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Small Beachfront Home: Modern & Functional

This small beachfront home is the epiphany of a simple yet luxurious beach shack. It’s tiny, yet seems ‘small’. It’s a modern and open oceanfront hut which can completely close up to protect itself from the environment.

It was designed by Crosson, Clarke, Carnachan Architects for a family of five (clients) and it’s named the Whangapoua Sled House because it’s built on large wooden ‘sleds’ so that it can be moved when needed, more on that later. As most of you know, you can’t build a solid foundation on sand so the wooden ‘sleds’ are a great solution, allowing this home to be dragged by a tractor or placed on a barge where it can be moved a few feet or anywhere around the world. Although more expensive and difficult to move because of its larger size in comparison to most tiny houses that we feature, it’s still mobile if you absolutely needed to move it yet large enough for a family to comfortably live in. At 430.556 sq ft square feet it’s not very ‘tiny’, although relative to most homes today… it is!

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Modern Beachfront Cabin by Carnachan Architects… Built for Family of Five. The Whangapoua Sled House!

Small Beachfront Home is Elegant, Modern, and on Sleds

Photo Credits Jackie Meiring Courtesy of Crosson, Clarke, Carnachan Architects

One of the best features of this beach shack is how it can completely close up to protect itself from the weather. Being that it currently sits directly in front of the ocean, this must certainly come in handy at times.

Shutters Activated on Tiny Modern Beach Hut

As you can tell in the photos above and below, every door and window can be completely enclosed. I know that many large homes have shutters, but this is unique in that it’s built into the design architecturally.

Built in Windows Covers on Small Modern Beach Home

From the picture above you might notice that the large windows facing the water are actually doors that completely open up. To transform the giant oceanfront shutter into an awning, just turn a winch. This gives you an amazing breeze throughout the entire home and gives you a chance to sleep and wake up to the sound of crashing waves.

Tiny Modern Beach House with Lofts

The modern hut sits on the shore of New Zealand’s Coromandel Peninsula near the dunes and is home to a family of five. The reason it’s on sleds is that the land is a coastal erosion zone.

In the children’s bunk room there are secret storage spaces for them to use to keep their belongings. According to the architect, the clients wanted small, simple and functional.

Bunk Bed Room for Kids in Tiny Modern Beach Home

Notice the little closets on the left but don’t miss the little bookshelves right by the pillows. Very cool! Below you can check out the master bedroom.

Master Bedroom Ladders Lead to Roof

This room shares the large window/doors and view from the downstairs living area. From this room, if you continue using the ladder you see above, you can get to the roof where there are rainwater/gravity fed water tanks making this modern beach hut self contained (see below).

Gravity Water Tanks on Modern Tiny Beach Hut Bathroom Sink in Tiny Beach House Shower in Tiny Beach Shack


  1. http://www.ccca.co.nz/projects/residential/hut-on-sleds

If you enjoyed this small beachfront home on ‘sleds’, “Like” and share using the buttons below then let me know what you liked/disliked most in the comments below. Thanks!

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More Like This: Tiny Houses | Cabins | Modern

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Alex is a contributor and editor for TinyHouseTalk.com and the always free Tiny House Newsletter. He has a passion for exploring and sharing tiny homes (from yurts and RVs to tiny cabins and cottages) and inspiring simple living stories. We invite you to send in your story and tiny home photos too so we can re-share and inspire others towards a simple life too. Thank you!
{ 33 comments… add one }
  • Graham
    May 22, 2012, 1:20 am

    INCREDIBLE…you made my day (nite)…I am very impressed and so jealous. Would like to see more of this ‘variety’. Thanks

    • May 23, 2012, 5:19 pm

      Thanks Graham I’m glad that you liked it!

  • jparkes
    May 26, 2012, 10:14 am

    My words exactly…Awesome!
    Love the interior and design elements. I could see living in this one with just a few mods to make it a bit larger…600 sq ft or so hits my sweet spot for some reason but it wouldn’t be hard to do.

  • Mark
    May 26, 2012, 5:46 pm

    This is good living! Please find more of these wonderful, practical houses.

    • June 2, 2012, 8:55 am

      Will do, Mark, thank you so much for checking it out!

  • Cal 20 Sailor
    May 27, 2012, 2:12 pm

    Great work, Alex! You’ve uncovered a lot of really wonderful “Tiny Homes,” and I just want to thank you for all you’re efforts. The Tiny House Movement is a real breath of fresh air in the housing scene in the U.S., and the general realm of unrestrained materialism and status seeking.

    • June 2, 2012, 8:53 am

      Thank you Cal it’s such an honor!

      • jerryd
        August 16, 2013, 11:29 am

        One of the best you’ve had Alex. I especially like the shelves in the studs.

