Tim Cox’s Tiny House


By Laura Baker

Christchurch industrial product engineer, Tim Cox, will soon be the proud owner of his first home. And he’ll move into the brand new house completely mortgage free.

How can a new home owner be mortgage free you might ask?

It is because Tim’s new home is a tiny house. A portable structure with all of the normal home comforts inside, including a lounge, kitchen, bedroom, bathroom and laundry facilities. But measuring in at 7.2 metres by 2.5 metres by 4.2 metres, externally it is classed as a light weight trailer. 

Tim is part of a growing movement towards tiny house living which has seen a number of small homes on trailers pop up around the country.

His interest in tiny houses was first pricked when a friend of his considered designing one; while the friend pulled out Tim continued to purse the idea himself. After 11 years of flatting he says the idea solved a lot of his frustrations about the current housing climate.

“I didn’t want a mortgage to command the rest of my life and have everything driven around it. I want to have financial freedom and the time to spend with family and friends, rather than being tied down by a mortgage.”

Tim began to design and build the trailer and tiny house in October last year. With the trailer complete about three months ago he started constructing his home on it. The structure is now weather tight and ready for the cladding to be attached.

He has built every aspect of his home, personally fitting in the construction around his work and personal life commitments. “I’ll move in, in a few months once the doors and cladding are on; then it will be another couple of months of just casually chipping away at it.

When the house is complete Tim will rent an empty section on Wilsons Road for $50 a week; meanwhile saving pretty efficiently to buy a piece of land outright. “I’d choose an amazing piece of land with a good view over a big house any day.”

The estimated cost of the house’s materials is $35,000 and while it is small in size, the smart design elements such as the high ceilings and large windows, make it feel surprisingly big.

“I don’t want a big home, but I want a home that has been really well thought through so it can be small in the scheme of homes, but it can function just as well, if not better.

“It will be cosy, warm, extremely well insulated and low cost to run. If I was buying my first home I know I will be paying pretty good money to walk into an old, damp, poorly insulated home that I’d have to throw a lot of money at.”

There is nothing inferior about the construction; in fact Tim says it’s actually built better than traditional houses. “It has to be built to go through a permanent earthquake in a sense because it’ll move around a lot on the road. So it has to be braced a lot better and built a lot stronger with quality materials.”

The house is almost completely self sufficient and incredibly cheap to run. It will need an estimated $30 per month of gas to run the califont, gas water heater, which will provide instant and almost endless hot water.

Power will be supplied via a caravan port which will run the lighting and small appliances, but eventually he hopes to install solar panels.

The property’s greywater will run into the sections greywater system while the blackwater waste will pass through a dehydration system which converts the sewage to compost.

The light class trailer it’s not a permanent dwelling so it doesn’t require any building consents however, there is a weight limit of 3.5 tones.

Now just months away from moving in he says he hasn’t regretted it an inch. “It has been such a joy and such a fun process to work through and I’m very excited to move into my own space.”

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