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Category: Eco House (page 1 of 2)

Worrowing Eco Hut Jervis Bay

Worrowing eco hut is a set amongst eucalyptus trees a five minute drive from Jervis Bay. It’s part of a collection of different eco accommodation in partially cleared land.

 

Worrowing

I’ve been craving some time in nature for a while. I want to visit more eco accommodation near Sydney on weekends to get some inspiration for my own eco house and accommodation. Bobby looked online for eco accommodation near Sydney and found Worrowing eco hut near Jervis Bay, which seemed like a good location for both beach and bush. We drove over from Sydney after work on Friday in about 3 hours.

It was so nice to be somewhere quiet surrounded by nature. Kangaroos hang out in groups all around the hut and seem fairly tame. We saw cute little birds outside while sitting in the spa bath.  The hut is surrounded by woods. We went for a walk through the trees and found some strange abandoned items among the trees including a creepy clown mask, a burned out car, an old washing machine, office chair and other abandoned items!

Worrowing Eco Hut

One night in the hut a possum ran in from the deck when we opened the door to let steam out from cooking dinner. He thought my toe might be dinner and took a bite to see!! We lit a fire in the fire pit in front of the deck and sat and drank wine and listened to music with the sketchy wifi. It was fairly chilly outside but inside the hut it stayed warm!

Possum Worrowing

 

“Crafted from recycled and natural timbers, corrugated iron and fitted with full panel glass slide away doors, the Eco Hut blends into it’s surrounds. Listen for the Yellow Belly Gliders, Barking and rare Powerful Owls that often pay a visit from neighbouring Jervis Bay National Park and Booderee National Park.”

Worrowing Eco Hut View

I’m not sure what warrants the name ‘eco’ hut. There were no obvious eco features other than the reclaimed door. It’s certainly surrounded by nature though. The hut seemed fairly well insulated which was good given its getting chilly now. It’s odd that the eco hut has an electric heater while other huts had wood fires… Wood is renewable whereas electric generally isn’t.

Eco hut kitchen

The location is great being in the woods so close to the amazing blue waters of Jervis Bay, an ideal weekend getaway from Sydney.

Jervis Bay

How Tiny Houses Give Financial Freedom

So, you could put your savings into a mortgage and work the rest of your life to pay it off, or build a tiny house – a small cheap sustainable home – and have heaps of time to do what the hell you want, with very few living costs. Ummmm let me think…

According to a documentary I watched called ‘Small Is beautiful’, tiny houses tend to be under 300 sq feet, and they’re often on a trailer so they can move around. The tiny house ‘movement’ has become so big there are whole networks and communities based around it.

tiny house bed

 

An Aussie startup called Unyoked hooks people up with trendy tiny holiday homes (above). You know the kind – glamorous sheds (there’s an oxymoron!) with wood-panelled walls, a few scandy-lookin’ furniture items, a succulent plant, some nice art on the wall…they’re kind of glorified contemporary caravans or trailer homes. I love them!

“Tiny house living is about living in and out” according to one of the tiny house owners on the doco. In warm climates you can just expand your living area to include the space surrounding the house. The freedom to move around is a real draw…you could escape the winter and move north, or make use of land while it’s available….or do house sits.

Tiny Holiday House exterior

Life of freedom or lifetime of mortgage?

I suspect the real appeal beyond their cute size is in the financial freedom tiny houses represent. They’re a major life hack. One of the biggest financial burdens we have is the ongoing cost of living. Most of us only really work full time in order to pay our rent or mortgage. It feels like the odds are stacked against us in expensive cities like London and Sydney. We spend most of our lives working to save for, then pay off a mortgage.

The cost of a traditional bricks and mortar house including materials and labour is sky high, even if done independently. Tiny houses are part of a growing disruptive movement in construction and housing. Mod houses, kit houses, pre-fabricated and even self-‘printing’ houses built by robots are bringing quicker and cheaper options.

