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Couple Living in 500-Square-Foot Small House By Smallworks Studios

Meet Brendon and Akua who built a 500-square-foot small house in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

The home was designed and constructed with the help of Smallworks Studios / Laneway Housing in Vancouver.

A while back we featured Paula and Skip’s 500-square-foot home from Smallworks Studios which you may also like.

Brendon and Akua went with Laneway’s West Coast Loft model which features a loft bedroom, luxurious kitchen, living area with balcony, and a garage.

They built it in Brendon’s parents backyard so they didn’t have to buy additional land. Since it has a flat roof you can easily add solar panels or even a living roof.

500-square-foot Small House by Smallworks Studios and Laneway Housing

Photo Credit Brendon and Akua of http://buildsmall.blogspot.com

Small House Features Balcony, Loft, and Garage

Photo Credit Brendon and Akua of http://buildsmall.blogspot.com

From this angle you can see the home’s garage and balcony directly above it. The kitchen, bathroom and garage are all located on the first level. Let me take you inside…

Luxurious Kitchen in Small Home

Photo Credit Brendon and Akua of http://buildsmall.blogspot.com

Little Bathroom in Small House

Photo Credit Brendon and Akua of http://buildsmall.blogspot.com

When you go upstairs you’ll see the living area, bedroom, and of course the sliding glass door to the outdoor balcony.

Upstairs in the Loft Living Area, Bedroom and Balcony

Photo Credit Brendon and Akua of http://buildsmall.blogspot.com

Below is another angle of the same area. I’d say they  made great use of space with this design, wouldn’t you?

Loft Bedroom in Small Home

Photo Credit Brendon and Akua of http://buildsmall.blogspot.com

Another feature that I like a lot about this small house design is that there are lots of windows so you can get plenty of natural lighting throughout all parts of the home. Below you can check out the floor plan for both levels.

First Level Floor Plan of Westcoast Smallworks Studios Small House

Photo Credit Brendon and Akua of http://buildsmall.blogspot.com

Second Level Floor Plan of Small House

If you’re interested in learning more about Smallworks Studios & Laneway Housing check out their site which features more designs and photos.

To learn more about Brendon and Akua and their little home visit their blog. They’ve got plenty of interesting blog posts to explore related to their new humble home.

If you enjoyed this small house design, please “Like” and share using the buttons below then tell us what you liked best about it in the comments. Do you have any ideas to make this design even better? We’d love to hear them. Thanks!

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Alex is the founding editor of TinyHouseTalk.com and the always free Tiny House Newsletter. He has a passion for exploring and sharing tiny homes (from yurts and RVs to cabins and cottages) and inspiring simple living stories. Send in your story and tiny home photos so we can share and inspire others towards simplicity too. Thank you!

{ 31 comments… add one }

  • alice h August 5, 2012, 1:55 pm

    There is some controversy about laneway housing in Vancouver but I love the idea. If we could afford it I’d convert our garage to add living space so my younger son could move in to my basement apartment and I’d move into the new place. We already have 4 generations in the main house in our own apartments and there’s no more room left there. Most houses in our area already have large garages and some look more like tiny houses, if not quite as high up as these. I’d prefer a large open space for kitchen and living rather than having them split. Bedroom optional, though a separate room for sewing would be nice. Some day?

  • jean August 5, 2012, 4:46 pm

    Where are the closets??

  • Bob August 5, 2012, 4:58 pm

    Отличный проект дома для двух человек. И гараж с верандой – все продумано – молодцы! Спасибо, интересно!

  • sesameB August 6, 2012, 5:05 pm

    Excellent. It was so nice to see this today in drought stricken Arkansas.

  • john August 9, 2012, 6:14 pm

    Perfect house. I don’t need a garage and would instead have it become a home office. The design and exterior are just great…

    • TomLeeM November 14, 2012, 8:09 pm

      I think having the garage as a home office is great idea.

      I would use the garage as an artist studio. Since I own a Smart car, it is small enough that I could – potentially – use it as both. :)

  • Amanda August 30, 2012, 1:44 pm

    I just recently started living “simply” and I love it. Living simply makes me feel less stressed, people said it would but I didn’t believe how it could, but it really does! I would love to get a small house like this someday. Currently we are living in an appointment until we figure out our career paths and where we plan on living!

