Well hello again, it’s been a while! So sorry for the delay, but it’s been a bit of a mad rush these past few months… Lots to share with you fine folk.
Firstly, I’ve been shifting places.
January brought a change of scenery. I moved from my beloved Mount Pleasant neighbourhood into my family home in North Vancouver, with the plan to graciously intrude on my Mum and John while I finish up my degree and work on my tiny house. It’s been a quiet and productive couple months — although I miss my East Van haunts, I have to say, living at home has been prettttty relaxing. Free cable, home-cooked meals, and forest adventures with my animal friends… what more could I want? I mean, just look at this face:
In fact, as I write this, I can hear sporadic bursts of laughter and cheers of appreciation from the other room as my Mum watches The World Dog Awards (aka. the Oscars, for dogs). At each of her outbursts I can’t help but laugh to myself, and notice my heart filling with some sort of child-like sense of joy. This feeling makes me think about the idea of home.. a concept which I have been trying to dissect as this project slowly progresses.
What is home?
For me, home is more than a physical space. Home is place. And place is belonging. You know that age-old adage, “home is where the heart is”? That’s it. Think about it: what does your heart want right now? Is it a person? A physical environment? A feeling? That’s home. And for me, my heart wants connection: a physical, emotional and spiritual connection with human and non-human community. My home (or place) is the feeling of being that I believe we all yearn for, consciously or not.
Anyways, as I hear my Mum spiritedly proclaim her approval of the winner for this year’s “most talented dog” golden hydrant award, I feel a profound sense of home.
Speaking of homes… The plans have begun!
Yes! Finally! For the last few months, I’ve been neck-deep in my thesis (which I successfully defended last week! Woohoo!) but have also managed to squeeze some house-planning in there.
Update #1: I’ve found some real gems in my quest for re-used materials. I’ve secured a great set of used French doors, some windows, a GIANT skylight, and best of all: a propane-fueled 3-burner stove/oven.
Tip of the trade: be aware of the power system you’ll be using (e.g. on-the-grid electric vs. off-the-grid solar) when searching for a stove. There are a few different types of ignition systems, and some of them require constant electrical input which would continuously drain your battery. This Princess marine stove apparently uses an electronic igniter, but I still need to play around with it to figure out what the energy useage is like.
Update #2: Daniel, an architect who runs his own consulting company called Tinytechture has finished the design for my tiny house! Daniel has been an incredible partner in this project, with me from the beginning – I highly commend his creative skills. He’s super knowledgeable and has adapted my design to incorporate all the features that are most important for me, including the ability to accommodate a solar power & rainwater harvest system in the future. While there will surely be some more tweaks before it’s done, I could not be happier with the current design.
So, without further ado, my new home:
I’ve also been talking with a friend of a friend named Cory, who owns a company called Sow’s Ear Renewable Energy in Whitehorse. Cory’s been super generous with his time, giving me advice on the infrastructure I’ll need to hook up a solar powered energy system, and the prospective cost ($4000-10,000 for the components, depending on how much room for growth I want in my power use, and reliability in winter months). I’ve decided that it’s not something I’m going to invest in right away, but definitely planning on it in the future.
As for next steps:
Now that I’m (semi) free of academic deadlines, I finally have some time to dedicate to researching & shopping. On my to-do list:
- Continue the search for beveled cedar siding, structural timber, wood paneling, & standing seam metal roofing. (Reused/recycled if possible). Find a way to transport said material…
- Calculate energy and water useage to design an appropriate system.
- Confirm framing plans… more on that very soon.
Looks like it’s all about to unfold, right as spring peeks its fresh face through the rainclouds. Stay tuned!