
they feel a little bit trapped. Realistically, half of the rooms
in that house are empty all the time. And they’re always looking forward
to their next holiday, away from it all – the house included. Apparently, this is quite normal. My partner Andrew and I
are at about this point in our lives. But the idea of striving for this kind
of lifestyle seems out of balance. Health, nature, and time
feels like it’s being traded for house, money, and stuff. I guess, most of us follow the same path:
buy as much as we can afford, in the best area we can afford,
and adjust our lifestyles to suit. Usually this means
a big house in the suburbs with a bit of a commute. The problem I have with this is that
I believe our physical environments enforce habits, both good and bad. We build the world’s biggest houses,
and fill them with stuff, worsening our ecological footprint. Many of our houses are quite insular, turning their backs on neighbors
and the public street. We take out crippling mortgages in our pursuit for the great
Australian dream, and sacrifice our welfare,
our relationships, and our hobbies. So this was a bit of a problem for us. What we really wanted was something
a lot smaller and more flexible than what the market offered. We wanted to buy something
within our means, and have our lifestyle adapt our home,
not the other way around. Our homes could be so much more,
and take so much less. They could offer us easy ways
to process our own waste, or recycle our water. They could offer us ways to collect
and monitor our energy usage, or foster connected communities. And of course, like many problems,
this isn’t just a personal problem, this issue is broader;
it’s on the national and global scale. Our homes demand huge amounts
of energy to build and operate. Not only this, but they produce
large amounts of waste. And the land clearing required
for new low-density development is an ongoing problem. And yet, we stubbornly march forward,
building bigger and bigger houses yearly. The average floor plan size
or the average area of our houses has steadily grown over the past 15 years. And simultaneously, the number of people
living in these houses has declined. And to top it all off, many of us
can’t even afford to buy a house. The average price of our houses
in Australian capital cities is now more than seven times
our average annual income. That’s huge. So the last year my partner and I,
and a builder-mate of ours, teamed up with his small crew as well,
to design and build an alternative. Something based on our desires,
and not the market expectations. You may have heard of the term,
a “tiny house” before. In our case, it’s essentially
a fully functioning house condensed down into 18 square meters, which is two car-parking spaces. The product is a home
that is transportable, more affordable than the average house, and also, more environmentally friendly. So let me give you a quick tour. The house is built on a trailer, so you can tow a fully functioning house
onto site and park it there. You enter the house via the deck. The deck is made up of modular panels,
that attach to the side of the house when you arrive on site,
doubling the width. The doors and windows are made
of recycled floor joists of old cottages, and this recycled timber-fill
is continued through on the bench tops, the shelves, and the decking boards. Because space is such an issue, it was important to maintain
good views through the house. So the front entry windows and doors line up with the windows
in front of the kitchen. Once inside, you are presented
with long views through the house. The rhythm of the portal frames
helps to organise the space, and reduce the feeling of clutter. Up one end, is an L-shaped
lounge space, and behind that
is floor-to-ceiling storage. By day, this is a lounge space, and by night, a bed
is lowered down from the ceiling. In the central space,
on one side is the kitchen bench, and on the other side is a narrow bench, which turns into the vanity
and the laundry space. And at the far end is the bathroom, which is separated from
the main space by a sliding door. The bathroom contains a full-size shower,
and a composting toilet, because this one was designed
to be able to be off-grid. Above the backroom space is a loft, which could be used
as additional sleeping space for a double or a queen bed,
or for more storage space. It was really important for us to make the space feel
a lot bigger than it actually is. And some of the strategies
we used for this were the high ceilings with the louvers, white walls, views were carefully organised
through and down the space, and strategic placement of some mirrors. Of course, aesthetics aside, it was important that it functions
really well as a house. So in such a small home,
storage was really important. We had to exploit every
opportunity we could: under the floor, in the walls,
around the wheel-arches, in the furniture. Of course, as well,
we had to enact different scenarios of how the space would be used. So, what would we do
when we had guests over? How could the space be rearranged
for different activities of the day? So far, the capacity has been 30. (Laughter) In designing the house, we had to fit a lot of things
into quite a small space. But for us, the ultimate
measure of success was were we able to retain
the essence of a home. Sure, it’s not for everyone,
but it suits us well. Being built on a trailer meant
that there are many alternatives for how the space is used. People who own land
could expand their space by adding an additional
bit of accommodation. Those that don’t own land,
it can open up many options for them. And that is the case
with my partner and I. Arrangements can be made,
and if you bring your home with you, it’s amazing where
you can find places to live. There’s also opportunities for people
who have live-in workers or dependent family members, even holiday accommodation. Of course, there’s also
further things to consider with movable, small modular homes about disaster relief housing,
and communities that want to be off-grid, or more remote properties. And a tiny house
that can function fully off-grid works well in those scenarios. Another issue that is worth briefly
mentioning is our aging population, and various different ways our housing might not be tailored
well enough for that, and how small dwellings could be used either in the property of children
for elderly parents, or even in the back
of their own properties, and they could rent
or sell their larger house, and still stay in their own community. With a bit of creative thinking
and collaboration with counsels, developers, neighbors, friends, family, I believe we could overcome
a lot of issues we have with our housing. Whether we like it or not,
our housing is a reflection of who we are and what we value as a society. So the status quo of Australian
housing should concern us. We are building bigger and bigger houses,
and we need not; perhaps we should not. I don’t want to try and convince
you all to live in a tiny house. What I would like to pose is a challenge to dismiss our preconceptions, to put aside those preconceptions
about our home and to really think what do we want our home to provide. I think that only
when we get to that point can we reflect on what’s really important
in our homes, and our lifestyles. It’s very difficult
to put a price on a lifestyle. But for me, it’s definitely
worth more than the fourth bedroom. (Applause)

44 thoughts on “Tiny homes of the future | Lara Nobel | TEDxSouthBank

  1. Alternatibe also-A Sea Ship-climate chge -Christopher Monkton sci found big miscalculation
    misinterpretation CC Solutions Purifies Air/Soil & Water in 100's of countries.*Moringa
    Bye Heath food stores. *Moringa Drug /Pill substirute Drought resistant trees 25-40 ft
    Some of them never get water & they grow even in Asian countries where no other
    trees grow.These can supply all our basic needs while they heal & detoxify us & Planet -can
    support the world basic medical/food needs /Morpmga & Plankton can be used as biofuel .

  2. In the first 30 seconds …..she sets up her absurd premises. Man was not meant to live like a sardine. Live in a nice big comfortable house. Do what you have to do to get it.

  3. I have been pushing the idea of tiny homes since the 70s in Australia, to anyone who would listen, but when councils / developers and builders get together to force people to build a certain size home, it's a up hill battle, councils can be belligerent about not passing plans for houses under 50 Sq Mtrs , but they won't pay your power bill to heat these monsters houses.

  4. what if tiny houses where made in a factory my 4 year old grandsons maybe auto home worker i am 3rd generation autoworker you buy more home as you need it sell off units you no longer need

  5. Your tiny home is beautiful and functional. You offer fabulous ideas for sustainable homes. I agree that tiny homes are not for everyone. However, the idea that we should build only what we need is pertinent to all new home construction. We can all live without that fourth bedroom and probably the third as well. Great job, Lara.

  6. I love how you clearly and effectively communicate the misery we are building ourselves into. I have researched and taken a weekend long seminar on Tiny Houses and I do think they are very interesting in terms of opening up our minds to seeing how one can live a better life with a small space. However, for large and scalable solutions – I think Tiny Houses stacked on top of one another (in other words, medium density designer housing) will be fast more effective. And also create opportunities to live and work close by.

  7. So any people build/tiny house….why don't these people buy so many of the small, economically, empty homes and renovate
    Instead having to buy a gas hog enormous truck to tow a tiny home just to be cool? What am I missing? Or, buy a mobile home?

  8. My husband and I are going tiny right now. Selling the big house so we can retire early and live a full life while we're still young enough to do so. I've been so surprised to see the large segment of tiny house population that are my generation. Almost like it's a revolution going on. Your home is gorgeous.

  9. We spend most of our time at home sitting or sleeping. A house barely needs to be bigger than a couch and a bathroom.

  10. Greedy governments, utilities,contractors, material suppliers will never give building inspectors permission to grant tiny house permits.
    Simple as that , you and your family are income for the elite of the system. The SYSTEM will fight this tooth and nail.

  11. Why I don't live in a tiny house: it's more expensive than the normal house I already own. Between building costs and space rent, and the cost of the vehicle that would be required to pull it, it's cheaper to keep my house than build a tiny house. Although my house isn't large or fancy, either.

  12. Yet – you need less space if not everybody had a tiny house but lived in a small apartment. If you stack people you save so much space! And it is more ecological, too, you need much less heating with neighbours over and under and beside you. A small apartment is cheaper, more environmental, but I guess it is nothing for hipster.

  13. While I agree that home sizes with become smaller, and their layouts will become more clever, I think that this tiny house on wheels phenomena is not going to last the test of time. I can, however, imagine homes that are half the size of today's homes that will function well for families, and remain viable as the homeowner ages and living requirements change. I think that these houses will be on mostly shared properties with community priority over personal space, though I don't believe that personal space will completely go away.
    While I understand the trick of using tall ceilings to make one feel like they are in a larger space than they actually are, the cubic ft/m to heat and cool remains larger in proportion to its floor area. I think that we'll see a return to reasonable ceiling heights, but with more floor area in the future.

  14. 'Cooperation with councils', councils are the problem, they create the zoning that stops adequate land being zoned for housing, they control the caravan park market, keeping australian camping rates about 5 times comparable american rates.

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