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Tiny Leaf House can accommodate a family of four – and it has wheels


June 7, 2012

Leaf House is a tiny portable home design that takes up a small amount of space, is big enough to live in comfortably, and accommodates a family of four

Leaf House is a tiny portable home design that takes up a small amount of space, is big enough to live in comfortably, and accommodates a family of four

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Leaf House is the creation of small home enthusiast Laird Herbert from Whitehorse, Canada, who was inspired by the idea of building his own home. After testing out several prototypes, Herbert has finally finished work on what he calls Version.2 ... and the result is a tiny portable home design that takes up a small amount of space, is big enough to live in comfortably, and reportedly accommodates a family of four.

Designed to withstand the cold Canadian climate, Leaf House Version.2 is a custom built, fully self-contained portable home. Better yet, it is mounted on wheels, allowing you to pick up and go whenever the urge arises. The home has been constructed using Forest Stewardship Certified (FSC) timber, recycled materials, natural finishes and eco-friendly building products.

The home is built on top of a trailer base and offers a further four feet (1.2 meters) in length over Version.1. The interior features a living area with sofa bed, raised sleeping quarters, fully functional kitchen, bathroom with a compact bathtub and an open dining area. Furthermore, the home features many self-sustaining elements including a composting toilet, propane tankless hot water system, propane GE range half fridge, Ecoheat electric baseboards, LED and halogen lighting and a 35-gallon (132-liter) water storage unit.

Incorporating a tin roof, the home’s design elements are simple enough to blend in with its surroundings. Pack some portable deck chairs and outdoor furnishings, and you can create an extended exterior living area.

Leaf House Version.2 is currently on the market for CAD$44,500 (US$43,429), which is a steal if you take into consideration that it cost Herbert CAD$40,000 (US$39,038) to build. If you fancy something with a personal touch, you can commission Herbet to design your very own tiny house prototype.

Source: Leaf House via Jetson Green

About the Author
Bridget Borgobello Bridget is an experienced freelance writer, presenter and performer with a keen eye for innovative design and a passion for green technology. Australian born, Bridget currently resides in Rome and when not scribbling for Gizmag, she spends her time developing new web series content and independent cinema. All articles by Bridget Borgobello

I have to agree with Dennis, no way is this going down a motorway, autobahn or where big trucks pass close by.Thanks to Bridget for an interesting post


Impressive. Nicely done Mr. Herbert!


As lovely as this looks... am I missing something? Isn't this just another version of what we would call a caravan in Australia?

Wesley Dart

Nice camper trailer.


I was once traveling on a country road behind a car towing a caravan, the area we traveled through was very windy as country roads usually are, anyway the caravan got its roof ripped clean of due to the wind. I don't think this would fair very well to cross winds as it looks like one huge sail from the side.

Denis Klanac

I do not know nor have i talked to Mr. Herbert but the point is being MISSED.... This IS not a caravan nor a house trailer. First, the COST of making this wonderful HOME far exceeds that of a house trailer. This is a HOME and it is MOBILE, not intended to be on the road other than displacing / relocating. The product as opposed to a caravan is year round live in, connected to services. In the country, a well and septic with propane tanks is all that COULD be required to live comfortably. MORE than a caravan but MUCH less than a cottage and wonderfully laid out. This is a HOME. Congratulations Mr. Herbert and should you read this, contact me! mdubois at caledoncontrols dot com

Mike DuBois

Interesting, but is it more practical than an Airstream? Also, where do the other 2 people sleep?

Jay Lloyd

Having spent many months in a 36' RV, this seems a bit tight for 4 people to live in year round. It appears to be a neat and efficient structure. I'd hate to 'get out of the wrong side of the bed' as it's shown here.


It has a very clever layout. It would be great for a couple long term, but I'm not sure if 4 would be comfortable for more than a week or two. It's very nicely done all around.


Why not just buy a nice 5th Wheel RV. They have three times the amenities as thing, and are easier to tow and move around. That looks to me like it might tangle with a lot of wires and overpasses. Trying to reinvent the wheel.


We have a 41ft Citation travel trailer with two slide outs that sleeps up to ten and tows great with Hensley Arrow hitch but I would not want to live in it full time.


I'm thinking the maker of this is missing a serious point....

If a Caravan is cheaper, and provides the same amenity, why would someone choose this monstrosity....

"COST of making this wonderful HOME far exceeds that of a house trailer" DuBois

So it is missing its niche... people will choose to live in a more portable, cheaper, just as comfortable "House trailer", most likely as Durable... , aka caravan (then if people are living for a length of time in such a vehicle, they often put a "carport" type roof overhead to provide additional summer and winter weather tolerance, or Build a house...(proper one)) . (Or chose a Horse trailer instead, and get the manger thrown in for free..)


I love to see compact design, but at US$200 per square foot, this is one costly solution - not as stable as a travel trailer, and not as secure from wind storms as a site built cottage. And no mention as to whether it meets building codes and has all the stamps, approvals, etc. without which, financing will be a challenge. In the US, a "park model" mobile home of 400 sq. ft. can be purchased new for $20K. Not as elegant for sure. This needs mass production or a kit form to be practical.


Bravo Mr Herbert, the environmental ethos and high quality finishing is far superior to the mass manufacturing we see from the big one-size-fits-all approach of motorhome/caravan/RV companies.

The difference between this and the run of the mill unit, is that it is bespoke and obviously built for the sheer love of it. I only wish that I had the means to order one which you could send to Scotland!

Facebook User

Unlike most available mobile homes (which are notoriously energy-inefficient) this design is energy-efficient from the start. So, it simply is a different market for a different application than current mobile homes. I suspect it portends changes that will eventually trickle down into the mobile home market, but until such time, we have this little jewel to enjoy.

Michael Sullivan

I like it! It's small but significantly more homely and comfortable than a normal caravan. It looks perfect for a young guy or a couple, maybe with a young child. Most people spend little time travelling so this design looks like something that could see regular use at home as an extra space, maybe even a teenagers "cave". I'm sketching something kind of similar myself and I love the fact that some guy on the other side of the world has gone ahead and actually done it!

This design looks like one of those welcoming cold climate cabins that are light and airy inside. My design is for tropical and temperate climates so it needs less substantial structure and I am using this advantage to look at a larger, lighter, fold-out arrangement. I can't overstate how impressed I am with this!


Nice but still too fancy, complicated, heavy and expensive. I need something basic, 8 x 16 feet, murphy bed, minimal plumbing and electricity, tool locker and a mini-woodstove. Couldn't be difficult to make. Seems like you could sell thousands in North Dakota alone.

Don Rathburn
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