George and Jonathan Avery at 1 Greenland Place 1986.

Just a bit of Greenland Place history

Posted on Posted in Architecture, Design

My favourite photo of my Dad George and I taken inside Greenland Place in Camden, London – my photography and graphics studio circa 1986. This was my second premises, having been in a Council incubator unit with Nick and our business The Image Factor, just around the corner in Carol Street Workshops for a year beforehand.

Just behind the Natwest Bank on Camden High Street,  1 Greenland Place was a semi derelict ex-garment factory (or sweat-shop as we used to call them) on three floors.  I rented and refurbished the top floor which had a marvelous loft atmosphere, windows around two sides and a pre-health and safety double goods door which opened into thin air with a gantry hoist!

This 1500sq ft space was ideally flexible for studio photography, fashion shoots etc. as well as having space for a darkroom, drawing board etc. – this was just prior to the digital revolution and I think my early adopter’s Mac SE came a year later! It was here over the coming years that I produced logos, brochures and photography for a range of clients from small businesses to a few Blue Chips besides.

And it was here in 1987 where Jo unwittingly met her husband!  She had a job cold-calling on business premises with a big bag full of shirts and sweaters for a company called Sleeves in the West End.  Now I would never have admitted a sales person via the entry phone, but luckily for us, Maureen Jones on the floor below had already let her in and after visiting there, mentioned that there was a glamorous young designer/photographer on the next floor who may be interested…!  Which is why she was able to barge through my door with her holiday tan and short skirt…and we were both smitten!  To be honest I put up a fight for a month or two but then Felix, Jacob and thirty years later we are still together and more in Love than ever!

It’s worth mentioning that Jazzie B and the Soul to Soul crew had a shop in the indoor market on the ground floor and their keyboard player Phil worked for Nick and I as a printer when we started the Image Factor!

Social Bite Homeless Tiny House Village Project Guardian Feature

Social Bite Homeless Tiny House Village Project Observer Feature

Posted on Posted in Architecture, eco-friendly, news, Press, Small House, Social Architecture, sustainability, Tiny House, Tiny House Scotland

Excerpt from the Observer article about Social Bite’s founder Josh Littlejohn:

Half an hour outside Edinburgh, in a tranquil spot in West Lothian, Jonathan Avery sits drinking tea in his prototype NestHouse. It is a dinky place but full of thoughtful touches. There’s a compact, Japanese-style deep-soak bath, a cute mezzanine bedroom with views through a porthole window, and a very hygge wood-burning stove – all within a building just 3.4 metres wide. The exterior is clad in thermo-treated Finnish spruce and the insulated front door clunks shut with the authority of a bank vault. Avery wears rimless spectacles, chunky work boots and a lime-green T-shirt that matches the kitchen chairs and the front door.  Is that on purpose? “No, it’s not deliberate,” says Avery. Then he whispers, “Yes it is, it’s deliberate. I’m a designer!”

When Littlejohn first imagined a village for the homeless, he saw the residents living in modified shipping containers. He admits that sounds “a bit shit”, but he’d seen an episode of Grand Designs where a young architect in Northern Ireland welded four together to create a luxury house. But the more Littlejohn investigated it, the more problems he came up against: cutting windows into containers quickly becomes expensive, and the buildings often fight a losing battle against condensation. “We could have done a glorified shed quite easily,” he says, “but it just would have failed because I think the living environment has to inspire change.”

A Social Bite employee found Avery’s website, Tiny House Scotland, and forwarded it to Littlejohn. Avery had been inspired to build his NestHouse after reading about the “tiny house” boom in the US. The movement was born as a response first to Hurricane Katrina and then to the financial crisis of 2007 and 2008: small (under 500 sq ft), cheap and cheerful accommodation that could be moved around if needs be.

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

 

 

Avery, 55, had personal experience of the economic downturn: he had been looking to expand his high-end kitchen design company, which had shops in Edinburgh and Glasgow, into London, but his bank suddenly declined to support him. He closed the business and decided to work on a smaller scale. Then Littlejohn and Social Bite came along. “It’s funny,” says Avery, “because going back to my furniture business 15 years ago, I’d have been making these for rich Edinburgh clients as a playhouse in the garden. Now I’m not so keen on that. There are other ways to use architecture; it should have a reason and a purpose.”

With a house design found, Littlejohn’s village started to take shape…

Read the full article.

Small Homes the new book from Shelter Publications / Lloyd Kahn

NestHouse features in Small Homes New from Lloyd Kahn

Posted on Posted in Architecture, Nesthouse, Press, Small House

I am very happy that my NestHouse has ended up in Lloyd Kahn’s new book – Small Homes – the Right Size – on sale as of 1st April 2017.  Especially having heard Lloyd speak in Kirkcaldy last year. Shelter’s first building book in three years, it covers homes from 400-1200 sq. ft., smaller than a typical American home, and larger than a tiny home – in other words – just right! There are 65 buildings shown, with a variety of designs, materials, and locations.

