| by The Little Big Tiny House Company
About this Entry
Whare Mārama is inspired by light. eg Sun, knowledge, clarity, peace, calm, warmth, space, comfort, inspiration and energy etc. I was about to embark on a Tiny House journey with 5 kids, but only 3 in tow. Having a growing family meant that the design had to evolve with us. We were in it for the long run. It was easy to get overwhelmed by the amazing creativity, trends and designs coming out of the tiny house movement. So, I took a step back and observed my own family. Quite quickly it was obvious how we move through space and what our needs were.
Our lifestyle demonstrated that in a "normal" sized house, we were often together in the same room. Frequently dragging out mattresses into the lounge for "marae styles" sleeping arrangement. Therefore, these observations were a heavy influence on the design of Whare Mārama. The open nature of our home offers ease of versatility and change. It can be accommodating for a growing family, office space, a creatives retreat or a dwelling for 1 or 2 individuals etc. It's simplicity allows for us focus on things we value. It has reduced several stresses. This winter we have not required additional heating. Thus eliminating an increased energy bill. Daylight streams into Whare Mārama, thus warming the home naturally. As heat rises, it has been sufficient warmth during the winter nights. As the warmer months approach, we will need to consider options to reduce glare and temperature. Time spent on cleaning has also reduced.
We currently have minimal yet sufficient storage for 4 people. Although, the installation of a built-in sofa (next week) be a welcomed addition. Our kitchen is always a hive of activity. There is sufficient space for all our needs. With avid bakers it was a necessity to have a fully equipped kitchen. The dry/compost toilet works for our needs. Daily maintenance hasn't posed any problems. If anything it has allowed us to be more conscious of our impact on the earth. We have become more mindful of how precious our water resource is. Reducing water consumption has allowed us to save money again. In Whare Mārama you'll have "light bulb" moments. She continuously opens up avenues for creativity.
Long term living was a key factor in the design. As was, addressing our "needs" over our "wants". We value being outside. So, we wanted to invite the outdoors in. Floor to ceiling windows would allow us to do this. Along with several other benefits eg light, space, natural heating. Also, I hadn't seen a 2 story tiny house on wheels with floor to ceiling windows. With the front facade being glass, we do not feel closed in, contained by walls or separate from the expanse of the outdoors. Even with closed doors we still feel connected to the outside. Being such an open space allows for flexibility and creativity.
Excluding separate rooms and walls allows us to stay connected. It allows us to be aware of each other. It allows us to be conscious of our actions and movement. It helps us to be considerate of each other. Omitting walls was intentional for several reasons. One of which was, I began to see behaviours of withdrawal. Either into a room or into a device. This was concerning. No walls or individual rooms means, if any of us require "privacy'', time out or time alone, it is encouraged to go outside. To breathe, to be inspired, to re-centre, to be.
Currently there are 3 single beds on the mezzanine. Although doubles would fit also. As the kids leave the master could function as a wardrobe/storage and the Mezzanine could be the main sleeping area. There is still ample space for additional storage if required eg in Master sleeping area and bathroom. Because of the open nature, entertaining is easy. And yes, the kids still have friends and cousins over for sleep overs. The staircase and walkway are easily navigated. No need to hang on for dear life or shuffle sideways. There is plenty of headroom along the walkway with no need to duck down.
I took a great effort into looking for the right builders and designer who had the "know how" to make my ideas a reality. The Little Big Tiny House Company have certainly delivered. Stefan and Harm were able to translate and refine my ideas. Delivering quality workmanship with attention to detail. The build commenced in October 2021. In the thick of the Covid pandemic. With material shortages and rapidly increasing prices, Stefan and his team were able to continue construction by offering alternatives, thus keeping within budget and deadlines. Without compromising on quality. I think this is a testament of true craftsmanship. There are small details (as in close up pics) that aid in the quality of this build. It is strong, robust and grabs your attention. Yet, also has a delicate calming nature. You can see the appreciation and respect for the materials used. The high quality of workmanship and the pockets of hidden detail, have refined this build to make it a success.
The reason and inspiration for the colour scheme used in the build. The Little Big Tiny House Company were creating builds similar to what I was after anyway. After, communicating my ideas with them, they accepted the challenge. The ply interior walls with the negative black detail were a feature in other The Little Big Tiny House Company homes. I had initially request "Positive detailing", which after consultation didn't eventuate. I requested the white wash to tone back and soften, the natural birch colour. I felt any varnished glossy stains would be too harsh when paired with a lot of light. The black negative details and trim offers contrast. A bit of a trademark of the builders also. Black additionally works with the industrial feel of the mezzanine frame.
The white melamine cabinetry was purely a decision based off budget. Feltex Casa Mia Carpet was used on mezzanine, walkway, master sleeping area and stairs. Karndean Opus Tiles selected for the downstairs area. The flooring was selected for its neutral tones and different textures against the ply throughout the build. Dumawall A74 Terrazzo Beige lines the bathroom walls. Exterior cladding Harakeke. Black stain on timber.
Have I mentioned this THOW is only 3m x 10m? Yet repeatedly comments are made about how large it is. The floor plan has been designed to accommodate the ever changing requirements of an active, growing family, including full sized amenities and plenty of possibilities for storage. On the ground floor, the bathroom/laundry, open living space and kitchen are present. The bathroom/laundry is warm and spacious, equipped with an illuminated Smart-Mirror and extra vanity space, fitting for the 3 teenage girls that occupy the domain. Keeping the teenage girls in mind, the laundry is shared with the bathroom space to reduce the accumulation of clothes on the floor, and clutter that seem to shadow them in their daily lives.
At the opposite end of the house, the full-sized kitchen welcomes their efforts in baking and family-style dinners with a full- sized oven, induction stove-top and sufficient space for open style dining. The kitchen area also makes use of low cabinets and cupboards for easy access storage, encouraging independence and inventiveness. The open-living area is multifunctional, generally used as dining/living space - it’s no stranger to the role of an office for homework or space for creative endeavours. A mid-century modern screen or shelving unit will eventually be installed in the The addition of the built-in sofa, deck and window tints will be warmly welcomed to enhance the liveability and experience in our tiny home. Although, even in their absence, the house remains inviting, homely and adequate to our current needs.
Aesthetic Appeal & Special Features
Whare Mārama has some big features which set her apart from the rest. I believed Mid Century Modern design would translate well into Tiny House living. With large windows, open spaces and making features of structural elements. The mezzanine steel frame was made into a feature to work with the Mid Century Modern aesthetic. The distinct mezzanine frames imitates the black framed windows and doors. The windows and doors produce a wow factor both inside and outside. Inside you are amazed by the feeling of space, how light and open and inviting Whare Mārama is. When standing on the outside, you are equally impressed by her ability to draw you in. Both during the day and at night when she is illuminated. The bookshelves spanning Whare Mārama's mezzanine add to the Mid Century Modern aesthetic. Allowing for more storage if required. An auspicious collision of minimalism and mid century design.