Ontario is becoming a hotbed of tiny house building activity!

With builds in various states of completion underway from east to west and south to north in Ontario tiny living is becoming more commonplace in the province.

One of those builds is Christine and Larry’s which is underway in Eastern Ontario.

Learn more about their build in our Q&A and photo gallery below.

How long ago did you begin planning for your build?  Did you see other tiny homes in person for inspiration?

I have been planning the current house since the fall of 2015. I had already built and lived in a tiny home so had a very clear picture of what I wanted in this build so my inspiration came from my own experience.

How long have you been following the tiny house movement?

I have been following the movement for about 3 years online.

What are your primary motivations for going tiny, why?

In 2014 I gave up my career to go back to school to study sustainable building. Once I began my course I realized that I needed to walk the walk, not just talk the talk so I sold all of my furniture and my house and started to build my tiny house. I really do not believe we need more than 500 sq feet to be comfortable and happy. Our culture of consumerism is out of control in Canada and much of the Western world, and this is not a healthy lifestyle. Living in a tiny home provides a level of freedom that most people don’t get to enjoy, freedom to travel, to have more unique experiences, retire early etc… It is not for everyone, I recognize that but I still do not believe that we need to amass as much “stuff” as we do as a society.

Are the plans you’re using for your build custom or purchased online?

I designed both this house and my previous house myself. My focus was on modern, clean lines, bright and open but with lots of storage.

Have you set a budget for your build, if so, what is your budget and how are you doing staying within it?

Our budget is $20,000 and so far we are staying within that budget although we may go over a tiny bit because we decided to go for a couple of cool upgrades such as sky lights over the beds.

Tell us about your build – off grid? special features? appliances? alternate construction methods?

Our house is not off the grid entirely but we hope to move closer to being off the grid once we move in. We have not selected to go with any special appliances this time, I did in the last build and realized it was a waste of money in the long run. We looked at SIPS for this build but the cost was just to high so we have done traditional framing with spray foam insulation. We do plan to have a rainwater capture system in the future and an outdoor shower which I am pretty excited about.

Are there any special considerations made as part of your build to accommodate the variable Canadian climate?

Mega insulation. In addition to the spray foam on the inside we have put 1.5 inch rigid insulation on the outside. We are also insulating both the top deck and underside of the trailer.

Are you working with a builder or DIY?

My partner Larry and I both have a background in building, he restore historic homes and I have renovated several homes on my own so we felt pretty confident about starting these projects on our own. We have had trades in for the spray foam and some welding work on our trailer.

Do you have land already arranged for your home to be situated on?  How did you go about finding land?

We purchased land from an acquaintance, it is a beautiful flat lot close to Millbrook, Ontario. At the moment we are running our hydro from our neighbors for a small monthly charge and will use their well as well until we get our well dug. We have a composting toilet so do not need to worry about septic and will have a French drain far our grey water.

Are there any resources that you have found invaluable during the various phases of your quest to live tiny?

Nothing specific, we have found that putting yourself on a deadline is important because it can stretch out forever if you don’t. Scavenging windows from window stores is a great resource, they often throw their old windows out when they do a replacement so you can really score there. Also asking construction sites if you can dig through their rubbish pile is a fantastic place to find 2 x 4’s.

What are friends, family and strangers reactions to you living tiny, from your experience?

People tend to be really excited about it, we have people stop all the time to meet us and to see what we are doing. My family thought I was nuts at first but have since changed their minds, my partners family wants their own so they can move out to our lot with us (not happening) so they have been really supportive.

Do you think the tiny house movement is a trend or is this something here to stay?

I think it is a trend but I think it will evolve into something that will be around for a very long time. Tiny condos/apartments have existed for years… this is simply an extension of that. People are recognizing that these modern massive homes simply aren’t sustainable and literally become a burden. Tiny homes in one form or another are a old/new option that just make sense.

For more information on Christine & Larry’s build check out their Facebook page here.

Do you have a build underway?  Want to share your story?  Contact me!  matt@livetiny.ca 

Originally published:
May 30, 2016
Matt Standen – LiveTiny Canada
Photos: Chris & Larry