Humans of the Coast | S4 E1 “Tiny Homes On The Sunshine Coast and Beyond”
Have you ever dreamed about downsizing (I mean really downsizing) and living in a small space? In recent years—and especially since Covid-19—there’s been a lot of talk about tiny homes and the potential for living a minimalist lifestyle. Living small has many financial, environmental and societal benefits.
Pam Robertson, Founder, CEO, and Operations Manager of Sunshine Tiny Homes here on the Sunshine Coast, has been building tiny homes since 2015.
“About four years ago, a tiny home came through my newsfeed on Facebook and I latched onto it. I’ve not had a compulsion like that before,” Pam explains of her initial introduction to this new way of living.
She started with a personal project. Together with her mom, she built a tiny home, which took a year-and- a-half. She officially launched her business in 2018 and has already built several tiny homes, with a steady flow of new enquiry coming in. Her long-term vision is to take the business national– and eventually global.
Pam also walks the walk herself.
“I live tiny,” she explains. “I’m minimalist, I actually didn’t realize I was until my friends called me that.”
Building a tiny home requires a great deal of planning and thoughtfulness. With size constraints, strategic thinking is required to map out the placement of foundational mechanical elements, electrical, and plumbing. Sunshine Tiny Homes provides standardized floor plans, with options to upgrade and customize, thus eliminating that overwhelming question of where to begin the build.
“The clients get to choose what the finished product looks like, what their tiny home looks like,” Pam says. “So they all get to have a bit of character to them, which is what I think is putting us over and above some of the tiny home builders that are our competitors.”
So, who is buying and living in these wee buildings? While the demographics may vary, the mindset around living with less stuff is the common denominator. Some are empty nesters, downsizing from a big house and lots of items and some have always lived a minimalist lifestyle, now wanting to take it one step further.
Regardless of where you start, it can still be difficult to rid yourself of the emotional attachment to things. Pam provides her clients with downsizing strategies. One tip she shared with me is to take photos of those knick knacks that are collecting dust on your shelves, get rid of the physical items and then add the photos into a digital picture frame so you have the nostalgia without the clutter. There are many more approaches, just like this.
Meanwhile, Elizabeth Innes is local Sunshine Coaster who built her own tiny home with her partner Craig Peterson. She says she works hard to maintain her detachment from material things so that they don’t hold as much power over her.
She owns an an adorable little 20-foot, 167 square foot tiny home with beautiful craftsmanship comprised of cherry mahogany, cedar and pine finishings. There’s a full bathroom with a rain shower and a toilet hooked up to septic and a large sink. It’s a wet bathroom, which means that everything gets wet in the bathroom when the shower is on. As such, the floors and walls are sealed so that everything stays watertight. Her kitchen has a three-burner propane stove, a full-sized fridge and sink. Elizabeth and Craig are now selling their beautiful tiny home – for more details please contact me directly.
“One of the things they say about building a tiny home. Because you’re building tiny, you can put good quality into it.”
There’s no doubt that people are beginning to take tiny homes seriously.
“At one point tiny homes were a trend, now they’re becoming a sustainable, viable alternative housing solution,” says Pam.
With the tiny home movement gaining ground rapidly the world over, governments at all levels are trying to keep pace and develop appropriate policy to accommodate and regulate the dwellings. It’s a constantly evolving situation, and Pam is on the board of the Tiny Home Alliance Canada to help advocate for tiny home owners.
For example, at the moment on the Sunshine Coast, you can purchase property, but must have plans to build a permanent home on it. That said, you can apply for a temporary use permit, which allows for a temporary structure (such as a tiny home) while you’re building your permanent structure. There are many other grey areas and nuances such as this.
While the initial shell of a tiny home costs as low as $25,000, the average pricing for a 24-foot tiny home can run between $85,000-$90,000 after personalizations and upgrades. Clients can opt to enhance their space with a luxury bathroom that features a stand alone tub, or a Dave Coyle kitchen, staircases, recessing fridges, murphy beds, convertible furniture and more.
New this year, Haley Dodge SC is offering financing on Sunshine Coast Tiny Homes at 5.59%APR for $0 down, 20-year ammortization. They will soon have two display models on the lot, which will offer a great chance to explore the homes at a convenient location. Sunshine Tiny Homes can ship anywhere in Canada and is also working on shipping to the United States.
So, if you are thinking about downsizing to a smaller life, contact Sunshine Tiny Homes, located at 435 Harbour Road, Port Mellon. Find them online at sunshinetinyhomes.com, Facebook.com/sunshinetinyhomes, and @SunshineTinyHomes.
From Tiny Homes to Floating Homes
Speaking of unique and quirky living spaces, I’m thrilled to announce a listing in the Marina at Gibsons Landing. 1 Shoal Channel is a gorgeous two bedroom, one bathroom floating home situated right on the bustling waterfront of Gibsons. Currently owned by artist Colleen Lumb https://colleenlumb.com/, this home is being sold furnished. With views of the marina and and close to all my favourite restaurants including Smitty’s, Lunitas and Buono Osteria, this two-level home is bright and spacious with plenty of deck space for your boat. Get in touch if you’d like a viewing!