Architecture students think small in Saanich

160 square-foot home being constructed in Gordon Head

Ryerson architecture students Douglas Peterson-Hui (left)

If you’re looking to downsize from your current home – I mean, really downsize – some architecture students in Gordon Head may have just the right house for you.

Douglas Peterson-Hui, Daniel Sobieraj and Gregorio Jimenez have spent the last three months constructing a 160-square-foot home on a 20-foot-long trailer, rethinking the traditional concept of bigger is better when it comes to home ownership. The idea came from Peterson-Hui’s grandmother as a summer project that would use the skills they’ve developed thus far in university.

“This was her idea since we were close to finishing our studies at Ryerson University in architectural science,” said Peterson-Hui, 20. “It’s something that’s manageable but it’s quite a large project, even though it’s so small.”

While still a work in progress, the team has been innovative in their ambitious design of the tiny house, working out the most efficient ways to hook up heating and plumbing systems to provide the comforts of a larger home. The tiny house features a kitchen, bathroom, fireplace, a small loft and a lounge, making the most of every square inch.

“We’re always trying to find multiple uses for everything we can,” said Jimenez, 36. “Our first design was maybe in March, and we just kept designing, keeping in mind the structure. We’re still tweaking things.”

“It’s harder to design a small space and cram everything in rather than have a 4,000-square-foot home where you can have an entire room for one thing,” said Sobieraj, 21.

The house is designed to run both on and off the grid, with options for solar panels or to connect to a generator. The stove, fireplace and on-demand water heater run off propane to save electricity for other parts of the house.

Sobieraj said B.C.’s red-hot real estate market, which has outpriced many residents from owning detached homes, also factored into the inspiration for the tiny house.

“You want to challenge the stigma of having a tiny house,” he said. “People think it’s like a mobile home or an RV, they think of trailer parks, but we’re really saying, ‘You can have a house smaller than an RV, and you can live in it.’”

Peterson-Hui said tiny homes are currently classified as recreational vehicles or “Ubilt” trailers, meaning they can only be lived in part time. The team hopes to lobby local governments to redesignate them as a full-time solution to the province’s shortage of affordable housing.

“It’s complaint-based, so if you were to be living in a tiny home on a piece of property, the only time the city would interfere is if someone complained,” he said.

With the fall semester starting up in a few weeks, the team is aiming to finish the project over their Christmas break. Peterson-Hui said they’d like to document its completion before selling it.

“This is kind of a portfolio piece for us, too,” he said. “We want this project to stand out and we want to display it to other people. We’re thinking of taking it somewhere scenic and take some pictures there and document it.”




Just Posted

Saanich CUPE members serve 72-hour strike notice to SD63

Members seeking comparable wages to other South Island school districts

Victoria’s Bay Street Bridge to re-open on Monday

Two-way traffic will be going through during the day

Re-Greta-bly, Thunberg won’t visit Victoria, despite Olympic athlete ready to row her over

Climate activist clarified Tuesday night she won’t have time to visit the Island

Alcohol available onboard BC Ferries starting Thursday

Beer and wine sales begin at 11 a.m. on select Tsawwassen-Swartz Bay sailings

Kiwanis Club expands to West Shore

Service club has long history of nurturing children and youth in the community

Raptors Bling: NBA champions receive their rings in pre-game ceremony

There are over 650 diamonds — at a weight of 14 carats — in the 14-karat yellow gold ring

POLL: Are you satisfied with the result of the federal election?

The ballots have now been counted and the dust has settled on… Continue reading

Greater Victoria wanted list for the week of Oct. 22, 2019

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Aquilini companies deny negligence in U.S. vineyard fire that killed two kids

Fire occurred at Red Mountain Vineyard, located in southeast Washington State

Surrey cop killer gets new parole conditions

Surrey RCMP Constable Roger Pierlet, 23, was shot dead on March 29, 1974

Former Kelowna Hells Angels associate could be deported, court rules

David Revell has lost his fight against deportation from Canada

‘Find Trevor’: B.C. man’s dog leads searchers to rescue him after fall during hike

‘I’ve had lots of intelligent dogs, but Purple is in a class herself’

15 Canadian youths to sue Ottawa for not acting on climate change

They say young people will be more affected than other groups

Vigil honours soldiers killed in Canada in non-combat roles

Ceremony at the Cobble Hill Cenotaph is in its sixth year

Most Read