Australia is only behind the US in building the biggest freestanding houses in the world at an average of 230.8 square metres. Another interesting statistic is that the size of Australia’s average freestanding house has more than doubled since the 1950s while the number of occupants has halved. So is bigger always better?

One Melbourne-based business is proving that it is not, with an innovative housing concept that addresses key issues such as affordability and youth homelessness as well as environmental sustainability, thanks to certified timber from Responsible Wood.

This ‘tiny home’ business began with international architects Grimshaw winning a cubby house design competition held by Kids Under Cover in 2017. Nest’d, a new social enterprise born out of this collaboration in 2018, sells affordable and sustainable prefabricated tiny homes, with 100% of the profit from every home going to the charity to help tackle youth homelessness.

According to Nest’d General Manager, Kieran Callan, a Kids Under Cover studio built in the backyards and gardens of family homes actively helps prevent youth homelessness by easing the pressure on families. “Nest’d is the evolution of this innovation. We are delighted to be working with world-leading architects, Grimshaw, to deliver a sustainable, stylish and affordable compact home, which also invests in the lives of young people.”

‘The Peak’ is the top of the range design from the three home design options offered by Nest’d. The largest of the three designs at 32sqm, The Peak combines a contemporary exterior with sophisticated interior planning featuring a built-in kitchen, seating areas, bed and bathroom, all integrated into one cube-shaped pod. Costing just $139,000, this tiny timber home is delivered flat-packed and can be constructed in two weeks.

The design versatility of The Peak makes it ideal for teenage retreats, granny flats, home offices, yoga studios, Airbnb rentals or first homes for people otherwise priced out of the market.

Timber is used extensively in The Peak’s design with the structure comprising of sustainably sourced Laminated Veneer Lumber (LVL) with some metal external wall cladding while the angle of the roof allows for optimal photovoltaic performance. Natural timber finishes within the interior are enhanced by cleverly placed recessed lighting, and provide a welcoming atmosphere while maximising the sense of space.

ARKit, a company that specialises in sustainable and compact prefabricated dwellings, shared their expertise with the Nest’d project team.

ARKit’s focus on sustainability is inherent in their design process, construction techniques and choice of building materials. Timber, specifically LVL, ticked all the requisite boxes for The Peak.

The project team turned to Wesbeam Tall Timber Building Systems, Australia’s only local producer of LVL for the supply of the material, which is sourced from Responsible Wood certified plantation forests and processed in Western Australia.

Wesbeam’s Manager of Tall Timber Building Systems, David Bylund said: “Wesbeam LVL is manufactured from the best-quality Australian plantation timber to ensure peak performance, strength and reliability. We also make sure the timber we use is harvested from sustainably-managed forest resources, which is why all our LVL products come with full Responsible Wood (RW) Chain of Custody Certification.”

The Peak is a game-changer when it comes to sustainable, relocatable and affordable housing while addressing the critical issue of youth homelessness. By tapping into a growing desire for conscientious living, The Peak is truly a tiny home with heart.