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They Built this Tiny House for their Elder Relatives

The owners of this new tiny home commissioned it so they’d have a comfortable and safe place for their older relatives to stay when they came to visit. As such, the tiny house by Build Tiny in New Zealand has no loft and everything is easily accessible.

The interior design is studio-style, with a bed on one end and the kitchen/eating area on the other. Behind the door inside, you’ll find the compact bathroom. Everything you need for guests!

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Guest House for Aging Relatives by Build Tiny

Tadpole Single Level Tiny Home – Aging-Friendly 3

Images via Build Tiny

The bed is conveniently located on the first floor with walk-around space.

Tadpole Single Level Tiny Home – Aging-Friendly 2

Images via Build Tiny

Eat breakfast looking out the window or use the area as a wonderful workspace.

Tadpole Single Level Tiny Home – Aging-Friendly

Images via Build Tiny

The modern, compact kitchen.

Tadpole Single Level Tiny Home – Aging-Friendly 4

Images via Build Tiny

VIDEO: The Tadpole Tiny House


Our creative clients have been entertaining guests at their property for many years. They have an adorable single room ‘shepherds hutt’ called the frog, used for accommodating friends and family. When it came to providing their aging guests with a greater level of comfort and amenities, they decided a tiny house on wheels would be perfect, and of course they named it the Tadpole! A keen classic car enthusiast, our client wanted to build a multi-purpose trailer for the tiny house so that it could be used to both transport the tiny house to various sites on the rural property, and also to be used as a car transporter – so they worked with our trailer engineers to come up with a very unique trailer design, a world first tiny house/car transporter trailer. As for the design of the Tadpole, it’s main goal was to be user friendly for guests of all ages, and to provide a blank canvas for the clients to fill it with a similar charm and character as the frog. We hope the lucky guests of the Tadpole enjoy their stay’s year after year.

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Our big thanks to James D. 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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{ 8 comments… add one }
  • Wendy Morrison
    August 3, 2022, 12:45 pm

    Okay, how does a tiny house trailer pull a car trailer? Clearly I am missing something.

    • James D.
      August 3, 2022, 1:34 pm

      Simple, the house is removable from the trailer and that just leaves the trailer that you can then load a car onto for it to then be pulled/towed… If you look closely at the exterior photo, you’ll see extendable jacks on all four corners, the front two are folded in but they’re there, and that lets the whole structure be lifted off the trailer and then the trailer can just be pulled out and be free for other usage.

      It’s also an option for customers to have the home delivered by not pay for the trailer. So the builder takes it back after the delivery.

      Unlike RV’s/Caravans, the trailers are optional for tiny houses and they don’t have to be permanently attached. So some builders like this one takes advantage of that and offer it as an option.

      • W
        August 3, 2022, 2:54 pm

        Thank you. Given the cost of the trailer, it’s nice to have the option of not keeping it after delivery or at least getting some use out of it.

  • jerry dycus
    August 3, 2022, 2:08 pm

    A great size, shape and switching the bed with an L couch and ottoman by day or a pair of lounge/couch beds that can make a huge bed, 6-8 person table, are much more useful and you can entertain.
    And have room for other things, storage under, over them.
    I do like it isn’t attached to a trailer that just rots under most THOWs. Far better this way you can use the trailer for many things.
    I do epoxy/wood boats, EVs and it is easy to just make a TH into a trailer only needing the axle setup bolted to the TH frame designed to take that load and bolt a hitch on the front. No need for all that metal that is only going to rust away, used 1-2x.
    You can always rent a trailer or hire someone to move it the few x it is vs paying $2k for a trailer or more.

    • Eric
      August 6, 2022, 12:49 am

      … then again, some people (many?) use them for many trips etc. It’s really up to you how you use it. I’d, personally, like to pay for the trailer and have to use of it when necessary. Others may not. But, isn’t that true of life in general?

  • Alison
    August 3, 2022, 4:53 pm

    Very nicely done. I’d love to have a portable guest house like this. Regarding the choice of keeping the dwelling separate from the trailer, so the trailer can be used for other things, this is a great idea. (However, I understand that—in the United States, at least—some people choose to keep their tiny house on the trailer at all times, in order to skirt the laws that don’t allow stand-alone buildings. It’s silly, if the tiny house will rarely be moved, but by keeping it as a trailer, it can be registered as a vehicle and does not have to comply with building codes. But that has nothing to do with this well-designed home.)

  • Donna Rae
    August 5, 2022, 12:19 pm

    I suppose this provides the barest of necessities but it seems more like a vacation camper than a residence. And it might very well be the perfect fit for those with limited backyard space for aging relatives and could be more affordable than some others but as someone who might need to live in an ADU at some point, I would find this way too limiting. It just isn’t that aesthetically pleasing even though the basics are there. I hope I can spend my waning years in something that resembles more of a home. A better kitchen with the capability of cooking a nice meal or baking a treat would be nice. A bigger fridge would be a must! The shelves above the bed are completely unreachable so better only put things there you don’t actually need and those built-in night stands could be larger and maybe with a drawer. More storage, please! This is all based on my own personal preferences so many may find this to be the perfect solution. It’s actually quite adequate but I want to feel loved, not housed. And maybe that’s a function of adding my own personal possessions. I don’t know, I’m just not feeling it with this one. My comments are meant as food for thought for the designers who might tweak the features a bit. I would say this is a good first attempt.

    • James D.
      August 5, 2022, 2:20 pm

      If you do an ADU, make sure of the zoning and local code restrictions. Since, not all will allow the ADU to have a full kitchen and may impose other limitations as well…

      For example, a Casita in NM had to have the stove removed because of the local requirements prohibited it for the ADU. So the couple had to opt for plug in burners, microwave/vent and a griddle even though they were only using it as an AirBNB. Mind, things like single family zoning can mean only one kitchen is allowed on the entire property, no matter how many structures are allowed.

      It’s one of the reasons some may seem to be missing something or may seem somehow extremely minimal, aside from special use ones like rental units, or actually split up into multiple buildings and you’ll only see part of the set up in one then. Along with considerations like cost, as developed past a certain threshold can trigger all sorts of fees, permit requirements, etc. that can add up to very significant amounts to the costs.

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