Beaconsfield couple says goodbye to 30-year mortgage with tiny house

Ben Foster and Fei Ngeow are just weeks from finishing their tiny home. Picture: Matt Jelonek.
Ben Foster and Fei Ngeow are just weeks from finishing their tiny home. Picture: Matt Jelonek.

TWO Beaconsfield residents say avoiding the financial stress of a 30-year mortgage was one driver behind their big dream for a tiny house.

Fei Ngeow and Ben Foster are just weeks from completing their $55,000 vision for home ownership, on which they decided to act in 2015.

Ms Ngeow, a building life-cycle assessor, said the pair was not interested in a long-term loan that could tie them down financially – nor keen on a larger house they would spend all their free time cleaning.

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Mr Foster said choosing to hand-craft most of the build themselves was a learning experience, but one the product designer thrived on.

“The process is fun because you learn how to do all these different things and if anything isn’t to your standard you know how to fix it,” he said.

The pair began their journey by designing a trailer base that would allow the home to be moved.

Ben Foster and Fei Ngeow are just weeks from finishing their tiny home. Picture: Matt Jelonek.

While that was being manufactured, they got to work fleshing out what features to include and how to maximise their 14 square metres of internal floor space.

“A good thing about this is it constrains your possessions to a defined space,” Mr Foster said.

But that does not mean they will go without.

Included is a smart electrical system, automated temperature and ventilation control, efficient water management, a structure designed so Mr Foster – at 6’7 – can actually use the space comfortably, a full-size stove, a double bed and a two-metre projector screen that doubles as a curtain.

They will also be able to host visitors on a double bed downstairs.

“Be mindful. What do you really need? If you have any room left over, use it creatively,” Mr Foster said.

After two and a half years of planning and construction, Ms Ngeow said she was looking forward to moving in.

“You spend two years designing and thinking about how to make it nice and how you want it,” Ms Ngeow said.

“It will be really satisfying to actually start using it and experiencing it, rather than designing it.”

Ms Ngeow and Mr Foster are now on the hunt for a site close to Fremantle for their tiny home and are considering co-owning a plot of land or renting a space.

The couple will eventually release open-source plans of the work for others to use as a reference when building their very own tiny living spaces.

REIWA president Hayden Groves said tiny homes were a great way to utilise spare space in a metropolitan City that was sprawling heavily north and south.