Couple give up city living for quiet life in tiny home

An off-grid couple have turned their back on consumer society to live the greenest life possible by building a self-sufficient $65,000 tiny house.

Incredible images show the tiny house from the outside, complete with DIY French doors, while a bio gas digester and solar hot water unit show how these eco-pioneers generate their own energy.

Annett Welss, from Bayreuth, Germany, and Paul O’Connor, from Tauranga, New Zealand, met in Sydney before living there for four years.

Deciding to leave the grind of city life, they moved to the countryside to build their tiny house because of their desire to live fully off renewable energy.


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Paul O’Connor and Annett Welss moved away from Sydney to live off the grid. Source: Australscope/Media Drum World

“Paul and I were always interested in green living and making use of renewable energies,” Ms Welss said.

“Living off renewables like solar power especially made sense to us since there’s an abundance of sun in Australia. So we tried to incorporate this into our Sydney life and gradually converted our balcony into a mini garden/workshop.

“I started growing tomatoes and all kinds of herbs and built a small compost while Paul experimented with DIY solar ovens and mini bio digesters. We even managed to fit a full-sized solar panel on our balcony, which powered our TV and charged our phones.”

Ms Welss said their efforts to live green weren’t bad for living in a city, but realised they would need to own their own house to live completely off the grid.

“We couldn’t afford buying property in Sydney, nor did we want to,” she said.

“Eventually, Paul stumbled across tiny houses online and we loved the idea of simplifying our lives by building a minimalist yet affordable house on wheels.”


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The couple’s bedroom in the naturally lit tiny home. Source: Australscope/Media Drum World

So that’s exactly what they did and left Sydney a few months later.

The couple spent $41,000 on their tiny home before spending a further $24,000 on their off-grid setup.

The home has solar power, captures its own rain water, uses solar water heating and even generates its own gas via a bio gas digester.

“I love the fact that everything we need for a normal modern life is provided by nature and delivered directly to the house in the form of rain and sun, all one needs is the equipment to capture it and they will have unlimited energy and water forever,” Mr O’Connor said.

“I also love the fact that we live in beautiful scenery and at a fifth of the living costs that we had in Sydney. We are now able to save a lot of money going forward so buying our own property in the future and regular overseas holidays are now possible.”

The tiny house does have the ability to be moved as it is built on a trailer but the couple are happy with their current location.

Although life is good the pair did have some advice for anyone wishing to follow in their footsteps with particular attention given to each country’s own unique issues.


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The couple generates their own energy for power in their tiny home. Source: Australscope/Media Drum World

“There is a lot of research involved before going off-grid, e.g. it’s important to find out about rules and regulations about off-grid living in your country to avoid potential trouble afterwards,” Ms Welss said.

“Another important thing to consider is climate. Every climate is different and requires different off-grid equipment. A solution that works in a subtropical climate may not be suitable for colder regions.

“Other important questions to ask are, ‘What’s the solution for overcast days? What’s my average energy and water usage? The latter helps when calculating the size of the water tank and how many solar panels are needed.”

The couple hasn’t faced any big issues since going off the grid as they have plenty of solar power and a big battery bank to store the energy.