Are tiny homes the answer to the region's housing crisis?
THE founder of Northern Rivers Tiny Homes says she hopes her dream, which literally started in her driveway, will combat mortgage costs and the region's housing crisis.
Owner Allison Rainbird saw a gap in the market in the region for affordable and practical tiny homes on wheels produced with quality and aesthetics in mind.
Operating out of South Lismore, the team's aim is to support the region, drawing from local businesses to supply not only materials but also labour including cabinetmakers, flooring specialists, electricians and plumbers.
After renovating her own home in 2018, Ms Rainbird developed strong working relationships with local contractors, Martin Shields and Iain Wills and approached them to build a prototype.
Initially unable to find premises high enough to build undercover (a tiny home must meet caravan regulations which allows a maximum build height of 4.3 metres from the ground), the build started on her driveway in January 2019.
"It was a labour of love from the beginning," Ms Rainbird said.
"Tiny houses come into their own when considering their broader uses such as meeting the current housing crisis; housing people with a disability or those needing crisis accommodation.
"We just want to see people being able to afford their own homes, and feel like they can own a home sooner."
Manufactured on wheels and meeting Roads and Maritime Services regulations, all Northern Rivers Tiny Homes can be registered as a caravan and come with full electrical and gas compliance certification.
She said she hoped council regulations will "move with the times and recognise tiny homes as an affordable and legitimate housing option".
"Currently most council regulations are that you can have a tiny house on your land as a secondary dwelling as long as your family members or relatives are living in it, but people should check in with your council about that before purchasing," she said.
"But if you have a tiny house on a vacant piece of land and you want to live in it full time - then you need to look at a DA with council - that can become a barrier for people because DAs take a long time to process."
Tiny housing strongly appeals as a sustainable and affordable alternative to the existing housing market, ensuring a small ecological footprint.
With the ability to function in an off grid capacity or simply connect to existing power and water as you would a caravan, tiny homes can be sited in a multitude of locations.
Many finance organisations now recognising tiny houses as a legitimate housing option, the tiny house lifestyle is now preferable to a sizeable mortgage.
Ms Rainbird said her company offered standard inclusions like windows, fly screens, insulation to R4, 240V powerpoints (with USBs in sleeping areas and the kitchen), and stairs to the main mezzanine sleeping space to allow maximum accessibility
"I wanted to offer a home that was ready to live in so we included appliances suited to functioning off grid (refrigerator, upright full gas oven and hob and washing machine), full LED lighting, a solar ready tiny home and an external power outlet and hose fitting to attach to existing power and water," she said.
Northern Rivers Tiny Homes is holding an Open Day on Saturday, 30 November at Coronation Hall, Walker St, Clunes from 9am until 12pm.
There will be an information session at 10am inside the hall with an Auslan interpreter provided.
On show will be two different tiny homes (Clunes and Larnook) and opportunities to ask their skilled builders about how they are constructed.
For more information call Allison on 0421027973 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Follow them on Instagram northern.rivers.tiny.homes or Facebook @northernriverstinyhomes.