I gotta be honest I haven’t attended the Home & Garden show religiously. In fact the last one I went to was no less than 3 years ago. It’s not that I purposely avoid going to check out the newest trends and the latest technologies in building. I prefer to save the admission fee, the cost of parking and the crowds while using google and youtube for my education. But this time was different. I had a mission.
So I wandered past the landscapers, the roofing companies, the kitchen renovators and made a beeline for the most interesting (to me) exhibit. I wanted to check out Lethbridge’s latest in tiny house building, Teacup Tiny Homes.
While I know this is not Lethbridge’s first tiny house per se, it is probably the first one that is available for sale to a commercial market that is heretofore untested. I know a friend who built one independently on a 20’ trailer complete with tiny wood stove, highly insulated 2x6 walls and very much geared to off-grid living. She still owns it and like many tiny homes that are being built today in the US and Canada, has to deal with finding a safe (and legal) place to park it.
I spoke with the owner of Teacup Tiny Homes, Jenny. Her views are optimistic and her vision is clear - establish a tiny house community in Lethbridge and meet a growing need for what people really really want. The means by which she is doing this are by working the system - amend the existing rules and bylaws.
Those rules are many and varied - from zoning regulations to city bylaws to architectural controls to building codes to infrastructure. To be fair, there are presently no Lethbridge bylaws that state a minimum for house size, so that’s one less hurdle. It’s also good to know that most people are fundamentally in favour of these changes but to sit down and enact them will take time.
Still, examples are popping up. In Alberta the town council in Big Valley is creating a whole subdivision especially for “tiny homes”. Now of course, one needs to define the term, tiny house. Anyone who has looked deeply into this will see there are still some misunderstandings as to what constitutes a tiny house, a micro house or even a mini house. Like any movement in its early stages coming to terms with defining what’s what can take some time. Big Valley is defining a tiny house as being under 700 sq ft. Here’s one story about the Big Valley development
So at the core of it all, this movement towards smaller, easier to manage and more sustainable is part of a larger picture that is being drawn by visionaries and freedom lovers everywhere. And it won’t be stopped any time soon as people seek to downsize, free themselves from mortgage payments and have more freedom. And that’s a good thing.
Gilles Leclair is the founder of GeoStudios. Somewhat eccentric, fairly environmentalist, politically aware, he believes the world should have more off-grid communities... many more.