With the inflation of housing prices, it’s no surprise why the tiny house movement has gained popularity with young people in recent years, and for those heading into their golden years and thinking about retirement, downsizing is an attractive option. A smaller house inevitably leads to a simpler lifestyle and more money, which is something we’re all striving for—young and old.
Whether you’re looking for an escape from the grid, a uniquely designed cottage, a greener lifestyle, or a practical add-on to your cottage, smaller prefab homes are a great way to become part of the movement. Here are just a few of the country’s best builders to check out.
Brothers, Kurt and Kris Goodjohn, founded Karoleena in Calgary in 2006, though they now operate out of Okanagan Falls, B.C. The brothers compare their building methods to big Lego blocks that are pieced together on-site. Karoleena homes are designed and delivered in six months, from factory floor to however remote of a location your heart desires. While the builders are better known for their larger designs, they also have smaller models, like the Bow, a 755 sq.-ft. one-level home with a bedroom and bathroom. More info: karoleena.com
Sustain Design Studio, a branch of the award-winning Altius Architecture Inc., is Toronto-based design firm founded in 2002 that specializes in environmentally innovative prefabricated homes with a blend of contemporary design, affordability, and function. One of their first designs, the miniHome SOLO was promoted by environmentalist David Suzuki and has been featured on many blogs and in magazines such as O, Dwell, and Azure. More info: sustain.ca
Murch Tech Corporation
Founded by inventor, industrialist, and humanitarian, John Murchie, the award-winning Murch Tech Corporation is more than a builder of small homes—the Surrey-based company hopes to aid in the housing problems in developing countries and offer an affordable solution for young Canadians who are struggling to afford a place of their own. One of their signature designs is the Hummingbird, a 100 sq. ft. tornado- and earthquake-proof structure that comes with a bathroom, shower, sink, toilet, hot water heater, and baseboard heater. More info: murchtechcorp.com
NOMAD Micro Homes
True to its name, NOMAD micro homes are prefabricated kits that come flat-packed and ready to be assembled with just a drill and some basic carpentry skills. They’re also easy to reassemble, so you can take them wherever you go. The B.C. company’s founder and designer, Ian Kent, has pushed the limits of tiny home designs, but with more than 35 years of design and home-building experience, has found a way to make these small spaces both livable and non-claustrophobic. Built for less than $30,000, each home is equipped with a living room, bedroom, bathroom, stairs that double as a kitchen, a window that lets in plenty of light, and storage used as seating. More info: nomadmicrohomes.com
Built around light, Vancouver-based Camera Buildings’ designers create high-quality prefab tiny houses that are modern, sustainable, and priced at around $30,000, making them affordable, too. The designs focus on energy efficiency, reclaimed or recycled materials, and healthy indoor air quality. The tiny homes are towable, and don’t require special permits, licenses, or vehicles in many jurisdictions. Designed for one or two people, the Lighthouse is insulated and weather-tight loft that features a skylight, bathroom, kitchen, and living and workspace options. More info: camerabuildings.com