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Off-grid Minim House reimagines tiny living


December 2, 2013

The Minim House (Photo: Paul Burk Photography)

The Minim House (Photo: Paul Burk Photography)

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The tiny house movement continues to build momentum, and the latest small home to catch our eye with a clever space-maximizing design is the Minim House. The trailer-based mobile micro-home is capable of operating on or off grid, and boasts some comforts often associated with a larger home.

The product of a collaboration between Foundry Architects and Brian Levy, Minim House was recently constructed by Element Design + Build, and is currently installed at Washington DC's Boneyard Studios, a burgeoning tiny home community established in 2012.

Inside the 19.5 sq m (210 sq ft) home, an open-plan interior offers a generous 3 m (10 ft) wide kitchen area, with multi-use surfaces, refrigerator, and ample storage space. Owing to this layout, the main lounge area is on the larger side for a self-styled "micro-home," and Levy reports that the couch will seat five adults, with room for several more guests on seats placed around the home.

Entertainment facilities include a window that becomes a cinema screen once a shade is pulled down from above and a small LED projector put into operation. There's also a small raised office space with desk that lifts to reveal a musical keyboard.

A full-size bed slides out from underneath the raised platform office to serve as a sleeping area, and the bathroom is a snug wet room and toilet, the latter screened with a shower curtain when the water is spraying.

The usual range of off-grid technology makes an appearance in the home, including an optional compostable toilet and 960 W roof solar array with integrated battery storage system. LED lighting, and rainwater collection and filtration are also on-board, and the house mostly uses the kind of low-power appliances often seen in small boats, but also has a hookup for full mains.

Minim House was constructed using standard SIPs (structural insulated panels), with a cypress facade that will eventually age to a light grey color. According to Levy, the simple construction and standardized materials allow a crew of two people to construct the house within just five days.

The price tag for this particular build came to US$30,966 in materials, though that figure did not include any labor costs. Those interested can purchase the plans for the home via the source link below.

Source: Minim Homes

About the Author
Adam Williams Adam scours the globe from his home in North Wales in order to bring the best of innovative architecture and sustainable design to the pages of Gizmag. Most of his spare time is spent dabbling in music, tinkering with old Macintosh computers and trying to keep his even older VW bus on the road. All articles by Adam Williams

These small home ideas are growing 'shrinking' by the minute! Still seems expensive - I suppose a lot of the $30K+ is in the electronics and whitegoods ledger? A simpler 'turn key' version to be more fully fitted out as time and finances allow might sell well. A buyer could start with a 'Portapotti', a battery camp shower-in-a-bucket, a 7-day ice fridge box and a gas camp stove, with a small generator for power with LED lights.

The Skud

My main criticisms would be ergonomic. You have to walk past the person taking shower to get to the toilet. Maybe a small urinal somewhere could be useful, as it will probably be the guy dancing around. Maybe a small sink, with a water fountain, light, mirror, and an outlet for a shaver too? And several frequently used items are too near the floor like the fridge. A full sized fridge is called for. Not an immense one but something reasonable. I would also go with a counter-top dishwasher. Don't know where the washer/dryer is, I presume there is one somewhere. Food storage in general seems inadequate.


Nice design. I like the kitchen and bath being at opposite ends of the building, instead of sharing a common wall as in many tiny house designs. Price seems high, but this home appears to have higher end finishing than most tiny homes.


I have been designing a similar but more innovative structure. First, the insulation I am using is what you find in walk-in freezers so thin and a great insulator. Second, the design here does not allow you to add on any additional rooms. My design has a slide on rail system that allows you to add additional rooms in a matter of hours. My rood structure is flat for capturing rain water and for cooling/heating benefits. Also, when adding additional rooms the roof line is easily extended in 4' extensions. Next, my gray water and water filtration system is located underneath. The floors in my design are heated using conductive heating. Lastly, bathroom and kitchen are opposite of one another for obvious reasons. Toilet is also a self composting toilet that uses no electricity. In conclusion, the dining room is doubled up as a solarium and the bed is situated like a dormer and or at ground level. I hope to have kit info for anyone soon.

Gilligan Gilligan

Lots of great small house ideas are available. The problem is that few if any sell them at low prices per sq. foot. The second problem is that you will not be allowed to put them in very many areas. Great idea otherwise.

Ron Wagner

Well, although I like certain elements of these, it seems there would be a fair portion of people to whom these houses would be completely impractical. Still, there are plenty of people who have little need or want of much space.

Micah Houchin

Interesting ideas but after using a 19 foot travel trailer for a few years, I see so much wasted space in this design. Reducing the window area by a third could allow so many more wall cabinets for storage plus making it easier to heat and cool. A slight redesign of the bathroom to divide the sink from the shower and stool area would be nice. A ceiling fan would be a good addition. A small roof or window air conditioner would complete the package.


went to their site, but nothing on the electrical generation side of things... solar... how many batteries, how many panels, what other equip is needed... would have been a more helpful article and truly showing people the cost of living off grid - IMPO

Brent Eagleson
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