2 Oct 2023

The Kiwi YouTuber with a huge enthusiasm for tiny houses

From Nine To Noon, 10:35 am on 2 October 2023

Nine years ago, when Bryce Langston told people he was building a tiny house, they didn't know what he was talking about.

Now the Kiwi filmmaker has half a million Instagram followers and a whopping 4.5 million subscribers to his Living Big in a Tiny House YouTube series.

Bryce Langston, creator of the Living Big in a Tiny House YouTube series

Bryce Langston, creator of the Living Big in a Tiny House YouTube series Photo: @brycelangston

Bryce Langston has just published a new edition of his 2018 book Living Big in a Tiny House.

Bryce, who is 6 ft 4, has now visited hundreds of tiny homes all over the world for his YouTube show. 

He tells Nine to Noon that when he first started mentioning tiny houses to people, they wouldn't know what he was talking about.

“Now I think it's definitely moved into that space where it's more of a mainstream concept. You talk about tiny homes, and there's not a lot of people that have no reference for what you're talking about now."

Bryce was a television actor with an erratic income when he decided to escape the rent trap and build his own home.

“I'd recently been killed off of a TV show so I was back to basically being an unemployed actor paying way too much rent for an Auckland apartment and just trying to figure out how I was going to make life work.

“When I saw those very simple, beautiful small urban homes, I just was so enamoured with the idea. And I thought, well, if I could do that for myself, if I could build myself a small, simple, humble shelter I could get myself out of the rent trap and it would give me a greater ability in life to do this job that I loved, but that didn't always pay me very well.”

Tiny house advocate, Bryce Langston

Tiny house advocate, Bryce Langston Photo: supplied

After some research, Bryce realised people were latching on to the 'tiny home' idea all over the world.

He discovered the American man Jay Shafer (of the Tumbleweed Tiny House Company) who'd recently built an "incredible" little dwelling on a modified car hauler trailer.

"I immediately fell in love with it. And what was game-changing about that is it became a model of being able to own your own home without needing to own the land that it sat on.”

Bryce says he had zero experience with tools when he began the build.

“I was completely useless, and I made that very much part of my learning journey. Right from the beginning, I worked with builders, so I brought builders onto the project. And I've worked with builders on all of the homes that I've built since.

“But I've always, wherever possible, use it as a learning opportunity where I can jump on the tools myself and sort of learn under their tutelage and improve my own personal skills because it is really empowering.

“I think there is this undeniable mysticism that we have about professions like homebuilding and that sort of thing. But when you actually break it down and get into the nitty-gritty of it, it's something that we all have the capacity to do, at least to some extent. And once you do start to get a few of those skills that's really empowering.”

The house Bryce lives in now is a simple 15m2 home with "a beautiful bathroom, composting toilet, nice lounge work area and a sleeping loft" - an example of how far the technology available in tiny houses has come.

“Our composting toilet technology now is absolutely incredible, to the extent that I would consider it a cleaner, healthier, much better alternative than a conventional flushing toilet. We have great grey water treatment capacity now.

“The tiny house movement isn't just something which is localised in New Zealand - this has exploded all over the world. And so with that is a whole bunch of support companies and support infrastructure and technologies that have been refined and developed specifically for tiny homes.”

Bryce Langston has just published a new edition of his 2018 book Living Big in a Tiny House.

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