Design your life to include more money, health and happiness with less stuff, space and energy.

Design your life to include more money, health and happiness with less stuff, space and energy.

The World Changing Ten Foot Cube

A new venture called NOMAD Micro Homes has designed a house that features all necessary living functions in a sleek, 10′ x 10′ package. The tiny house can be adapted for PV cells, rainwater collection and grey water treatment, giving it the capacity to go off-grid. The base model will be a mere $25K, and throwing down $3K extra will get you kitchen appliances. Vancouver-based NOMAD has a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo to help raise money to bring it to production.

NOMAD has big ambitions for the tiny house according to their website:

NOMAD’s goal is to reduce consumerism and focus on an affordable and sustainable housing option for the largest portion of our society: hard-working individuals who can’t make ends meet due to the high cost of living.

In the video below NOMAD founder Ian Kent describes how he sees the little home as more than a place to live. He sees it as redefining the idea of home, free from materialistic/consumer cultural constraints.

He also thinks the home’s design will inspire changes in its owner, as he told the Global News Canada:

Your consumerism would drop, because you wouldn’t be able to fit in things that people usually buy. You would become very efficient and that’s going to be a forced savings in your bank account. Plus, you are going to become a fantastic recycler and you are going to come up with new methods of recycling, because you can’t fit garbage in your unit.

Whereas the tiny houses popularized by Tumbleweed Tiny House Company are quite DIY, NOMAD will be prefabricated and flat-packing for easy shipping anywhere in the world. Its simple assembly and low price would make the tiny house format available to people who might not want to build their own homes, of which there are many.

Kirk sees this as a possible solution for many overpriced housing markets–e.g. Vancouver, which boasts some of North America’s highest property values. There might be a snag with that plan however: Vancouver has bylaws that restrict building homes under 320 sq ft according to Global News.

Therein lies the eternal question with tiny houses: where do you put them? A tiny, off grid house is very eco friendly if you source food and make your living off grid; if not, we suspect a nice studio in a city center with its minimal transportation needs will be far more efficient. And as we saw with the Occupy Madison Build and Boneyard Studios tiny houses, putting homes that are not on the grid in many cities is illegal.

That said, our hats are off to the NOMADs. Should they get their project funded, they stand to make tiny houses accessible to larger populations. NOMAD’s pre-made homes might take the movement one step further from its current place at the fringe of society. Perhaps with a growing tiny house movement, legislation and society can become more hospitable to these innovative little homes.

  • Marrena

    Clever, but ew–having to step with your dirty feet on the kitchen counter.

  • Nina

    This is in no way a solution to high property prices in Vancouver. You still need close to $800,000 dollars to buy a piece of property with a tear down house on it. The cost of the actual house doesn’t factor into the selling price at all.

  • gblock

    It’s a low cost start to true communities, less is more in this case.

  • Lisbeth Wallace

    I love the idea of “small” and a 10×10 is ok for a single person….maybe add that for each adult. Plus .. us seniors really would be hopeless on those stairs..for me it would have to be all 1 level. I have thought along these lines for years but my husband is not keen.

  • Andres

    Having to step on the kitchen counter is a major problem… For the elderly a real challenge to get safely upstairs …

  • Barb


  • Karin

    No bathing facilities. What if you have a family? Nice to have so many windows in the summer and remote places, but I would feel very exposed in a populated area! Some storage is required for change in climate ie. winter/summer clothing. Open concept doesn’t address noise either. If you’re single, it’s fine but more than one person trying to do more than one thing at the same time wouldn’t be conducive to a harmonious living space.

  • NOMAD Micro Home

    Questions about the shower? There most definitely is one—a tiny house would get awfully funky in a hurry if there wasn’t! Check out the floor plans on our NOMAD website gallery for a closer look:

    • CleatisKelly

      How can you have the shower right over the toilet? A better floor plan would have been to have the shower under the stairs (where the stove is) and shift the kitchen area down. Then instead of having the stairs along the wall, have a spiral stair case going up… This would cause the roof to be higher, but at the same time, the bedroom would have more headroom.

