Modern Shed was a pioneer in the backyard shed world; Treehugger covered them way back in 2005, among our earliest posts. It is actually surprising that it took this long for them to take all their great ideas and put them on a chassis with their Dwelling on Wheels, or DW.
Founder Ryan Smith explains to Treehugger why now:”In many ways, The DW isn’t too different from one of our traditional sheds, in spirit. It embodies a living-small, efficient, one-room structure that can go or be put anywhere.
In general, we’ve seen a lot of interest in this concept because people are shifting around a lot right now. I think a lot of people are finding that they are changing their lifestyle or their work options, and so they’re moving to different areas, or consolidating family in ways where they might be able to live a little more efficiently!
So this concept, whether portable or a small room that can be added to a location somewhere, is I think a very strong one. That concept has been really amplified with this recent year, but I think there is a longer trend there, that started a few years ago. “Smith describes it in the press release:
“The DW can do a lot–it’s great for enjoying nature short-term, for off-grid living, or as a second, remote home. Adjusting the floor plan even a little makes it a great home office that can move with people as their priorities move. I also think it’s a great ADU for someone looking to move closer to home, providing a way to have family close by.
We’re quite enthusiastic about the combination of compact, portable living and our experience designing rooms that provide our clients with something truly unique and beautiful.” Some may debate whether tiny homes may be described as agile or as movable living.
Moving these massive, high-rise structures is costly. However, setting that aside, Modern Shed’s 15 years of skill in small-space design shines through. They point out that “I’ve spent a lot of time working with small areas.
The Modern Shed crew is sensitive to working with a restricted amount of space. The DW doesn’t try to pack a full house into a small footprint; instead, it takes advantage of the unique opportunities that building small provides, overcoming the problem of creating a space that is both functional and beautiful.
“In fact, while the “classic gable form creates a recognizable home,” they seem to allude much more to boat design than home design. That kitchen with the induction cooktop and the RV fridge goes against the grain of the usual tiny home.
In this layout they even seem to show that classic boat design of a table that drops down between the seating, extremely common on boats and very efficient.
Putting the sleeping at one end and the living at the other with the head in between is another classic boat move; the only difference is that the sleeping end isn’t pointy.
A few years ago, every modern tiny house was covered in Shou Sugi Ban, or burned cedar; this appears to be the year for standing-seam metal, as seen here and also on a new Baluchon French tiny home. The metal makes more sense than wood; it is lighter and thinner and is better at keeping the rain out.
The DW straddles the on- and the off-grid world “with a solar array on the roof equipped with batteries, and a wood stove to provide warmth, the DW is equipped to be used off-grid. The dwelling comes with two electric wall heaters as a backup, and is ready to accommodate water tanks or a composting unit.”
This is hard to do. Their bathroom photo shows what appears to be a Sealand valve toilet that empties into a blackwater tank, and they say there is accommodation for water tanks, which means it has to get towed around for pump-outs like an RV.
The four solar panels will pump out a max of 1200 watts, which certainly can’t run the fridge or the induction range. But then it has a “shore power hookup” to run all this stuff; it seems like they have designed a land yacht with a foot in both worlds.
It’s not the typical setup for tiny houses, which don’t move about much, yet it works. There is a lot of storage, similar to a boat, where you can build a bench with storage underneath instead of a loose chair!
It measures 221 square feet and measures 26′ by 8′-6 “, and starts at $129,000 — and, despite the convoluted requirements, Modern Shed has the experience to figure it out and get it built. Finally, they say:
“The DW is Modern Shed’s first portable iteration, exemplifying the company’s goals of effectively, sustainably, and smartly producing beautiful dwellings–levering the team’s years of experience adapting rooms to match the needs of over a thousand clients.
“Notably, they are also offering 10-foot, 12-foot, and 16-foot wide units, which are installed on-site rather than on a chassis, and aimed at the Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) market. That solves all these issues about power, parking, and pumping, and is probably where the real market is.