Natural Health

Healthy living, herbal remedies and DIY natural beauty.

Add to My MSN

MiniHome Combines Style, Affordability and Function--in Less Than 1,000 Square Feet

2/8/2011 1:24:06 PM

Tags: miniHome, Sustain miniHome, small homes, tiny houses, Robyn Griggs Lawrence

Here’s a home to love: Toronto-based Sustain Design Studio has created an environmentally friendly prefabricated miniHome that combines contemporary design, affordability and function, offering year-round living for all climates and the capacity for off-grid living.

Ranging in size from 528 square feet to 960 square feet, miniHomes are a combination of park model trailer, manufactured home and code-compliant residences that combine modern design with state-of-the-art building technology to ensure healthy, affordable homes. They offer all the comforts of conventional homes in a smaller, more economical and vastly more efficient dwelling. With renewable and nontoxic materials and finishes; building envelope optimization to limit fossil fuel use; simplified systems design; materials and landscaping to limit waste; passive cooling and heating; green roofs; low-flow plumbing fixtures and renewable energy (solar, biomass and geothermal), miniHomes have a major green impact.

A clean, simple design allows for greater efficiency of materials and adaptability; miniHomes can be oriented to make the most of a site’s natural assets. Based on a 12-foot-by-36-foot footprint, the home’s modules can be joined together in various configurations to create an expandable, customizable modular home. The interior spaces are naturally bright and feel especially generous because of high ceilings and floor level changes. Light, natural materials also contribute to the overall openness of the space. Large expanses of glass provide views, light and air to allow for greater site integration.

“Most of the science behind building a green home is taking into account smart design, energy efficiency and locally-sourced materials,” miniHome’s website states. “The Sustain Design Studio team takes these elements into consideration with each miniHome we sell. Working from this ethos, we will help to reduce your environmental footprint and keep your operational and maintenance costs low.”

I want one. Do you?

sustain house cross section 

Sustain's miniHome is efficiently laid out to reduce its footprint. 

sustain house 

Designed by award-winning architects, the miniHome is not just another kit house. 


Content Tools

Post a comment below.


2/10/2011 1:46:11 AM
I like the styling of these mini homes, but do have to question the idea of them being "affordable". The smallest model is 528 s.f. and priced at $109,000; that comes out to $206.44/s.f. The larger model is 960 s.f. @ $158,000; that works out to $164.58/s.f. Conventional homes can be built for far less per s.f. I've been reading up on concrete monolithic dome homes, which if built primarily by the homeowner, can cost as little as $40/s.f. Turnkey models (all you need are personal home furnishings and people) run about $125-$150/s.f. depending on the size of the building. While about the same cost as traditional buildings, they are far more energy efficient (i.e. R-60), built to withstand up to 450mph winds, won't rot or get eaten by termites, and are Type II fire rated (i.e. they won't burn) so insurance costs are considerably lower. Details are available at

ann allen
2/9/2011 2:28:02 PM
1000 square feet seems quite adequate to my daughter and I now. We live in a 960 sq ft salvaged steel Port-A-Stall horse barn, and have plenty of room for everything we need or want. The four stalls are bedrooms, baths and utility areas. The center aisle is the kitchen, dining and living room. We traded an elderly kid's horse for spray-on foam insulation and vinyl coating on the outer walls. Inner walls are still galvanized steel and we find that, with four large dogs, the surface is both practical and attractive. Everything except the front load washer, the new roofing, a wood stove and the bottom-freezer refrigerator is either salvaged or purchased from recycling sources like the Habitstore. Our inexpensive wood stove from the local hardware store keeps us pretty warm even in this mountain valley, where we do get down to zero. Total investment is less than $25,000 even though we have to hire help for all the many things this old lady doesn't know how to do! Most expensive was the cement slab. Next, a heat grabbing sun room on the south side to reduce our use of wood. I have salvaged almost enough 2x4s, but have a lot of nail pulling and sanding to do before we can start that project.

Subscribe Today - Pay Now & Save 66% Off the Cover Price

First Name: *
Last Name: *
Address: *
City: *
State/Province: *
Zip/Postal Code:*
(* indicates a required item)
Canadian subs: 1 year, (includes postage & GST). Foreign subs: 1 year, . U.S. funds.
Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
Non US and Canadian Subscribers - Click Here

Lighten the Strain on the Earth and Your Budget

MOTHER EARTH NEWS is the guide to living — as one reader stated — “with little money and abundant happiness.” Every issue is an invaluable guide to leading a more sustainable life, covering ideas from fighting rising energy costs and protecting the environment to avoiding unnecessary spending on processed food. You’ll find tips for slashing heating bills; growing fresh, natural produce at home; and more. MOTHER EARTH NEWS helps you cut costs without sacrificing modern luxuries.

At MOTHER EARTH NEWS, we are dedicated to conserving our planet’s natural resources while helping you conserve your financial resources. That’s why we want you to save money and trees by subscribing through our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. By paying with a credit card, you save an additional $5 and get 6 issues of MOTHER EARTH NEWS for only $12.00 (USA only).

You may also use the Bill Me option and pay $17.00 for 6 issues.