Join 3,496 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


sustainable living in ontario
September 30, 2006 6:55 AM   Subscribe

miniHome: "What is it? A cottage? A Trailer? A Home? All of the above. Technically, the miniHome is classed as an RV - or recreational vehicle (yes, it is on wheels!) but it is designed to work as a comfortable, year-round dwelling in extreme climates. While we see it as the future of sustainable housing and urban infill, it is ideally suited as a ski chalet, cottage, vacation retreat, guest cabin, a place for the kids or family - basically as a luxurious yet simple home-away-from-home." Welcome to life off the grid in Ontario.
posted by heatherann (39 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

 
Very cool - just the right size, and you're afforded the possibility of a great view. I can imagine one of these surrounded by gardens and forest, sort of Walden cabin you don't have to build yourself.
posted by sudasana at 7:04 AM on September 30, 2006


Uhm, you can put the fanciest PVC siding on it, but underneath it's still a trailer, and if you have more than one as neighbours, then you live in a trailer park. It's only a matter of time 'til you get hit by a tornado.
posted by furtive at 7:05 AM on September 30, 2006


wow!

living in a trailer just became awesome!

its seems like in the future i could be browsing for homes at... ikea?

i must also say that the website is as great as the product in terms of its design and, and the photography.... well, i cant link to a specific picture because of the sites flashy nature, but it is great.
posted by localhuman at 7:09 AM on September 30, 2006


What's the downside of living in an attractive, high-quality trailer, other than cultural bias?
posted by mecran01 at 7:27 AM on September 30, 2006


What, no double wide?
posted by doctor_negative at 7:28 AM on September 30, 2006


What's the downside of living in an attractive, high-quality trailer, other than cultural bias?

Base price: US$107,640

I'd say that's a pretty hefty downside right there. You could get a custom-built traditional log cabin with twice the floor space for that kind of money.
posted by sfenders at 7:43 AM on September 30, 2006


Would these things really be warm in a northern winter? I've been in trailers in Northern Michigan during the winter time and it ain't pleasant.
posted by NoMich at 7:44 AM on September 30, 2006


I find it interesting that these "micro homes" have had so much interest recently. Maybe it's the housing market and property costs, maybe it's the fact that I'm now in the main target demographic, but I'm seeing these advertised everywhere. I think all the designs I've seen are pretty neat, but I'll also lay down money that this New Urban Minimalism is going to be a short-lived fad.
posted by lekvar at 7:52 AM on September 30, 2006


mecran01 writes "the downside of living in an attractive, high-quality trailer, other than cultural bias?"

Interior space is only 92" wide.
It has a high surface area to volume ratio.
Even with all the expensive insulation the walls/roof still have lower overall R ratings than even a basic tract house.
It's US$107K for the base model and you still need a foundation.
Sleeping accomodations consist of a double futon and sofa bed.
Gas for cooking and heating provided by tanked LP which is great if you don't have access to NG but a real pain in the butt otherwise.

lekvar writes "I find it interesting that these 'micro homes' have had so much interest recently."

Boomers need much less space and the smaller the house the less upkeep that is needed.
posted by Mitheral at 7:55 AM on September 30, 2006


What's the downside of living in an attractive, high-quality trailer, other than cultural bias?

Tornados. Although, having spent time in a trailer, the biggest downside is that all of those "options" will turn out to be special trailer bits, which the usual plumbers and electricians and such won't touch. "You have to call the trailer guy for that." It's all small appliances and systems that are designed to fit in odd corners, and they won't fool with it. So you have to deal with The Trailer Guy. It is customary for the Trailer Guy to drink, heavily, and there's only one TG per very large geographical area, so you cannot offend him, or nothing will ever work again. The local politics involved will kill you, and bathing in cold water for six weeks until the new water heater comes is more adventure and Oneness with Nature than I really care for.
posted by unrepentanthippie at 8:18 AM on September 30, 2006


I know Lloyd, and I like his work, but does off grid = sustainable?
posted by scruss at 8:24 AM on September 30, 2006


$107,640.

BWAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!
posted by quonsar at 8:28 AM on September 30, 2006


Yeah, that's not very cheap really, is it? I'd go with the log cabin instead.
posted by stinkycheese at 8:34 AM on September 30, 2006


This is pretty cool, BUT, $107K US is a lotta hooch.

I recently bought 5 acres in Southern BC, and so I've been looking at cabin options. Prefab is cool, but the price is never right. Easier to custom build something simple yourself.
posted by Rusty Iron at 9:06 AM on September 30, 2006


Yea, sweet idea, bad price.

