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A Game Changing Apartment-Sized, Transportable Tiny Home

Tiny Homes

Tiny houses (generally considered as homes under 37 square metres) have been billed as one answer to Australia’s affordable and sustainable housing crisis, but they’re not for everyone. While many find these pint-sized houses intriguing, they often admit they could never live in one themselves.

With 37 square metres of highly versatile floor space (on a 27 square metre footprint), ‘The Brook’ by Victorian-based business Small is a tiny house with a difference. This apartment-sized home contains five-metre ceilings, allowing users to comfortably walk around both levels of the home inclusive of a kitchen, bathroom, living area, and study nook. It’s also a thoroughly beautiful home, featuring recycled materials and feeling reflective of a New York loft. 

Take a closer look at this game changing home, and stay tuned for its upcoming relocation to Port Fairy, where it will be available for short-term accommodation!

24th August, 2021

The Brook is a tiny house, and the first offering from Victorian-based business Small. Photo – Derek Swalwell. Styling – Sinead Murphy. Additional styling – Aimee Shields Gleeson

This apartment-sized home contains five-metre ceilings, allowing users to comfortably walk around both levels of the home inclusive of a kitchen, bathroom, living area, and study nook. Photo – Derek Swalwell. Styling – Sinead Murphy. Additional styling – Aimee Shields Gleeson

Among features that differentiates The Brook from other tiny homes is its five-metre high ceiling, which facilitates two-full height levels inside. Photo – Derek Swalwell. Styling – Sinead Murphy. Additional styling – Aimee Shields Gleeson

The double height gives the lounge an additional sense of space. Photo – Derek Swalwell. Styling – Sinead Murphy. Additional styling – Aimee Shields Gleeson

The concrete slabs turned front steps were found in a paddock. Photo – Derek Swalwell. Styling – Sinead Murphy. Additional styling – Aimee Shields Gleeson

This one-of-a-kind model filled with hardworking and recycled materials such as Australian hardwoods, volcanic bluestone, glass, spotted gum, and steel. Chairs by Michael Gittings Studio. Photo – Derek Swalwell. Styling – Sinead Murphy. Additional styling – Aimee Shields Gleeson

The mezzanine’s angled roof means the bedroom and office ceiling is well above standing height. Chairs by Michael Gittings Studio. Photo – Derek Swalwell. Styling – Sinead Murphy. Additional styling – Aimee Shields Gleeson

This small home design was intended to feel like a New York style apartment bound by no city, yet appropriate to regional Victoria. Chairs by Michael Gittings Studio. Photo – Derek Swalwell. Styling – Sinead Murphy. Additional styling – Aimee Shields Gleeson

Natural light and clever arrangements were priorities of the design. Photo – Derek Swalwell. Styling – Sinead Murphy. Additional styling – Aimee Shields Gleeson

Photo – Derek Swalwell. Styling – Sinead Murphy. Additional styling – Aimee Shields Gleeson

The bathroom tiles are bluestone cut from the volcanic lava flows of nearby Mount Rouse. Photo – Derek Swalwell. Styling – Sinead Murphy. Additional styling – Aimee Shields Gleeson

The bedroom contains a wardrobe, cupboard, bedside lighting, shelves and drawers underneath the bed for more storage. Photo – Derek Swalwell. Styling – Sinead Murphy. Additional styling – Aimee Shields Gleeson

Custom furniture surrounds a wood fireplace and chimney that travels up and outside the building. Photo – Derek Swalwell. Styling – Sinead Murphy. Additional styling – Aimee Shields Gleeson

The house celebrates its location, wherever that may be. Photo – Derek Swalwell. Styling – Sinead Murphy. Additional styling – Aimee Shields Gleeson

The Brook is completely off-grid, with a water tank, solar system and compostable toilet. Photo – Derek Swalwell. Styling – Sinead Murphy. Additional styling – Aimee Shields Gleeson

The Brook is available built-to-order or as a plans package. Photo – Derek Swalwell. Styling – Sinead Murphy. Additional styling – Aimee Shields Gleeson

The original model is currently located in the Rosebrook wetlands of south-west Victoria, but will soon be relocated to Port Fairy, where it will be available for short stays. Photo – Derek Swalwell. Styling – Sinead Murphy. Additional styling – Aimee Shields Gleeson

, Small is working to produce more custom housing projects and plan packages focusing on small footprints, while Aaron has launched Small Projects that explores commercial directions for the project. Photo – Derek Swalwell. Styling – Sinead Murphy. Additional styling – Aimee Shields Gleeson

Amelia Barnes
Tuesday 24th August 2021

‘We believe this is the future of regional and suburban design.’ – Nick Lane

Great design benefits the human condition, but given a mere five per cent of single residential homes in Australia are estimated to be architect-designed, this is a privilege out of reach for many Australians.

Small is a Victorian-based business founded by designer Nick Lane and builder Aaron Shields to address this problem, resulting in their first project, ‘The Brook’. Described as an ‘apartment-sized home’, the tiny house is built on a 27 square metre footprint, and is transportable via a truck. It’s also completely off-grid, with a water tank, solar system and compostable toilet. 

‘We believe this is the future of regional and suburban design. By shrinking the footprint you reduce the material needed, environmental impact and cost,’ says Nick. 

Among features that differentiates The Brook from other tiny homes is its five-metre high ceiling, which facilitates two-full height levels beneath. 

‘The lounge room is large enough to entertain, and it was imperative that there be no loft bed or crawl-space storage,’ says Nick. ‘The mezzanine’s angled roof means the bedroom and office ceiling is well above standing height.’

Developing this ceiling height was perhaps the most challenging element of the project. Nick explains, ‘The five metre height of the design wouldn’t sail underneath power lines once secured up on a truck trailer, so we approached an engineer friend to mastermind a telescopic frame that would contract, allowing the house to fold into itself.’ A cog system allows the roof to expand upwards by 1.2 metres when not being transported, with panels folding out from underneath to complete the upper-level walls. 

The Brook is available built-to-order or as a plans package, but the prototype is a one-of-a-kind model built with hardworking and recycled materials such as Australian hardwoods, volcanic bluestone, glass, spotted gum, and steel. The bathroom tiles for example are bluestone cut from the volcanic lava flows of nearby Mount Rouse; the concrete slabs turned front steps were found in a paddock; and the floorboards (concealing a large underfoot storage area) are made of salvaged ironbark. 

‘We ran short of ironbark for the entire floor, but chose to use the offcuts to complete it. The floor dissolves into smaller and smaller pieces as it approaches the windows, and I love the playfulness of that moment – like a child writing their name too large on a piece of paper and then squashing the letters at the end to fit.’

Altogether, these warm, textured and dark materials feel similar to a New York City apartment, while remaining appropriate to regional Victoria. ‘Like the redeveloped warehouse spaces of New York this small house feels that it has ‘lived’ before,’ says Nick. 

The Brook is currently located in the Rosebrook wetlands of south-west Victoria, but will soon be relocated to Port Fairy, where it will be available for short stays. 

New versions of The Brook are available built-to-order, or as a plans-package. Under Nick’s direction, Small is working to produce more custom housing projects and plan packages focusing on small footprints, while Aaron has launched Small Projects, to explore commercial directions for the project. 

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The Design Files acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the lands on which we work, the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation. We pay our respects to Elders past and present.

First Nations artists, designers, makers, and creative business owners are encouraged to submit their projects for coverage on The Design Files. Please email bea@thedesignfiles.net