Ben Garrett is a very skilled tiny house builder the two of us Actually met at a Burning Man event in New Zealand and then later on went on to co-host Tiny house building workshops together in both, Canada and New Zealand today We’ve traveled to just north of Victoria on Vancouver Island to visit one of his latest very special build projects Hey Ben, how’s it going mate awesome Ross see you yeah great it is Incredible to be checking out this tiny house.
This is one that you have built isn’t it it is It’s I built it this time last year And then now it’s found its second and final resting place for the family. Love I’ve always done building and That took me at a natural building And then that seemed to take me to tiny houses when we think natural building we think clay and and Earth and everything that’s really Heavy thermal mass so for me a natural tiny house is air quality that matches the outside inside breathable walls Ideally so that the house can breathe with us and no glues adhesives spray phones so the most natural entry of like insulation that we can find and then natural Timbers that ideally haven’t gone through a treatment process and I like building tiny houses for the just the size of the project I love the design portion with the clients, and then it’s brought to fruition so quickly you know three months And we’re done and someone’s got a home that they’re happily living in so it’s super nice It looks like a pretty big house actually mm-hmm.
It’s 30 feet by 10 There’s two bedrooms in the lofts So we’re talking nine feet by another twelve feet in the loft 350 400 square feet and the owners have obviously found a really nice parking spot for this.
Yeah, yeah, it’s great here. I mean We’ve got a cedar fir forest all around Yeah It’s beautiful And I can say that they’re actually sitting in for the long haul as well because they’ve taken the wheels off the tiny yeah exactly Yeah, it’s a good thing to do with tiny houses you get the wheels out of the Sun so they’re not gonna break down You’re not gonna End up with a flat spot if they were resting on the wheels so I can pack them up and put them away No last forever so as a tiny house builder one of the things that you’re really well known for is building tiny healthy homes So homes that are non-toxic Eco-friendly how much of that ethos actually went into building this project it drove the project I guess the healthy component of this one in particular healthy being That we’ve got air quality that matches inside and outside which would be my number one its 206 insulation r22 with high-performance vapor barriers So we’re going to Bri the ball or a hygroscopic wall system, so the whole house is breathing with us What have you actually used to construct this way the exterior is all cedar, so we’ve just got lap siding here And then see the shingles at the top and then a painted cedar belly band Which is where all of our services are coming through it also gives opportunity for the awnings to get melted from Breaks up the look of the house, so one of the unique challenges that you’ve had in building this house Is that it was actually built for a family of four wasn’t it? Yep, designed for the family of mine, so they have a two year old and a five year old So we’ve got two separate bedrooms upstairs really cute room for the kids and then Also, we’ve got an office at the back so the parents can have some quiet space to do their work, but yeah It was a challenge within this footprint for sure for a family of four, but I think we did it They’re pretty happy yeah excellent well I’m really looking forward to seeing how you eventually manage to achieve that inside sure come on in let’s have a look oh Wow This is such a nice and open space to walk into in the house.
Yeah Yeah, it’s nice this wood cabin kind of feeling It’s all finished in hemp oil, so we’ve got that kind of it still even smells a little pampy now Which I love so this is the lounge area that we’re in right now.
Yep We’ve got a seat down here with plenty of storage underneath that fireplace Which they ended up going to the propane one just for ease of use they’re able to put it on a thermostat They still got that fire look, but again.
They’ve got these kids, so they didn’t want to have to deal with a Scorching-hot fireplace when it’s off it also goes I’m room to put some more storage above Instead of having clearance from the chimney up so there was a whole bunch of reasons that they ended up going with propane I’m sure they’d be glad for having us clothes drying rack up here in the winter exactly yeah Yeah, it is, BC So it’s mostly indoor time in winter, and then the kitchen here is beautiful look at this yeah This oak countertops a black granite sink and then all propane appliances and all the off-grid Basically all propane propane hot water propane cooking propane fridge propane fireplace Right and then all of the lighting and everything’s low voltage and sitting up a tiny house to be off-grid like that the major Benefit is that it makes it a lot easier to find a suitable parking space for sure you’re just not able to get that kind Of power usually when people want to park tiny houses which is somewhere in the woods quiet So if we can try and design it that the maximum that they really need is sort of 15 amps or just a regular lead It also cuts the cost down of getting an electrician to run it a power feed from a house Yeah, I like keeping the power low propane is easy enough to deal with and then what’s further back here It’s just the corridor to the office and the bathroom, so we’ve got the fridge back there Just fit neatly under the stairs.
We managed to hide it a little bit with with the pine T&G yeah, you’ve actually hidden that one extremely well, yeah, yeah And then we’ve got more kitchen storage with mason jars there which also Sort of closes off the kitchen oven space, and then we’ve got the bathroom in the office well somehow look Wow Myself this actually has to be one of the nicer tiny house bathrooms.
