How we got started

Finding our Home -err fragments of it…. 

We began our journey with a lucky break.

Our “home” was listed on I was obsessed with browsing the site in my spare time and daydreaming. Our home was available to purchase for less than the cost of a shell. Shells can be purchased if you want to start your build with the exterior complete. At that cost, we were OK putting the work in to make it our own.


The unanimous opinion between online tiny-housers has been to buy out of pocket. The lifestyle is about escaping debt and living freely. Though it may work for some, it was not a feasible option for us.

We were lucky enough to be renting a house for $1,000 a month + utilities at the time. In Edmonton that’s a pretty good deal especially considering that we had such a fantastic landlord (we miss you Larry!!!).

Moving into a smaller/cheaper rental property would have been very difficult with a dog, two cats and fostered animals on the side. I also didn’t want to loose our garden. Having a place to play instruments was an added bonus to lower our stress.

We each had our own debts, due to a small business startup loan and school. That left us on the debt treadmill. We were slowly paying things off but it would have been years until we would even be ready to start saving for a home of our own.

Living costs

Average monthly rent (+ utilities)= $1,300 X 12 months= $15,600

^ Each year we literally flushed away $15,600.

We decided to get a loan. Even with the interest being skimmed by the bank- our money was going into an investment!

Buying a home site unseen

We found the Copper House in northern Ontario. The location signified that it was built to withstand intense weather.

The house had been built by a contractor for his in-law who lost interest quickly. We made an offer that factored in the cost of having it transported to Edmonton/Area (NOT CHEAP). The offer went through and our house was on it’s way.

We moved out of our rental property the following month and prepared to camp for the summer. Our home was parked on my fathers property and he  has been kind enough to let us use his facilities during the building process.

What we needed


-Stairs (for the dog)

-Bathroom (composting toilet/shower/etc)

-A full water tank

-Hot water heater

-All new piping (the piping inside was “not sufficient for hot water”)



To make our layout work we took down all the inner walls and started over. Here are some pictures of the progress. For more detailed information and updates check our blog posts. This was just the beginning.

Our cramped house before renovations
Our cramped home upon arrival. 3 “rooms” and very cramped.
Pulling the house apart
Remodeling the interior…with a crowbar
Our remodeled interior
Finally, an open space!

7 thoughts on “How we got started

  1. Kerry P Reply

    My wife and I are extremely interested in a tiny home and how to make it work in Alberta. Given our climate your experience would be invaluable. We would like to see your home and meet with you. We live in Langdon, just outside of Calgary but would love to make the journey and experience your accomplishment.

    1. livingtinycanada Reply

      That sounds fantastic. We can definitely arrange for a visit.
      Would you be open to doing it in the new year? If you are going to make the trip, it may be a good idea to do it after the temperature reaches the lowest. I’m sure we will have to make some changes as the temperature continues to drop and those adjustments will you give you greater insight about what to expect.

    2. L.willis Reply

      If your willing to come to Edmonton you should visit Steve at “finished” he builds fantastic tiny houses. He is currently building one for us.

  2. Amanda Arrowsmith Reply

    Given the chance my family would also love to come visit! My husband myself and my 3 year old along with our 2 little dogs are planning to leave this fort mcmurray mindset lifestyle and live a much more simple lifestyle. We have both agreed that tiny living will give us the most happiness. Currently he works 12 hour days at site and we wait all winter for summer so we can go to Kristina lake and camp on all his days off in our little 5th wheel. The only thing holding us back from living tiny now is the market (need to sell our house) and not knowing where we would park and live. We know we want to end up in BC one day and hopefully own a little bit of land outside of a city but need to be able to leave here with enough money to buy our tiny and some land. Not sure if you know anything about fort mcmurray but saprae creek is just outside of the city by the airport and my parents have a couple acres of land. We were thinking if we lived in our 5th wheel on their land for a year we could save up as much as $200,000 to build our tiny and buy some land. Anyway I’m off on a tangent. Would love to come visit!

    1. livingtinycanada Reply

      That sounds like a great plan! If you would like to connect, shoot me a message on the facebook page 🙂

  3. Donna Reply

    Hello, I live in the Spruce Grove area, I am interested in having a tour of your tiny home, where are you located?

    1. livingtinycanada Reply

      Hey Donna, We are outside Spruce Grove. Please message us on the facebook page to arrange a meetup 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *