- Lisa Tranter and Matt Hobbs wanted to build a more independent and sustainable lifestyle together.
- They decided to build a tiny house in the Blue Mountains near Sydney, Australia.
- It cost them A$90,000 to build, or about $62,000. Take a look inside.
This is a translated and edited version of an article that originally appeared on June 14, 2022.
Lisa Tranter and Matt Hobbs wanted to be more independent and live more sustainably.
This inspired them to build a small house in the spectacular scenery of the Blue Mountains, west of Sydney, Australia.
The 237-square-foot home has striking black exterior walls, a large awning deck, a full kitchen and living room on two stories. The house is 8 feet wide, 29.5 feet long, and 15 feet tall.
Tranter said she had been a fan of tiny houses for years. “I’ve been fascinated with them for a long time, following different pages on social media and watching US reality TV shows about tiny houses,” she told Insider.
Tranter said Hobbs originally wanted to build a house out of shipping containers and had been looking for land for a while. He added that he found out about the plot soon after they met.
“But then I convinced him to build a small house instead of the container house,” he said.
The couple designed and built much of the house themselves, he continued.
“We built the frame and the interior,” Tranter said, “but an electrician did the wiring, which would have been too much of a hassle.”
She added that Hobbs, who owns a company that renovates bathrooms and kitchens, designed and installed her bathroom.
Tranter said their electricity bill in the Australian summer was equivalent to about $230 a quarter, even though they often had the air conditioning on.
They also spent the equivalent of about $97 a quarter on water, he added.
“Our running costs are very low,” he said, adding that this is due in part to the insulation and the energy- and water-saving appliances they use.
“We save a lot because we don’t buy unnecessary things. We keep our possessions small and question everything before we buy it,” Tranter continued.
But that’s also the biggest challenge, he said, since “the idea of downsizing is great in theory, but difficult to put into practice.”
Tranter said banks and local authorities often make things difficult for people interested in building tiny houses. “Unlike big houses, banks often don’t give you a loan for a small house; you have to have the money on hand,” she said.
The couple said that while they could see themselves spending their lives in the small house, there were still some things that were difficult for them.
“Matt and I often get in each other’s way when we cook,” Tranter said. “And we have to clean more often because otherwise the little house looks even smaller.”
He said he’d also love to buy some noise-canceling headphones, since the rooms in the tiny house are open and you can’t just close a door if the other person is talking loudly.
The couple spent a total of A$90,000, or about $62,000, on their tiny home. “If we hadn’t done a lot ourselves and hadn’t had the help of friends and family, we probably would have ended up spending A$130,000,” or about $90,000, Tranter said.
Tranter said he doesn’t think tiny houses are just a passing trend. “If the cost of living continues to rise like this, then the minimalist lifestyle is the best option people have,” he said.