The “Superhouse” Completed!

You may or may not recall my post about the “Superhouse” from back in March, but it was about half complete. Well now, it is completed, and has been delivered to site!

Here are some pics from the rest of the build by Finished Right Contracting, the finished product, and a video of the owners seeing it for the first time.

The best part of this may be the reaction from the owners…enjoy!

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Interior Intentions

Ok, I have spent a lot of time looking at tiny houses from the outside and paying attention to a little of the inside if it is eye-catching. But when going tiny, you really have to make the most of space. That doesn’t have to mean going with that hideous two-burner camping stove though.

Let’s take a look at some handy space-saving ideas for your tiny home, and if you have any great ideas or photos of your own, pass them along to me in an email or on Facebook.

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This is a 2-burner stove top, oven and dishwasher.
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This is just awesome, if you can live with a tiny fridge.
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Move over Lazy Susan.
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Freeing up some counter space.
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Didn’t see that coming.
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Great idea for dining.
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From bench…to couch…to dining room table!
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Very handy going from a 2-seater to seating 5.
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Pretty good sleeping up to 4 people in about a 10′ square space…if you like the doctor’s office look.
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Now this is just plain awesomeness.
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Not bad…
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Ahh, the good old Murphy bed.

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Lasqueti Island Living

If you want to see minimalist living at it’s finest, or want to hang out for a few days to see if living with less is for you, then I suggest you head to a small island just off Parksville, British Columbia called Lasqueti Island.

The island inhabits about 300-400 people, many of whom grow things, make things, build things, and most of all…share things. They have a special area dedicated to free items that people leave if they no longer need or want them, so others may take them to use.

There is no grocery store on the island, so many grow their own food, keep chickens and hunt for wild food sources. With so little ‘processed’ or ‘manufactured’ items on the island, there is very little waste. Most use a composting toilet.

It’s a place where the housing is interesting and mostly…tiny!

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Oh yah, there is also a pack of free-roaming St. Bernards

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Lasqueti is further proof that you don’t need all the luxuries of life to live. You don’t need a big house or a car. All you need is love, peace, and happiness!

Here is a helpfull link to their website where you can find more information about visiting and living on Lasqueti Island.

What is a Tiny Home?

One of the biggest questions I get asked most often from people is, “What is a Tiny Home?” It’s a fair question, and I am going to try to explain as much as I can from what I have learned from research and hearsay from ‘the experts’.

How Big is a Tiny Home?

A tiny home is a self-contained structure that is typically under 500 square feet (46.5 square meters).

Now the dimensions are where we get into some regulations. I am sure the restrictions and bylaws are different everywhere you go, and this also depends on whether or not you intend to transport your tiny home, but here is what I have noticed mostly everywhere in Canada and the United States.

Anything under 8′-6″ wide and 13′-6″ high from ground to peak can be transported without a permit. The allowable lengths differ from province to province and state to state. Here is a handy AAA reference. Anything between 8′-6″ wide and 12′-0″ wide requires a permit to transport, which vary in cost anywhere from $20 to $200 (check with your local municipality). Anything over 12′-0″ requires a pilot truck, and I am pretty sure those probably are not cheap.

Now, those dimensions are for tinys that require transport. If you are planning to build on site and not transport your tiny anywhere, local bylaws apply and I urge you to check them BEFORE you build. I have seen structures torn down because they did not adhere to local bylaws.

Where Can I Park a Tiny Home?

The best answer I can give to this question is you should be able to legally park a tiny home anywhere you can legally park a flat-deck trailer or RV. As with the building to code, location is another very grey area right now. I am finding that most times on the good old television shows like Tiny House Big Living, people are parking them on private owned land. On other shows like Tiny House Hunters, I see a lot of people parking them at RV parks.

Perhaps the best answer is to do your homework and due diligence and check with your local bylaw enforcement agency.

Does a Tiny Home Have to be Built to Building Code?

While we are discussing grey areas, now would be a great time to get really grey. The really grey area is the National Building Code (or provincial Building Code in my case for Alberta). Part 9 of The Alberta Building Code states that it applies to structures 3 storeys or less with a building area not exceeding 600 square meters (6,458.4 square feet). It also states that it does not apply to an accessory building not greater than 10 square meters (107.6 square feet).

The grey area is this, tinys can be on wheels (mobile) or built on skids  which makes them non-permanent structures which the building code does not apply to. But at the same time, once you are ‘living’ in a structure, it must meet certain safety requirements. Athough the code doesn’t specifically list ‘Tiny Homes’ or ‘Tiny Houses’, it does say words like ‘structures’ and ‘dwellings’ so technically I would say it applies. This is not an issue as there are some tiny home builders out there that already build to meet or exceed building code such as Finished Right Contracting.

The bottom line is, ALWAYS check with local municipalities regarding bylaws and use a builder that ensures your tiny is code-compliant whether it is required or not because they will be better structures in the end.