Small homes might well be the answer for people looking to downsize, but are not quite ready to go all the way to a tiny home. Small homes, which usually measure upwards of 400 sq ft are also more fitting for families, while still allowing great overall savings. This so-called starter home was designed by Paul Hennessy of Park Homes in Christchurch, New Zealand, and it is small, affordable and built to Passive House standards.


The home is very modern and measures 430 sq ft. It also rests on a trailer base, so it can even be moved around at need. The wheels are hidden from view when the home is not being transported using a screen made of structural insulated panels (SIPs). The latter were also used to construct the walls of the home. The home has a very unique and interesting exterior cladding, which is made of aluminum composite panels (ACP). It’s not a common building material and is usually used for billboards, and there may be some fire safety concerns associated with it. The home is very well-insulated and even though it is built to passive house standards, the actual performance numbers were not revealed.



The interior is comprised of an open-plan living and kitchen area. The kitchen is quite spacious for such a small space and looks comfortable to use. A hallway separates the living area from the bedroom, bathroom, and office, which can also be used as a second bedroom if needed. While many small home designers do not opt for hallways, since they are a bit of a waste of space, Paul wanted to make his small home look more like a regular one.



The bathroom is of a decent size, and features a sink, shower and toilet. The main bedroom is also quite large for a small home, with enough room for a closet. There is also storage space hidden under the bed.



The main goal of building this home was to create an affordable “starter home” which appears like a regular house and could serve as a first house for young couples. According to Paul’s estimates, it would cost around $55,000 to build this home, which is indeed affordable. The home is also earthquake-resistant.