Plus.. trailer?? I'll take a house.
posted by proph3t at 9:21 AM on September 30, 2006


I always enjoy looking at tiny living spaces just to see how people have solved the various design problems assosciated with cramming features into limited areas. The stair/bookshelf, for instance, is very cool.
posted by oneirodynia at 9:24 AM on September 30, 2006


There's been about a year of hype for Christopher Deam's "Perfect Cottage" (just officially announced in the last week as the "Glassic Flat") to be built by Breckinridge. It's been mentioned on Inhabitat and Apartment Therapy (see slides 18-22 of the slideshow) as going for about $45,000 (that number was bandied about a year ago, and I'm getting reality has bumped it higher).
posted by kimota at 9:37 AM on September 30, 2006


Um, where 'getting' = 'sure'
posted by kimota at 9:40 AM on September 30, 2006


Get 'em out by Friday.
posted by 3.2.3 at 9:40 AM on September 30, 2006


I think it is generational; lots of people hate McMansions aesthetically and for the environmental cost of their inefficency. We've looked into a classic geodesic dome house, ourselves, but it's hard to get bank loans because the resale value is low. And I can understand that, because they are pretty homely. But easy to build and energy efficient.

(My favorite geodesic dome building is off of I-35 between Dallas and Austin; it's a funeral home, and its slogan is "Perpetual Care Until the End of Time." Now that's service!)
posted by emjaybee at 10:04 AM on September 30, 2006


i must also say that the website is as great as the product in terms of its design and, and the photography.... well, i cant link to a specific picture because of the sites flashy nature, but it is great.

OK, i'll be the asshole. the Web site SUCKS. you said it yourself in the last sentence. i'm semi-interested to learn more (though EarthShips are cheaper), but i'll be damned if i use that horrible Web site again. (perhaps it's cuz i'm on a mac right now?
posted by mrgrimm at 10:12 AM on September 30, 2006


Fabprefab is a great directory of these types of homes. I find them utterly fascinating - despite being a confirmed city-dweller and mild claustrophobe, I love the idea of plonking one of these in the middle of nowhere.
posted by jack_mo at 10:22 AM on September 30, 2006




Architect Adam Kalkin has a different take:
Here, which the site has lots of info
and
this book has options as well.
posted by fluffycreature at 10:22 AM on September 30, 2006


For the money and the style, I prefer Weehouses. However, on my dream island property, I will spend the next several years slowing building a log home, old school -- no power tools, no modern fasteners, using only the trees on the land. Then I will float in a Weehouse and graft them together.
posted by Extopalopaketle at 11:45 AM on September 30, 2006


My wife and I looked into all of these ideas, from the GlideHouse to the LV Home to many others. We opted to build a house from scratch.

You need to want to do this for the project itself--they are not the way to save money. Typically, the costs match or exceed the costs of the similar quality and size stick-built house. The theory of savings seems right but it never actually works out in the real world. Just try to price one for real, on your lot, and you'll see what I mean.

As a designer, I enjoy seeing these minimalist structures. As a human being, I'm not sure I'd be so keen to live in one, knowing my slobovitch ways.
posted by maxwelton at 11:52 AM on September 30, 2006 [1 favorite]


I don't think the price is too awful. Considering how much work and pain it is to custom build something or do a real prefab thing, this is basically order and have it trucked to a site and you're done.

A $100k house is only like what, $600-700 in mortgage? I haven't had rent that low in ten years.
posted by mathowie at 12:05 PM on September 30, 2006


I haven't had rent that low in ten years.

Here in Sunnyvale the space rent for a mobile home is $800/mo.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 12:18 PM on September 30, 2006


I haven't had rent that low in ten years.

The best doublewide on the lot will cost you about half that price. In my area, 100,000 will buy you a VERY nice home. Yes, I do live in an area where real estate is low, granted...

My rent here has NEVER been more than 600 - and I have a 3 bedroom brick with a huge yard - in a good part of town.
posted by bradth27 at 12:37 PM on September 30, 2006


I'm with everybody who says these are basically prettied-up single wides. There's nothing wrong with a single wide, but I'd imagine you can get your hands on a tradional trailor for about half the cost of the unit on the website and pimp it out yourself for much less than $109k total.

Boomers need much less space and the smaller the house the less upkeep that is needed.

Not in my neighborhood.
posted by SteveInMaine at 12:49 PM on September 30, 2006


I'd love to get a piece of land and some trailer or whatever, but that looks a bit over the top.
posted by delmoi at 12:53 PM on September 30, 2006


mathowie writes "A $100k house is only like what, $600-700 in mortgage? I haven't had rent that low in ten years."

