June 19, 2024

Nestled in the picturesque surroundings of Motueka, Toby Dennis’s tiny home is a beacon of sustainable living and innovative design. The design, called The Mackenzie, won best commercial build in this year’s Tiny House Awards.

This eco-friendly abode, perched amidst the breathtaking natural beauty of New Zealand, demonstrates how living tiny can be both stylish and environmentally conscious.

One remarkable aspect of Dennis’s tiny home is the abundant use of windows and sliding doors. To preserve uninterrupted wall space while flooding the interior with natural light, Dennis, who built the home using design plans from architect Chris Pyemont, incorporated an astonishing 14 windows and two sliding doors.

The result is a sense of spaciousness that defies the limited square footage.

South Base Homes has an ethos of sustainability.

Lou Corry

South Base Homes has an ethos of sustainability.

The unique upstairs walkway

A standout feature of this tiny house is the ingenious use of space in the upstairs area. A 1.3-metre desk seamlessly accompanies a spacious 2-metre full-size closet, adorned with sustainably sourced and harvested red beech trim. This distinctive arrangement not only offers a cosy upstairs study nook but also creates the feeling of a walk-in closet just before entering the master bedroom.

Efficient use of space

Efficiency is the key when living tiny, and Dennis’s tiny house is a prime example. Beneath the stairs, two soft-close drawers have been seamlessly integrated, providing convenient storage. This space has been thoughtfully designed for a washing machine and serves as an ideal location for a solar power setup, with pre-wiring already in place.

Adriaan Dubbelman, left, pictured inside The Mackenzie with two of his daughters, is the lead builder for South Base Homes.

Lou Corry

Adriaan Dubbelman, left, pictured inside The Mackenzie with two of his daughters, is the lead builder for South Base Homes.

The layout of the additional room meant it could be study, office, rumpus room or extra bedroom.

Lou Corry

The layout of the additional room meant it could be study, office, rumpus room or extra bedroom.

Multi-functional rooms

The layout of the additional room was carefully considered, allowing it to serve as a study, office, rumpus room, or even an extra bedroom with space for single bunk beds. This flexibility ensures that every square metre is utilised to their fullest potential.

Environmental responsibility

In today’s world, minimising our environmental impact is crucial. Dennis’s tiny home exemplifies responsible waste management. Offcuts of plywood from the build were donated to local schools for birdhouse projects, waste was sorted and recycled, and smaller pieces of timber were provided to locals for DIY projects. The result? Less than 1 cubic metre of rubbish generated during construction.

Grant Dennis, left, Genevieve Griffin-George, and Toby Dennis run South Base Homes, makers of winning tiny home design The Mackenzie.

Lou Corry

Grant Dennis, left, Genevieve Griffin-George, and Toby Dennis run South Base Homes, makers of winning tiny home design The Mackenzie.

Entertaining with ease

Contrary to what one might expect, Dennis’s tiny house is not lacking in space for entertaining. A dedicated area for a table between the lounge and kitchen, along with a kitchen designed to accommodate a full-size table, ensures that hosting dinner parties is a breeze. The lounge comfortably fits a full-size couch, making it a welcoming space for guests.

Seamless indoor-outdoor flow

The tiny home also boasts a wrap-around deck and two sliding doors, seamlessly connecting the indoors with the outdoors. This design creates an ideal setting for entertaining while soaking in the stunning views of New Zealand’s scenic beauty.

Words of wisdom

For those contemplating the transition to tiny living, Dennis offers sage advice. He emphasises the importance of choosing a New Zealand-built product constructed by licensed trade professionals with the necessary certifications. Ensuring that your tiny home complies with engineering standards for its location is paramount.

Navigating the legal landscape for tiny homes can be complex due to varying zoning laws and regulations by location. Thus, Dennis suggests that prospective tiny homeowners choose a builder who understands and can guide them through the intricacies of these rules.

Dennis’s tiny home stands as a testament to the potential for innovative design and sustainability in the world of tiny living. It reflects the spirit of ingenuity and environmental responsibility that can transform a tiny house into a cosy and functional haven.

Sharla May is the founder and director of the Tiny House Hub, Tiny House Expo, and Landshare. This article was first published in Tiny Living magazine and is republished with permission.