  • ergodesk

    Someone needs to get low cost housing started, just not sure this is the answer.Moisture is a BIG problem in very small enclosure, I think that my StyroFrame solution might be lower cost and more suitable for moisture and Net Zero Energy situations.

  • Ray Russell

    The loft bed is common in these types of homes. It’s as if the builders are assuming only young singles would be interested. Well, I’m in my early 50s and am very interested in a small living space to spend my last few years. Climbing stairs (or worse a ladder) is a deal breaker for me.

  • Jes Looking

    The problem with these things is that none answer the ‘what’s it for ?’ question. They may be a space for one person to heat up some food and sleep as a break from endless work, but almost every normal person needs more space because a house has permanent room for other things – like relaxing or working. This is a parking space for human resources.

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  • rick

    Looks great if you don’t own anything that you have to put somewhere like, oh I don’t know, clothing? I didn’t see any type of closet anywhere on that floor plan. Maybe it’s an option.

  • idic5

    so it looks like a nomad sleeps two, and two who are a couple since I see one dbl bed. I was unsure what that space labeled ‘open’ was. also, the video mentioned that it can (or is?) outfitted w/ solar panels to be off grid. so can we assume that solar panels-offgrid wd be under $30k?

  • Deborah

    Nice and artistic, but not really as efficient a use of the space as possible and, for $25,000 ($28,000 with appliances), it could be better. Too much architecture, not enough practicality and humanity.

    • Gen

      Exactly what I was thinking.

  • Lisa Gagnon

    I like the design, but a marketing strategy that includes references to disaster relief and housing in developing countries makes no sense to me at a $25k price point.

  • Gen

    they should send those houses, pre-assembly, to third world countries, instead of sending money for corrupted leaders to do as they please.

  • disqus_7wWyVBLcfS

    It seems to me that several of the comments here pay scant attention to the need for changing one’s assumptions and paradigms about living and what sorts of spaces one needs for enjoyable living.

    A few years ago I moved from a modest 2,200 square foot house to a 2 room, 320 foot apartment, and am working on getting my space needs down to 1/2 that in preparation for moving onto a house boat

    I’ve found it’s a matter of attitude – the hardest part s cutting down on my “needed” possessions.

    BTW, my experience is that changig the sheets in a lofted bed is PITA

    • CJMorgan

      Agree wholeheartedly about the agony of changing sheets in a lofted bed. If I ever do that again, I’ll just get some sleepsacks and whatever sleeping bags I need for temperature variations. That still leaves vacuuming the loft, tho.

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  • wordsilk

    How does this hold up to adverse weather conditions — I’m thinking about tornadoes, hurricanes/typhoons, blizzards?

  • Ray Nordmeyer

    Great design. Some of these evaluations below are so petty. If you can’t climb the stairs, Ray old man, then get a small space in an assisted living facility. Bathing facilities with a family? Yes, your naked body would be exposed to your neighbors to their likely horror. The stairs are innovative and workable. With new innovation and practicality the haters are always swarming to make non-sense comments. Dirty feet on a kitchen counter? Spare me. What? Muddy shoes or stinking socks hiking the stairs? Mindless drivel.

  • Burn a Koran a Day

    25k is still too high. Considering in some markets a complete home (1-3br, 1-2 bath, often with wood floors, can be had for as little as 15k for bad neighborhoods, to 50k’ish for decent neighborhoods with a little rehab necessary.

  • Patch Leishman

    I’ll be your first guinea pig.

  • Adessa

    This is cool but who the is the target audience? Single people who already have well established incomes? It is not “world changing” or practical I don’t see anyone lining up to drop 30 grand on a cube… it’s a bad investment for anyone with a spouse or family , student loans, or goals of higher education, or owning a first car, not to mention pets you’ve got room for a goldfish at least a bird at best…. I can only imagine buying this as a retreat to be alone to ,write,study, ect… Because it’s very log-cabin esque. when you could DIY for a 1/5th of the cost. Make them stack-able and we’ll talk.