Living Small, Thinking Big
By Jessie Zhang
In 1999, Jay Shafer, an American house designer, and owner of a 96 sq. foot home, published his first article on the merits of simple, compact living. Since then, the tiny home movement has spread throughout North America.
Kate Beddows and Nico Rhodes are two of its Vancouver Island proponents.
Video produced by Jessie Zhang and Reid Eccles
The couple have contracted Nanaimo’s Rewild Homes to build their tiny house. Rewild specializes in custom-made, portable cabins-on-wheels that can be moved easily from one location to another. In 2014, the company won first place in the open category of Vancouver Island University’s Business Plan Competition. A year later, it sold its first home.
Rhodes says building small is part of a larger philosophy of living. “We’re trying to minimize the impact we have on the people and places around us, and this tiny house represents that on a whole new level. It’s locally sourced materials. It’s locally sourced labour. It’s environmentally friendly.”
And its portability is attractive too, says Beddows. “Instead of acquiring things, we now get to focus on acquiring experiences.”
The couple were encouraged by friends to launch a GoFundMe campaign to help pay for their new abode. Perks on offer include yoga lessons, music lessons, and “even live music performances.”
Meantime, Aaron Emberson moved to Nanaimo from Toronto three years ago and now lives in a 99 sq. foot home he built himself. “When I first created it, my expectations were just financially better, a little simpler, but once I moved into the tiny house it just felt freeing. It felt simple, it felt enjoyable, it felt … the world opened up.”
For more on these proud tiny home residents, watch the video above.
Photos: Rewild Homes