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Pumice Strawbale Tiny Home in New Zealand


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Innovative construction methods are always exciting, and this Pumice house in New Zealand used 200 bales of barley straw, a waste product, to create an innovative sculptural vacation property.

The house has a gorgeous first-floor bedroom with a roll-away TV, and a unique bathroom with a scultped shower stall. The bales are covered in a lime-based plaster to provide a gorgeous exterior. What do you think?

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House Made of 200 Barley Straw Bales!

Pumice Strawbale Tiny Homes

Images via Tiny Home Tours

The walls have a lime-based plaster over them.

Pumice Strawbale Tiny Homes 3

Images via Tiny Home Tours

The kitchen has a neat sculpted countertop.

Pumice Strawbale Tiny Homes 6

Images via Tiny Home Tours

And the bathroom is also beautifully sculpted

Pumice Strawbale Tiny Homes 4

Images via Tiny Home Tours

VIDEO: Straw Bale & Plaster Tiny Homes

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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.

Latest posts by Natalie C. McKee (see all)

{ 7 comments… add one }
  • Marsha Cowan
    February 26, 2024, 10:23 am

    It’s lovely. It’s unique. . .but it ain’t tiny.

    • James D.
      February 26, 2024, 2:29 pm

      Well, it may not seem so but note that it’s still built on a trailer and can be moved. So, it’s not actually that big, is more akin to a weird shaped Park Model, being more like a circular dome than the normal rectangle box, with more empty/unfilled space to just make it look larger.

      While it is also docked/blended into where it’s parked to make it look like the exterior space is part of it. Enhancing the sense of it being larger than it actually is…

      It also still utilizes many design elements of tiny homes, like the compact kitchen/dining area, fold out cutting board, compact storage spaces, etc.

      Besides, it still falls under alternative housing and that’s part of the movement too, as it’s all about looking at alternatives to traditional housing to re-evaluate what works best, and it is a type of alternative that is scalable and thus can always be done smaller…

      • Marsha Cowan
        February 26, 2024, 3:12 pm

        All true, but do you know the actual square footage?

        • James D.
          February 26, 2024, 3:48 pm

          60 Sqm (~645 Sq Ft)… Average size home in NZ is just over 2000 Sq Ft, for how that compares there…

  • Marsha Cowan
    February 26, 2024, 6:05 pm

    Long ago, when I first began to follow tiny houses, anything under 400 square feet was considered tiny, but most tiny homes were 8′ x 12′ or 16′, then grew to 8 1/2′ x 20′ and 24′. Then they kept getting wider and longer until they are truly no longer tiny homes, but stick built mobile homes, large, traditionally designed, yet most are still under 400 square feet which is still huge. So to me, 675 square feet is in no way a tiny home. Small for the area, but not tiny.

    • James D.
      February 27, 2024, 3:19 am

      Fair enough, I can understand that point of view…

      However, people thinking 400 Sq Ft is the threshold is a pretty recent trend from just the last 8 years as that all evolved from how efforts to legalize tiny homes resulted in establishing an arbitrary standard to patch the laws, which previously had a threshold restriction based on making a clear distinction between legal residential homes from RV’s and other non-residential structures.

      When the movement started, there was no preconceived notions or consensus, but rather a wide range of opinions ranging from extreme minimalists who even considered micro-homes to those who considered even 2000 Sq Ft too small for even one person and would refuse to consider anything smaller.

      Consequently, much of the early criticism, which evolved into NIMBY’ism, focused on the idea that Tiny houses weren’t real houses and were just glorified RV’s.

      So it just worked out that way to get around the restrictions, as it was the quickest and easiest solution to just patch the law instead of re-writing it and focusing on the size range of the restriction, but that still means it is arbitrary and not universal, especially, all over the world.

      For example, while the US limits Park Models to be under 400 Sq Ft, Canada allows Park Models to be up to 538 Sq Ft. While the UK treats their Park Homes more like Manufactured Houses and allow sizes up to 136 sqm (~1464 Sq Ft), but have more strict size and weight constrictions on their Caravans/Trailer RVs/THOWs. So THOWs in the UK can’t be as large as they can be in the US…

      Really, we can look at one of the first Tiny House TV shows, Tiny House Nation, and note that the show’s intro states tiny as being 500 Sq Ft and less, not 400!

      Additionally, THN included episodes where they dealt with larger homes. Up to and including examples like ADU’s that exceeded 700 Sq Ft. Showing how the concept of Tiny didn’t start out strict at all…

      For example, what’s tiny for one person would not work the same for a family, even for just a couple that would still make this home equivalent to a single person living in a 322.5 Sq Ft home as that space would have to be shared, among other examples where people would adjust their interpretation of tiny to work with their actual needs.

      Just like how achieving minimalism would vary with different people, what’s ‘Appropriate’ effects what the size of the home should actually be and that was what people were originally seeking when the tiny house movement started…

      So, it’s fine if you still disagree, I’m just pointing out that it shouldn’t be treated as an absolute and always true, as it won’t be for everyone and in all situations…

      Besides, the average size house in the US is still over 3 times larger than this home and there’s still terms like Micro-House for homes that can go even smaller than tiny houses. Showing how much leeway there is to debate the size. Especially, as some people will use tiny and small, interchangeably, but also doesn’t mean there is no overlap where even more people can confuse the terms…

      • Marsha Cowan
        February 27, 2024, 9:05 am

        I concede : )

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