Tiny House

Alan Dall

Can be found on FB


The Chestnut Lodge is a pioneer of sustainable and intelligent design. It is small but has everything you need, it’s built with low cost materials (except the corten steel roof but that will last a lifetime), it generates its own electricity with solar panels, composts the waste of its users, collects its own water and can heat it for showers, and keeps itself warm via catching sunlight and good insulation (it also has a fireplace for when the sun ain't shining).

The Chestnut Lodge is a quaint little building that sits on a hill and overlooks a valley of trees. Ideal for a couple (although I’d be happy living in it with my family). It's kitchen is small (but has just as much bench space as my 3 bedroom home), and the large single room doubles as a bedroom, dining room, living room, and kitchen. A very eco-nomical use of space.

The sloping corten steel stingray roof which is the lodges water collecting system opens the living space up to the valley below with a round ridge beam (the big beam on the ceiling that runs through the room) supporting it which was locally sourced from about 50 meters up the hill and simply dragged down and into place.

The lodge is warm both physically and aesthetically thanks to the construction techniques employed. It utilizes various types of wood species for its post and beam structure, its ceiling, its flooring, and its cabinets giving it that eclectic and cozy feel. Between the post and beam structure the walls are infilled with light straw clay (straw mixed with a bit of clay) and have a lime render. This is a pleasant and warm not to mention very cost effective method of filling out walls between structure (staw doesn't cost much and dirt is, well, dirt cheap- in this case free).

Much of the cost has been kept down thanks to most of the labour being done by Steve and friends. In addition the doors, windows, fireplace, etc are secondhand and obtained at bargain prices, and the other materials are inherently cost effective. As noted before the roof is the most expensive part of the building with the corten steel sheets costing about $1000 each.

For more info about the Chestnut Lodge visit www.jesterhouse.co.nz and send Steve an email. Or better yet go visit Jester House Cafe and ask to speak to Steve, he loves discussing light earth construction. Lastly consider hiring Steve to consult on your own light earth build.