About the Project
I started Tiny House Scotland in February 2014 as an overall banner for my experimental small scale eco building projects.
After many months of research and development I built the first prototype – the NestHouse which is now complete and undergoing testing. I am currently working on the next project – a road towable design called the NestPod which will start building very soon.
Tiny House Scotland represents my personal crusade to bring together the physics of building science with aesthetic design and individual craftsmanship to create a new alternative for small scale sustainable living. The aim is to create a holistic result which is beautiful and functional both inside and outside.
NestHouse Design Brief
I then listed my ten key requirements for the design brief:
- Small Wooden House built to standards in excess of new build housing.
- Warm and cosy. Light and airy.
- Highly insulated and sealed similar to Passivhaus standards.
- Moveable on wheels and therefore classified as a Caravan for Planning purposes.
- Sized within Householder Permitted Development RIghts.
- On-grid, off-grid or hybrid services.
- Solidly craftsman-built to last using low maintenance, sustainable materials.
- Flexible interior layout – minimal built-in furniture allowing use of freestanding furniture.
- Built under controlled conditions off-site and delivered fully finished.
- A stunning architectural gem!
My lifelong passion for architecture and green design prompted me to design a beautifully crafted small wooden building with high quality sustainable materials, offering complete protection from the elements. A fundamental shelter with a totally comfortable interior that is light-filled, snug and charming.
The Nesthouse combines many innovative techniques in its construction. Unlike traditional architecture, the shell is conceived as a whole – not a series of interconnected and differently structured walls, floor and roof. My Snug Shell Concept with Advanced Framing techniques creates a stressed-skin timber frame shell which is heavily insulated but also has a further unbroken (apart from door and windows) outer shell of outsulation to remove virtually all thermal bridging, effectively providing a fully insulated combined roof/ wall / floor structure. The double or triple glazed windows ‘float’ within this outer shell. The Nesthouse is designed with a solar orientation so it had minimal glazing on the North elevation reducing heat loss while the Southerly elevation gains solar energy passively with large windows. A brise soleil will provide summer shading over the larger windows.
The Live module can be used on its own for example as an office or studio, or can be extended at the design stage for full time living with optional extra modules to provide external or internal functions and spaces – Enter, Bathe, Work, Cook and Sleep.
In total this gives internal areas ranging from around 10m2 – 30m2 (107-320 ft2) an ideal micro-living space for singles or couples. Further retrofit additions are planned such as the ‘Kids‘ module which will give play and bunk space to any new additions to the family!
The NestHouse can be built either on a chassis with wheels or as a liftable unit which can be craned into place and with either method, the aim is to deliver it fully finished ready to move into with ‘plug and play’ services. Classed as a caravan for planning purposes, this confers some potential tactical advantages on the planning side but this is no lightweight – it’s a full blown small house weighing 5-10 tons! For this reason, site access is a critical part of whether you can have one or not and needs to be addressed at an early stage.
Please note that at 3.4m wide the NestHouse is not legally road towable like a Tiny House on Wheels (THOW) but we can make a smaller, lighter version – the NestPod at 2.55m wide if you need total mobility – but it will have one third less space – for a size comparison of Tiny House vs Small House see this page.
Micro Living solution or Affordable Starter Home
The NestHouse from Tiny House Scotland has primarily been designed for full time micro-living or homesteading with a target cost of under £50k for singles or couples who want to live lightly and sustainably on their land – true low impact development. Starting prices range from £17,000 to £38,000 depending on size and options.
It is also ideal as an affordable starter home solution in urban or rural areas. The light filled cosy interior also makes for a life-affirming cabin or retreat or for providing extra living space for family or guests. In addition, the sheer wow-factor and cuteness will make an incredible home based business venue such as an office, studio, retail unit or holiday rental accommodation with huge kerb appeal!
Being moveable allows real sustainability – the NestHouse can be sold and moved to another site if you outgrow it; it could also be used temporarily on pre-development land in an urban setting.
Snug Shell Concept
The NestHouse is designed to be very cosy and energy efficient – it features a highly insulated shell 25cm thick with minimal cold bridging and U values exceeding even the new stringent Scottish standards for new-build residential houses.
In addition to its green principles there are some strong Passivhaus methodologies in the overall design to achieve the desired performance.
The construction utilises many innovative ideas and all materials are carefully chosen from sustainable sources. All wood is FSC and PEFC certified. It is designed for longevity and ease of maintenance.
I have built a prototype NestHouse Medium with a full package of modules – Enter, Live+Work, Cook+Bathe+Sleep….it is now complete and undergoing testing.
Indeed this was my main vision for the Nesthouse – full-time homesteading or micro-living – ideal for singles or couples who want to live sustainably on their land or as an affordable starter home in urban or rural areas. Of course the Nesthouse can just as easily be used as a studio, home office or holiday let, but I do believe that there is a greater purpose here; to provide affordable small housing units – whether for a young person on a Scottish Island beset by the holiday-home phenomenon or a communal housing co-operative like a Tiny House Community.
This holistic approach to living in a small house on a smallholding or small farm with varying degrees of self sufficiency, or even just taking a conscious decision to live more simply and closer to nature whilst working from home, could mean you could live debt-free without a mortgage.
The need for a sustainable small living options for people who cannot afford £100k plus for a house has to be a compelling argument in this era of housing shortage, not to mention the Planet’s need for us all to want and need less of its resources and practice consumption awareness. I hope in a small way that my Nesthouse can address some of these issues!