Tiny Tuesday: Living Large with Less

Wheelhaus Rolling Cabins makes tiny houses that an average person might actually want to live in. With beautiful finishes, well-balanced architectural details, and thoughtful floor plans, these cabins feel far more spacious than their 400 square feet might suggest. And despite being advertised as luxury living, their prices are actually very competitive with the (smaller) tiny houses we’ve seen before – a typical Wheelhaus costs $225 per square foot compared to over $400 per square foot for most Tumbleweed models. (There’s an economy of scale when your four walls enclose a larger space, but still.)

The coolest thing about these modules is their ability to connect together. To give your dwelling a bit more space, the open-ended “Hitch Haus” design links several base units in any configuration you choose. Might be a wise choice for a full-time residence, as storage space is limited in the open aesthetic of a single cabin.

A Hitch Haus that combines three modules in a U configuration.

A Hitch Haus that combines three modules in a U configuration.

Wheelhaus models do exceed the 8½-foot width limit and 13½-foot height limit most jurisdictions set for personal towing. That means you’ll need to hire a professionally licensed driver and get a permit every time you move your house… which might be just once, from the Jackson Hole area factory to your property. They offer towing packages to save you the hassle, adding perhaps a $20,000 premium (say, an extra $50 per square foot) if you live on the east coast.

The company places high value on keeping a low embodied energy. Embodied energy is the amount of fuel it takes to manufacture a product – so called because that consumption is a characteristic of the product, as if the fuel were bottled up for its useful life and spent when you throw it away. The small size of a Wheelhaus cabin keeps embodied energy demands down, as does the use of recycled materials like reclaimed snow fencing as siding. Even better, the structures are built to last a very long time, preventing the need for repairs or replacement that “cost” additional embodied energy. (Colin did the same thing with all the zero-maintenance finishes he chose on his house.)

Thanks to Brett Silverstein for making me aware of this awesome company!

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