Man Ditches Conventional Living for a Sustainable Tiny House in His 80s

It’s never too late to discover and enjoy the benefits of a tiny house on wheels, and this creative owner proves it. Despite initially having some doubts about this lifestyle, the 80-year-old writer let his spirit of adventure guide him, and it turns out that was the right thing to do.
Build Tiny in New Zealand was the builder of Brian's new home 8 photos
Photo: Instagram/Build Tiny
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We have shared many unconventional mobile homes owned by couples or families, but Brian McNeill can be considered a pioneer for having decided to start this adventure in his ‘80s. He recently told his own story for Stuff, explaining that it was more than just downsizing – it was about freedom and sustainable living.

Brian’s brother suggested that he could get a tiny house and place it on his riverside property. So Brian sold his cottage, which was getting harder to maintain, and purchased a tiny home from the very popular Build Tiny in Katikati, New Zealand.

Regarding the layout, everything had to be on the same floor to prevent the risk of having to climb daily to a loft bedroom. But Brian isn’t a fan of open-space living, so he wanted cavity sliders to separate what he calls “the studio,” the kitchen, and the bathroom.

A wood burner and a bathroom with a shower, a bathtub, and a composting toilet were some of Brian’s requirements. His new home was built in less than four months, even though it was during the pandemic, and he was able to settle in in less than a day.

What he enjoys is being able to live sustainably in natural surroundings and potentially travel in his tiny home. What he doesn’t enjoy is that insurance premiums are high because the house is classified as a vehicle, which also makes it depreciate over time.

Still at the beginning of this new lifestyle, Brian always dreams big. He doesn’t just see his tiny home as an Airbnb in the future, but he also envisions networks of tiny house communities for “the empty-nest generation.” For the time being, his next plan is to add a deck to his cozy new home.
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Editor's note: Gallery showing images of a Build Tiny custom house

About the author: Otilia Drăgan
Otilia Drăgan profile photo

Otilia believes that if it’s eco, green, or groundbreaking, people should know about it (especially if it's got wheels or wings). Working in online media for over five years, she's gained a deeper perspective on how people everywhere can inspire each other.
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