That's only the house, you have either the payment on lot to put it on or a monthly pad rental as well. And how much space have you been renting? This trailer is only 340 square feet.
posted by Mitheral at 1:08 PM on September 30, 2006


bleck. it's like if ikea made a fuckin double wide trailer. and i'm not seeing how it solves any issues of sustainability given that it runs on fossil fuel.
posted by 1-2punch at 2:22 PM on September 30, 2006


I love these -- pre-made tiny wooden houses by a company called Tumbleweed Tiny House Company. I have a fantasy of buying land in Mendocino County and putting one of these down (I haven't looked at the prices recently, but they're around $50,000, as I recall).

What I can't figure out (yet) is how to pay rent in the City, while paying for land in Mendocino County. I have an idea of going in with a group of people, e.g. buy ten acres with four or five other people, and we'd each build or buy our own little house, but a lot of the towns have zoning that states you can only put one structure on a single parcel of land. (And then there's saving the money for the foundation and installation, digging a well, etc.)
posted by ClaudiaCenter at 2:34 PM on September 30, 2006


and i'm not seeing how it solves any issues of sustainability given that it runs on fossil fuel.

It's a trailer. You don't drive it, athough you could have it towed to your site by a biodiesel truck or elephants, if you wanted.
posted by oneirodynia at 2:55 PM on September 30, 2006


it seems like in the future i could be browsing for homes at... ikea?

You could do that now if you lived in Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Norway or the UK. Meet the BoKlok!
posted by thekilgore at 5:06 PM on September 30, 2006


"i must also say that the website is as great as the product in terms of its design and, and the photography.... well, i cant link to a specific picture because of the sites flashy nature, but it is great."

OK, i'll be the asshole. the Web site SUCKS. you said it yourself in the last sentence. i'm semi-interested to learn more (though EarthShips are cheaper), but i'll be damned if i use that horrible Web site again. (perhaps it's cuz i'm on a mac right now?


i'm also on a mac right now. what do you find wrong with the site? is its design inherently flawed, in terms of how information is arranged throughout the structrue of the site, or do you object to, perhaps, something else? have you downloaded the flash 8 plugin, and do you have a fast enough mac to process a website that, while now bordering on the edge of usability due to constraints of users' computers, this kind of site will and should become the standard for how content is presented to users on the web?

i am really interested. these things trouble me into my sleep and beyond, and any more comments on why this site is so horrible to you would be valuable to me!
posted by localhuman at 5:40 PM on September 30, 2006


These little mod homes are ridiculous. They are FAR too expensive, I assume based on the assumption that we're a rich culture and everyone can afford such. With the large number of rural poor who still live in crappy shacks across North America, more concentration should be put on simple, cheap, warm, and quick-to-build housing solutions.

I've researched the hell out of cabins, pre-fab, and other housing, and have come to the conclusion that my original thoughts (cordwood or strawbale) are still greener, cheaper, and better.

Simply though, there's no reason for these to be this expensive! Even go get the price list from Cabins.ca for better homes, and if you want something more interesting/unique, buy a yurt from one of the many manufactuers thereof.
posted by Kickstart70 at 5:49 PM on September 30, 2006


Rusty Iron said: "I recently bought 5 acres in Southern BC, and so I've been looking at cabin options."

Where at? We bought 5 acres in central BC and are planning a cordwood home there (eventually).

Contact information on my profile page if you are interested in the things we've found.
posted by Kickstart70 at 5:52 PM on September 30, 2006


These seem to be aimed at the "pretending to be environmentally conscious but sucking deep while it lasts" crowd. They are expensive, poorly designed, thermally inefficient, crowded and did I mention expensive?

That staircase/bookcase is the most stupid thing I have seen foir a while - unless you have child-sized feet, you will be constantly kicking the crap out of your books.


what do you find wrong with the site? is its design inherently flawed, in terms of how information is arranged throughout the structrue of the site,
Yes

have you downloaded the flash 8 plugin,
Why should I have to download anything but a browser to see a Web site? This site was aimed fair and square at the same kind of people who the home designs are aimed at.

and do you have a fast enough mac to process a website that, while now bordering on the edge of usability due to constraints of users' computers, this kind of site will and should become the standard for how content is presented to users on the web?
Oh, fucking spare me.
posted by dg at 8:49 PM on October 1, 2006


« Older Webcameron....  |  Mario and Zelda Big Band Live.... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments