The Tiny House Project by The Upcyclist

We like to call it “The Tiny”.

Our first tiny house build was inspired by the tiny house movement, but it does not have the full amenities of a house, it’s simply a “tiny”.  It was designed as a single person living space that would be situated within walking distance of the main house. It’s perfect as a garden apartment or backyard guest house.

What’s in the Tiny?

It has a:

• Fold up single bed

• Fold away desk

• The Bower’s signature wooden storage crates (which double as seating)

• Flip up, flip down shelving

• Solar powered electrical system, with LED lighting and a 240v power point. The inverter for the power is a pure sign wave inverter making it suitable for recharging laptops.

• Pallet wood deck and stairs

• A 6×8 box trailer which is sold with the building.

• Lovingly restored red cedar double glass doors with a deadlock and antique handles

• Restored red cedar window

• It’s 100% waterproof, wall and ceiling insulated

What was it made from?

The tiny is made from more than 95% recycled materials. Sourced primarily from The Bower, Reverse Garbage and then other salvage yards around Sydney. The few items purchased new include roofing screws, front door deadlock and electricity inverter. The exterior cladding is an artistically assembled combination of salvaged zinc alum, corrugated iron, cedar weatherboards, and hardwood fence palings. The internal walls are lined with an eclectic combination of plywood sheeting and flooring sample boards. The wall cavity is filled with a typically Bower mix of standard housing insulation; earthwool (a product made from recycled glass and sand), polyester batts, and pink batts. The ceiling is insulated with reflective foil lined air-cell. About half of the screws and fixings used are second hand from The Bower. The others were bought new in order to get the job done on time. The shelving and desk are Tasmanian oak cupboard doors.

The tiny was designed and built over a 3 month period. There has been over 500 hours spent building, designing and hunting down materials for the building. Over 20 people have contributed their time to the project.

Why was it built?

The tiny house project was a collaboration between James Galletly (The Upcyclist) and The Bower. It was undertaken as a demonstration and information gathering exercise. We wanted to demonstrate what can be done with recycled materials and expose Sydney to the concept of tiny house living. And along the way explore designing small living spaces and the public perceptions of the idea. Proceeds from the sale will go to The Bower and towards funding the start-up of James’s business building tiny houses with recycled materials.

Why is it on wheels?

The tiny was built on top of a standard 6×8 box trailer. Part of our challenge was to design a space using commonly available materials and a box trailer is ubiquitous to the Australian backyard. Tiny houses are often built on wheels. This is done as a practical solution to a number of problems within “the system”. Being on wheels means they can be considered as temporary structures and do not require regulatory approval, like a DA. Also there are a number of restrictions placed on the minimum size of houses and their rooms in the building code and local council by-laws that can be side stepped by being on wheels. Tiny houses are not meant to be towed around the country. A caravan would be better for that. The structure can easily be detached from the trailer and made permanent by placing it on bearers and a foundation as you would for a regular house.

Where is it now?

 After construction The Tiny resided in Marrickville Sydney, outside The Bower Re-use and Repair Center.  It was there for 2 months to allow the community to look through the building and see/feel what tiny living spaces were all about.  The The Tiny was sold in an ebay auction.  The proud new owners took her down the south coast (NSW) were they planned to use The Tiny as a cosy bedroom while they renovated a heritage cottage to live in.


The Upcyclist Facebook page for a history of building updates

Sydney Morning Herald article & video including James

Article in Green Lifestyle Magazine about The Tiny

Photos of The Tiny on

About The Bower

The Bower takes `hard waste’ which is heading to landfill and makes these items available to the public for reuse. They work to raise awareness of the value of waste reduction and advocate for long life design, repairable products and the use of sustainable, recyclable materials for appliances and furnishings. Phone: 02 9568 6280


All photos on this website are by Alicia Fox.  You can contact her at

Photos by Alicia Fox Photography © 2014