 

From Lloyd Kahn: This is, I think, the best building book we’ve ever done. (Yes, I’m sure I’ve said this before, but it keeps re-occurring to me.) Shelter is everyone’s favorite; it captured the times; it inspired thousands of homes. Builders of the Pacific Coast is in some ways, my best book. It’s an odyssey of discovery where the reader rides shotgun with me over a two-year period — cohesive and focused.

BUT Small Homes is so useful to so many people in this era of astronomical home prices and rents, that I think it’s hugely important. It offers alternatives to people looking for rentals on Craigslist or homes on Zillow. Here are 65 very different homes, of different materials, in different parts of the world. The idea, as with all our building books is to use your hands to create your own shelter.

Small Homes the new book from Shelter Publications / Lloyd Kahn
Small Homes the new book from Shelter Publications / Lloyd Kahn
Homes and Interiors Scotland Issue 111 Jan/Feb 2017

Homes & Interiors Scotland Jan-Feb 2017

Posted on Posted in Architecture, news, Press

Homes & Interiors Scotland Jan-Feb 2017

Rounding off a media-crazy 2016 for Tiny House Scotland – Homes & Interiors Scotland are running an article in their architecture section about the NestHouse in Issue 111 Jan/Feb 2017 – just out now!!  Photography by yours truly. ; )

Read a preview of the article here.

Homes & Interiors Scotland feature the NestHouse issue 111
Homes & Interiors Scotland feature the NestHouse issue 111

See a selection of Tiny House Scotland media coverage.

 

NestHouse feature on Treehugger

NestHouse feature on Treehugger!

Posted on Posted in Architecture, news, Press

I am very happy to see my NestHouse feature on Treehugger!

Kimberley Mok comments: “In the seating area, there is an interesting arrangement here of the woodstove and stairs that isn’t commonly seen in a tiny house. The woodstove has been placed in the middle of the space, while the stairs going up to the sleeping loft snakes around it, which seems to be a more space-efficient alternative than having it go up one side of the house. In addition, there’s storage space under the stairs, with a set of clever pull-out furniture for storing books and more.

Avery is currently working on his next design, the towable NestPod. According to the Guardian, about 10 structures based on the NestHouse are going to be built next year as part of a social initiative to end homelessness”.

See other media coverage here.

Sunday Times Homeless VIllage

Sunday Times – Homeless Village Titantic Hit

Posted on Posted in news, Press, Social Architecture

Sunday Times – Homeless Village Titantic Hit

Social Bite Edinburgh Tiny House Homeless Village

Sunday Times - Homeless Village Titantic Hit
Sunday Times – Homeless Village Titantic Hit – Never thought I would end up on a newspaper page with Hollywood Royalty!

The project came about when we were just thinking about the work we do with Social Bite and with the homeless, and how we could break the cycle of homelessness,” said Littlejohn, who hopes to raise £500,000 by Christmas to put the first houses into production early next year.

Just now we offer jobs, which is a massive thing, but a lot of support is required alongside the jobs and we wanted a joined-up approach. The fundamental problem is a home.”

Littlejohn approached Edinburgh council, which has donated land for the village. In addition to housing, the village will comprise a furniture shop to provide employment, a chicken coop, and a walled community garden.

The houses are the brainchild of designer and entrepreneur Jonathan Avery, who is based in Linlithgow and whose company, Tiny House Scotland, designs and builds the prefabricated NestHouse off-site. The homes will have one or two bedrooms, a WC with shower, a lounge area and a small food preparation area.

Littlejohn, who described the project as daunting when he first conceived it six months ago, said providing a “homely”, attractive atmosphere was a priority. As well as being low-cost, the homes have to be relocatable in case the council wants the land back in the future. The firm rejected proposals involving shipping containers before coming across Avery’s design. “Jonathan has spent the last two years building this [prototype] with his bare hands and it is a stunning little house,” Littlejohn said. It fulfilled all the criteria.

You can read the full article here in the Sunday Times online.

Designer Jonathan Avery, Tiny House Scotland, left, sits in front of his NestHouse prototype in Edinburgh with Social Bite's Josh Littlejohn.

Guardian online – Scottish Homelessness charity

Posted on Posted in Architecture, news, Press

Guardian online – Scottish Homelessness charity

Designer Jonathan Avery, Tiny House Scotland, left, sits in front of his NestHouse prototype in Edinburgh with Social Bite’s Josh Littlejohn; also present EDI’s Gordon Munro and Edinburgh North & Leith MSP Ben Macpherson.  Photo: Jeff Holmes

Designer Jonathan Avery, Tiny House Scotland, left, sits in front of his NestHouse prototype in Edinburgh with Social Bite’s Josh Littlejohn; also present EDI’s Gordon Munro and Edinburgh North & Leith MSP Ben Macpherson.
Designer Jonathan Avery, Tiny House Scotland, left, sits in front of his NestHouse prototype in Edinburgh with Social Bite’s Josh Littlejohn; also present EDI’s Gordon Munro and Edinburgh North & Leith MSP Ben Macpherson.

