This original tiny home in the countryside is the ultimate freedom from city stress for this couple!

‘Living Big in a Tiny House,’ met up with New Zealand couple Russel and Leah to tour their tiny home built to escape the high stress of the city for the high hills of the countryside.

Over the span of three years, our worlds have seemed to downsize. The pandemic transformed our lifestyles and prompted many of us to escape the rat races of city living and find respite in nature. Garnering attention from city residents eager to get out, tiny homes have become our one-way tickets.

‘Living Big in a Tiny House,’ a YouTube channel that covers a variety of tiny homes, met up with Russel and Leah, a police detective and social worker, who swapped the stress of urban life for an original tiny home on their friend’s plot of farmland in New Zealand.

In New Zealand, the views are aplenty. No matter where your gaze goes, different views of sloping, grassy hillsides, golden hour sunsets, and towering trees seem to follow. For Russel and Leah, their tiny home was designed especially to bring the outdoors and all of its wonder inside. “Almost every wall,” Leah describes, “has got a window or a door and that, of course, makes the house feel bigger, bringing the outdoors in and keeping the house cool during the summer.”

While many tiny house builders coat their home’s interior walls in white paint to enlargen the living space, the windows that punctuate almost every wall in Russel and Leah’s house provide an open-air feel and allow room for moodier interior design elements.

Walking through the tiny home’s spacious french doors, the lounge area welcomes guests with a black and white cowhide rug to hearken the wildlife right outside and set the tone for the rest of the home. Just behind the rug, a plush, emerald corner sofa provides plenty of resting space and storage beneath its cushions.

From the living room, the dining area and kitchen are well within sight. A breakfast counter merges the two rooms together and doubles as a workspace. In stark contrast to the living room’s optic white walls, the kitchen features matte black walls and robust wooden accents that might come from cedar or cherry timber.

Beneath the all-black storage units, emerald tilework is illuminated with soft, warm under-cabinet lighting. Just next door to the living room is the couple’s bedroom and bathroom, where an incinerator toilet, laundry machines, and a foldout ironing board can be found.

When designing their tiny home, which measures out to 34x10ft, Russel and Leah were focused on council consent. While the home is prepared for off-grid living, with solar panels and water treatment plumbing intact and ready for use, Russel and Leah do not regularly live off-grid, opting instead for conventional electricity and plumbing.

Designers: Russel and Leah x Living Big in a Tiny House

This low-country tiny cottage embraces rustic minimalism for the ideal winter escape in the marshlands!

Low Country is a tiny home located in Lake Glenville, North Carolina that infuses touches of minimalism with rustic outfittings for a luxurious and cozy winter escape.

Tiny homes have become the blueprint for the perfect winter getaway. If you’re planning on hitting the coast for a warm getaway from the cold or escaping to the woods for a cozy, snowy holiday season, tiny homes can be found near and far. While each tiny home plays to its own personality and environment, some cabins fully embrace the storybook setting to bring guests as close to a wintry, fairy tale as they can get. Located in North Carolina, the Low Country Tiny Home built by architect Jeffrey Dungan from Designer Cottages is one such storybook cabin.

Infused with minimalist details and outfitted with rustic charm, the Low Country cottage was inspired by the marshlands of Savannah and Charleston. Born and raised on a farm in Alabama, Low Country architect Jeffrey Dungan understands southern coziness like his own backyard. Citing the tiny home’s bucolic detailing, Dungan asks of Low Country, “What could be more southern than a porch with bracket supports and hand-made details like carved rafter tails at the eaves for good measure?”

The exterior of Low Country appears like a woodland creature’s hideaway with cedar shake shingles and poplar bark siding completing the cottage’s facades and roof. Interrupting the organic look of the cottage’s poplar bark siding, Dungan implemented sweeping floor-to-ceiling and small dormer cross-bar windows.

