Reclaimed Small House in Alberta Canada

by Kent Griswold on November 29th, 2012. 25 Comments
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by Frank Robinson

Dear Kent: I check your blog every day and I have thought about sharing a story about a small (maybe not tiny) 400 square foot house I reclaimed in 2007 and have been restoring. We bought 7 acres about an hour north east of Edmonton, Alberta in 2007. It had two houses on it. One is log house that is 107 years old and I have pretty much finished restoring it by sanding logs and redoing very old windows. It is too big to fit this story, but it is why I bought the property.

Log cabin before

Log cabin before

Log cabin after

Log cabin after

log cabin trim

log cabin trim

The small house was pretty much a write off as you will see from the photos. I think it was likely a kit house in the late 1920s or early 1930s. It was built in Edmonton, but moved to the present location and put on a concrete basement in 1968. It was last lived in about 2004. In 2007, we sanded the exterior, and repainted in historic colors. Later we added new windows, sanded the interior maple floors, redid the plumbing and upgraded the bathroom. It is a weekend property now and we have fit our family of 6 adults and 4 small dogs with the basement being finished.

Small house before

Small house before

I am not sure if this story will fit your blog, but here are some photos any way. Thanks for the great blog. It is the first thing I check every morning after the weather. I will send the photos one at a time as they are large. I will also send you some photos of the log house before and after…. I have also included a photo of the outhouse we built as it was the first building project on the site when we bought it.

Small house after

Small house after

Small house trim

Small house trim

Small house floor plan

Small house floor plan



25 Responses to “Reclaimed Small House in Alberta Canada”

  1. Hugh Wolfe says:

    Great looking homes Frank. Lot’s of little details stand out, like the fascia boards supporting the gutters on the small house as well as the windows in the log cabin. THank you for sharing your treasures.

    • Frank Robinson says:

      I have seen photos of Sears kit houses in the US that had similar gable end trim, but I have not seen this floor plan on any old Sears floor plan sites. I grew up in an Alladin Windsor in Saskatchewan but this is not an Alladin kit house.

  2. Tim Mc says:

    A job well done sir.
    We are in a similar situation in S.W. Michigan. We bought a 15 acre farm with a older home in much need of repair. After cleaning the property, barn, and house of 120 cubic yards of garbage (three 40 yard dumpsters) we gutted the house down to the bones and are slowly putting it back together again

    Do you have any interior pictures of the homes or pictures of the property or out buildings?

    Good luck with your future projects!!

  3. alice h says:

    Good save!

  4. tinyhousetom says:

    I wonder if the house was shipped in 2 11′-8 sections.

    • Frank Robinson says:

      Thanks for the nice comments. The house was moved to the present location from Edmonton in one piece. They ,over everything including claw foot tub and the old kitchen cupboards. There was a back entrance to the basement from outside but I took it off and made a small door under the deck I built on the back to serve as an emergency escape when I finished the basement. I will try and figure out how to add some interior photos.

  5. Kristy Creamer says:

    I think this is wonderful! I, as well, would love to see interior photo’s. A small house would appeal to a much broader audience. I know that my family and myself would not be able to live in a tiny for long. Honestly, I need my privacy sometimes. Where we live, in northern New Jersey, a small house is certainly a possibility. The tiny ones would be looked down on, in our town in particular. Far too many McMansions around here.
    Good luck with your future endeavors! These are obviously done with love.

  6. JCinCT says:

    Nicely done, both houses look great and infinetly livable……lots of labor, but now you’ve got some lovely property.

  7. Marsha Cowan says:

    It is always wonderful to hear of old buildings being brought back to life. Great job and beautiful detail!

  8. lainer says:

    Is it expensive to live in Canada as opposed to the USA? I always thought about getting a small cottage there.

    • Joanna says:

      Canada may be a little more expensive than the states, but our housing market isn’t good right now and there is so much beautiful space here, you should come and check us out!

    • Heath says:

      Unfortunately that is a broad question. It would largely depend on where you chose to live. Property in the lower parts of BC and Ontario can be quite pricey. Cost of living can very high in the northern territories. Move to some small towns in Saskatchewan and they are practically giving them away.
      Expense here in Canada is much like the States, all depends on popularity and desirability. New York and Seattle will cost much more to buy and live than Sophia, West Virginia.

  9. Julie says:

    I love seeing these small houses, particularly when we get to see a small house saved from demolition. Those are both gorgeous. I’d love to see interior shots.

    I’d also like to see more practical small housing like this on this site. I know it’s the Tiny House Blog, but if you have a family of four, even a 600 square foot house feels tiny!

  10. stpauligirl says:

    yes – interior shots please!!

    I love the floor plan. It is a very liveable small house. It could last someone throught a life time, given it is all on one floor.

    One problem with the older houses – no closets! Even with simple living, you need a place to hang your winter coat and store your boots when you walk in the door (in minnesota!) and clothes storage in the bedroom. I guess all those functions could be provided with a wardrobe.

    Your little house is beautiful! Thanks for sharing the story.

    • Frank Robinson says:

      I agree with the small house life style as we can clean the entire interior in an hour. There is one small closet in the bedroom over the stairs, and we had an very nice antique wardrobe in the basement but it will not fit up the stairs so it must have been lowered down before the house was moved on. I know from experience that you cannot maneuver a queen size bed into the bedroom due to the tight proximity of turns in the hall.

  11. stpauligirl says:

    hey! is that a little scamp or casita I see in the before shot of the small house? I love those little egg trailers!

  12. Heather says:

    Beautifully done. It reminds me of a little place we had in Alberta, just east of Calgary. What a gift to find the log house in Alberta too. Just stunning. Thanks for showing us.

  13. John says:

    You won’t want to look around the Edmonton area as major oil concerns have announced large projects here, and as far out as a two hour drive in any direction is forcing the land and house prices up

  14. Charlie says:

    Great job on both houses Frank. Feel free to share re: the cabin. Reclaiming old buildings, regardless of their size, is not that far off of the tiny house philosophy (at least mine), especially where the houses are attached to the ground and not on wheels. Recycling is recycling after all.

  15. Jeannie says:

    Love what you’ve done with both small homes… and I agree with some of the other comments about ‘small’ vs ‘tiny’ being more livable for most families. There’s a place for both!

  16. kobey says:

    Beautiful work.

  17. MsDawn says:

    I hate to be a broken record, but showing the outside and not the inside is just a tease! PLEASE folks send those inside pics with your articles.

    I think the small house is the perfect size for someone like me with mobility issues. Not TOO big but big enough to get around in.

  18. Jamie K says:

    The little kit house reminds me a lot of my little 575 sq ft one bedroom house in Nebraska. It was built in 1920. Has the same old windows and front door and everything. Layout is a little different inside, but very similar. You did a beautiful job on the exterior. I just might have to save these photos in case I ever decide to replace the siding!

  19. Carolyn B says:

    So thankful you included the floor plan. I was drooling. How cute & functional!

  20. I too would love to see more inside ideas.
    I thought my cabin was small, a little under 1000 sq. feet. I have had trouble finding furniture the right scale.

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