Responding to a more ecological, minimalist and economical lifestyle choice, the different concepts ofalternative habitats are aimed at everyone.

Whether you are alone or in a relationship, with or without children, there are necessarily, among all the cheap accommodation solutions mentioned in this article, one that corresponds to your desires, your budget and the comfort you need.

Each alternative home has its own characteristics of course but there is, however, one thing in common among all: their small size.

No more excesses! We aim to return to the roots, to lead a simple life and to devote ourselves to what is really essentialfor us. All you have to do is choose your future atypical accommodation to carry out this beautiful project 😊

La Tiny House

Tiny House

Credit Image @Bimify

The concept of Tiny House, literally “cute little house”, was born in the United States following the real estate crisis of 2008, thus allowing to become a homeowner at a lower cost and to take his little one home anywhere. Less polluting and more robust than motorhomes,this small house on wheels will develop strongly over the last 10 years thanks to the development of a greener and anti-materialistic lifestyle.

Known for its qualities in terms of mobility, solidity and economy, Tiny House is now aimed at a wider audience. Fully customizable it is the ideal solution for different needs: minimalist accommodation, extra room, professional office, street business, camping accommodation, etc.

With dimensions ranging from 8 to 30 m2, the design of the Tiny House brings thermal characteristics closer to a standard house than to a type of mobile habitat (caravan, campervan or mobile home).

Certainly more comfortable than a trailer or a simple cabin, it is necessary to think carefully about its interior design to make this small space optimized for everyday life. So don’t hesitate to be accompanied by professional designers! (Bimify’s team is at your disposal here for the bespoke layout of your mini-house)

Don’t overlook your Tiny House trailer and its insuranceas well. You must hold the BE licence (7 hours of training in addition to the B licence) for a total authorized weight in charge (PTAC) between 3.5 and 4.25 tons.

That’s why it’s important to think carefully about the building materials in your Tiny House. Bimify uses the constructive TITAN process in galvanized steel,6 times less heavy than concrete, guaranteeing 100 years of structure! (Everything you need to know about our concept here)

Beware, if the weight of your small house on wheels is 3.5 tons or more, the BE permit will then be essential to tow! It’s hard for a car weighing less than 700 kg to tow that weight…

On the insurance side, “O…] When it’s driving, this Tiny House hascar insurance for thevehicle. who tows it. When asked, it becomes a home, home insurance may match. Be careful, however, to ensure this trailer for all damage and not just for those caused to third parties. It is advisable to contact your insurance company to find the most comprehensive guarantee to protect this mobile habitat.” according to the website .

As for the legislation, here is what the ALUR lawspecifies, for an individual wishing to install an alternative habitat on a building able or not.

It must:

  • Justify a planning permit or a prior declaration (unless the floor exceeds 20m2: you will then need a building permit).
  • Have land that meets the same requirements as conventional housing: public water and electricity distribution networks and sewerage systems.
  • Be located in a buildable area, whose capacity is limited and defined by the local town planning plan.
  • Accommodation must also be removable or relocated, as well as all outdoor facilities and equipment.
  • Be subject to an environmental impact assessment if you do not connect it to the public network (e. g. mobile septic tank or dry toilets).
  • Be occupied as a main habitat, so at least 8 months per year.
  • Not having a foundation and being autonomous.

Finally, this type of housing is not subject to local taxes or the housing tax. However, if you use it as your main residence, you will have to pay an annual tax of 150 euros (or 100 euros if it is more than 10 years old, and unless exempted).

The Container House

Container House

Pinterest image source @Architectural digest

It is certainly the most symbolic alternative habitat in terms of construction based on recycled materials.

Originally designed for shipping, the containers are particularly robust and waterproof. Many of them are thus converted into homes.

Light, these types of tin habitats must be firmly attached to the ground. Be careful, they do not withstand extreme temperatures and suffer from humidity. It is therefore necessary to provide good ventilation to avoid infiltration and mould.

This style of architecture based on containers (called Cargotecture or Arkitainer) is especially prized in contemporary construction,very cubic.

On the legislative side, think first of all about the servicing of your land. Then you will need a building permit as well as the declaration of completion and compliance of the work (DAACT). This last document, issued by a professional, contains the summary of the thermal study, the list of insulators used and the air permeability test.

The Hobbit House

Hobbit House

Pinterest image source @Archzine en

Halfway between real life and Middle-earth, the Hobbit House (or semi-buried house) is the emblem of unusual housing for nature lovers.

It can be used as a main residence or rented as a holiday home, this ecological habitat integrates with its environment with its vegetated surface. As with any construction, check with your town hall to find out what is required.

The Yurt


Pinterest image source @Planète deco

Very often when we talk about alternative habitats, we think of the yurt. Traditionally used by the Mongolian people, this atypical housing solution corresponds to a real lifestyle choice.

Originally designed to be mobile, this type of habitat now inspires many architects for a more contemporary design,with new materials such as wood and new configurations: mezzanine, windows, double glazing, etc.

The legislation governing the installation of a yurt is also the ALUR Law,mentioned above in the Tiny Houses description.

Check its regulations according to the length of its installation in the field (more than 8 months) and its area.

The Geo-dome (Earthship)

Geo-dome (Earthship)

Pinterest image source @Decomagz

This type of habitat built with curved lines, often in self-construction, has the distinction of being designed from essentially renewable or recycled materials.

In this style ofgreen architecture,the priority is not aesthetics but the use of local materials made available by nature.

The construction of this passive house is based on the principle of bioclimatism with objectives to be achieved: naturally efficient thermal and energy performance, use of waste (tyres, cans, bottles,…) and natural materials, total autonomy.

Often long to build, it is important to look at the French thermal regulations to design this type of passive dwelling.

The Straw House

Straw House

Pinterest image source @Sima wood houses

The straw houses are actually built with a wooden structure and insulated in straw boots. It is only since 2012 that their construction is standardized by the Professional Straw Building Rules. Different techniques of use exist according to professionals.

This material, classified as A- is an insulator with a VOC toxicity level well below the limit standards. However, it is important to remember that straw is mainly harvested in uncertified organic fields.

TheEco-dome (Earthbag)

Eco-dome (earthbag)

Pinterest image source @Engenharia 360

The bed of this type of alternative habitat is designed with sandbags or earth. Notably known for resisting fires and earthquakes, the eco-dome is both ecological and economical, and is mainly aimed atself-construction.

The Floating House

Floating House

Pinterest image source @18h39

Originally designed for wetlands, the floating house is becoming more and more fashionable in large cities to expand housing areas.

Not recognized by the French state, these buildings are currently considered “boats” and must therefore submit to certain rules: occupancy authorization, registration and registration of the DDTM, safety standards, royalty depending on its location.

The Log House (Fuste)

Log house (Fuste)

source Pinterest @Restoring our victorian house

Robust, the fuste (or log house) is particularly suitable for northern climates. Indeed, the horizontal assembly of thick trunks allows for better insulation.

Some species such as Huon pine, eucalyptus, some cypresses and redwoods do not rot and other species secrete waterproofing resins that keep insects away. So it’s important to choose your wood well!

Want to discuss your project with professionals? Contact the BIMIFY team 🙂