Are Tiny Homes Worth It? We interview Dianne in Castlemaine

Ever wondered if tiny house living was really a thing? We interviewed Dianne & Monty (her cute dog) who live in their own tiny home in Castlemaine, Australia; and we managed some nice aerial snaps too.

(Questions I plan to explore further include what is the tiny house community like in Castlemaine and what does a tiny house cost? Hopefully get to these next time!)

Below is the interview. Let us know what you think!

What made you decide to live in a tiny home?

Dianne's gorgeous tiny house in Castlemaine, Australia.

Have always loved tiny living e.g. tiny one bedroom flats, tiny caravans, tiny motor homes etc so began following tiny homes online when I started to hear about them.

I owned a lovely cottage in Tassie and wanted to move to Victoria to be closer to family so decided to sell the cottage and downsize to a tiny house.

Being now retired and with not a lot in superannuation, from the amount I received for the Tassie property and the cost of the tiny house build, it still left me with a good amount in the bank for my future, as well as receiving my fortnightly pension. Also, I'm making a smaller footprint!

What tiny home style did you end up purchasing?

A minimalist lifestyle and great living space (with gas heating hooked up).

I had an 8m x 2.4m tiny house built in Hastings on the Mornington Peninsula and it was then transported to Castlemaine where it is now positioned on a lovely property with another dwelling owned and occupied by long time friends of mine.

It is set-up off grid where I have six solar panels on the roof and three large batteries. I have a Rinai electric hot water system with two gas hotplates.

I access my water from the water supply on the property but am looking at getting a water tank in due course.

What things have you learnt from living in your tiny home?

Recently amended local zoning laws now allow tiny houses on properties in Castlemaine.

It certainly means a lot less housework which is great!

I need to be more conscious of the amount of power I'm using (being off-grid) so on cold nights rather than have my split system heater going I just go to bed with my electric blanket on and keep warm that way.

I've had to declutter significantly (not quite there yet!) so you are ever mindful of not buying anything you don't really need just because of the lack of space!

Quote from the local council: People interested in camping or occupying a caravan or tiny home on wheels on private property where there is an existing dwelling can do so without a permit as long as the camping does not cause any detrimental impact.

What are some of the pros and cons to tiny living?

Living simply (rear side aerial view showing solar panels).

PROS: Once you find a property to park your tiny home and come up with a suitable rental agreement with the landowner, you will be certainly paying a lot less than having to pay land and water rates, and even a mortgage if you previously had one.  Being off-grid, no power bills!

CONS: Compostable toilet - I'm still having issues with the toilet I purchased but hopefully I will get it sorted in time.

Recent update: Dianne mentioned she has a Clivus Multrum 2 (CM2) composting toilet (purchased from Eco Flo) and said: Costs around $1,200 and is all plastic. It sits on the floor and has a bucket inside which needs to be emptied every couple of weeks. Definitely not what I wanted but had no choice once I realised in my plans the toilet was sitting right on top of the wheels. Not good as my choice of toilet was the Clivus Multrum Low Profile (CM LP) $2,500 and porcelain which has the bucket (or chamber) under the floor and can last for up to six months before replacing the chamber.

What would you do differently when it comes to tiny home living?

Dianne's country tiny house with a good sized timber deck.

Check and recheck your plans to make sure everything is how you want it to be. I wanted a compostable toilet where the bucket went under the tiny house but discovered in the plans that the toilet was situated directly over the wheels of the trailer. (No excuse really, I should have realised!).

Now I'm stuck with a toilet with a bucket inside it that needs to be emptied every couple of weeks. It's only every six months that you'd change over the bucket under the floor of the tiny house.

What would you recommend to other potential tiny home owners?

Aerial view showing ample garden space and layout.

Research your builder and ask to see tiny houses they have previously built. I certainly had some problems with mine but I do understand there will always be issues but just do your homework to try and alleviate too many things going wrong.

Compare Dianne's tiny house size (front middle) to the houses around her.

Final words

And that's it! We'll be researching the tiny house movement a lot more in the little gold town of Castlemaine. (Got my lab techs on to it!)

We're on the lookout for tiny houses or prefab homes year round in country locations which have features like a sleeping loft, double-glazed windows, unusual storage ideas etc. Let us know if you know any!

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