April 11, 2014

Mini-size My Home

An adorable and affordable 400 sq. ft. home in Nova Scotia, Canada.

There are not many small houses where I live on the west coast of Canada. Houses here, based on a rough estimate, range from 1,500 to 3,500 sq. ft with the average being around 2,400.

In the upper range are homes of 5,000 to 9,000 square feet.

Prices range from about $350,000 up to several million, with the average house price in my immediate area being a resoundingly unaffordable $490,000.

The east coast of Canada is a different story.

Nova Scotia has a vast inventory of small houses at the bottom end of the size range, with many houses in the range of 300 to 1000 square feet. Prices range from $20,000 to $50,000, which often includes several acres of land.

The inside of the mini-sized home is very practical and functional.
I like the efficiency of living in small spaces. It must be attractive to others too - just look at the words realtors use to describe houses in the bottom end of the size range. I have seen small homes described as "cozy", or "quaint",  or "adorable".

Even better is "easy to heat".

But my favourite realtor adjective used to describe smaller homes is "affordable".

Smaller homes put the concept of enough into practice.

As has been pointed out in our "house size forum", a well-built large home may use less resources to run than its small, poorly built counterpart.

But by that same logic, it is also true that a small, well-built home would be even better yet.

One of these inside a tiny home and a woodlot out back can go a long way toward being prepared
for inevitable energy shortages and price increases.

I want my shelter to be Mini-sized. Smaller dwellings use less resources to build, heat or cool, and maintain. To me it feels like the nature-endorsed way to go.

Plus they are just so darn cozy.


  1. Living in the UK, I had to smile at the idea of a 1000 square foot home being considered 'small'. The average size of a new home being built in the UK today is 925 sq ft and typically has 3 bedrooms. Our home is considerably smaller than that, yet has a large living/dining room and kitchen 15' by 8', two good double bedrooms, bathroom and hall 6'6" by 8'. Unfortunately, the UK population/land area ratio is vastly different to Canada, and very few homes here have anywhere near enough land attached to be self-sufficient in vegetable production.

    1. CharlotteP,

      Yes, I too have been affected (infected?) after living in "bigger is better" North America for my whole life. When I travelled to Europe years ago I saw so many devices for conserving power that I wondered why we here are so wasteful. These were devices I had never seen before, and things that made so much sense.

      We have had the idea that our land is so vast and rich that we could NEVER possibly use so much as to have any affect on it what-so-ever, regardless of how big our homes got, or how much energy we used.

      Oh, the times they are a-changin'.

  2. I think this young lady has you beat......http://www.accessatlanta.com/weblogs/buzz/2014/apr/10/marietta-teens-tiny-house-huge-hit/?ecmp=ajc_social_facebook_2014_sfp

    1. S.S.,

      Make that tiny home wheelchair accessible and I will take one. Linda and I would spend all our time outside, just where we like to be… except for in winter. Hmm, winter here lasts from October to May.

      How about sitting in the yard next to a warm fire?

  3. Anonymous4/11/2014

    Firstly, I love Nova Scotia! The trend toward tinier houses is so encouraging! I've always been more comfortable in small spaces.

    1. Miss Marla,

      If we make it all the way to the Maritimes we will be several thousand kilometres closer to you!

      Nova Scotia is one of the oldest habitated places in Canada. Since it is ahead of the rest of the country, the collapse of the capitalist program has come sooner. They are economically poorer now, but it has been like this for some time compared to a province like oil rich Alberta.

      I think that is why there are so many small houses. Or maybe people there are practical and sensible and satisfied with less. It works for us because like you we are more comfortable in smaller spaces.


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