Affordable, independent living – not such a “crazy” idea” at all… posted on the 15th August 2018

The great Aussie dream of owning a big home with a backyard large enough for a cricket pitch is rapidly moving out of reach for many, both young and old.  So sometimes it’s best to follow your “crazy idea” and think outside the square a little…

How a crazy idea led Fred Schultz to build and live in a tiny house

Han Nguyen

The Canberra Times, 28 June 2018


Fred Schultz was 50 when he came up with a “crazy idea” of building and living in his own tiny house.

Mr Schultz, now 58, said at the time he was working as a counsellor and realised he wanted a lifestyle change that would “radically reduce my cost and what I get is my time back”.

“Tiny houses are fantastic options for many people – they can offer a way for young people to get debt free fast, or provide affordable and independent options for older people to be close to family,” Mr Schultz said.

“I certainly learned a lot about myself, about relationships, about design, and the details of building and living in a tiny house when I decided to do this.”

After slowly learning how to build a tiny house, Mr Schultz, with the help of his wife Shannon, started building their home in 2013, and by 2015 had moved in.

“When Shannon and I met it became not just some crazy idea that a single man dreamed of doing, but she got on board and we built it.

“When we had our daughter, she learned to walk while we were in the tiny house and it was fun living all together as a family, but don’t get me wrong, it had its challenges too.”

Mr Schultz said a tiny house on wheels with a bed, kitchen, and bathroom could cost “as little as $30,000”.

This weekend, Mr Schultz will run a series of workshops at Ainslie Football Club to show people how to build a tiny house.

“The workshop aims to equip people with all the knowledge they need to take on a do-it-yourself build, saving participants years of research,” he said.

“We want to show people that they can have their own tiny house and not have to be paying so much in mortgage or rent so it can change a person’s monthly budget in a way that’s dramatic.”

Planning minister Mick Gentleman will be at the workshop to talk about the planning issues around tiny houses.

“The ACT government is currently undertaking the housing choices project that is looking at the range of housing options available in residential areas and whether they meet the needs of the community,” Mr Gentleman said.

“Housing types such as tiny houses have been put forward by the community as possible options that could be considered as part of this project.”

In terms of planning requirements, Mr Gentleman said if a tiny house was added to a block with an existing house it could be considered a secondary residence.

“These are permitted if they comply with the requirements of the territory plan and in particular, the residential zones development code and the single dwelling housing development code,” he said.

“There are no particular building requirements for tiny homes, as building and other related laws are not concerned with the size of a building, only its purpose and use.”

Mr Gentleman said if a tiny house was classified as a caravan-style dwelling, parked on a residential site, and used regularly then it needed to meet requirements of the Building Act 2004.

Mr Schultz and his family have since moved out of their tiny house into a property that was large enough to house their tiny house, which they now rent out on AirBnB.

A housing strategy by the government will be published later this year.


Tiny house, Big house or anything in between…

Let us help you make your “crazy dream” come to life too!


Call Sonia today

 0403 309 136

Written by Sonia Woolley

Popular Posts

Recent Blog Posts