Mark Burton’s tiny house on wheels has caused quite a stir online and in the UK press — compact, ergonomic and ecological, you can take it anywhere! From the wilds of Scotland to London Town, this portable cabin can find a home (and even become your home, albeit a small one).
Burton also builds and designs customized static tiny houses. The tiny house movement is big in the US and Canada and Burton sees a real need for economy of living space in the UK as a solution to the housing crisis — in particular, with regard to the inaccessibility of the property ladder and the seemingly unreachable goal of young people becoming first-time home buyers.
“OK, it’s a tiny house not a proper bricks and mortar property, but it’s a start!” says Burton. “Take university students as an example. They get accepted at a university, in most cases away from home, so have to stay in digs. The next step would be to gain student finance. The largest outlay for a student in this situation is living (rent and bills). Most students that have completed their term at uni then have to face the fact that they are £30,000 in debt, in some areas it could be as much as £50,000! Great start to working life… not!”
He has a dream of fully off-grid student communities or villages of tiny houses, with each tiny house being brought in at around £20 – 25k. The student would then have no massive rental debt to pay back after his course finishes, and in fact, he would have a tiny property to sell on and get 80 percent of his money back. Or, if a person chooses the portable variety, he could elect to tow it around the world if he wanted to — at around 135 sq. ft., Burton’s tiny house is small enough to easily get about.
Cheap to run, fully insulated and capable of being positioned in a small space (someone’s garden, perhaps) Burton’s tiny house provides all of life’s interior essentials. With a shower room, a loft-built double bed, a lounge and a kitchen area, there’s not a lot to mess up, and there’s just enough space to feel cozy and comfortable.
When positioned by a main, fully hooked up building, the tiny house need not be off-grid, as all its water and energy needs can be supplied by a system of connecting cables. (Keep in mind that currently you still need planning permission to erect a small dwelling in your garden or on land in the UK.)
If Burton’s vision of widely available compact living comes to pass, for the price of a deposit on a conventional property, you could have your own tiny home!
Growing up in Virginia Water, Surrey, Burton built his own tree house in the grounds as a boy, so he knows all about self-sufficiency in a tiny house. Now that he’s all grown up, he designs and constructs custom-built sheds and log cabins and provides self-build log cabin kits, based on the popularity of his mobile tiny house. All over the UK people have requested that he provide a kit that local handymen and builders can erect on their land.
“As a child, I grew up in an amazing space: an old hunting lodge in Virginia Water, which was tucked away in the middle of a forest surrounded by 400 acres of trees we called ‘The Woods.’ From a very young age, building camps and tree houses was almost an obsession, every project became more and more challenging with bigger and better ideas,” says Mark Burton.
Interestingly, it seems that it’s Burton’s tiny idea that has garnered the most attention for him and inspired his passion. In 2012, his tiny house won the Shedworking “Best Design” Award, and in 2015, he was shortlisted for “Shed of the Year” with his diminutive — and cute — Pixie Cabin.