From Tiny House to Tiny Home; The Process
Young entrepreneur sisters Kylie and Tamika founded Wagonhaus Co. back in 2016, quickly realising the potential of Tiny Homes. Their hard work and commitment to imaginative excellence has lead to the success of their locally owned, family business that proves a clean, green and comfortable future is within reach for all of us. Have you ever wondered what is involved in designing and building your very own Tiny House?
Today we will go behind the scenes with company director Kylie Bell of Wagonhaus Co; A Tiny Homes company in Tasmania.
- The design process – Time to look at all the primary elements and the aesthetic of the design.
In the early design stages, creativity reigns supreme. Priority is given to researching and exploring possibilities, with a focus on innovation and sketch design. We have found that keeping an open-mind, allowing imagination and inspiration to affect our process, yields great dividends. It helps guarantee that all necessary components work well as a fully functioning unit and, at the same time, that the product is ultimately unique, premium and beautiful” explains Kylie.
Here’s a general checklist of things that need to be considered in this stage:
- What size the tiny home needs to be to incorporate the potential use of the space;
- The design of the trailer and what load rating it will require;
- Layout examination to determine the best possible efficient use of space;
- How much storage is required;
- Preliminary sketch of the technology going into the build, which heavily relies on the organisation of home layout and functionality;
- The quality of the space – i.e. natural light and ventilation, thermal efficiency, the number of windows and where to put them and;
- Looking at maximum orientation and how the roof should be designed to potentially incorporate a solar panel system for off-grid capabilities.
At Wagonhaus Co. we pride ourselves on providing design solutions which maximize structural integrity and are designed and certified to have a maximum life-expectancy as a non-permanent dwelling. Our design stage occurs prior to any other commitments such as commissioning the trailer or ordering materials. We use 3D modelling to allow a walk through of the space to make sure it works and assess aesthetic qualities.” – Kylie.
- Trailer construction and administration – Once the design and layout has been decided, it’s time get to work designing and working closely with trailer engineers and manufacturers to find the best solution through custom design. Each trailer is unique to the build. Together, the following is determined:
- How much load-rating and what axel system is required;
- How to anchor the main structure to the trailer itself and;
- How to prioritise and maximise structural strength through the trailer engineering to ensure maximum longevity.
These are just a few of the aspects during the complexity of working out all the functional and requirements needed to be met to allow full certification and usability. During this stage, the company must work closely with a structural engineer. The construction drawings are completed and signed off to ensure that all elements are supported and are structurally certified for a fully mobile and registered vehicle/occupiable space. Despite Tiny Homes not being covered under building regulations, preparations must be fully certified and follow best practise, which mirrors Australian Standards. This allows additional benefits such as CIL insurance (Australia’s largest and most established recreational vehicles insurance specialist).
As a Tiny House building company, we have the capacity to have our tiny homes fully insured by CIL; to give our customers peace of mind.” Says Kylie.
Once the construction details are met, all materials need to be ordered, right down to interior elements from taps to curtains if required. This all occurs during the process of engineering the trailer. Components such as the kitchen or other furniture items are also designed and built in-house or by specialists, ready for the trailer delivery. Contractors for electrical, solar installation, gas and plumbing are organised and collaborate through the design and installation prior to the trailer being delivered.
Depending on the job, the tiny house’s main structure – which comprises of the timber framing and bracing – are also built as pre-fab units. This allows us to speed up the process and shortens the expected build time to completion.
- The Base Model Build Stage – The trailer has now been completed, delivered and is just waiting for everything to go together. The jigsaw that was custom designed from the early stages of sketch design, should now all fall into place. During this stage the prefab floor, walls and roof structure are put together in a couple of days. All anchoring is completed in accordance with the construction drawings and structural engineers’ specifications. Once this is together, the electrics and plumbing are fitted at the same time as the building wrap, weatherproofing and windows and doors are installed. Then the external fabric – walls, roofing and any other aspects – are completed until lockup. If solar is incorporated into the build; this will be installed with necessary connection points to the electrical. The gas hot water unit is also fixed and plumbed, along with any other technical components.
- Interior Fit Out Stage – At this point the tiny house will appear (externally) as completed. It is now fully weather tight and can be moved outside.
The interior fit out stage begins with the insulation. One of Wagonhaus Co.’s biggest passions is thermal comfort, sustainability and energy efficiency. When it comes to a budget, one of the first things clients or DIY builders compromise on is glazing and insulation. Once the windows have been selected and walls sealed off with the tiny homes bracing completed it becomes very complex to access wall cavities, re-run wiring, and change the size and placement of windows. A common pitfall is to scrimp on materials initially in an effort to save money. In fact, it will cost you much more in the long run so you’re better off doing things right the first-time around.
Then the electrical and plumbing are installed, these components, to be completed and signed off on, rely on the internal lining, flooring and ceiling to be finished. Appropriate installation of all wet-areas also needs to go together as well as the kitchen installed and appliances connected up. This stage is where the interior design really comes together and blossoms as a fully liveable and comfortable home. All final stages, like fixtures, plumbing, lighting, and décor are installed. The tiny house is then returned to have its final checks and registration as a caravan/relocatable home.
For a Tiny House to become a Tiny Home, our customers need to express their character and ideals within it. Each of our designs is uniquely tailored to the client, so that each day they can be inspired by their space,” explains Kylie.
So there you have it. The processes and procedures of creating and building a Tiny House and making it into your Tiny Dream Home. Want more? Wagonhaus Co will be featuring one of their Tiny Homes at the Home Show in August! The Tasmanian company has purpose built the Tiny Home specifically for the Home Show in Melbourne and will be shipping it across the Bass Straight direct to you. See you there!
17 – 10, August, Melbourne Exhibition & Convention Centre, Southbank.