Small Buildings

As a community, we would like to learn more about options for alternative living, including low budgest housing, communal living, sleepouts, manufacturing spaces, education spaces & other collaborative environments.

Here are some of the ideas that have been started in a Lumsden dairy paddock.

Here are some pictures showing how to customise a shed, & use a simple structure with three walls to support it. This became a think tank area & workshop.

Stevey has been on a process to learning about New Zealand building standards to a new level, ordering timber & building supplies using the advice of builders, engineers, New Zealand government legislation, published resources such as the BRANZ book, and information sourced on the Internet.

If you would like to discuss this, & even begin building teams & to arrange an event where we could learn about building more, feel free to email Stevey.


I worked with friends to create a series of small buildings. To date, there have been around 12 sleepout style buildings created on this journey.

The aim was to show the value of small buildings & to model how small, warm, well insulated buildings with big windows compliment dwellings. 

We modelled ideas using formal drawing processes, ordered building supplies and just got stuck in. Along the way, it became clear that decking, stairs and custom designed spaces (considering sun & wind) are key to creating successful living & creative spaces. The sleepouts show above were built in Lumsden in 2016-2017, then trucked to Invercargill on hiab to be installed alongside a 1960s cottage. 

Some buildings have had rather small floor areas. This building is only 3600mm in length & 1400mm wide. It now provides warm shelter on a dairy farm.


We have experimented with reusing a lot of building materials, & sourcing industrial waste from building sites. This building was framed up using concrete boxing timber that created the foundations for a Queenstown hotel site.


Some buildings have also been created using alternative materials, such as prefabricated panels; including reused industrial freezer panels.


We have dabbled with shipping containers too.

A few times we have built two small buildings at once. These two 10 square metre sleepouts were built using timber framing.


One of the focuses has been in establishing a low budget dwelling. This pole barn house was erected using alternative building solutions.


We work with registered builders, plumbers, electricians and engineers to develop the ideas.

But the key is to discover how to create amazing spaces, that are dynamic, useful, warm, peaceful, creative & with minimal financial outlay..