A Tiny, Portable House You’ll Want To Live In All Year

Summer is vacation season so many people are packing up the trailer or RV and heading out on the open road in search of some off-grid adventure. Roughing it can be hard if you’ve got a family, so these portable houses provide a way to get off the beaten track without sacrificing things like refrigeration or a bed to sleep on.

Most of these tent alternatives are still pretty cramped, especially if you’re traveling with more than two people. They’re also really obvious (you can’t really hide an RV in the trees) and consume fuel like it’s free or something. If you’re looking for the ultimate in comfort and efficiency, the answer might be waiting in 20′ long box known as the Leaf House.


Image via Leaf House

Twenty feet may not sound very tiny, but RVs and trailer homes that can fit 4 people are usually between 26′ – 35′, so it’s definitely smaller than the competition. And don’t let it’s boxy exterior fool you into thinking it’s less comfortable than the bigger alternatives. Once inside you find that Canadian designer Laird Herbert made excellent use of all 20 feet.


Image via Leaf House

The interior features a living area with sofa bed, lofted sleeping quarters, fully functional kitchen, a bathroom with a compact bathtub and an open dining area. Several large windows allow the natural light to flood in, and when it’s dark, LED and halogen lighting fixtures go to work. Furthermore, the home features many self-sustaining elements including a composting toilet, propane tankless hot water system, propane GE range and half fridge, Ecoheat electric baseboards, and a 35-gallon (132-liter) water storage unit.

Leaf-House living-room

Image via Leaf House

The entire Leaf House is built using Forest Stewardship Certified (FSC) timber, recycled materials, low-VOC wood finishes and paints, and features spray foam insulation and an Energy Shield wrap so you can feel comfortable using it in all four seasons.

As far as we can tell, the only thing this Leaf House lacks is solar panels so that it can generate it’s own electricity when out on the open road. Fitted with a way to utilize renewable energy, the trailer would be almost completely self-sufficient, and you might just find that you don’t want to move out when the vacation is over.

This Leaf House is selling for $43,429 and is only one of several models Herbert has built. Custom commissions are also available.

Beth Buczynski is a freelancer writer and editor currently living in the Rocky Mountain West. Her articles appear on Care2, Ecosalon and Inhabitat, just to name a few. So far, Beth has lived in or near three major U.S. mountain ranges, and is passionate about protecting the important ecosystems they represent. Follow Beth on Twitter as @ecosphericblog


  • Reply November 11, 2012


    “It’s” means “it is.” The possessive “its” has no apostrophe. And I love this house!

    • Reply December 11, 2012

      Rocky Mountain

      Wow, Dina! That’s incredibly helpful! Is my apostrophe in the right place?

  • Reply December 11, 2012

    Rocky Mountain

    $43,429 plus the $43,429 for the Ford F250 required to move it around. Don’t forget the insurance and fuel costs for the F250.

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