NEW ZEALAND: Vannesa (left) and Jessica (right) with their dog. Jessica and Vannesa Ortiz /

By Rebecca Drew

MEET the couple who are selling the tiny mobile home that they spent $35,000 USD building from scratch after starting a new life in New Zealand.

NEW ZEALAND. Jessica and Vannesa Ortiz /

The spectacular series of images show inside the tiny steel frame home which has been built onto a trailer and reveal a neat bathroom with shower space that has been lined with corrugated iron and a comfortable composting toilet.

One picture reveals the cosy living room which has been furnished with a sofa made from wood pallets and another light and airy shot shows the two-floored property with a ladder leading to the double bedroom upstairs.


NEW ZEALAND. Jessica and Vannesa Ortiz /

Jessica and Vannesa Ortiz moved to New Zealand in July 2015 from California, USA and decided that building a tiny mobile house would allow them to live anywhere in the country.

Jessica is a Physical Therapist and Vannesa is a Fish Biologist.

“We watched and researched the tiny house movement for years and finally decided to just take a chance and do it,” they said.


NEW ZEALAND: A view of the kitchen. Jessica and Vannesa Ortiz /
“Moving to New Zealand gave us the extra push that we needed to actually begin this project.

“Jessica’s Dad and Stepmum moved to New Zealand in 2010 and we made a trip out to visit them in 2011, it was then that we truly fell in love with New Zealand,” they said.

“We loved the beautiful landscape, the culture and the people, and the laid-back lifestyle, since that trip, we always knew we wanted to live in New Zealand one day.

“We didn’t know for sure where in New Zealand we wanted to end up, so building a mobile tiny house seemed to be the best way for us to have our own home but also not be tied to one location.

“We love the concept of tiny houses and living within our means, while only creating a small carbon footprint.


NEW ZEALAND: Bathroom. Jessica and Vannesa Ortiz /

“After years of researching and gathering ideas for floorplans, we began our project in October 2015.”

The couple say that because they were creating a very small space they were able to use good quality building materials.

Jessica and Vannesa completed almost every stage of the build by themselves which meant that they had to learn and adapt along the way.

“Because we were building a smaller space, this allowed us to only use the best quality building materials we could find,” they explained.

“From steel framing, to steel roofing and cladding, and double glazed windows, this tiny house was certainly built to last.


NEW ZEALAND: Bathroom. Jessica and Vannesa Ortiz /

“There were so many problems to overcome during our build, when you think about building a house there are tradesmen and specialists for almost every different portion of the build.

“There are roofers that only do roofing, siding and guttering tradesmen, plumbers, electricians, and so many other specialists just to complete single aspects of one build.

“In building our own tiny house, we completed almost every single phase by ourselves.

“In the end, we learned so much and worked together, and now we have a beautiful home to show for it.”


NEW ZEALAND: Sofa made from pallets. Jessica and Vannesa Ortiz /
The couple moved back to the USA in November 2016 after issues with their visas and are currently selling their home on TradeMe for $54,855 USD.

“People seem to be very impressed and comment about how professionally finished it looks,” they added.

“Everyone is impressed by how open and large it seems in person which is exactly what we were trying to achieve.


NEW ZEALAND. Jessica and Vannesa Ortiz /
“We wanted to keep the open feel, just because you have a small space, does not mean you should feel confined.”

For their next project, Jessica and Vannesa are planning on buying an Airstream camper van to completely refurbish.

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