Part of the allure of building a small space is that the imagination is seemingly the only restriction. Interior and exterior space mingle effortlessly and what seems like a traditional structure really is something more. A fine case in point is The Sky Den built by William Hardie Designs along with the eccentric mind of George Clarke.
First seen on his wildly popular (and imagination-inspiring) Channel 4 program George Clarke’s Amazing Spaces, The Sky Den treehouse is actually three structures in one cleverly combined to let in the best of the outdoors while maintaining the best of the indoors. A perfect treehouse space for meditation and reflection, The Sky Dean allows you to perch on its top level and witness everything from the treetop wildlife to the sounds of the river just below.
The square is the central point and main living space of the treehouse-turned-functioning art installation. Clad in what looks to be cedar shakes it features glass doors that open onto a wide balcony with unobstructed views of the river. Inside the square is an impressively versatile space, with a functional kitchen and nooks of fold-away furniture (including two single beds) and wet room accessible from the deck.
Adjacent to the square is The Circle (shown below during construction). Constructed of corrugated iron, the outpost features a wood-burning stove and al fresco seating and dining. While there is nothing truly special about it it offers a great respite from the cross-wind and allows a perfect location for a cup of tea and a small picnic.
Finally The Sky Den features its highest point; The Triangle. A small loft-esque space accessed by steps from the outside deck, it is minimally furnished featuring only two small sleeping pallets and a bit of interior walking space. What is most obvious though are the expansive windows allowing for brilliant natural light both day and night as well as access to the sites of the tree canopy just outside.
In good weather, when there is no wind, the entire roof opens for an unobstructed view of the gold tier Northumberland Dark Skies (see far top photo).
It truly is a remarkable space that so delicately, yet successfully, balances the simplicity of minimalism with the furniture stylings of mid-Century and a dash of European flatpack. But it isn’t just the structure the makes The Sky Den truly amazing. Set in the heart of the Calvert Trust within the Kielder Water and Forest Park, the den is perfect for wildlife lovers and adventure-seekers who want the world around them to only be complimented – not trumped – by their sleeping quarters.
- Is this sort of construct for recreation only?
- Do you want a tiny house that serves to compliment the nature around it?
With it’s unique tapering design and rich, golden timber, you expect to see a cabin like The Lodge at Edenhall in a vast Wyoming landscape stateside rather than riverside on the The River Eamont (a river in Cumbria, England and one of the major tributaries of the River Eden, situated in the Northern part of Great Britain). But there it does sit with its intelligent combination of rustic frontier and stylish modernity.
The Lodge is a basic one room cabin with open flooring downstairs and a sleeping loft above. The sense of openness is provided by the single-pane, muntin-less, windows on all sides of the tiny house. Resting on what seems to be large skids made of the same logs as the beam system, the cabin sits isolated in a clearing by a wide sweep of woodland directly on the river bank. Just looking on the cabin you can almost see a rocking chair, lap blanket, and warm cup of coffee and chicory waiting. Likewise, the cabin seems perfect for a small family gathering with a supper of fresh, open-fire grilled, fish, mixed greens, and a bottle of Wrothham Pinot.
While the simple log cabin fits perfectly in its natural setting the feeling inside is simple, cozy, and inviting. Prominently featured in the corner of the main living area is a wood-burning stove with tall pipe and pebble hearth. But rest assured the cabin is far from archaic with its well-equipped kitchen, masterful bedroom, and beautiful wrought-iron spiral staircase. There are comfy armchairs facing the wood-burner, a double sofa bed and sliding doors which open onto the porch to let in cool summer breezes from off the water and, quite frequently, the unfiltered sounds of nature.
The terrain surrounding The Lodge is perfect for hiking both on flatland and foothills as well as mountain biking and light rock climbing. The immediate stretches of river are perfect for fly fishing and potential salmon suppers. If for some reason the immediate area grows old the nearby Lake District offers a variety of outdoor activities ripe for exploration!
What The Lodge lacks in square feet it makes up for in charm and comfort. It’s log cabin design makes it sturdy and economical for most seasonal weather. The mixture of natural logs and timber with milled 2’x4’s and even some sheetrock give the home stylishness and modernity. Perhaps no place more comfortable and no more inspiring exists outside the quaint Lake District of Great Britain.
- Have you considered living in a log cabin?
- Can a log cabin only be in undeveloped areas?
One of the most rewarding things about putting on the Tiny House Conference is the amazing things that come out of it. I’ve met so many amazing people, have had a chance to see so many tiny houses and recently I learned that many people who came to the Tiny House Conference left inspired and started building! Today I wanted to show you two houses that were built by people who came and learned all about tiny houses at the conference!
The first house is built by Jody and Bill who came to the conference. Jody and Bill knew tiny houses were for them, but wanted to come to the Conference to learn all the details, see all of the tiny houses we had on site to tour and talk with our speakers who have built and lived in tiny houses themselves.
Here is the house Jody and Bill built:
The next attendee that built a house was Mark. He came to us all the way from Alaska! Soon after attending, he began building his tiny house which has been his cozy home ever since, even in the harsh winters of Alaska.
Here’s his house:
Want to join us at the Tiny House Conference?
Tour lots of tiny houses, Learn from the experts and Start building!
April 18th-19th – Portland OR
Let it be known that Lloyd Alter is a huge friend and advocate of the tiny house world. He has written a number of articles about tiny houses, tiny house projects, and innovations made through smaller living. He is also the managing editor of TreeHugger. In an older article he brings to light an innovation that perhaps was well ahead of its time: the folding bathtub!
Not to be confused with the fold up bathtub (or closet bathtub) which saw popularity in the mid-1880s and worked like a ‘murphy-style’ piece of furniture, the folding bathtub requires no plumbing, no dedicated room, and is completely portable. Tiny houses are small. That much is for sure and a number of tiny house builders have struggled with how much room to dedicate to such facilities. But with a Robinson Folding Bathtub that need would be addressed and turmoil averted.
The ad above (placed, no doubt, by Robinson Cabinet Mfg. Co. itself) promises a “An absolutely new invention that has taken the entire country by storm. Nothing else like it. Gives every home a modern up to date bathroom in any part of the house. No plumbing, no waterworks needed. Folds in small roll, handy as an umbrella. Self-emptying and positively unleakable.” How feasible then would it be if a tiny house or small house were able to have just a small shower stall and then have available a folding bathtub for those aching muscle moments or general (yet few in western culture) soaking times? It is the ultimate space saver for luxury.
There is no real record as to the selling performance of the unit but few seem to be lingering and those that are are well-preserved in museums across America. Historically The Robinson company had more success with the fold up bathtub and marketed the folding tub to those with little space or those who traveled in some capacity. It’s time for the spotlight though and with the scientific advances in military-grade rubber a model could be made quite effectively and economically.
This is not to say that some clever alternative don’t currently exist including the Sylwia Ulicka Rivera designed bathboard shown above (image: yankodesign.com) or the portable folding tub popular abroad where very few flats have little more than a spigot.
It seems in today’s market folding tubs and inflatable tubs and the like exist almost exclusively for children. However, if it is good enough for them, should it not also be good enough for us?
- Would you give a fold up bathtub a chance?
- Are you planning only a shower or also a tub in your tiny house?
In the last two months The Tiny Life has put together a YouTube playlist of essential videos that address hot topics in the tiny house world including comparing tiny houses to RVs, getting permitted with DMV, and even OpEd pieces like why RVIA can be a bad thing for the tiny house world.
Hosted by editor Ryan Mitchell and co-hosted by tiny houser Macy Miller, the quick clips are barely more than 2-3 minutes each and are driven by quality audio as well as key text points. Save one visual video they are all audio recordings culled from the Tiny House Chat podcast.
In the first video Why I’d Rather Live In A Tiny House And Not A RV Mitchell notes perhaps the most obvious reasons people are attracted to tiny houses. Tiny houses look like a house. “It says to you psychologically…it communicates, that it is a home.” And while not all of the points raised in the quick clips will be agreed upon by listeners they are well founded and delivered.
The Tiny Life Quick Clips currently has the following in the playlist:
To subscribe to The Tiny Life on YouTube for both the Quick Clips and several very valuable, more traditional videos visit The Tiny Life on the YouTube platform and click on the Subscribe button.