• The 'Tiny House' movement is "good for the environment", and may provide a viable option to Australia's housing affordability crisis, say supporters. (SBS)
The growing trend of "tiny houses" has arrived with what could be Australia's smallest home literally "popping up" in Melbourne's Federation Square. The lifestyle movement promotes de-cluttering, down-sizing and a sustainable, ethical lifestyle
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10 Feb - 7:29 PM  UPDATED 10 Feb - 9:08 PM

It's just over 12-square metres, but according to Tamara Dimattina from developers, 'The New Joneses', it boasts most features of a conventional home.                 

"We have enough room to sleep four people - it's fully plumbed, shower, toilet, fully functional kitchen fold-down queen bed, loft bed that sleeps two upstairs, laundry, cupboard-space."

Already a growing trend in the United States, Ms DiMattina says the ‘Tiny Homes’ lifestyle movement promotes the positives of down-sizing into small sustainable houses.

"Lower your bills with less heating costs, less cooling costs and the bigger your lifestyle. You've got more money to spend on experiences - making memories with your friends and family, it's just all about how can we have a fantastic life but with a lower impact."

All materials - down to the coffee in the cupboards - is ethically sourced, and endorsed by the company's partner, Fair Trade Australia and New Zealand.

Its chief executive, Molly Harris Olson, who has spent time in many remote international communities, says the fair-trade levy provides access to life-changing services and resources for the less-fortunate.

"That little tiny bit, which is about a penny on a cup of coffee has this enormous impact in enabling these communities to do the kinds of things we really take for granted every day in Australia."

Ethical retailer Vinita Baravkar, who provided approved the linen, has witnessed first-hand the impact the sweat-shop textile industry has on exploited workers in India and Bangladesh.

"People are dying at the age of 40, hardly living to 40, and what was actually happening is the toxic dyes they mix it with their hands, their feet, their bodies, and it's going straight into their bloodstream."

So the unanswered question remains -  does the tiny home with the tiny foot-print come at a tiny price?

$120,000 will purchase the fully constructed, moveable home. 

A proto-type will remain in Federation Square until February 25th.

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