FOR the past few months a small wooden shape on Jamieson Street has raised eyebrows.
From a distance it looks like an overly large children’s cubby house covered in blue sheeting.
In fact, the curious structure is a Tiny House — a movement sweeping through the United States and Australia offering a cost-effective and environmentally-friendly way of owning a home.
Despite only having some basic carpentry training, Regan Barker is attempting to build what’s probably Warrnambool’s first Tiny House in the front yard of his father’s home.
The Tiny House movement has been gaining momentum in the United States and Australia over the last few years.
Most houses are typically on wheels to avoid housing permits and accommodate up to two people.
Less than five metres long and 2.4 metres high, Mr Barker’s miniature mansion sits on a trailer.
“I think I saw some pictures floating around on the internet and I liked the look of it. It was a while between seeing that and actually thinking about doing it myself but it must have planted a seed,” Mr Barker said.
“I looked into it a bit more and thought ‘I could probably have a go at that.’ I didn’t really have the skills to do but I’ve learnt as I’ve gone along.”
Since March Mr Barker has slowly worked on the house, starting from the trailer up.
Inside will include a sleeping space in the loft, a stove, a desk, a rudimentary kitchen and a few benches.
“It’s not going to have any plumbing so I’ll have a water bottle and a drain running out.”
Cladding, insulation and electrical work still need to be done with only the walls and roof up so far.
The Tiny House movement has appeal for those who want to shed their possessions or live a simple life.
It also might appeal to younger home buyers facing a tough and pricey real-estate market.
“As a modern movement, people are looking at house prices and they want to be able to afford their own home without being shackled to a mortgage and this is an affordable way to do it on a small scale,” Mr Barker said.
“And I think there’s an aesthetic appreciation for minimalism. Obviously if you’re living in a tiny space like this you need to cut down on your possessions and live contentedly with what you’ve got.”
It’s not for everyone and living in such a small space with a family would be nothing short of a challenge.
Mr Barker has two children and is renting.
“For me it’s not really going to be a space my whole family can live in because I’ve got two little kids but I wanted a project. This space for me is going to be a yoga and meditation space and a bit of a study.”
Depending on where his family ends up, Mr Barker might sell the cute cottage but his preference is to keep it.
“I’m not in a huge hurry to get it done. I’ve got to go away and research things when I get to a certain point.
“It’s coming together.”