I’ve seen so far mm-hmm. It’s definitely my favorite I mean It’s got all the elements that I personally like Composting toilet or humanure bucket toilet a shower that has a waterproof area for the kids if they need to have a buff some less Sort of natural stones sort of bringing that natural soda element into the house still And then the sink of course is they picked that up in Switzerland and brought it back as they just loved it And then I always do this Storage behind the mirror which is for a tiny house perfect.
We’ve got a little wall space between the kitchen with bathroom Anyways right just using that space is perfect. Yeah very clever, and then there’s the office just over here. Yep, just through here I’ve been putting mirrors on either side of the doors This is basically their closet space slash office so all of their clothes are behind there It gives the illusion of space, but also it’s the change room and there’s a mirror on the other side too, so If the store is closed you still have the feeling that the houses keeps going forever You know and then are just a really lovely place to work in here Yeah, a cute little office space and it’s nice to see a space.
It’s a bit lived in as well Isn’t it you can see that it’s obviously getting really good use totally no I think it’s great that they’re there well moved in and even went to kids that what the place still looks great and feel too cluttered there obviously booklovers And trying to keep that up in the tiny houses take some skill.
I think and then the office actually Expands into this gorgeous stick area as well. Yeah, so the whole office just feels like it feels double the size Yeah, they’re right up at ceiling height, which is just about your head height.
Yes. I can just squeeze through there Yeah, we’re usually the lofts. I’m putting in at 66 which suits most people and should we check out the bedrooms upstairs, let’s do it So the loft here in this house definitely extends out quite a bit longer doesn’t it it does That’s just to get the two bedrooms in upstairs.
We’re sort of terminated at the kitchen so as you into the great room You’ve got this Big feeling living room and stuff, but this just had to happen to fit two bedrooms in and interestingly enough as well You’ve actually closed off all of the loft area as well.
Yeah, they wanted them to be completely separate spaces good thinking mm-hmm Come on up This is great What a cool room? You know when I was a kid I would have been absolutely thrilled to bits with this.
Yeah totally Yeah, they’ve got the baby brother and the big sister, so I’d say that’ll probably take him till Maybe ten years old before they maybe grow out of it But I guess that’s how the parents are planned out for their For the room what we’ve got in here as well as these little these lights which are Mostly good for the kids room or the bedrooms, so you can turn them off, or you just can have a nightlight So I guess if you’re reading them a story you can have it there if you need it a little dimmer You just hold your finger down at DIMMs I’ll turn it off all together And the other thing that we did was we put in these Heat recovery ventilators so that both bedrooms have got nice fresh air breathing in and out day and night especially in winter So the air quality in this tiny little space Can stay as good as their quality outside with the windows closed so for a young family? This kind of setup is really perfect doesn’t it because you’re able to give the kids their own private space You’re able to shut the door with well insulated Surrounding so that you can have a little bit of peace and quiet when you need it but there’s leapin parents are right next door as well totally and that was one of the things of keeping everything keeping everyone upstairs and Then having downstairs is a completely separate area well should we go check out mom and dad’s room sure after you? This is another super nice room and of course there is the obligatory Skylight above the bed yeah, that was definitely in the design criteria and I totally get it now I used to be a little bitty skylight for the Efficiency factor in the heating upper rooms, but there’s really nothing like just laying in bed and looking up at the stars Yeah, that’s so true So what was the? Actual process of designing and building this house like what are some of the things that you’re most proud of in this design Let’s say just the use of space or creating so many spaces in something I mean 30 foot sounds big, but we’ve got three rooms in here for room so if we include the bathroom But it still feels big you know the upstairs spaces do their job which is for sleeping and for the kids playing and whatever They’re happy up there.
It’s like a like a cubby house. They’ve still got their office space Bathroom everything feels big in here. It’s definitely helped by the fact that it was 10 foot wide It was a decision that was made pretty early partly because we wanted more insulation so that the house can be more efficient but also that extra foot that it gives you after a 2×6 wall makes all the difference in the world to get stairs a Corridor and still a kitchen down this part of the building, so yeah I think it came together pretty easily to the clients were amazing I was talking mostly via email and Skype to them in Switzerland and this was the house that they’re moving to be sued a little so just all of that build-up and stuff was super excite and challenge a and and And yeah, it’s really nice to come back here and see the place.
I lived in and it’s really great well There’s no question about it. You’ve really done an exceptional job on this build project I can see how much time love and skill has gone into this build you’re obviously very good at what you do So thank you so much for sharing this project which is price Designing a tiny house for a young family with two kids is no easy task But I feel that bin has definitely risen to the challenge in this project.
It’s fantastic to see a house That is so well lived in and it’s pretty clear to me that the family have found a wonderful home in this place