Paul Smith, Kevin Lawton and Jarred Balle.
Three Leigh builders are boxing clever with a brand-new business focused on tiny houses and pint-sized prefabs. Kevin Lawton, Jarred Balle and Paul Smith have been working for many years as Leigh Builders, but have now launched Tiny Living to concentrate on a growing demand for transportable custom compact builds.
Inside their large, airy purpose-built workshop in Leigh, they can manufacture top quality tiny homes, hobby rooms, home offices, sleepouts, retail spaces – anything a customer likes so long as it fits on a trailer up to 12.5 metres.
“We build them here and wheel them out,” Kevin says. “This is top-end, bespoke design, custom-built by three experienced builders. And we use full size fixtures and fittings.”
Their first project was fitting out Anne Dewey’s Knitting Truck, at Charlie’s Gelato, near Matakana, in 2019.
“The boys really enjoyed it as it was something really different,” Kevin says. “And we were getting a lot of approaches from the public. Jarred and Paul said, ‘why don’t we build some of these?’, so I said, ‘I’m keen if you are’.”
The trio work closely with Titirangi-based architectural designers Tiny Easy, who provide detailed plans and computer-generated imagery, and use all-local suppliers for builds and fit-outs.
Kevin says the move to tiny builds makes sense these days.
“The cost of land has just gone crazy, and more people are downsizing. We’re trying to make homes available to more people. A tiny house on wheels comes into its own because it’s deemed legally as a vehicle, not a structure. And it gives us an opportunity to really focus on high quality construction.”
Tiny Living can also do container and vehicle conversions, and Leigh Builders is still operating to handle any work required once a structure is in situ, such as decking or hard landscaping.
“Our goal is to create stylish, functional tiny homes that offer Kiwis an easy way to have their dream home, while living sustainably and without the crazy price tag,” Kevin says.