by Robin Boucher
Britt and I built our small house (the left one in the attached image) in 1983 while he attended Virginia Tech to study forestry and I taught art. Everyone thought we were crazy building such a small space, but it was perfect for us. It is 20 x 22 with a full walk-out basement, an open mail level and a 22 x 11 loft. We built as sustainably as possible, recycling, using local products, not overdoing, and building well. In 1993, we built the art studio (24 x 30) so I could work at home. Again, everyone thought we were nuts, this time for building another small house on our land. I didn’t want to work in my house and also I didn’t want to destroy the lovely landscape by building something that required heavy machinery in the woods. Over the years we have found that people who visit come from two camps…they either ask us right away if we plan to connect the buildings, or they think it is great just the way it is.
About 5 years ago, when our children needed more space (as did their parents), we turned the studio into the “day house” relegating my art-making space into an 11 x 14 loft at the top of the spiral stairs in the studio and turning the downstairs into our daytime living space. Today the studio (Day House which is on the right in the photos) contains our living, dining, kitchen, pantry, my mini studio and bathroom. The Night House contains our bedrooms, a bathroom and in the basement my husband’s office and our laundry room.
When people ask how it is walking outside to our bedrooms (especially in rain or snow) I jokingly call it “Camp Boucher” where we are on vacation all year long. The nice thing about our design is the flexibility of space. As our space needs change we have been able to adapt every room to a new function (we removed the kitchen from the original house when we turned that space into a master bedroom…it was easy because it was rustic to begin with). The hard part about itis that the banks and mortgage companies hate it because there are no comparables and it is just plain different. We have avoided adding on and tried to make do with what we have. And it is a lovely place.
by Jacquelien Wubs
We live in a very small house with 5 kids. My parents live 1200km away and like to come visit a couple of times a year. When we saw an advertisement for this (unfinished) cabin/shed the wheels started turning and the ideas began forming. What if we built a tiny guest house for mom and dad? Then we would no longer have to give up our own bedroom to sleep on the couch when they came! We put the idea to them and they loved it as much as we did!
We wanted them to have full bathroom facilities and a queen size bed (on the main floor). How much could we do with a 12 x 16 shell? We drew up floor plans multiple times until we came up with what we have now. Continue Reading »
“Yankee Barn Homes’ pre-fabricated concept is exceptionally eco-friendly, and a big time-saver, but you still get the beauty, strength, quality, and design flexibility of post and beam.” The Bieberich’s project, now named the Edgewater Carriage House, is 1050 square feet, one bathroom, and has one Murphy bed with privacy curtain enclosures and a ‘horse stall’ that houses double bunk beds.
I’ll let the photos show off the space and the included floor plan.
I see a lot of “new build” stories lately, and I wanted to share our small house with your readers, since we took a different path.
Our municipality has a minimum size requirement for new houses. At 44 square metres (roughly 475 square feet) it is not too bad compared to some places, but it still scuttled our plans to buy a lot and build a Tumbleweed New Vesica (289 square feet) on it. Homes on trailers and RVs are also specifically mentioned in the Property Standards and not allowed. Instead we bought a two-story 1907 farmhouse in the cute “Ontario cottage” style that is prevalent on the Island.
However, this old house has some important benefits that we’ve found. It’s two stories, but the upstairs is closed off with a door at the foot of the stairs, which we keep closed. There is a bedroom on the main floor which we also keep closed off and don’t use, meaning that we’re living in just 325 square feet after all! The main room is 14′ by 14′, and contains our bed/couch, the woodstove, table and dining chairs, a comfy chair, and a wardrobe for storage. The kitchen is bigger than I need at 9′ x 9′, but does provide lots of extra storage. We do go upstairs to use the existing bathroom, which is 6′ x 8′. Continue Reading »