Tiny eco-houses have never been easier to build

Dropping everything to live in the wilderness has just become that little bit more accessible.

Ryan Frank is a sustainability visionary and South African furniture designer with studios in London and Barcelona. He's created tiny eco-homes (and lives in one himself) that are easy to build, taking around "100 hours" to make and only costing approximately $1100.

Blueprints for eco-homes such as the prototype shown in the video are open source, accessible for free online and available to anyone - they're essentially DIY homes.

These blueprints detail exactly how much material is needed. And although the blueprints for the prototype shown in the video are not expressly given, you can explore a wide range of inexpensive eco-homes on WikiHouse

The eco-structures are temporary, meaning that no cement, stone, or masonry has been used. In fact, Ryan's house is almost entirely wooden.

Nevertheless, they're entirely liveable and functioning with a simple, yet effective design: here, the floor is raised approximately 40cm above the ground, preventing moisture from rising up into the house, sheep wool is used for insulation, and a canvas is stretched over the wood to keep the house breathable and dry from above. However - in true wilderness living style - the kitchen, shower, and toilet are outdoor features.

“Living in a small space, you need to make a few changes, obviously, but in some ways I prefer it because you’re aware of what you own and what you have.”
- Ryan Frank

In summer, his house is cooled by opening the door and the window to create an air tunnel and in winter, the insulation and the size of the house are what keeps it naturally warm. A 100 Watt solar panel feeds the clean, renewable energy that sustains Frank's way of life. Its structure was inspired by another design from an ex-boat builder, where the shape of an upside-down hull is used for the roof.

Frank has also designed an effective DIY planter out of a plastic tube filled with soil, topped by a ceramic pot. The pot collects rainwater and drip-feeds the plants, which grow out of drilled holes.

Of course, the lifestyle that he leads isn't for everyone, especially since he's entirely off the grid. But it's refreshing to know that the house is an affordable, "off the shelf" idea that anyone with basic building skills can tap into.

1 Million Women is more than our name, it's our goal! We're building a movement of strong, inspirational women acting on climate change by leading low-carbon lives. To make sure that our message has an impact, we need more women adding their voice. We need to be louder. Joining us online means your voice and actions can be counted. We need you.

Anthea Batsakis Guest Writer, Former Social Media Intern Suggest an article Send us an email

Recent Blog Articles