        BTW Cal 20 is a sailboat, not a person’s name. But you’ll find many sailors go for TH’s as that is what they are use to.

  • stan frymann
    May 27, 2012, 5:58 pm

    Am I the only one who thinks they see more than 131 square feet here? Beautiful place, though!

    • June 2, 2012, 8:53 am

      It seems way bigger than that to me too Stan I figured maybe they weren’t including the sleeping loft space or something, not sure.

      • heather
        February 18, 2014, 9:02 pm

        Being that this is in New Zealand, it’s not hard to imagine that they meant meters sq.

  • Dick
    May 28, 2012, 3:57 pm

    I can’t say enough about how much I enjoyed the photo
    tour of the beach house. I wish there had been such
    a wonderful beach house available when we were a young

    • June 2, 2012, 8:54 am

      Thanks Dick! Me too, I’d love to see homes like this become more normal and available as options.

  • Jay Shafer
    May 28, 2012, 11:44 pm

    Awesome, indeed! Thanks for the inspiration and taking it to the next level.

    • June 2, 2012, 8:54 am

      Thanks Jay!

      • carrie
        February 18, 2014, 5:56 pm

        still in love with this one…. great design.

  • Elizabeth
    May 29, 2012, 12:08 am

    Nice! For a time away from home.

    • June 2, 2012, 8:54 am

      Thanks Elizabeth glad you liked it 🙂

  • josiah
    June 12, 2012, 3:20 pm

    very,very nice and practical. I would love to see it in more detail.

  • Patrick
    June 21, 2012, 7:40 pm

    Such a cool cabin! Any idea how much a place like this would cost to build? I’d love something like this on the coast in BC. Thanks

  • Timothy
    July 1, 2012, 12:13 pm

    Very nicely done! Seems a bit larger than 131 sq ft though. I’d probably add a fold-down table somewhere, provision the shower to be more outdoor than indoor and turn part of the roof area into a tiny balcony. The sled and cisterns are great ideas. Thanks, Alex.

  • Jenifer
    July 16, 2012, 5:06 am

    In NZ (where I now live; I am from the US), they use “sq m” not “sq ft.” I followed the link to the architect’s web site, and clicked on “project info.”

    In the description, it was 40 sq m or 430.556 sq ft.

    It also describes it as a “hut” which is another name for the quintessential “kiwi bach” (pronounced “batch”). This is a holiday home, not a home where the family lives 24-7.

    That being said, my husband and I are looking into such an arrangement for ourselves. We’d like to build (eventually, after we find and buy land — likely in our urban environment here in Wellington). But, we want a beautiful, well-made, efficient house.

    Everything in NZ is expensive — and I mean *everything* — so even these simple elements will probably cost a fair amount per sq ft (or meter as the case may be).

    We are a family of three (two adults, one child), and I could see the “bunk room” being a loft-bed for the kiddo and play area beneath and more opportunities for toy storage.

    As it is, we live in a 550 sq ft cottage, but there’s a fair amount of inefficiency in it. We think going to a more efficient 450 would definitely be doable, and the wood burner would definitely heat the whole place, we could put on a wind turbine for power (lots of wind here!), and go for rain/grey water and basically be ‘off grid in the city.’

    Not a bad plan. We’ve put the architect’s name on our “dream homes” board. 😀

  • Doug
    February 3, 2013, 5:07 pm

    Likes most of it, but what’s with the.”barn yard” faucets?

  • Amy
    May 16, 2013, 6:56 am

    Lovely! The link to the architect’s project page is not working; it’s renamed (Link Expired: ccca.co.nz/projects/residential/hut-on-sleds.)

    • Alex
      May 16, 2013, 8:40 am

      Thanks Amy! I’ll update that for us.

  • MotherLodeBeth
    August 16, 2013, 10:22 pm

    Love this home because I have aspergers and the consistent use of wood tone as well as clean crisp lines,colour and ease of cleaning and staying organized would be perfect for me and my family.

  • Annie
    February 3, 2014, 3:23 pm

    Oh wow.. just perfect. I always say I’d be happy in a shack on the beach, and this one is awesome and beyond even my pipe dreams.

  • Tünde
    February 18, 2014, 6:56 pm

    Wow! Inspirational! Wonder if they use the collected rainwater for drinking as well… Would be great to know how they filter it…

  • Liz
    February 19, 2014, 1:16 am

    Coromandel is one of the most gorgeous beaches I’ve ever had the opportunity to hang out on – and the most amazing sunrises. This looks absolutely perfect. If the family ever want to sell, I’d buy it in a heartbeat!

  • Glema
    February 19, 2014, 7:28 pm

    Nice place. Good ideas. Ty for sharing Alex. Perhaps hurricane joists and corner bracing etc. would work for the “earthquake” areas Lisa. Happy Trails and God speed!

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