The 17-foot Rakiura Tiny Home Is Elegance and Ruggedness Combined

The Rakiura is a compact, modern abode designed to easily withstand even the harshest climate in New Zealand 7 photos
Photo: Ecospace
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At first glance, this might look like a simple, tiny house designed for maximum mobility and basic accommodation. Still, behind the compact frame and modern style of the Rakiura, you’ll discover a rugged spirit born to face even the harshest climate conditions in New Zealand.
This Kiwi-designed tiny house is as tiny as a dwelling can be; it’s only 17 feet long (5.2 meters) and 8.8 feet (2.7 meters) wide downstairs. Ideally a one-person abode, the Rakiura can accommodate occasional guests in the downstairs lounge. Although it’s not exactly generous when it comes to accommodation and it doesn't flaunt the most comfortable loft bedroom, this compact tiny home is well-equipped, generally speaking. A thoughtful layout allows it to incorporate a surprisingly big kitchen and an elegant, separate bathroom.

The ample glazing that results in a front side that's almost fully transparent is excellent for creating the visual illusion of uninterrupted living spaces and added height. This modern feature makes the Rakiura seem taller while adding a touch of elegance. The lounge seems to overflow onto the exterior deck and further outdoors, which translates to stunning views for those inside and a feeling of airiness that's always welcome in a small space.

As you step inside, the most striking element that immediately catches the eye is the unusual, asymmetric design of the staircase and the loft. They were squeezed inside this tiny space in a way that also freed up as much room as possible for the kitchen. Aesthetically speaking, the result looks surprisingly modern for a house on wheels designed to travel to the most remote, harsh environments.

The Rakiura
Photo: Ecospace
Beyond the striking look, this staircase adds much-needed storage in the form of integrated cabinets, which is a way to maximize functionality without taking up too much space. The bedroom is really small and has no windows, which might be off-putting to some people. Still, The full-height, open-work safety features on both sides add structure and protection without obstructing the view.

Despite its size, this loft is still comfortable enough for a good night's sleep, and having a staircase for access is a big plus. Typically, tiny homes in this size category use ladders to connect the loft to the ground level, but the Rakiura cleverly adds storage while also making things more comfortable for the owner.

The lounge is big enough to boast a large, welcoming sofa and a rustic fireplace that helps create a cozy ambiance. It connects seamlessly to the kitchen, which is surprisingly generous for this compact layout. There’s plenty of room for traditional storage and full-size appliances, including a fridge, while the wide countertop adds a premium touch.

The Rakiura
Photo: Ecospace
The same attention to detail makes Rakiura’s bathroom both elegant and functional. The beautiful white tiling and black finishes create a modern look, complemented by an oversized vertical window that visually enlarges the room. The composting toilet is a regular feature inside the homes built by Ecospace. This New Zealand-based brand is all about sustainable, off-grid housing alternatives, and the tiny Rakiura is no exception.

The Rakiura is built from Structural Insulated Panels (SIPs) instead of the classic timber or steel stud applications. The main advantage is optimal energy efficiency, but SIPs also contribute to greater durability. Designed by the company’s in-house architect, all the Ecospace tiny homes are not only built to New Zealand’s building standards but also equipped to withstand extreme weather conditions. The Rakiura Tiny itself is custom-designed to face the specific challenges of the Southland climate successfully.

The Abodo cladding is another key feature that makes the Ecospace tiny homes particularly resilient. A sustainably sourced timber, the Abodo is also treated thermally instead of chemically and painted with three coats of eco-friendly stain. One of the essential features is the high-quality roofing designed to meet the national “Very High Wind Zone” building code standards, including the resistance to harsh sea spray.

The Rakiura
Photo: Ecospace
Eco-friendly paints and sustainably sourced materials are used as much as possible inside the tiny homes as well. As for optional extras, the most attractive features are the full-size deck and the complete off-grid package for those who want to turn their abode into a fully sustainable, self-sufficient home.

The off-grid setup is customizable depending on the owner’s preferences and the specific conditions of the desired location and climate. The custom-made deck, on the other hand, is a way to add luxury even to the smaller models like the Rakiura. In fact, a deck would be the perfect addition to expand Rakiura’s living spaces and enjoy the outdoors even more while still reaping the benefits of an ultra-compact house.

While primarily focused on the goal of adding sustainability and minimizing the environmental footprint of each home, this Kiwi builder is also highly versatile when it comes to design. The Ecospace range includes family-sized models that offer almost 50 square meters (538 square feet) of floor space, as well as versions that are even tinier than the Rakiura, such as the minuscule Hahei cabin that boasts only 10 square meters (107 square feet) overall.
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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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