Frequently Asked Questions

There are some questions that I get asked regularly when discussing or telling people about my tiny house plans.  I am listing them here and hope that you will send me your frequently asked questions or perhaps questions you have about tiny houses.  I don’t have all the answers, I do however appreciate that people do have questions about tiny houses.

FAQs

Where will you build your tiny house?

Right now, the plan is to build my tiny house in my parent’s driveway.

Where will you put your tiny house?

I am not sure where I will park my tiny house after it is built.  I firmly believe that my tiny house will end up in several locations.  For now, the house will start off where it is being built and then it may move to another driveway or a backyard in a community where one is permitted in the municipal bylaws to park an RV or a 5th wheel in a driveway or backyard.

Why are tiny houses on wheels?

Not all tiny houses are built on wheels.  That being said, many tiny houses are on wheels in order to bypass housing codes that often require minimum room sizes.   When you build a house on a trailer bed (or a foundation with wheels),  it becomes a vehicle and then falls under a different set of rules for its construction.  This can be helpful in communities that do not allow secondary buildings to be built on a premises.  It also allows a tiny home to have a smaller literal and figurative footprint.    This is a link to Wikipedia’s article on the small house movement   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Small_house_movement.

How much do they cost?

Tiny houses can cost as little or as much as you like.  You can buy a tiny house already built, which I have seen range from $40,000 USD to $59,000 USD (but I haven’t done an exhaustive search) or you can build it yourself using reclaimed or donated materials for $1000, or build it yourself with purchased materials for about $20,000 to $25,000.  I am planning on building myself (with the help of friends and family) and hope to get my tiny home built and livable for under $25,000 CAD.

How will you heat your home?

A tiny home can be heated with propane, electricity or wood. I am looking into a couple of different options.  In the best of all worlds, I would like to buy a Kimberley stove to heat my tiny home.  I love the idea of heating with wood and the versatility of this stove, it can be a cook top as well as a heat source. My other options for heating include a heat pump, but with the climate in Montreal, that would require a secondary heat source when it gets too cold for the heat pump to be able to draw heat out of the air.  There are also propane furnaces found on boats, and that Tumbleweed promote, such as the Dickinson Marine Furnace.  I could also use electric baseboard heating.

Can you live in your home year round?

My tiny home will be built to be lived in year round in Montreal.  I give the geographic reference when I started looking into tiny houses, most of the designs I found have been built in California or Florida – very different climates from the one I live in.   I got very excited when I discovered Laird Herbert’s Leaf House  built in Whitehorse, Yukon.  A house for a harsher climate.

Where will you get your water?

My tiny house will be able to get water from a hose or I will fill my water tank as needed.  I am still looking into my water options.

Will there be a bathroom in your tiny house?

There will be a functioning bathroom in my tiny home.  I have looked into a variety of composting toilets and am still exploring what kind of shower or tub I will install.

How do you fit everything in?

I am downsizing a great deal and plan on having my belongings limited to what I can fit into my tiny house.  This is a bit of a daunting prospect, but have recently begun to go through my belongings and am surprised and how little I actually need.  There isn’t much space for sentimentality.  I love food and cooking is important to me, my kitchen equipment will be the most challenging to get rid of.

Is it really a house house?

Yes it is.  My house will have a door, windows, a fully functioning kitchen and bathroom, a living room, bedroom loft, a roof and wheels.

How is a tiny house different from a trailer home or an RV?

In many ways a tiny house is very similar to an RV or a trailer home.  A tiny house is smaller than a trailer home and unlike an RV, a tiny house can be designed as a permanent residence.

How many square feet will your tiny house be including the sleeping loft?

The main floor of my tiny house will be about 147 square feet.  The main sleeping loft will be around 63 square feet and the storage loft will be about 28 square feet. Which comes to a total of 238.  The loft sleeping space is generally not counted as square footage because it’s not tall enough to stand up in.

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18 thoughts on “Frequently Asked Questions”

  1. How is your tub working out? Do you like it? Would you do it again, or differently? I’m off to buy my plastic horse trough now, and yet, I really like that your’s has a smaller footprint than mine (52″x33″). I was concerned with the smell of the resins, more than the cost. What do you think?

    Sorry for the rapid-fire questions. I’m just about to begin, and I’d like my floor plan not to change much any more. lol

    Warm regards, and congratulations,
    jane

    1. My tub is working out well. I am very happy with it. If I were to do it again, I might go with a stainless steel lined tub, though I am very happy with the warm feel of the fibre glass. The resins were smelly when the fibreglass layers were done, but now there is no smell. The cost of fibre glass is actually quite comparable to stainless steel, here in Montreal.

      Good luck with your build.

  2. Hi Natalie, about your electricity system: do you plan on having solar panels or your appliances will only rely on propane and/or external AC source? I’m planning on making my own tiny house and I’m trying to evaluate if a solar system would worth it in Québec considering the weather and the price of it.
    Thank you!

    1. I would love to have solar panels in the future, but it is an expense that I cannot afford at the moment. My fridge, in floor heat and water heater are electric and my oven and furnace are propane. I get my electricity from the house where I am parked. I have no experience about how well solar performs in Québec.

  3. This is a very interesting movement, but I’d like to look into how it could work in more urban (higher density) areas. There is also co-housing, where members have small individual flats, but common areas, preventing the claustrophobia that can result in “studio apartments” while sharing resources (utilities, larger kitchens for things like baking bread, etc) and hopefully, building community while allowing for the privacy that was often sorely lacking in “communes” of old.

  4. Hello Natalie, I have been into tiny homes for almost a year now but always pictured it as something I would pursue once I live out west. What you have done in Dorval has inspired me to jumpstart my plans of living small. I was wondering where is it that you plan on parking your tiny house and what kind of problems have you run into in terms of where to live?
    Dreaming tiny in St Henri

    1. Hi Tiny Love,

      I have not had any problems so far with my neighbours or any complaints with regard to my tiny house. I made a point of talking to the neighbours whose property touches the one I am parked before construction started.

  5. Bonjour Natalie,
    Est-ce que tu as un système pour le traitement des eaux grises? Si oui, ça marche comment? Merci! Danielle

    1. I do have a system to “treat” my grey water. I am currently not doing anything elaborate to reuse the grey water that I produce, that being said in the winter I reuse water as much as I can before it goes down the drain. Once it goes down the drain, my grey water empties into a bin that I drilled holes into the bottom of and then lined with (from the bottom up) gravel, charcoal, sand and a layer of earth on top. This way, the water is filtered before it goes into the ground.

      1. I would like more info about grey water filter.How big is tank,and dimension,deep of water filtered,how many inches of gravel,charcoal,sand before goes in ground.I am buying lot round Cornwall,On,spring 2016,it only grey water I have no answers,or what to do with it?!Planing to live full time in future .

      2. Unfortunately I can’t actually answer your questions because I didn’t measure how many inches I just layers them all. I used a pretty standard size storage bin (I couldn’t tell you how many litres it is or what the dimensions are) and it has been working great.

  6. Hey Natalie, do you already know how much you spent and how long did it take you to finish everything up? What would you have done differently in hindsight? Cheers. Niko

    1. My budget isn’t something I share. As for how long the build took – you can follow that along with how much time each step took by looking at the posts in my blog. I started in September 2013 and started living in it in May 2014. I would have picked a different floor colour. Otherwise, I am really happy with my house.

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