Tiny houses and other types of mobile homes emerged as favorites for checking most of the boxes for reduced bills and carbon footprint but enhanced mobility. With more demand for this type of homes came a wider range of options – from the biggest and most expensive to the most compact and affordable DIY (do it yourself) builds.
The Mini Mansion would fall in the latter category. It is a DIY project, but at the same time, it's also a functional prototype. It's also the smallest home we've seen so far, and that's saying a lot, considering the number of mobile homes we're looking at on a daily basis.
Created by Canadian inventor Jason Harms as a "home until home" solution, it's still a mobile home, even though you don't have to tow it by car or truck. Considering it packs into a 3-by-4-foot (0.9 by 1.2-meter) cube that weighs only 200 lbs (90.7 kg) and rides on heavy-duty rubber tires, it can be moved by hand from place to place if need be.
In house mode, the Mini Mansion expands to offer 50 square feet (4.6 square meters) of space and a 6.6-foot (2-meter) ceiling, thanks to an extendable column that starts out from the central block that holds all the utilities.
The central block is both kitchen and bathroom. There's a single-burner butane stove on top and surfaces that fold out to create a table and a working surface. A large bowl doubles as the sink, and there's plenty of storage underneath.
Slide out a few blocks, and you will find the toilet, which is a closed container that has to be emptied by hand. It's not the most elegant solution, but given the purpose of the design, it is an upgrade over a makeshift shelter.
More storage is available under the floor boards, where the 300W inverter and a 12V battery, both linked to a 40W solar cell on the roof, also reside. These power the LED lights and the fans and allow charging the phone and other devices. The exterior light is solar-powered, too.
When not using the kitchen or the bathroom, the Mini Mansion offers room for sleeping for two adults, either on inflatable mattresses or in sleeping bags. A pet could also fit in comfortably on the floor, so this very compact mobile home doesn't just offer standing height but is also family-sized while maintaining a very compact layout.
When it's time to move, the Mini Mansion packs neatly and quickly into a wooden box by simply collapsing the column and folding up the floor. Even as a box, it still offers extra functionality, like rooftop storage, a fold-down table and seat, and even a sun umbrella.
The Mini Mansion could be built with second-hand materials for CAD$1,500 (US$1,110) and the most basic tools and skills, while a "more refined" model would cost CAD$3,000 (US$2,220).
Harms is also open to new takes and ideas for his project and is welcoming them as comments on his YouTube channel.