This wasn’t your standard build for a tiny home on wheels. The primary focus wasn’t on the lowest possible budget but rather on conscientious material selection and impeccable design. As a result, the First Light Tiny Home meets the owner’s desire for a “refined tramping lodge on wheels.” Translated from New Zealand terminology, that means she wanted a portable launching point she could use for hiking trips or everyday use. 

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The exterior of a black tiny home on wheels.

It started with a vision the client had been developing for four years. With a foundational idea, she looped in New Zealand architectural design firm First Light to help hammer out the design and meet NZTA regulations regarding width, height and weight. While architects regularly deal with these restrictions, the project brought welcome challenges such as ensuring the build fit on the frame and the proper weight was observed.

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A large open doorway into a tiny home.

After about a year of planning, the team enlisted Build Tiny to help construct the tiny house. With so many creative minds on the project, the home offers detailed architectural design and a custom build, along with many eco-friendly attributes. 

Light-toned wood interior of a tiny home living room.

First Light focused on durable design with an exterior wrapped in ebony corrugate with matching aluminum joinery, lights and utilities. Even with attention to the strict weight limits, the home features a loft bedroom with a gabled roof for extra space. Six solar panels mounted to the roof provide power for the unit. Supplemental energy comes from propane gas. Meanwhile, copious windows and full-height French doors flood the space with natural light for lower energy consumption and offer commanding views regardless of the location.

Light-toned wood interior of a kitchen area.

The interior design focuses on sleek, minimalistic elements and uses poplar plywood throughout. There’s a sitting area for reading and relaxation, and the kitchen is fully stocked for cooking and entertaining. Furniture pieces work double-time, offering storage in unexpected ways.  

Light-toned wood interior of a staircase.

A modular deck was added on-site for additional outdoor living space that can be removed when the owner decides to hit the road in favor of a new environment

Light-toned wood interior of a bedroom.

In addition to being a net-zero home, this space offers a tight envelope and LED lights for energy efficiency, low-water fixtures, and a composting toilet. Material selection prioritized low-maintenance, durable, and locally sourced items. Most materials are also recyclable. 

To the left, a reading nook by a window from afar. To the right, a closer view.

Architects at First Light Studio describe the home as “more a large and very detailed piece of furniture than a traditional house build, the fit-out [focusing] on the things that are important and necessary.”

+ First Light Studio

Via Yanko Design

Images via BuildTiny, NZ