When a family in Queensland, Australia, suffered the loss of a loved one, a tiny home became their ticket to financial freedom.

"After the death of my father almost two years ago, we realized we were in constant fear of losing our jobs—and so we decided to work toward financial freedom," says Amy, who lives 304-square-foot home in Queensland with her husband Greg and their two children Zack and Jayda.

"We were so dependent on our jobs to pay for our high rent, large bills, and all the stuff we needed to fill our big house," Amy says. "If we’d lost our jobs, we wouldn’t have been able to make ends meet. We were working long hours and not spending time with our loved ones."

Before moving into their tiny home, Amy and Greg lived in home with four bedrooms, two living rooms, and two bathrooms. "Our bigger expenses were associated with the large house, which is crazy given that we never used most of the bedrooms and the second bathroom outside of the time the children were with us," says Amy, who is stepmother to Zack and Jayda, Greg’s children from a previous marriage. "Increasing your income is more difficult than reducing your expenses," she says. "We decided our best option was to reduce the footprint of our home."

The 304-square-foot house in Queensland, Australia, is clad with steel and cedar—materials that help the home meld with the wooded landscape.

Lucas Muro

The tiny home is located on a six-acre property that features a creek; native gum, eucalyptus, and bottlebrush trees; and birds, kangaroos, wallabies, koalas, and lizards. "It’s mesmerizing to sit outside, smell the gum trees and listen to the birds," Amy says. "The air is fresh, and you can feel the wind on your skin—it’s easy to stop and just be when we’re at home."

Clad in dark gray steel accented with cedar, the tiny home blends into its wondrous natural surround. "We worked with Aussie Tiny Houses and customized one of their earlier models to include elements that would work for our family and lifestyle," Amy says. 

A large, steel water tank behind the home collects rainwater from the roof. "We’re in a drought-prone area, so capturing our own water is really important. As a bonus, this means we don’t have a water bill," Amy says. "The water from our bathroom and washing machine go into a gray water storage system, which we use to water our vegetable garden—there’s no water wastage in our house." A composting toilet also saves on water. "It made finding a parking spot for our house easier, too," Amy says. "Not having to hook into an existing sewage system means we only need to have a powered site."

Residents Amy and Greg built a removable, modular deck on the front facade using reclaimed wood from shipping pallets. A counter with a serving window opens to the kitchen and creates a bar area.

Courtesy of Amy and Greg

Because the family spends much of their time outside, plenty of outdoor living space was essential. "Our deck was a DIY project," Amy says. "We used reclaimed pallet wood to build the majority of it. It’s modular, so we can relocate it if we move to another parking spot." 

The deck and outdoor entertaining space provide 193 square feet of additional living space. "Greg designed and began building the deck while we were still living in our old house," Amy says. "Each piece of timber was pulled off the pallet, planed down, and sanded before being put back together in the modular design. The idea was that we’d have all of these modules built, and then we’d just need to put them together."

A large bifold window connects the kitchen and the deck area, where bar stools pull up to a counter attached to the front facade. "The bifold window is a great servery window, and it makes summertime barbecues a lot more fun," Amy says.

The residents built a chicken coop with reclaimed wood from shipping pallets.

Courtesy of Amy and Greg

See the full story on Dwell.com: An Australian Couple Downsize to a Tiny House and Discover an Idyllic Lifestyle
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