I love Tiny Homes enough as it is, but when I see a tiny with a twist I am mesmerized! When it comes to saving space and making the most of what you got to work with, nobody compares to Europeans. I stumbled across the company Optinid based out of Rhône-Alpes in Southeast France. When you see their designs, there’s no doubt Eric, Christopher, Jonas and Yoann are creating some unique tiny homes.
I have to begin with my favourite part, albeit the part that would never be viable in Canada. They call it a “Sunroof” and they aren’t far off. If you live in a sunny climate, this is a feature that will have you sold! They are the first to ever introduce the idea of a retractable, roof allowing you to sunbathe by day, and stargaze by night!
What they do on the inside to conserve space and make sure everything has a purpose is amazing as well. From utilizing a tabletop as part of the stairs to the seating area transforming into a bed.
Looking at the exteriors of their tiny homes is also a treat. They utilize low sloped double roof lines in most cases to maximize interior space. Their selection of materials and colours also makes for a beautiful exterior.
Here’s a short video of the sunroof in operation.
Check out their Facebook page for more photos of their designs.
I was at the Edmonton Home & Garden Show on Saturday, helping out Steve Zaleschuk from Finished Right Contracting. He had a tiny house on display, only at the lock-up stage, so people could see how they were constructed. We had some mixed reaction from people. Some just peeked their heads in, commented that it wasn’t finished, and then went on their way. Others enjoyed the fact that they could see the craftsmanship that goes into constructing a home.
Steve doesn’t use any O.S.B. or any particle boards in anything. Exterior sheeting is done with plywood and the sub-floor is done with tongue & groove Fir. Wall framing is done on 16-inch centers and the sheeting is glued & screwed on every stud. Loft and roof framing is on 12-inch centers, so once sheeted they are solid.
Once the framing and sheeting is on, and the wiring is run, we do 3 – 3 1/2 inches of spray foam. This is a bit more expensive than batt insulation, but well worth it because it gives us an R-22 value, gives us some more rigidity, acts as a vapour barrier, and is fire resistant.
We also use tankless hot water on-demand units to heat the domestic water as well as the radiant in-floor heating. Just like the insulation, this is more costly from the on-set, but will save you a lot more money in the long run, and saves space.
These are just a few of the examples of the craftsmanship that goes into every tiny we build. Although the units are classed as RV here and as such, are not regulated by building codes, Steve meets or exceeds the building codes on every unit.
Now, some things I also learned about at the Home Show that I hadn’t known about yet are:
- The town of Big Valley, Alberta has designated 22 lots to build a small Tiny Home Community.
- Sturgeon County (just north of Edmonton) is re-writing their by-laws to accommodate and include Tiny Houses.