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From Hong Kong to Their DIY Tiny House in Australia


When David got inspired by prepping and off-grid living, he wanted to move out of Hong Kong. He and Lizzie compromised and moved to Australia to build a tiny house on wheels. Eventually, they found an incredible off-grid property to move to, where they are making a self-sufficient haven!

We had the privilege of interviewing Lizzie and David about their experience, so be sure to read their story and enjoy the photo tour of their space. You can follow their journey on Instagram!

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Couple Builds DIY Tiny House to Become More Self-Sufficient

We got into tiny house living because David got into prepping, eventually discovering Tiny Houses and moving us from Hong Kong to Australia. Rural Tiny house living is the perfect compromise.

It had a more promising attraction to being liberated from the stresses of living in the city and just simply living! Having that quality of life.

We DIY-ed it ourselves with the great help of YouTube University and Tiny House University by Fred Schultz. It took us 10 months to finish the build.

As we are not builders (have never done anything like this before and not exposed to anyone of constructional experience), we have occasionally rendered services from professionals like plumbers, electricians, and a master builder to do the hard bits like skylights, windows/door installations and squaring the tiny, as we want to make sure that those bits are done according to safety requirements and are done correctly by applicable codes and guidelines as best possible. However, this part can shy into a bit of a gray area, as Tiny Houses are still akin to caravans.

For work, we’ve just moved to the area and do not expect to move fairly soon, so we both have part-time employment, 3 days a week in town and the rest we are dedicated to continually working on the tiny house towards being self sufficient and ecolutionary.

We also do some digital online work. David still trains his client (from Hong Kong, now in the US) Rochelle (now) online. Lizzie does social media work and consulting whenever she can.

Tiny living has made us conscious about minimalist living, and gave us a goal of going 100% off the grid and being self-sufficient. Which helps to reduce environmental impact that promotes a more sustainable way of living by encouraging minimalism, conscious consumption, and smaller carbon footprint.

We also appreciate the financial freedom it brings about. Typically, the costs involved in living in Tiny houses are lower and the investment is a fraction compared to the standard traditional house. Not to mention the freedom from getting tied into decades of mortgage repayments. We are closer to nature as well and learning an alternative way of living as we tackle this amazing adventure together.

Going tiny does come with a set of challenges, and one of the hardest that is not to be ignored is downsizing. Although we are already coming from living in apartments in Hong Kong, significant decluttering and letting go of possessions were emotionally and logistically demanding, that it only made our relationship stronger.

Another challenge of tiny living is the transition from water and power provided from outside to going off-the-grid and avoiding the scrutiny of council. And, like others, finding the most ideal parking spot.

The most rewarding part of living in a tiny house can vary from person to person, and to us it’s simplifying our lifestyle. With a limited space, the tiny house often requires decluttering and prioritising belongings, which leads to a more organised life, reducing stress and allowing more time and energy for experiences and relationships. This also allows us to be connected to nature more which gives us a sense of tranquility.

As we DIY-ed this, we were able to create a design that works for both of us. For example, our home is designed without any downward light to allow for our circadian rhythm to work, where when the light gets dark, we sleep and when it comes up we wake up naturally. David’s got his wood stove while Lizzie’s got her bath tub – both our non-negotiables when we built the tiny house.

Ultimately, the most rewarding aspect is building our own home/shelter. It brings a sense of fulfillment that is a highly rewarding, proud experience as we call this our perfectly imperfect home 🙂

If you’re considering going tiny, know that careful research, planning are key to living in a tiny house. Weigh the pros and cons before making the final decision to ensure that it’s the right choice for you.

Building and creating your shelter is one of the greatest accomplishments – tiny houses make this achievable for more people. We still stress the importance of consulting with qualified builders, electricians, and plumbers during the process. You want your tiny house to function just like a regular house. Working with professionals will elevate your space.

It is also really important to be surrounded by like-minded communities that’ll support and enhance the systems you’ve set in place to live the life you’ve dreamed.

Highlights:

  • David started getting into prepping and wanted to get out of Hong Kong. Moving to rural Australia in a tiny house was a good compromise.
  • Lizzie and David DIY-ed the build, but did hire a couple of professionals to help with plumbing, electrical and skylight installation to ensure their house was up to code and safe to live in.
  • While downsizing was a challenge, it was also its own reward — learning to live with what they really need!
  • Lizzie needed a bath tub and David needed a woodstove, and they got both in their tiny home.
  • Each of them work part-time now in town, using the other hours to work on more self-sufficiency.

Learn More:

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Our big thanks to Lizzie & David for sharing! 🙏

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Natalie C. McKee

Natalie C. McKee is a contributor for Tiny House Talk and the Tiny House Newsletter. She's a wife, and mama of three little kids. She and her family are homesteaders with sheep, goats, chickens, ducks and quail on their happy little acre.

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{ 2 comments… add one }
  • Donna Rae
    December 7, 2023, 2:40 pm

    Very nicely done, indeed! I could see myself living in such a well thought out Tiny. A great kitchen and finally, people who understand the importance of nice thick cushions on a built-in sofa! Looks very comfy! I do wish there had been a floor plan as it was a little confusing how the rooms were situated from the photos…though an abundance of photos are appreciated! I do wish there had been a better explanation about what storage there is. Some was evident but where do you hang clothes and is there any pantry area in the kitchen? Love the little wood stove! Kudos to the designers!

  • John Lockhart
    December 7, 2023, 4:58 pm

    I built my tiny home about 20 years ago. It has been home to me and many of my friends. Soon, my wife will pass and I’ll go back to my tiny home.
    Thank you for all you do to support this much needed segment of housing.

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