This $103,190 tiny home on wheels was a true product of the pandemic after the company pivoted during lockdown — see inside the ‘Dark Horse’

Dark Horse tiny home
The Dark Horse tiny home.
  • Build Tiny unveiled its latest tiny home on wheels: the $103,190 Dark Horse, which was designed and constructed during the pandemic.
  • The single-level Dark Horse has a bedroom, living room, kitchen with a breakfast bar, and a dual-purpose laundry and bathroom.
  • The conception of the Dark Horse came when two of Build Tiny's customers backed out of projects amid the pandemic, leaving the team of builders with a gap in their schedule.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Build Tiny has unveiled its latest project: the Dark Horse, an approximately $103,190 tiny home on wheels that was designed and constructed during the pandemic.

Build Tiny specializes in, you guessed it, building custom tiny homes that sit on trailer chassis. This one in particular has a bedroom, living space, kitchen with a breakfast bar, and a dual purpose laundry and bathroom.

But unlike most of the New Zealand-based company's little homes on wheels, the Dark Horse wasn't created for or named by a client. Instead, it was designed and built in-house by the team of builders that then had to come up with and vote on its name, the latter a task that's normally delegated to the client.

"The thinking behind it is ... a 'dark horse' is a term usually used to refer to someone that was previously taken for granted, but rose to prominence in a situation — something akin to an underdog success story," Build Tiny's director and designer Gina Stevens told Business Insider in an email interview. "That's how we view ourselves as a company in some ways, and also the tiny house is quite unassuming from the outside, but has a few surprises on the inside."

The naming and building anomaly was a result of New Zealand's coronavirus-induced lockdown in mid-March that caused Build Tiny to temporarily shutter production efforts.
Dark Horse tiny home
The Dark Horse tiny home.
During this time, two of its clients pulled out of their plans to order a tiny home, leaving only three units in the workshop instead of the typical five.
Dark Horse tiny home
The Dark Horse tiny home.
As a result, by the time the company could resume operations eight weeks later, the builders had two "gaps" in their work schedule.
Dark Horse tiny home
The Dark Horse tiny home.
In order to fill this gap, Stevens designed the Dark Horse, allowing the company to introduce a new tiny home while giving the builders something to work on.
Dark Horse tiny home
The Dark Horse tiny home.
This process differs from Build Tiny's normal workflow, which is often based on custom orders as requested by clients.
Dark Horse tiny home
The Dark Horse tiny home.
And often times, these orders are for double instead of single level homes.
Dark Horse tiny home
The Dark Horse tiny home.
Despite slight tiny home order fulfillment and delivery delays when the lockdown was first lifted, the company is now back on schedule.
Dark Horse tiny home
The Dark Horse tiny home.
And with the help of New Zealand's COVID-19 Wage Subsidy, Build Tiny was able to pay its employees 80% of their wage even through lockdown.
Dark Horse tiny home
The Dark Horse tiny home.
"Without the Dark Horse Tiny House, and [another build for one of the company's directors], we would have had to reduce the working hours for our build team," Stevens wrote. "However, had this occurred, we would have had the government wage subsidy to fall back on again ...
Dark Horse tiny home
The Dark Horse tiny home.
... but it was wonderful that we didn't have to use this, keeping more money available for other businesses that we're in greater need."
Dark Horse tiny home
The Dark Horse tiny home.
According to Stevens, a typical design process for a client-requested build can take over two months.
Dark Horse tiny home
The Dark Horse tiny home.
But because the Dark Horse was designed in-house based on "general feedback, wants, and wishes [they] have observed from the New Zealand market," the design was finalized in a few weeks.
Dark Horse tiny home
The Dark Horse tiny home.
The tiny home was then built in about three months.
Dark Horse tiny home
The Dark Horse tiny home.
The Dark Horse’s bright interior and single level was designed to “appeal to as broad an audience as possible.”
Dark Horse tiny home
The Dark Horse tiny home.
By implementing a single level instead of the more popular double, the home is more accessible for those who can't walk up stairs or climb up ladders.
Dark Horse tiny home
The Dark Horse tiny home.
And according to Stevens, this work has paid off: Build Tiny has already seen a "huge amount of interest" in the Dark Horse.
Dark Horse tiny home
The Dark Horse tiny home.
“There are tens of thousands of New Zealanders returning home due to the pandemic, and that's on top of an existing housing supply crisis here due to sustained population growth and an underinvestment in housing,” Stevens wrote. “There just aren't enough homes for all these returning Kiwis to live in, so more people than ever are now considering tiny homes as a viable option.”
Dark Horse tiny home
The Dark Horse tiny home.
Dark Horse sits at about 29.53 feet long, 7.87 feet wide, and 10.5 feet tall.
Dark Horse tiny home
The Dark Horse tiny home.
The interior is lined with windows, see through doors, and a deck to create an "indoor outdoor" feel, according to Build Tiny's YouTube video tour of the Dark Horse.
Dark Horse tiny home
The Dark Horse tiny home.

Source: YouTube

The couch space is across from the entrance of the tiny home and sits underneath floating shelves …
Dark Horse tiny home
The Dark Horse tiny home.
... that then lead into the overhead kitchen cabinet and LED strip light.
Dark Horse tiny home
The Dark Horse tiny home.
There is storage throughout the interior, including a shoe storage unit under the television space that's right by the entrance of the home.
Dark Horse tiny home
The Dark Horse tiny home.
The kitchen is split into two halves that run parallel to each other, but several of the appliances — specifically the refrigerator and microwave — need to be purchased separately with the "extra appliance package," which also includes a washing machine.
Dark Horse tiny home
The Dark Horse tiny home.
One side of the kitchen has the pull-out trash and recycling disposal drawer, sink, dishwasher, and space for a microwave and refrigerator freezer …
Dark Horse tiny home
The Dark Horse tiny home.
… while the other half holds the dual gas cooktop with an overhead slide-out hood, magnetic backsplash to hold spices, gas oven, slide-out pantry, and breakfast bar.
Dark Horse tiny home
The Dark Horse tiny home.
Past the kitchen and its sliding door is the laundry and bathroom.
Dark Horse tiny home
The Dark Horse tiny home.
In terms of laundry, the room holds the hamper, cabinets, wall-mounted drying rack, and washing machine if the "extra appliance package" is purchased.
Dark Horse tiny home
The Dark Horse tiny home.
But for bathroom use, the space has a sink, mirror next to the windows, composting toilet, and standing shower with a shower dome.
Dark Horse tiny home
The Dark Horse tiny home.
On the opposite end of the tiny home is the bedroom, which comes with several storage units that surround the bed.
Dark Horse tiny home
The Dark Horse tiny home.
The bed itself can also lift up to reveal under-bed storage.
Dark Horse tiny home
The Dark Horse tiny home.
Besides the extra appliances, the tiny home can be upgraded to include an off-grid underfloor gas heater or an off-grid solar system.
Dark Horse tiny home
The Dark Horse tiny home.
But otherwise, the Dark Horse comes with a power hookup point.
Dark Horse tiny home
The Dark Horse tiny home.
"Most of the reputable tiny house builders like us have a pipeline of work extending well into 2021, so the fact that the Dark Horse tiny house is already built and ready to be delivered is very appealing to many," Stevens wrote.
Dark Horse tiny home
The Dark Horse tiny home.
The home — which will be available after October 17 — can be shipped internationally.
Dark Horse tiny home
The Dark Horse tiny home.
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