About Jonathan Avery of Tiny House Scotland

Jonathan Avery of Tiny House Scotland. Photograph: Murdo Macleod for the Observer
Jonathan Avery of Tiny House Scotland. Photograph: Murdo Macleod for the Observer

About Jonathan Avery of Tiny House Scotland

Tiny House Scotland is Jonathan Avery’s project to design and build stunning hand crafted, highly insulated architectural gems in the form of small and tiny houses, barns and cabins. Primarily to be used as fully functional dwellings and barns but they can also be garden buildings, studios, home offices, retreats etc.

This is my personal crusade to bring together the physics of building science with aesthetic design (both interior and exterior) and individual craftsmanship to create a new alternative for sustainable living. Whether it is an affordable starter home or a lifestyle micro living choice or the venue for a home based business.  Please note that I am a lone master craftsman producing a limited number of builds per year – I prefer to have control of every step of the process and I am passionate about the sustainability of individuals designing and making to produce uniqueness and beauty; no corner cutting, no reverence for profit – just an artisanal dedication! 

I have spent over three decades as a designer, photographer and furniture maker and have undertaken many building projects over the years – both for myself and clients.  I am based in Scotland and indeed have now lived in Scotland for over 30 years.

I have already done the ambitious business scenario prior to the Banking Crash of 2009 with a one-man business which grew over seventeen years, to have twenty employees, a factory, three shops and a considerable turnover…or as the cartoon Pinky and the Brain put it: “what are we going to do today Pinky?” answer: “Same thing we do every day Brain; plan to take over the World!!!”  Needless to say, due to the effects of the banking crisis we found our growth curve cut short by an unsupportive RBS ((because they had ruined their own business through greed and profligacy)!!!) which resulted in a change of direction and a new life style.  I have learnt a lot about myself and the world in the process and since 2010 have evolved a new philosophy which started when we moved to our smallholding and founded Shangri La Farm.  We planted 3500 trees to create a sustainable woodland and fuel source as well as creating a beautiful wildlife haven, here we try to live frugally and sustainably and just be happy with TODAY – not always striving for a tomorrow that may never happen – living life in the moment!

work sustainably  – my craft is my work and I am not trying to make a huge profit, just be paid for my time, skills and creativity – there’s a large dollop of Karma involved – I LOVE what I do!

Jonathan Avery tool details.
Jonathan Avery tool details.

As to Design influences, I have been inspired by the architecture and interiors of Bernard Maybeck, Greene & Greene, CR MacIntosh, Frank Lloyd Wright, CFA Voysey, Robert Venturi, and Terence Conran as well as the craftmanship of the Shakers and Japanese woodworking traditions.  I have been an avid subscriber and reader of the American magazine Fine Homebuilding for the last 20 plus years plus – a culture which still has craftsmen builders in the old tradition, sadly lacking in the UK housing industry since the 1600’s!  They have also championed the adoption of “the Not so Big Home” – Sarah Susanka as an antidote to the US phenomenon of ‘Macmansions’ where 500m2 is seen as small (or at least it was before the financial crisis)!  I would also cite very strong influences from the works of Stuart Brand – ‘How Buildings Learn’ etc. and of course, ‘A Pattern Language‘ by Christopher Alexander et al, is a seminal work in the idea of creating a sense of place.

If you want more information on the Tiny House Movement then look-up  Jay Shafer and Lloyd Kahnand of course the inventors of igloos, tipis, yurts, romany caravans, bedouin tents, frontier cabins, mud huts etc. etc!!!

Post and beam joints for the Tiny Barn.
Post and beam joints for the Tiny Barn.

I treasure my Japanese chisels, hammers and saws and have embraced everything from hand work to full CNC furniture production over the last thirty years.

p.s view my Tiny House Scotland Manifesto.

See an archive of all my work at JonathanAvery.com:

Jonathan Avery Design Summary