The Home Front: Spotlight on tiny homes

Lili | May 26, 2019 | 0 | Tiny Home

Tiny homes have received a lot of attention in the past few years, appealing to everyone from those looking to retire and downsize to those wanting to go off grid to those looking for affordable housing solutions in pricey cities like Vancouver.

The Westcoast Small Home Expo, which runs June 1 and 2 at Abbotsford’s Tradex  (the Fraser Valley Trade and Exhibition Centre), offers everything you need to know about tiny homes. It features homes by Mint Tiny House Company, Free Style Spaces and Hewing Haus, to name a few, with a tiny home being built on site at the event by Ben Garratt of Tiny Healthy Homes.

Along with a large number of homes on site, the event will feature exhibitors that offer services and products geared to small living in general, says organizer Barb Nelson.

“Not everyone wants to live in a tiny home, but because of the housing market, people are living in smaller and smaller spaces,” Nelson says.

Vancouver food blogger Rebecca Coleman will be presenting at the event on how to cook in small spaces, along with colour expert Maria Killam.

“In a tiny home or small space, colour has such an impact,” Nelson says. “If you use the wrong colour, it can make the house look smaller, and if you use the right colour, it’ll make your house look bigger.”

One of the presenters they’re very excited about, says Nelson, is New Zealander Bryce Langston, whose show Living Big in a Tiny House has close to two million followers on YouTube, and features Langston travelling the world meeting people who live in small homes.

“I’m amazed at the huge spectrum of people who are becoming really passionate about downsizing and tiny homes,” he says.

An actor by trade, Langston came up with the idea of building his own tiny home in Auckland when the character he was playing on a local soap opera was killed off.

“I was faced with being an unemployed actor again and Auckland, like Vancouver, is becoming an incredibly expensive city to live in,” he says.

Langston says he was really inspired by the idea of small homes and how simple and affordable they are, allowing him to live cheaply and continue acting.

“Looking around I saw so many in my situation,” he says. “They call us ‘generation rent’ in New Zealand because people in their thirties and younger will be lucky to ever afford their own home with house prices being the way they are.”

Langston launched his YouTube channel and has found a huge following in the U.S., where he built his second tiny home. He now splits his time between New Zealand and North America, with tours through Japan and Europe.

“We’ve filmed in five countries so far for the show, and as we travel around, I’m always learning and getting inspiration for new builds,” he says.

His show is aimed at inspiring people to “pick up a hammer and get stuck in,” he says, adding that not only is building your own home a great accomplishment, it also greatly reduces the cost of the build if you do the labour yourself.

“Working with builders has been really good in demystifying the process,” Langston says. “Whatever you need to know how to do, there’s somebody out there that’s wiling to teach you on YouTube.”

The Westcoast Small Home Expo runs June 1 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and June 2 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tickets are $10 for adults, $5 for students and members of the military. There is no cost for children under 12. For more information, visit  www.smallhomeexpo.ca.

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