WHEN you're building a house, the most important thing is the foundation.
So, when it comes to the tiny house movement, advocating for simply living in tiny homes (some with wheels), the foundation needs to be the first thing you think about too.
But in the case of Fred's Tiny House, that foundation is a trailer.
"Our tiny houses are built with the trailer very much in mind,” said trailer merchant Fred Schultz, one of the most respected figures in Australia's tiny house movement,” he said.
"The trailer is custom made to fit the house, so there's a strong connection between the two.
"They're wedded together forever and we conceive of them together.
"We know the house that's going to go on (top) of it when we make it.”
Fred said that was particularly important when building the framing of the tiny house, knowing where there would be a bit of steel coming up through the floor to grab the stud.
He said the reason that was important was so many of trailer designs in Australia and the United States had an inadequate connection between the tiny house and the trailer.
"They just drill down right through the steel so it's a vertical connection either a baton screw or a nut and a threaded rod with a big washer for the bottom plates,” he said.
"We have our trailers built so that we know where the studs are going to be and grab it with a horizontal bolt system.
"Our trailers are unique in the sense that we provide a truly insulated floor for our tiny house.”
Fred first dived into the tiny house movement after he got burnt out in his work life.
"I was 50 and I thought my time is more valuable and I was not quite willing to make the exchange working for the man so I decided I was going to reduce my cost by having a tiny house,” he said.
He met his wife when he was designing that first tiny house, which has now been transformed into an Airbnb in his backyard.
"Mine was unique in that it was (built) off the grid, it didn't use fossil fuels, there's an alcohol stove, batteries and solar panels,” he said.
Fred said the idea of the tiny house was you could take it wherever you wanted.
He said there was a variety of reasons that people wanted to take part in the movement, but it seemed many were doing it because they weren't satisfied with their work/life balance and wanted to spend their time and money doing other things rather than paying off large mortgages.
"Other advantages to having them on wheels is you don't incur the authority of local council to regulate buildings,” he said.
"You do need to build them in a sound way but part of the idea of the tiny house is the freedom.
"You can take it anywhere you want but you don't get to opt out of the laws of physics and it still needs to be a sound building.”
Fred said a growing demographic was women looking towards retirement who might not have been in the workforce for long.
"They appeal to them not just for the affordability but for the community too.”
Find out more at the website www.fredstinyhouse