Tiny Home at West Coast Gardens
Home. For some of us it’s a place we take for granted; a place we keep our things, somewhere we sleep. For others, it’s a feeling; something you know, inside, when you arrive and feel a sense of belonging. For most of us, home is something we compromise on: Vancouver has a reputation as one of the most expensive cities in the world to live in and while many of us would love the freedom to live in the perfect neighborhood in the ideal house, that dream remains elusive.
But do we really need to compromise?
Samantha Gambling, a 28-year-old with a dream, doesn’t think so. “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.”
Her home, tiny though it may be at a modest 220 square-feet, is large enough to fit her and her big ideas about sustainability, about the possibility of change, and a lot of the attention she’s drawn to the affordability problems of the Lower Mainland.
Change, she says, “can be structural and nevertheless piecemeal, fragmentary, gradual, and experimental.” The shift away from the assumed need for more room, more space, more land, and more things. One change we’ve seen in the last decade are the increasing number of laneway houses, many no larger than Ms. Gambling’s tiny home. While both are small, two important things make the distinction: first, a tiny home has wheels and can be moved wherever you want to go and second, laneway houses cost almost five times as much to construct.
Ms. Gambling’s tiny home, and the homes of many other people joining her collective, are made from repurposed and recycled materials to minimize the environmental impact of their construction, and that’s something we believe in strongly. We use as many sustainable practices as we can at West Coast Gardens, because a healthy environment is key to beautiful, healthy plants, and there’s nothing better than a healthy plant to make a home feel inviting.
That’s why we’re working with Ms. Gambling when she moves her tiny home again. We’ll be bringing our expertise into her home to build a small edible garden right on the outside, giving her fresh produce just an arm’s reach away.
Not only the outside, but we’ll bring a little of that outside inside as well, and prove that even in small spaces there’s plenty of room for some green life to freshen the air, bring the joyous smells of fresh flowers, and add a little natural texture to her intimate living spaces. Our years of experience are sure to brighten her home, and we’ll be making a video to show you exactly how we do it so you can take the lesson home with you.
For many of us, this change is maybe a step too far. It isn’t the only answer, but it does remind us of some very important things we sometimes take for granted. Our homes aren’t just places, but places we make. They don’t define who we are, but are defined by us. Homes reflect ourselves, and the self, as Walt Whitman said, is large, and contains multitudes.
How do we make a small house into a tiny home? That’s up to you, but we have a few ideas to help you figure it out. Join us at our open house viewings of the tiny home to explore this new abode and meet our new West Coast Gardens “resident” – Samantha Gambling. Check out our event page for the next open house, running from now until April 20th, when it will be moved to Surrey City Centre for Earth Day!