From habitat magazine - issue 38, doing it
Once a tiny builder with big dreams, Rebecca McLean now designs award-winning tiny houses painted in elegant Resene colours.
Rebecca’s passion for design and construction is in her blood – the builder’s daughter remembers helping select carpet and paint colours for a new home aged 10. Fast forward more than a few years, and Rebecca works alongside her father to build tiny custom homes for easy-living enthusiasts throughout New Zealand.
The idea for Tiny House Builders came from a desire to generate a little extra income from a rental during her maternity leave. A tinyhouse Trade Me listing caught Rebecca’s attention but, rather than buying it, she convinced her dad to build one. “We took it to the Tauranga Home Show and sold one… and then another. Now we employ 13 staff. It’s a true family affair – my husband, sister, friends and parents are all involved.” Tiny House Builders won big at the latest NZ Tiny House Awards, taking home Best Commercial Builder, the Resene Colour Choice Award and New Zealand Tiny House of the Year.
While there are standard house plans, each is customised and coloured to the customer’s needs. “The spec sheet is incredibly in depth. Do you fold or hang your washing? How many burners do you use? (Trust me, they all say four, but you never use all four simultaneously.) This is a home built specifically for you.” When it comes to tiny houses, no one size fits all, and it’s the same with the tiny home customer. While tiny homes are rooted in sustainable living and still offer owners economic and green-living benefits, the appeal of small living has evolved.
“Our customers are of all ages and demographics and from all over the country. One thing they have in common is that they tend to be going through change, whether that means moving out of home, downsizing, divorce or fulfilling a holiday-home dream,” says Rebecca.
top tip Resene Lumbersider is a durable waterborne paint, ideal for exterior paint jobs. When painting your exterior in a dark colour, opt for a Resene CoolColour formula. The special heat-reflective technology helps keep the paint and surface cooler, adding further protection from the elements.
Colour selection is one of the most fun and creative parts of the design process. Clients have creative control over the exterior and interior colour, with Resene being the paint of choice. “We recommend using the Resene CoolColour technology on exteriors, especially when using a dark tone, such as Resene Element. Our customers want quality, long-lasting colour and Resene offers that. Resene Stonehenge is another popular and traditional exterior choice, but we have clients who have been creative with Resene Duck Egg Blue.”
When it comes to the tiny interior, whites continue to be popular, but customers are becoming more daring. “Perhaps 90% of our clients select Resene Half White Pointer; they walk in, and it’s fresh, bright and clean – instantly appealing. Our younger clients tend to experiment with dark bold colours.”
One such client was Katikati local Kacey, whose Pohutukawa Double Bridge tiny home with feature walls in Resene Nocturnal won the Resene Colour Choice Award.
While bold, dark colours allowed for Kacey’s personality to shine, neutral white can also be a perfect backdrop for pops of colour using wallpaper, accent tiles and sofa fabrics. “I’ve had clients with a cosy nook decorated in Resene Swamp and Resene Wallpaper Collection 47404. Using Resene Half White Pointer alongside creates balance.”
One of the biggest appeals of using Resene paints on interior walls is that it makes the space feel homey and luxurious. “Although they’re on a trailer, these are homes, not caravans. Prefinished walls don’t have the same feeling – plastic or textured materials can feel like a caravan or container, so using Resene paints makes it feel like a real house.”
Get to know your local council’s regulations and restrictions. Tiny House Builders’ houses are on trailers, so they don’t need building consent, but things change if you plan on putting them on foundations. You also need to know about connections to services like power and water, and site limitations. Seek advice and do your homework.
› For more on Tiny House Builders' designs, visit www.tinyhousebuilders.co.nz.
Words: Cheree Morrison
Images: Boundless Vision
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