The tiny house is getting sexier. The latest version of the movement to micro homes is a sleek and modern tiny house that will pop up as part of the Sustainable Living Festival at Melbourne’s Fed Square in February to excite and inspire people to live with a smaller footprint.

Image: Dan Soderstrom

Measuring just 12.5 square metres, this tiny house is able to sleep an astonishing four adults. It will be on display to the public in the only known “open-home” of its kind globally.

This version of the tiny house is a concept of The New Joneses, a collaboration of citizens and supporters with a shared goal of creating a sustainable, equitable world through fun, thoughtful and less wasteful use of our finite resources.

The New Joneses creator Tamara DiMattina is the brains behind Buy Nothing New Month, which was launched in 2010 and continues to enjoy an extraordinary global response.

“Like FebFast and Dry July where you go without a month of booze, Buy Nothing New Month encourages you to reassess your consumption habits,” Ms DiMattina said. “Where does it come from? Who made it? Where does it go when we are done? And where is away?”

The New Joneses extends this line of thinking, showing people how to make less wasteful lifestyle choices.

Space-saving design

Ms DiMattina said while there were many good examples of tiny houses overseas, not much has been on offer to whet the appetite of Australians and show us how to be smarter with space.

“There are not too many sexy tiny houses here,” she said. “My builders, The Sociable Weaver, are creating a modern, sleek tiny house not seen so far.”

Reflecting the trend of swapping space with simplicity, The New Joneses’ tiny house features a loft, wall bed, desk, fully functional kitchen, bathroom and sizeable deck.

Ms DiMattina said Australians have always believed “big is better” but with real estate space critical in Sydney and Melbourne, we need to get more out of what we have. “Wall beds are huge in the US, Europe and Hong Kong where they don’t have space,” she said.

Beautifully designed wall beds could enable Australian households to create two rooms out of one. “People have a guest room and have people to stay once or twice a year,” she said. “With a wall bed, you can turn it into a play room or a craft room and make use of the space.”

Clever nooks

The stairs leading to the loft – a stack of cubes on an incline – will double as book shelves while the compact kitchen incorporates a herb garden. Two opening doors create the illusion of space and encourage indoor-outdoor living. A deck runs the length of the house and features a green wall. Full of clever nooks, this abode is small, compact and fun.

Storage is minimal and this is a necessity, according to Ms DiMattina, “because there is bugger-all space”. The tiny house has been designed with the philosophy: “the bigger the bag, the more stuff you put in it.” Less storage forces us to declutter and fill our lives, not our homes.

A realistic solution?

While the tiny house is able to sleep four adults, Ms DiMattina is not suggesting that four adults would be comfortable living there.

“A tiny house can be fabulous for one person,” she said. “Four living in there would drive each other bananas!” Although, she does know of a Queensland couple with a baby living happily in a tiny house.

More importantly, tiny houses are demonstrating an alternative for people who are struggling to enter the property market. Innovative solutions are emerging where farmers supplement their income renting out tiny houses on excess land.

“Some of the tiny houses have no bills – they are so small and compact,” Ms DiMattina said. “It’s another way people can live with less stuff. It provides freedom. A new path for people – an alternative without a massive mortgage.”

The New Joneses is on the hunt for an innovative, sustainable home to feature as part of its pop-up lifestyle project. Those with a new pre-fab design or transportable home can contact Tamara DiMattina at

The New Joneses is a feature of the Sustainable Living Festival. The tiny house pops up from 11 to 25 February. It’s free and open to the public 12noon-6pm weekdays and 12 noon-4pm weekends.

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