Painting them a slate gray to merge the unstained poplar bark with the burnt orange cedar shingles, Dungan tied the exterior’s changing facades together. Ensuring warmth during winter months and a cool interior during summer, the windows are clad with energy-efficient Ply Gem® aluminum.

Inside, a large set of double doors provide generous views of the lush summer greenery or snow-covered patio outside. Sweeping from floor to ceiling, the double French doors bring guests into the cottage’s living room area which merges with the kitchen and finally the main bedroom in the back.

Throughout the home’s interior, Dungan lined the floors with tongue and groove 7” oak hardwood panels. From its oakwood flooring to the cottage’s pine ceiling, the natural coziness of Low Country might as well be written on the walls.

Designer: Jeffrey Dungan

Low Country’s interior embraces rustic minimalism for a bucolic winter escape.

During the winter months, Low Country looks like a snowy haven straight out of a fairy tale.

This cabin in the mountain foothills is inspired by the flight patterns and nesting habits of skylarks!

Skylark Cabin, a 50sqm residence located in the foothills of New Zealand’s Ben Ohau mountain range was inspired by the flight and song of skylarks.

We have birds to thank for our best designs. Their songs and nests have tugged our heartstrings for centuries. Often, birds’ natural instinct leads to the most formidable and elaborate nests. In Twizel, New Zealand, skylarks have a particular pull over the town’s residents. Just below Twizel’s Ben Ohau mountain range, skylarks soar and hover above their on-ground nests in the open skies with song and carefully orchestrated flights. In an ode to the skylark’s “distinctive aerial display” New Zealand architect Barry Connor designed the Skylark Cabin.

Following their client’s brief for a simple retreat made from honest materials, it’s no surprise that the skylark’s singing and nesting habits inspired Connor. As birds construct their nests using local materials from as near or far as their wings will take them, Connor used the surrounding landscape to decide Skylark Cabin’s makeup and design.

Similar to the skylark’s grassy, on-ground nest, Skylark Cabin, cloaked in rough sawn larch timber rain-screen, pokes a gently pitched, yet angular roof just above the sloping grasslands. Acclimating to the prairie’s harsh, windy conditions and radical temperature shifts, Skylark Cabin’s rain-screen cladding was chosen for its year-round durability.

Amidst the dark stained exterior, bright burnt orange window frames and beams lead the gaze towards the home’s front facade where they’re, “poised to accommodate the purposefully framed views of the mountains and the stars that throughout the day or night provide interest, perspective, and scale,” as Connor puts it.

Inside, the different windows are also aptly positioned to provide the best views of the skylarks’ skies. Connor built in a skylight just above the main bedroom, bringing views of the protected Mackenzie Aoraki Dark Sky Reserve as well as skylark-ridden daytime skies before the night show.

The skylark’s grassy, on-ground nest is characteristic of Twizel’s prairie lands for its lack of trees. Evoking the feeling of being completely nestled and immersed in Twizel’s grasslands, Connor paneled Skylark Cabin’s interior in light Beech plywood, “[reflecting] the warm cream tones of the exterior and [blurring] the threshold with the tussock grassland [to capture] the feeling of being nestled right in the landscape.” Connor reinforces this primitive inspiration with a sense of protection through black-edged plywood ribbing details that serve to cradle the home’s wild beginnings and beech-soaked interior.

Designer: Barry Connor

This tiny home built from an old shipping container brings modern design to an elusive forest environment!

Ela is a shipping container turned tiny home located in a forested clearing somewhere in the small, picturesque town of Walnut Creek, Ohio.

As suspected, winter is coming and so is the wanderlust. As we consider holiday travel plans, we’ll inevitably end up scrolling through all of the log cabins and tiny homes on Airbnb to find our ideal snowbird’s nest. Today, disused shipping containers, recycled paper, and AI technology are transforming picturesque winter escapes into tiny homes located everywhere from the coast to the forest. In the small town of Walnut Creek, Ohio, a tiny home called Ela built from an old shipping container sits amongst the trees to offer one such escape.

