Australia's Tiny House Festival comes to Bendigo

COMPACT HOMES: Tony Skinner builds tiny houses out of shipping containers. Picture: DARREN HOWE
COMPACT HOMES: Tony Skinner builds tiny houses out of shipping containers. Picture: DARREN HOWE

Tony Skinner is a self-confessed hoarder.

So when circumstances forced the Bendigo man to downscale, he decided to put the five shipping containers he owned to a good use.

He built a new home from them. Now Mr Skinner can't keep up with the demand for the homes.

Two of these tiny houses will be on show at the upcoming Tiny House Festival in Bendigo.

The homes are made from leftover materials, scraps and whatever Mr Skinner has on his site.

When he began to build, Mr Skinner knew he needed a kitchen, a bathroom, a living space and a bedroom.

It was the size constraints of a shipping container which drove the design.

A interior frame creates an airspace, which allows Mr Skinner to insulate the home.

But each shipping container is different, and so each home is different.

"The challenges are every one I do is a little bit different," Mr Skinner said. "A lot of them do require a bit of head scratching."

It's been so successful that some of the homes reach Australia's six star standard.

The homes retail for anywhere between $35,000 and $60,000.

Mr Skinner has sold to buyers throughout Australia. Buyers can be looking for anything from a holiday house, to a granny flat.

The homes are comfortable, cosy and easy to heat and cool, Mr Skinner said.

But he believes part of their appeal lies in ease of transport.

"It gives people a bit more freedom, and I think you then aren’t tied to being in one place even," Mr Skinner said. 

"It gives you the flexibility of maybe periodically moving around and experiencing different parts of the country."

Festival organiser Darren Hughes has seen a growing interest in small-scale living since he began Facebook group Tiny Houses Australia.

He hopes the group will show people there is another way than struggling to pay rent or a mortgage.

The festival is the next step to bring interested people together.

Mr Hughes believes small-scale living can lead people to live a healthier, happier and less stressful lifestyle.

"The tiny house is a tool that can enable people to design the house and the life they want," Mr Hughes said.

"People have often seen them, but not set foot in them."

The festival will feature displays, speakers, exhibitors and workshops, all to do with small-scale living.

Speakers include Dee Williams, from PAD Tiny Houses, USA and Bryce Langston of Living Big in a Tiny House.

Tiny House Festival Australia, March 23-24, Bendigo Racecourse.

For more information click here.