The Times Online – Tiny House Village Edinburgh

Posted on Posted in Architecture, Nesthouse, Press

The Times Online – Tiny House Village Edinburgh

People living rough on the streets will soon be offered permanent accommodation in a new “village” for the homeless (Mike Wade writes).

Under plans announced by an ethical business — endorsed by the actor Leonardo DiCaprio during a recent trip to Scotland — 20 individuals will next summer be able to take up places in “Tiny Houses” in Granton, north Edinburgh.

The Social Bite village will provide a “managed environment” designed to help those who have been sleeping rough adapt to a new, secure lifestyle.

Social Bite’s existing sandwich shops help to provide food for the homeless in four Scottish cities, and a quarter of its 100 staff were formerly on the streets. Profits are ploughed into charitable causes.

Josh Littlejohn, Social Bite’s co-founder, said the housing initiative was the natural extension of its work. “Our main raison d’être is to make a dent in the homelessness figure,” Mr Littlejohn said. “We’ve engaged in the employment, the support work, in giving free food; at some point we were always going to come full circle and consider the roof over someone’s head.”

The venture is designed to help village residents move into permanent accommodation after 12 months. With their new-found security will come improved prospects for employment, according to the project’s backers, and a chance to break a cycle of poverty.

About 400 people report themselves homeless in Edinburgh every night, obliging the city council to provide temporary shelter, usually in bed and breakfast accommodation or in a hostel. Each bed costs £47 a night, amounting to a bill over the year of £6.97 million in Edinburgh alone.

“It is a broken system,” Mr Littlejohn said. “Typically the accommodation is run-down but privately owned for profit. People have to be out on the street by 10am every morning. Realistically they have very little chance of a job.”

While its food business is restricted to Scotland, Social Bite’s fame has spread and it was endorsed in Edinburgh last week by DiCaprio and last year by George Clooney.

The new village will be on land owned by EDI Group, a development company owned by Edinburgh council. Each house will be built at a cost of £30,000, providing a shared WC and shower, a lounge area and a small kitchen.

The buildings are designed by Tiny House Scotland, a Linlithgow business that claims to fuse “building science with aesthetic design and individual craftsmanship to create a new alternative for small-scale sustainable living”. Bruce Mickel, of the housebuilders Mactaggart and Mickel, will offer technical support.

The units are transportable and, should EDI Group develop the land, Social Bite would be able to relocate the houses to another suitable location in the future for reuse.

Social Bite Just Giving Page - Tiny House Homeless Village

Social Bite Tiny House Village Fundraising

Posted on Posted in Architecture, eco-friendly, Social Architecture, Tiny House Scotland

Social Bite Tiny House Village Fundraising

https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/socialbitevillage

Social Bite Tiny House Village Fundraising – Click on the poster below to donate to the project through Social Bite’s Just Giving page.

Please help – over 400 people are homeless in Edinburgh every night.  

Jonathan Avery

Social Bite Tiny House Homeless Village - concept - Tiny House Scotland
Social Bite Tiny House Homeless Village – concept – Tiny House Scotland
Social Bite Tiny House Homeless Village - concept - Tiny House Scotland

Tiny House Homeless Village in Edinburgh

Posted on Posted in Architecture, Design, Nesthouse, news, Press, Social Architecture

Tiny House Scotland is very proud to be involved with social entrepreneurs Social Bite in a project to build a Tiny House Homeless Village in Edinburgh next summer.  The Tiny Houses will be based on the modular “NestHouse” developed by yours truly,  Jonathan Avery!

See the full article here.

Social Bite’s co-founder Josh Littlejohn said: “The Social Bite Village plan hopes to create a full-circle solution to the issue of homelessness – from housing to support to employment.

“In doing so we hope to alter the course of some of Scotland’s most vulnerable people for the better – swapping a destiny of poverty and exclusion for one of compassionate support and inclusion.”

All the units being built in the village are transportable and could be moved to another site in the future.

Joan Griffiths, vice convenor of City of Edinburgh Council, said: “Tackling homelessness remains a priority for the council and we work closely with our third sector partners to provide services for people who are homeless.

“Josh and the Social Bite team do so much good work for homeless people across the city already and we look forward to working with them on their plans going forward.”

The NestHouse - handmade by TIny House Scotland
The Nesthouse – Moveable Modular Small Eco-house System.