The Tiny House movement is happening around the world, including the Yukon.
Mount Lorne residents Laird Herbert and Kim Melton estimate there are at least six Tiny Houses in the Yukon. And by tiny, they don’t just mean small.
While small is a matter of perspective, a Tiny House has come to be a kind of defined smallness.
Herbert says Tiny Houses typically fit on a trailer that can be pulled by a truck, are one storey and can have a loft.
The movement is partly fuelled by the desire to live simply and to live a lifestyle that is gentle on the environment. They’re also cheap to build.
Herbert has built three Tiny Houses, and he is teaching a workshop this weekend on design and construction tips for people who want to do it themselves.
Kim Melton built hers in 2010. When she first started designing her little place, she didn’t know there was a Tiny House movement. She just happened to be tapped into the collective unconscious, and was inspired to design and build a home that would be mobile and small.
She did some of the work herself and hired skilled friends to do the parts she didn’t know how to do.
The result is a home that cost $15,000 in materials and $10,000 in labour to build. It is 18 feet long and eight feet wide. It’s an open concept space, with one bathroom and a sleeping area in the loft. She has a wood stove that keeps her toasty through the winter using one-and-a-half cords of wood, which is just one of its many advantages.
“The mobile part is handy for those of us who are looking for land,” she says. “And the not-being-in-debt thing is a big one. It helps keep down the clutter — it’s very quick to tidy up.”
Adjusting to such a small space wasn’t a big problem either.
“I liken it to living out of your backpack when you travel,” she says. “No matter how big your backpack is, you fill it. When I’m travelling I’ve often thought, ‘Oh, I wish I had brought a smaller bag.'”
So, now she’s got her wish.
Except that there isn’t enough room to spread-eagle on the floor.
“I would like a space where I can really stretch out on the floor and roll around a bit,” she says. “I purposefully built it big enough to put down my yoga mat and do yoga, but I can’t do any poses that take me off the mat. Like doing twists on your back.”
The other problem is there isn’t much room for having people over.
“I’ve got a max capacity of three people hanging out for dinner.”
But still, the idea of life in a Tiny House is getting pretty big.
Laird Herbert has been dialed into Tiny House blogs and websites for a few years and has watched the movement grow.
“They’re everywhere, now,” he says. “It’s the chaos of the real estate market, the simplicity of being able to build it yourself and the impermanence of it — you don’t have to have land and you can take it wherever you go.”
His two-day workshop will share the tips and tricks he has learned about building Tiny Houses.
“We’ll be doing some basic carpentry but mostly day one is focusing on developing (attendees’) own designs, day two is into the more practical aspects of construction — and finally talking about the myth of how much money and time they really take,” Herbert says.
The Tiny House workshop takes place Friday, July 6 and Saturday, July 7, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. in Cowley Lake. For more information contact Laird Herbert by email at email@example.com.