Recently I was touring the seaside town of Fort Bragg, California, and noticed a whole trailer park full of tiny houses and park models. The whole park appeared to be new, as were all the park models that resided there. It was a neat and tidy look in this seaside location.
This reminded me of some information I had received about Minimaliste Tiny Houses in Canada. The company was founded by Elyse Tremblay – one of the few companies in this space started by a woman.
So what, exactly, is a tiny house and how does that compare to a more traditional fifth wheel or travel trailer?
In some ways a tiny house is a fifth wheel or travel trailer, but more suited to be parked in one place for a long time. That also makes it much like a park model – which also is designed to stay where it was last towed. While all of these can be towed to a new location as they have wheels under them, they’re also not designed to be towed frequently nor often.
Furthermore, most tiny houses and park models have limited or no holding tank functionality. They have residential facilities like toilets that are designed to be attached to the plumbing infrastructure rather than be self-reliant.
A lot of the owners of tiny houses are also the builders of tiny houses using their own skills to create the semi-towable structure they’re planning to live in. But then there are a few companies like Minimaliste that can do it for you – and the company does do a rather nice job.
Ultimately they make two types of trailers, models that can be towed by normal people down normal roads with normal trucks. And then there are those that need a permit and a professional team to move them. Part of the reason for this team is the height. Many of Minimaliste’s houses are taller, which means a permit load. But that also means high ceilings and cool lofts.
Since we are all about the RV experience here, I’m going to look at the company’s Sequoia model. This is more of a travel trailer in that there is on-board storage of water. Also, some of the fixtures come from the RV world. But few of them do.
Before we take a deep dive into this model, it’s important to know that Minimaliste can customize the design to whatever aesthetic and floor plan you choose. From furnishings to finishes and all of that, the company is very flexible about its designs.
Looking at their “standard” issue Sequoia, the entry is at the rear. But that doesn’t necessarily make the unit feel like a big hallway, as some RVs do. The really high ceiling in this (the outside is 12’ tall) is really maximized in making the floor plan open and spacious feeling.
Immediately to the left of the entrance, the company has a couch and then a desk next to that. Further down there is a breakfast nook with two chairs and a wall-mounted table. This could also easily serve as a desk.
The kitchen occupies the end of the open space. There’s a residential refrigerator on the right, followed by an induction cook top.
The kitchen counter sort of wraps all the way around the space in a big horseshoe shape with a break that features the door to the bathroom.
One of the things that really makes this trailer very unusual is that there are swing-up openings in the floor that serve as gateways to under-floor storage. There is actually a tremendous amount of under-floor storage in this model. It’s a clever use of the space.
The bedroom is actually in a loft above the kitchen and bathroom. It features a bed situated against the front-most wall of the trailer. Above the headboard is a jalousie-style window with another window on what would be the camp side in a more traditional RV.
Right now, speaking with the folks at Minimaliste, they are, like so many in the RV business, taking orders for 2022 models. The company has really gone out of their way to design each of the trailers to suit the people who will be living in them. So appliances, furnishings and so much of the design are really dependent on the buyers themselves.
One of the interesting things I read was that the company has done some things like taking the location and position of their tiny houses into account. In other words, they place windows and other components to fully maximize the location.
Think of that seaside RV park that I had mentioned earlier. There were a few of the tiny homes in it whose windows faced right out toward the ocean. Talk about a million-dollar view. Although with the fishing boats coming and going, the visual enjoyment of the setting didn’t match the olfactory senses whatsoever.
There are plans afoot to offer a few more standardized models
At present, the base price of this model is $90,000 Canadian, which works out to about $75,000 US. There are all sorts of ways you can tailor this to your tastes – including off-grid functionality.
I think the biggest difference between this model and a park model from an RV company is that this feels much more residential in the materials and the pieces. Windows, doors, appliances, fittings and finishes are very, very residential feeling.
Since RV components are designed for the road and to minimize weight, this is not something you’re going to want to tow with a half-ton truck. While there aren’t standardized weight numbers for this, you can bet that you’re safest with a one-ton truck if you want to move this around frequently.
But if you’re looking to maximize the minimalist lifestyle, Minimaliste might just have what you’re looking for.
Due to the customizability of the platforms, I did not prepare a chart for this model.
These RV reviews are written based on information provided by the manufacturers along with our writer’s own research. We receive no money or other financial benefits from these reviews. They are intended only as a brief overview of the vehicle, not a comprehensive critique, which would require a thorough inspection and/or test drive.
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