Hand-built Pocket Shelter micro home ready to hit the road


June 7, 2013

Self-professed design geek Aaron Maret has finally completed his very own micro home on wheels

Self-professed design geek Aaron Maret has finally completed his very own micro home on wheels

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Following in the footsteps of the Tiny Leaf and Tiny Tack homes, self-professed design geek Aaron Maret has finally completed his very own micro home on wheels. The Pocket Shelter home has been five years in the making, and Maret’s labor of love has paid off with a cozy portable eco-retreat ready for adventures around the United States.

We recently got in touch with Maret, who shared with us some insights into his building process and the perks of tiny living.

“My partner and I were traveling a lot and wanted to figure out a way to create a home space that we could take with us as we explored different places and communities,” Maret told Gizmag. “Small spaces and simple living have been an interest of mine for a long time. I love treehouses, boats, and all sorts of other small spaces. So having the opportunity to try my hand at designing and building my own tiny house was very exciting to me.”

Passionate about sustainability, Maret hand-built the home using primarily salvaged and raw materials. The home features a trailer base, frame and a colorful rustic exterior made from local and up-cycled hardwoods. Creating a tiny home also meant that fewer materials were needed, which resulted in less waste. “Trying to find 2,000 square feet [185 sq m] worth of reclaimed or salvaged flooring for example would be difficult and/or very expensive,” said Maret. “But finding 100 square feet [9.3 sq m] is relatively simple. There are many more sources and options for low or no-impact materials at this scale.”

Maret took little over a year to get the structure “move-in”-ready (90-95 percent complete), with some small details and final touches left to finish. He is proud to say that he accomplished about 70 percent of the work himself, while friends helped with putting the roofing metal in place, the installation of the window trim, the building of the drawer boxes and final details.

“We lived in it for a couple years, then eventually moved into a little cottage that we bought and started renovating. Once it wasn't being lived in, it was ready to be fully completed. And that just happened over the last few months,” he said.

The finished Pocket Shelter features a light-filled living area with ample built-in storage cabinetry, an elevated loft for sleeping, salvaged pine flooring, a custom kitchenette with 2-burner gas cooktop, sliding glass pass-through door and a bathroom with a mini built-in composting toilet.

Maret’s favorite part of the home is the porch, which also doubles as a sort of mudroom and transition space between outside and inside. “I love the porch. Kicking off boots, putting down parcels or groceries and serving as an overflow space for both people and things are luxuries that make small space living so much better,” said Maret. “Not to mention how lovely it is to sit outside in the rain and stay dry.”

The retreat was built with durability and serviceability in mind. Since it is framed like a regular house and not like a travel trailer, the home is much heavier than most travel homes and requires a sizable vehicle to tow it. Not ever having weighed it, Maret estimates that it would come in at approximately 6 tons (5.4 tonnes). In addition, it is fully insulated and weather proof, and would withstand all but the most severe of storms. “And if it does end up in a tornado- or hurricane-prone area, it could be anchored to the earth with hardware used on mobile homes, and I'm confident it could withstand even severe weather,” Maret said.

The final cost to complete the Pocket Shelter, including materials and hired labor, set him back around US$24,000. He estimates that he put in around 2,700 hours across the life of the project, including the design phase, materials acquisition, project management and construction.

“The Pocket Shelter’s ideal use is a small house for one or two people living in a community context. It is an amazing sanctuary, providing a quiet and beautiful space that is private and cozy,” said Maret. “It would also make for a wonderful retreat space and/or guest house set apart from a main house.”

Source: Aaron Maret via Inhabitat

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

This is nice looking, could also be used as the perfect hunting cabin/duck blind.


Nice looking and great craftmanship, but I do have concerns. - How road worthy is this really? - Is the loft window big enough to use as a fire escape?


Love this, but where's the jake?

Suspicious Chihuahua

It's a nice little unit, but I fail to see how it's news-worthy. People have been making home made trailers for decades.

Marlon Meiklejohn

Being heavy and with apparently poor aerodynamics it is going to cost a lot of fuel to move.


So the math is $24,000 for ~100ft/sq is $240 per square foot and using reclaimed material. Its (probably) overweight for the trailer with the aero dynamics of a rough brick. This is a piece of art NOT a practical travel trailer.


I can't imagine this construction holding up in a tornado situation. To be honest, it is rather ugly, and heavy. I would box in the porch with glass panels to create further living space, although this would of course add to the weight of the whole thing. I am surprised it cost so much to build. A few coats of paint might improve the appearance.

David Clarke

You can buy a decent mobile home, 800 sq feet, with garage, in Florida for less than $8000. I bought my travel trailer with all amenities, sleeps 6, fridge, freezer, shower, hot water, furnace etc, weighs 4000 pounds and is streamlined for travel cost me $1000.00. It even has new tires.

I built an 18x32 cottage on my property fully insulated on a concrete pad with power and water for $20,000 which included the cost of getting the power and the well drilled. OK its not a six ton beast on wheels.

Point is that building this tiny house with reclaimed materials is not newsworthy. What would make more sense is telling us about building with shipping containers or design of a nice affordable 800 square foot home for a family with modern materials that is off-grid. There are many other designs out there for emergency shelters, homeless shelters, cottages etc that are newsworthy.


This house is outrageous. Way too heavy, not constructed for travel (will fall apart when subjected to twists, bounces, lurches of normal travel), costs is way above any economic savings. It takes a special heavy duty truck to move. Gas Mileage probably 5-8 MPG. Travel speed probably nill. Hours of labor to design and build - 2700 !!!!!! -. Anyone can buy a used travel trailer for 1/10 this cost, fix it to look rustic and have twice the travel home with 200 hours of labor in it not 2700. I am talking approximate to same size and styling.


More proof that nowadays bad + ugly = news. This explains the media's fixation with Donald Trump, et al.

Fritz Menzel

I’ve got to agree with Phileaux and Phil, it’s a sad day when Gizmag reports on a poorly designed, overpriced, overweight unit like this one. The “small composting toilet” is either a hole in the floor covered with a sheep skin rug, or a removable bucket. Building with reclaimed materials is admirable, but choosing (after many hours of deliberation) to build with the wrong ones, as in this case, is just plain dumb.

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