The Base Cabin Has Everything You Need for Life on the Open Road
The Base Cabin is a contemporary tiny house on wheels that is available in Australia—and it might just make its way across the pond. The Melbourne-based company, which released its trailer in March, is looking into international shipping, as they have had plenty of overseas inquires.
For $99,990, the turnkey cabin comes equipped with everything you need to hit the road. And for $59,990, you can get a shell that you can customize yourself. You also can choose from a number of off-grid and design upgrades.
The 146-square-foot space is designed as a couple’s getaway, but it can easily accommodate more than two with a daybed in the living area, and a loft can be installed for additional space.
The tiny home on wheels was designed by the Victoria-based architecture and design firm Studio Edwards. The designers drew their inspiration from classic Airstream trailers and the geometric design of A-frame cabins.
"Our brief to [Studio Edwards] was to come up with something completely different in the tiny cabin space," says Base Cabin co-founder Ryan McCormack. "When you think of that iconic A-frame design, it conjures up memories of camping as a kid under older-style tents and bivouacs."
Base Cabin’s interior is clad in ForestOne marine ply, chosen for its warmth and richness. "It’s also the most practical choice, as it can take moisture and wear and tear without having to seal it, where you can lose some of that beautiful rawness," McCormack says.
The material palette makes the interior feel luxurious and dynamic, with cedar and terrazzo floors, brass accents, concrete, tile, and black timber.
The layout was designed with flexibility in mind. The bathroom is located to the side by the kitchen to create a roomy corridor, allowing for better flow from the living area to the bedroom.
"We wanted the sleeping area to be toward the A-frame end of the cabin, as that large fixed window really captures the outside world and you can lay in bed and take everything in whilst reading—or just enjoying the views," McCormack says. "It also made sense to have the living areas to the rear, where you experience the real internal heights."
Another way the designers played with the concept of space was by having the ceilings stretch to almost 11 feet high. Their lofty nature makes the Base Cabin feel larger, especially with the center skylight drawing the eye upward.
The windows are positioned to help create a larger sense of space, and to connect people with the great outdoors. Some windows act as spotlights, highlighting certain features with natural light. For instance, the skylight in the bathroom welcomes in natural light in the center of the cabin, and it can be opened to allow natural venting.
"It was all about opening up the cabin as much as possible to allow for cross ventilation and bringing the outside in," McCormack says.
To reduce Base Cabin’s reliance on powered lighting and cooling, the windows and doors are doubled glazed to protect occupants from the outdoor elements.
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"The cabin can be placed in some pretty extreme elements that Australia has to offer—from the wild southern coast, where we are based, to the tropics of Queensland, or outback deserts," McCormack says. Earthwool insulation helps to keep the trailer cool in the summer and warm in the winter.
The exterior is wrapped in a commercial-grade butyl rubber, giving it a sleek appearance. Much like Airstream trailers, which are known to blend into their surroundings, the matte black hull camouflages the tiny home.
"If you think of a wet suit material, that’s effectively it," McCormack says. "It serves a number of purposes in that it’s lightweight, it doesn't degrade in the elements, and it means aesthetically that the cabin really blends into whatever environment you place it in."
The steel-frame trailer can be towed by most SUVs and pickup trucks, and the A-frame-inspired trailer’s angular design gives it a more aerodynamic quality, compared to boxy tiny homes on wheels.
Base Cabin’s "plug and play" design allows it to run off a main power source, and when off the grid it’s powered by a generator, solar power, batteries, and an inverter.
"We’ve tried to keep it as accessible as possible, so people can utilize it to what suits their needs—and if they change over time, the cabin is easily adaptable," McCormack says.
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Architect of Record: Studio Edwards / @studio_edwards
Builder/General Contractor: Base Cabin
Structural Engineer: Dynamic Steel
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