Building for a bigger life

Posted on: 11th February, 2020

Category: Highlights

Contributor: Mary O'Brien

Above: JP Simpson in his own tiny home in Garrettstown.

If living a simpler life in a smaller more flexible space without the burden of a €300,000-plus mortgage sounds attractive, then Big Man Tiny Homes could be the construction company for you.

With the current housing crisis, Irish attitudes to house building are changing; people are looking for smarter, more sustainable and affordable homes; it’s about living a bigger life in a smaller space. Modular homes offer a great option for younger people trying to get on to the property ladder or for the older generation looking to downsize.

After working on many different projects around the world and Ireland, from bespoke cabins to largescale housing projects, JP Simpson set up Big Man Tiny Homes in 2018. Based in West Cork, the sustainably driven construction company makes cost-effective, energy-efficient, beautiful, tiny (and not so tiny) homes.

“A lot of people can’t afford or don’t want to be tied down by a huge mortgage,” says experienced carpenter JP, who spent a number of years working in the US where the Tiny Homes movement originated. JP lives in a tiny one-bedroom home himself in Garretstown near Kinsale, which he has recently opened up as a show-house to prove just how confortable and stunning a tiny home can be.

JP’s business is now moving in the direction of modular homes, which mainly built off-site, are constructed out of insulated super strong SIP panels and are energy efficient and airtight. These panels are clad in cedar, Siberian larch or metal, depending on required finish.

Modular construction is very popular in countries such as Japan, Germany and Sweden. Starting at €70,000 for a 600sq foot house and going up to €120,000 depending on the finishes, the beauty of modular living, especially if money is tight, is that the houses can be custom built in stages in six to eight weeks at a fraction of the price of a standard concrete block house.

“Modular houses allow a lot more flexibility,” says JP. We can design your dream 1000sq feet home that you can afford by building 500sq feet now and adding on another 500 in five years time,” explains JP.

All the houses are A-rated, with double-glazing and LED lighting, so units require 50 per cent less energy to run. They can be built to passive standard if that’s what is required.

Big Man Tiny Homes offers a full off-grid package including solar and rainwater harvesting.

“Radiant underfloor heating works fantastically well in these types of houses,” says JP. “The only downside is you can’t have a standard wood burning stove, as it just gets too hot.”

From design, planning and costing to delivery of a turnkey home, Big Man Tiny Home makes building your home a breeze…all you have to worry about is buying your furniture and white goods.

The units are fully certified as houses, not cabins, to meet today’s strict housing regulations and very little maintenance is required.


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