“Refinancing? Mortgages? Loans? No thanks, I own my home, and it cost me $15,000.“
Nope, I’m not trying to spam you guys. I’m just sharing the title of my friend Kayla’s blog. Are you curious how she managed it? Well, she is the proud owner/designer/builder/etc. of a micro home.
I’m not going to get into the details of Kayla’s place too much, since you can read about it in Huffpost, Yahoo, her blog, or watch her interview with CTV News. To give you some context, I will just repeat the main themes that have made her story so popular. She lives near Vancouver, which has one of the worst housing markets in North America. She was looking into buying a house in Abbotsford last year, but this fell through because she needed to offer a larger down payment than she already had. This made her question how much debt she really wanted to live with. Since she had experience doing construction with her dad, Kayla decided she would just build herself a home.
That’s how she ended up with Jack in a Box. With the help of some family and friends, Kayla built her 130 sq foot home in just a few months. Since Kayla is 6’2″ she wanted a home that could fit her better than an RV or a prefabricated micro home. That’s why Jack has an 11′ ceiling. She also built Jack in the Box on a trailer bed, so that if/when the time comes to move, she can just pick up her home and go.
This isn’t the first time I’ve heard about the micro home trend. I seem to hear about them more and more often. A friend who stopped by this weekend told me that she had been visiting a couple who had built a micro home on Pender Island. Meanwhile, I met a girl at a party the other day who has her own mini-cabin on Galiano Island. One couple I know in the interior even decided to build a Yurt out of “wood, wool and other abundant/salvaged materials.” These are all people around my age, and they now have their own homes. Homes that didn’t come with massive, debilitating debt.
There’s even more reasons to get excited about micro-housing than that. For those of you who have read my Cool It review, you will already know I get really excited about technology that encourages sustainability. Micro-housing is all about finding a way to be sustainable, and up-cycling materials if that’s possible too. Isn’t it exciting? Think of getting off the grid with solar panels and/or wind energy, recycling rain water, installing composting toilets. There’re just so many opportunities!
Another reason I get so excited about micro homes is because I used to live in one. Well kinda. See the thing was, when I was little my parents were pretty poor. They were both single parents when they met, got married and had me, so as you can imagine those first few years were pretty tight. Some of my best memories are from what we affectionately call “the farm” and what my mom affectionately calls “what hell will be like.” It was a pretty tiny little farm house, and there was no way that there would be enough room for my 6 siblings in the main building, so my dad improvised. He built what we called “shacks” for several of the kids. While I don’t remember exactly what his methods were back on the farm, I know that when we moved to BC (into another fairly small home) he gutted and insulated/finished an old chicken coop to make a shack for my sister. That was the shack I got to inherit.
Why do I bring up this seemingly irrelevant story? Well, to point out that we were pretty poor but we hardly felt like it. Having access to my dad’s skills made it feel like things were better than they really were. All my friends were jealous of my “shack” and I imagine my siblings were pretty happy to have a room of their own as teenagers too. So why isn’t this be an option for people who aren’t lucky enough to have a super smart dad like me? Maybe people who struggle with chronic homelessness?
One example of supportive micro-housing is in the Quixote Village in Olympia, Washington. The Village “grew from the vision of a self-governing tent camp of homeless adults” and is now “a self-governing community of 30 previously homeless adults.” The use of micro-homes to combat homelessness is visible in several other states as well:
I have no idea if micro homes are “the” solution for homelessness, but it’s encouraging to think they might be a possible alternative. It’s also exciting to think that even as a broke student I could, maybe one day, have my own little eco-friendly home. So here’s to micro homes. What’s not to love?
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