Ela, a tiny home currently available for booking on Airbnb, is one of two shipping containers turned cabins designed by Bethany Hershberger that sits in the forested clearing of Walnut Creek, Ohio. Arriving at the tiny home, guests descend a long timber staircase that brings them to the forest floor where Ela is located. Situated on a slight incline, Ela emerges from the trees on an exposed wooden foundation that carries the shipping container and outdoor leisure area. Accessible via a folding loft step ladder, the outdoor living area features a lounging area with plenty of chairs, a natural gas fire pit, an outdoor shower, and a tub. From the shower to the deck chairs, Ela finds warmth in natural wooden accents and textured glass elements to create a private, yet intimate leisure area.

Just next door, the interior of Ela features cozy, dark interior design elements that range from unstained, smooth wooden drawers to ash gray stone tilework. Accommodating up to two adults, Ela could be considered more of a romantic getaway than a tiny home. Positioned on one end of the cabin, the bed faces the shipping container’s opposite end that opens up to the surrounding forest through a fully glazed window that spans from the cabin’s floor to its ceiling.

Designer: Dwellbox x Bethany Hershberger

This cliffside villa built in harmony with nature brings out the coastal mountain’s environmental beauty!

Villa La Grintosa is an elemental residence located in the coastal city of Porto Servo, Sardinia atop a rocky massif that helped to define the home’s floor plan and harmonious layout.

Homes built in harmony with their surrounding landscapes tend to produce havens of elemental architecture. Whether the home’s layout weaves through clusters of pine trees or the rocky edge of a coastal mountainside, the challenge of letting nature decide a home’s structure is always worthwhile.

In Sardinia’s Porto Cervo, Stera Architectures, an architecture agency based in Paris, designed Villa La Grintosa, an all-season residence built to harmonize with the rocky massif it stands on.

The seaside community of Porto Cervo is no stranger to cliffside homes. With dozens of homes puncturing both sides of the mountains that give rise to the port city, Stera Architectures was in the right place when planning Villa La Grintosa.

The team of designers behind La Grintosa went into the project knowing that altering the preexisting landscape wasn’t an option. Taking it one step further, in building La Grintosa, Stera Architectures hopes to enliven the rocky massif where the home is situated.

Noting the harmony of the planning and design process, the team at Stera Architectures describes La Grintosa as an “architectural walk in harmony and continuity with nature where different universes meet and intersect.” Arranged around a central courtyard, La Grintosa’s orientation splits into two different axes–one that faces the sea and one that faces the mountain’s massif.

Arranged on two platforms, the points where these two axes meet become intersections of the home’s main living spaces. Paying credence to the home’s “architectural walk,” Stera Architectures incorporated exterior walking ramps that form a true endless loop through the home, connecting the living room on the eastern facade with the home’s lowest point.

Open-air rooms, Azulejo ceramic work, as well as the home’s uniform exterior cladding made from granite and crushed lava stone paste all work together to send home the infinite loop that Stera Architectures set out to etch into La Grintosa’s elemental layout.

Designer: Stera Architectures

The Azulejo tilework accents bring out the blue hues of the sky and coastal views. 

Open-air rooms flow between outside and interior spaces throughout the home’s floor plan. 

Curved archways meet straight-edge functional elements for a dynamic and harmonious touch. 

Outside, the taupe and gray color schemes merge with the natural rocks that surround the home.

The home’s ever-changing facade mimics the unpredictable terrain of rocky massifs. 

Outside, gray elements drape the home in an elusive guise, while the home’s white stone walls brighten the interior. 

Two DIYers built this off-grid micro-cabin from repurposed steel and recycled building material for almost no cost!

Nathalie and Greg Kupfer’s micro-cabin is built from repurposed waste findings and secondhand furnishings, outfitted with rainwater collection sites and solar systems for off-grid living.