Tiny House Interior

 

Once you have a place to live which you own, you have a lot of freedom. Unless you have very expensive tastes or a big family, you probably don’t need to work full time. This is part of the reason I’m so interested in eco houses. Once you tick the major ‘need’ boxes – house, power generation, food, you hugely reduce the amount you need to earn. And hence the time you spend working. You therefore have a lot more freedom to spend time as you please. I’d use the time to create multiple revenue streams such as freelance digital marketing, painting and setting up eco accomodation to rent out.

If you think about what you need from a home, it’s actually the functionality and location that’s most important. Somewhere to sleep, cook and hang out that keeps you warm and dry. Tiny houses can be key to real freedom, both financial and time-wise.

Tiny houses are ideal for slow travel and digital nomadism

Imagine being able to travel around with all the comforts of staying in your own home! It makes slow travel a lot more achievable, staying in different places for long periods. If you have a location independent job it would be ideal. The tiny house movement is like a modern re-invention of being semi-nomadic…hipster gypsies! It’s fascinating sociologically and seems like the start of a real shift in how we live to more sustainable, affordable and adaptable means.

tiny house on wheels

Tiny designer houses

The beauty of tiny houses is that they can be nicely decorated with minimalist principles and a few quality items. Not many people would be tempted to live in a smelly old shed or skanky trailer. The increasing availability and exposure of cool aesthetically pleasing tiny houses is speeding up the movement. There are some great examples of beautifully kitted out tiny houses which make the whole idea far more aspirational.

KODA tiny house

 Building vs buying a tiny house

Imagine designing and building your own tiny home exactly as you want it. There would be so much satisfaction once it’s done. When it comes to building it would not be straightforward but obviously that’s part of the reward; designing your own living space and seeing the end result. I kind of like the idea of living in a small simple kit home or premade one just to try it first then I’d know what I want.

But the idea of a custom home that’s been lovingly crafted from wood isn’t comparable to a pre-fab chip-board jobby… I guess both have pros and cons. A happy sustainable medium is what’s needed. Perhaps a customisable pre-fab option.

One of the tiny home owners in the doco explains “Knowing they’ve built it they know how to fix it. Buying a second-hand RV it could go wrong” 

A master craftman in Japan built an amazing tiny home on wheels from wood. Explaining his choice of material he said “plastic and other man-made materials create unnecessary garbage. Garbage that can’t be returned to nature becomes an unnecessary burden on future generations.  “It’s important to me to use materials that don’t create unnecessary garbage for future generations.” Nicely put!

He designed it so it feels like the outside environment comes into the living space. The whole thing opens up so it doesn’t feel small.

Do tiny houses need to be so small?

The size makes the homes portable, cheaper and easier to manage. A tiny home owner from the ‘Small is beautiful’ doco explains how she likes knowing where stuff is. There’s also a freedom from owning less in line with minimalist principles.

tiny house
However, I wonder if living in a confined space would drive you (and whoever you lived with) crazy. Adapted versions of tiny house living seem more compelling than living solo in a tiny home. A community with different communal areas as well as private. For example perhaps a few communal kitchens and living areas like the open air kitchens in Bali….and separate outdoor bathrooms for each house.

I have always loved the idea of trying out living in a tiny home. I mean, I sort of did it when living in a basic hut in outback Australia for three months a while back, and loved it. I do wonder if other building methods could offer similar rewards but more space though. An ideal set-up for me would be to own some land with all the infrastructure, a few buildings and a garden, where I could keep a tiny home and up and leave when I feel like it, renting out the other spaces.

As one tiny home owner says “There’s a hook in there that attracts people… Frees them up for what they wanna do in life”

A friend of a friend of mine has built a tiny home on a trailer up in Canberra, and I’m super keen to go and check it out.

Watch this space…

Sustainable House Day Sydney

Here’s my summary of the eco houses we visited for Sustainable House Day Sydney 2016. We managed to fit in five houses dotted around Sydney, from the northern beaches to the inner west! Continue reading

Sustainable House Day Sydney Shortlist

Eco homes around Australia open their doors to the public this Sunday 11 September for Sustainable House Day. People can nosy around and check out sustainable features to get ideas for their own homes. I’ve shortlisted the homes I’m most keen to see this year.

Continue reading

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