Bretts wasn’t born with the tiny living movement, but way before, in 1918, when it had also purchased the largest sawmill in Brisbane at the time. For more than a century, it gained people’s trust as an expert in timber and other building materials. Even today, it claims to provide the best timber, steel materials, and hardware in all of Australia.
With such an impressive background, you can rest assured that the Bretts tiny homes boast solid bones. In fact, this Brisbane-based builder says that it’s the only one in the country to manufacture everything in-house, from the steel frames to the doors and windows. And all of the Bretts tiny homes are built at the company’s site in Geebung, unfolding over eight acres (3.2 hectares).
Most importantly, each WheelHouse tiny is built on a dual or tri-axle chassis, with Truecore steel (considered a top-quality material), and using the latest building technologies. There are plenty of good-looking tiny homes out there, but resilience and safety are just as important. The WheelHouse dwellings feature a robust frame that doesn’t change its structure over time, that’s fire-resistant and termite-proof. In other words, they’re meant to be enjoyed for generations.
The WheelHouse 8.5 is the largest version in the Bretts collection, perfect for accommodating up to four adults. It doesn’t boast unusually large dimensions, being 8.5 meters long (27.8 feet), 4.2 meters high (13.7 feet) and 2.8 meters wide (9 feet). Yet, its greatest strength is that everything is included on one level – no narrow loft or uncomfortable ladders.
A layout that’s similar to that of conventional houses makes the WheelHouse 8.5 particularly comfortable. You’ve got the living area at one end, the kitchen in the center, and the bedroom and bathroom at the other end. Even before stepping inside, it’s easy to see how the sliding glass door and large windows make the entire place more luminous and welcoming, with an almost magnifying effect.
The living area and the kitchen are part of one open-space area, for both dining and lounging. A large sofa is placed under not just one, but two large windows, and can also be used as an extra bed.
The galley-style kitchen includes a gas cooktop and a gas hot water unit, with generous storage solutions – a built-in pantry niche with multiple shelves, and overhead cabinets. There’s also enough space for a refrigerator and a washing machine.
A partial wall separates the bedroom from the dining/living area. The best thing about it is that it feels open and spacious, unlike some tiny home bedrooms that often seem crammed within a very tight space.
There’s also the understated convenience of having the bathroom next to the bedroom, something that is more in line with traditional housing. The large en-suite vanity and mirror, the LED ambient lights, the ceiling fan, and the soft-touch close to drawers and doors (similar to the kitchen) are all small luxuries that make a difference inside tiny homes.
The biggest downside is that there’s not a lot of room left for storage. The WheelHouse 8.5 feels so breezy and spacious precisely because it’s meant to stay entirely clutter-free, with no bulky staircases or extra furniture. The builder envisioned it as an elegant design for temporary living, such as a family vacation home or a rental. But this doesn’t mean that it can’t be adapted for permanent living.
As the largest model in the Bretts tiny home range, the WheelHouse 8.5 is also the most expensive. The ready-to-move-in version comes with a AUD $124,999 (nearly $83,000) price tag. Considering the quality of the craftsmanship and materials, as well as the beautiful design, it’s most likely worth the money.