We each have our own budget shopping tricks. Some of us hit up department store sale racks, some hoard coupons and bring them out just in time for the holidays, and then a rare few know just the right dumpster where they’ll find the perfect lamp or photo frame to clean up and decorate the living room for free. Two select DIYers of that rare few found most of the structural and interior design elements for their new off-grid, micro-home in sidewalk waste piles and handoffs from friendly neighbors.

Retired industrial designer and former paramedic, Nathalie and Greg Kupfer began work on their off-grid micro-cabin in Canmore, Alberta after receiving a plot of ranch land and a decrepit shed from two neighbors. Following the cabin’s fortuitous beginnings, the Kupfer’s conceived a layout for their snug, solar-powered, 97-square-foot micro cabin built from recycled and repurposed outfittings, amounting to a total net cost of only $50.

During a summer spent collecting building material and constructing their new micro-home, the Kupfer’s found all they needed from neighborly help. Finding new purpose in discarded steel, the Kupfer’s cast the micro cabins siding in steel for an all-season, durable finish. Receiving a seemingly down-and-out garden shed from a neighbor, Nathalie and Greg scored insulation material and glazed windows to keep the home warm during colder months and to bring sweeping views inside the cabin’s domed 14-foot ceiling. Finally, by relocating gravel from the cabin’s driveway to the kitchen, the Kupfer’s designed and built a gabion wall behind the kitchen’s wood stove.

Before selling the materials that weren’t used for the cabin’s construction, the forested retreat cost the couple $2,109. Included in the project’s net cost, Nathalie and Greg put out an additional $20 to build and furnish an outhouse on the property. Once the cabin’s build reached completion, the DIYers got back almost all of the $2,109 they spent on construction by selling unneeded building material they bought through bartering.

Designers: Nathalie and Greg Kupfer

This tiny house has been designed for sustainable, energy-efficient, off-the-grid living!

I love tiny houses but even more if they are designed to be sustainable, energy-efficient, and on wheels – that is exactly what Project Ursa is! The mobile home is made for off-the-grid living featuring solar panels, water harvesting systems, and the coziest interiors that makes the “cabin in the woods” aesthetic into a lifestyle.

Tiny houses on wheels have to have a length of 4m, 5m, and respectively 7m, to be 2,5m wide and to have a maximum height of 4m. The Ursa tiny house is currently located in Cascais, Portugal, and can function completely off-grid.

To ensure that, the roof features a subtle 5% slope which allows rainwater to drain easily into a couple of water tanks with a total capacity of 650 liters. This water is then redirected to the kitchen sink, the bathroom sink, and the shower where it’s filtered and reused. After that, the reused water goes into another tank and from there is used for watering plants.

On top of the roof, Ursa features solar panels which are facing South. Their inclination can be adjusted up to 30% in order to maximize the energy product all year round, making this a very efficient off-grid tiny house.

The energy produced by these solar panels is being converted and stored for later uses so the inhabitants can always have energy on demand when needed. Check out our informational article covering solar panel companies if you’re interesting in this subject.

This tiny house offers 17 square meters of living space in total which is organized into a kitchen, a full bathroom with a dry toilet that produces compost, a living area, two sleeping areas, and also an outdoor deck. Of course, each of these spaces is small and they all blend into one another which creates a cozy ambiance inside. This is accentuated by the warmth of the wood used for both the interior and the exterior of the Ursa tiny house.

Designer: Madeiguincho

This whimsical home designed by Arthur Dyson is an organic structure built to celebrate nature!

Located in Sanger, California, The Creek House is a home residence built by Arthur Dyson who used the philosophy of organic architecture to guide the home’s design and construction.

Walking through California will introduce you to some whimsical architecture. Perhaps the most visually mythical and storybook-like, organic architecture is a philosophy of architecture that harmonizes human habitation with the natural world.

Widely considered an adamant proponent of organic architecture, award-winning architect Arthur Dyson designed and constructed The Creek House, one of his organic residential staples. Located on Collins Creek, a tributary of the Kings River in Sanger, California, The Creek House is a home residence built in the philosophy of organic architecture that seamlessly merges into its forested surroundings.

Settled on six acres of land, The Creek House nestles into forested thickets near the base of the Sierras and Sequoia National Park, an ideal location for an organic architectural residence. The Creek House was designed in celebration of nature and its visual connection to the natural world is abundantly apparent.

Looking at the house head-on, its rustic, undulating facade formed out of what appears to be wooden shingles follows the irregular, sinuous curve found in tree rings. Even the topmost wooden panel that keeps a yellowish hue embodies the outermost perimeter of a felled tree trunk.

From the side of the house, its facades resemble the shape of a halved tree trunk, with wooden shingles continuing from the front facade to the home’s roof. The rear deck maintains the home’s completely wooden profile, dissolving an outdoor leisure area into the surrounding brushwood, ​​honeysuckles, cottonwoods, and sycamores.

While the outside of The Creek House finds natural warmth with an entirely wooden frame, the interior burgeons with natural sunlight that pours in through the floor-to-ceiling glass windows. Mixing natural wooden art deco accents with ’90s interior design elements, The Creek House is the kind of cozy you have to experience for yourself.

Designer: Arthur Dyson

Elements of interior design from the 1990s fill out the inside of The Creek House.

An indoor vista terrace opens up the divide between an upstairs bedroom and the downstairs living room.

Amidst white walls and glass windows, wooden art deco accents give the home some personality. 

Geometric angles and lines bring some harmony to each room of The Creek House.

This tiny cabin built from local trees incorporates a blend of Scandinavian and Japanese design elements!

The Nook is a tiny cabin located in the woods of North Carolina’s Appalachia designed with Scandinavian, Japanese, and Appalachian handcrafted elements to weave local craftwork together with a personal history.

As summer draws to a close, winter is coming and so are the snowy getaways. While there’s something to be said about the slow summer days spent at a family cabin by the lake, cozying up beside a fireplace inside a log cabin somewhere in the woods where there’s snow and a hot cup of tea is still unmatched. In the Appalachian forest of Swannanoa, North Carolina, Mike Belleme, an established documentary photographer, felt inspired to devise his own wintry tiny cabin called The Nook.

Brimming with artisanal goods and artwork of local craftsmen and artists, The Nook was designed to bring the handcrafted touch of the old world into the modern era. Described as a “collection of stories,” Belleme designed The Nook to link his personal history to the surrounding forest and architecture of the cabin.

The tiny cabin is constructed from a collection of locally felled trees that Belleme memorized during a five-year stint spent in the Appalachian woods, during which he learned primitive building skills like creating a path of hand-split logs that leads to The Nook’s front entrance.

The timber that gives rise to The Nook varies between white oak, red oak, black walnut, and black locust all to mirror the trees that surround the tiny cabin. The different gradients of woodwork distinguish the rooms of the cabin. Contained within a mere 400-square-meters, The Nook’s living areas are combined into one and present as a single open volume, with the different rooms demarcated by shifting shades of timber. Where the living room expresses dynamic energy with lofty ceilings and cherry wood paneling, the kitchen keeps a more subdued profile achieved with an intimate breakfast nook wainscot in black walnut.

Striking a balance between different interior design cues and movements, Belleme describes The Nook’s design as a marriage between Japanese, Scandinavian, and Appalachian aesthetics. Just above the stripped-back kitchen, Belleme included a Japanese-inspired tea loft in tribute to his parents’ own living period in Japan, who moved on to launch one of America’s first Miso companies.

Every element of the home embodies a sense of minimalism, craftwork, and earthiness, weaving together Belleme’s personal history that brought him from the tea rooms of Japan to the felled trees of North Carolina. Describing the tiny cabin in his own words, Belleme notes on The Nook’s Airbnb listing, “This house is a collection of stories. Stories of cultural and personal history, ecology, and craft. To celebrate this area’s incredible legacy of craft, we’ve collaborated with some of the most talented makers in the region.”

Designers: Mike Belleme

Darker wooden planks line the floors of The Nook while brighter timber coats the ceilings. 

The Nook’s rear deck was also built by hand. 

The Nook maintains an open interior space by incorporating elements like ladders that bring you from the ground-level living area to upstairs bedrooms. 

An outdoor semi-enclosed bath provides the perfect spot to unwind beneath the tree’s canopies. 

This AI-enabled tiny home gets a design upgrade making it more spacious and futuristic!

Nestron is one of my favorite tiny home builders – they are modern, minimal, and AI-enabled! The sure in tiny homes is not a design trend but an architectural movement that is here to stay, they are more affordable, more sustainable, and more conducive to our evolving flexible lifestyles when compared to traditional houses. Nestron’s latest model is the Cube Two X which has been built upon the existing Cube Two’s functionality and aesthetics with more upgrades keeping in mind a bigger family instead of a two-person household. Take the full virtual tour here!

Cube Two XD is a prefab unit available in two models – a one-bedroom or two-bedroom configuration, and is clad with steel and fiber-reinforced plastic. Singapore-based architecture studio has designed this modern home by drawing inspiration from sci-fi and spacecraft imagery.

The company’s latest prefab builds on the aesthetics and the functionality of their Cube 2 model. “We figured it was time to give the Cube 2 line an upgrade, and thus Cube Two X was born,” Law says. Since the launch of their Cube series, Nestron received numerous requests for an even larger unit with the option for two bedrooms. The company responded to demand by creating Cube Two X, a scaled-up version of the Cube Two.

The one-bedroom and two-bedroom Cube Two X models offer 376 square feet of living space. The structure consists of a steel frame wrapped with fiber-reinforced plastic (FRP) siding that can withstand extreme heat and natural disasters.”All of our products are made with high-resistance materials,” Law says. “The FRP exterior wall panels are less likely to rust or corrode, and they hold up in high temperatures, harsh environments, and extreme weather conditions, including heatwaves, hurricanes, and earthquakes.”

Built-in furniture preserves floor space in the tiny home. The designers outfitted the dining area with a built-in table for two and created a sleek built-in sofa for the living space. Optional features include electric-heated flooring, a smart mirror, a music system, and a concealed electric stove. “The invisible stove is a unique space-saving idea,” Law says. “It’s a seamless kitchen counter when you’re not cooking, but when you are, the counter transforms into a stovetop.”

Curved edges and voice-controlled tech lend a futuristic feel to the home, which is designed so that it can be shipped anywhere in the world and arrive move-in ready. “The home is fully equipped with built-in furniture that helps to maximize floor space,” Law says. “There’s no installation needed upon arrival. Much like how a washing machine works, our clients just need local contractors to wind up the power sockets and the water supply and then Cube Two X is a fully functioning home.”

For how high tech the tiny home is, it makes a relatively low impact on the environment. “Ninety percent of the materials we use are recyclable,” Law says. “The interior wood wall panels, for example, are made from non-virgin wood and recycled plastic that’s environmentally friendly and 100 percent recyclable.”

The bedroom has a large built-in wardrobe and a recessed wall niche for storage above the bed. “We make a big effort to care for the environment because we believe everything starts at home,” he says. “Living in your home should be an experience that’s environmentally friendly—and we’d like for people to be able to live a sustainable lifestyle without additional effort.” The bathroom features a smart mirror and an electric pulse toilet.

The Cube Two X is also prefabricated in a factory environment, which helps to reduce material waste. “This speeds construction time by up to 50 percent compared to on-site construction, which takes around one month,” Law says. “It’s a faster and more cost-effective process, ensuring we have no construction waste, as we use prefabricated molds to shape our products, which greatly increases accuracy.”

If the cinematic worlds of Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey and William Hanna and Joseph Barbera’s The Jetsons were combined to create a tiny home, it might just be Nestron’s Cube Two X – tech lovers and digital nomads are going to love this innovative home!

Designer: Nestron