Armidale artist Kylie Mitchell designs compact, sustainable houses for the future

INNOVATOR: Armidale artist and designer Kylie Mitchell working on the prototype pod house. Photo: Nicholas Fuller
INNOVATOR: Armidale artist and designer Kylie Mitchell working on the prototype pod house. Photo: Nicholas Fuller

Armidale artist Kylie Mitchell has come up with an innovative housing design: factory-built, compact, sustainable artworks that you can live in, like her Art House One.

“It’s super exciting being able to offer people something different,” Kylie said, “because there’s nothing quite like this in Australia.”

Kylie – an award-winning builder designer / interior designer – and her partners at the Art House Factory are creating homes, studios, and granny flats, formed out of pods.

“We cover everyone from students at home right through to the elderly who want at-home care, but don’t want to live under their children’s feet,” Kylie said.


A small pod can be a home for a single person: a granny flat in the backyard for extended families, student housing, or a duplex on a small block.

Or several can be assembled to house a family.

“We’ve got a home signed up already that’s five pods together,” Kylie said, “and it’s for a family home with three bedrooms and two bathrooms.”

Homeowners can also add an extension pod to their house to extend their living space – and sell it on when they don’t need it any more. Ideal for empty-nesters to be.

Each pod will look different. People will be able to choose their colour palette from eight of Kylie’s designs. As well as greens and purples, creams and beiges, they include a recycled palette, and one made from all no-maintenance materials (no painting required).

A pod may have a choice of three rooflines that sit on the same floorplan. On each roofline, the claddings will be applied differently.

"We're looking for people who are tired of the same old same old,” Kylie said.

“They want to see something different. They want a bit of creative involvement; they want a bit of flexibility, but they don't have to make all the decisions.”

The prototype will be launched in October, and on display at the Sustainable House Tour next month.

The pod homes are aimed at the mid to high-end housing market.  Prices have yet to be determined, but a really high-end pod - such as a self-contained studio - may be $90 to $110,000.

Compact homes, Kylie believes, will combat urban sprawl, create stronger communities, and be ideal for Australia’s growing and ageing population. She and her team have more than 60 years’ experience in the construction industry.

"We're bringing all that to bear on offering a really good quality product from people who understand the industry,” she said. “We want to give that to people, and make a real difference in communities and to families. We're out to make a difference.”