  • Curt November 3, 2012, 3:19 pm

    Nice. Looks rather roomy for being only 500 ft. I’d be willing to sacrifice a foot or two of the balcony for just a little extra bedroom space. But that’s just me.

    • Ethan March 13, 2014, 3:58 am

      I agree….while looking at floor plan it appears you could actually make the top part bigger…extend it out the opposite way of the balcony and close the open stop to kitchen and you would have room for a washer/dryer stack…

  • Bob November 10, 2012, 1:11 pm

    My like projekt!

  • gloria February 2, 2013, 7:54 am

    I love the design. would nix the garage for an office/ guest space…

  • kyla February 6, 2013, 12:55 pm

    I was wondering what the perimeter was and dimensions of the rooms?

  • Tracie Baker February 8, 2013, 3:36 pm

    I would LOVE this for my mother to where she can be close. Wonderful house.

  • Talkeetnaman February 11, 2013, 4:56 pm

    I am getting ready to build a 16×24 here in Alaska. I have great southern exposure so I am building a shed roof sloped down to the north so I can hang solar panels on the rafters on the south that swing out in the summer to gather more light and shade the windows. I am using double stud 2x4s on a 2×8 plate with closed cell foam in the walls. I will have a full basement for storage and utilities including an air to air heat exchanger that will run on a timer because they are all to big for this size place. After this I will build a place a little smaller than 900 sqft place right next to it with connected utilities(water, septic etc.) The small place will be a great guest house after that. No banks involved:)

  • Marianne March 4, 2013, 1:02 pm

    Great home with one enormous flaw….bedroom upstairs and bathroom downstairs. Think about getting up in the middle of the night half asleep and having to walk down a flight of stairs? Really?
    Haven’t thought that through clearly. It damages the entire design and is so impractical that I’m shocked you didn’t think of this immediately. You need to have a bathroom upstairs as well. A woman would have never left that out of the design. Yes, we are very detailed and think of everything. It’s our gift! ;-)

    • Nash March 26, 2013, 1:01 pm

      I totally agree with you, even with the fact that women thing of everything and are sooo organized, that usually my wife hits the only and unique pothole in any road!

  • MelD March 9, 2013, 2:50 am

    Beautiful – and one of the nicest things is that the living space is not dominated by a TV, wonderful!!

  • Kathy March 9, 2013, 12:40 pm

    I agree with Marianne that the upstairs needs a bathroom (or 1/2 bath, at the very least). In fact, it’s the first thing I thought of when I saw the pictures of this house. I would much rather have an upstairs bathroom than a balcony. Another thought: Is it a good idea to have elderly people living in this tiny house someday? Stairs are difficult to maneuver for the elderly, and I just don’t think I could ask my parents to do that. Otherwise, this is a great design, and an ever greater idea to put it in their parents’ back yard!

  • Cahow June 16, 2013, 9:26 pm

    Homes are like Steak and everyone wants it served differently! I think that for this couple, they designed the house the way that THEY needed. With NO disrespect to them, this is how I’d alter it for MY needs…with some comments first.

    1) Garage or No Garage, that is the Question. Well, if you live in a very urban area with tight parking, that garage is a Gold Mine! Anyone hear about the parking space in San Francisco that is 8′ x 12′ and sold for $82,000.00?!?! At $50 bucks a pop for a parking ticket, that garage can save your arse if there’s no on street parking available. Now, if this is in an area with tons of on street parking, then that’s a different matter entirely. I’d build a wall parallel to the Mechanical Room and turn that space into a wee office/guest room. I’d then flip the Bathroom/Mechanical Room and have the guest room/office have access to the bathroom with the mechanical room access at the front of the house.

    The remaining enlarged space downstairs would be a combo kitchen/dining room/living room. WHY would you split off a kitchen and living room between two different floors? I haven’t seen that kind of floor plan since the 1800’s with the basement kitchen…or Number 12, Grimmauld Place also had a basement kitchen. ;)

    2) The main floor floor plan has been changed since the sketch. The kitchen now comes around the corner with the frig, there is no “island” (I guess that’s what’s sketched) and it goes directly to that grand window in the kitchen. Perhaps they thought the island would restrict space? One on wheels would be handy, though.

    3) Now to the Bathroom-less upstairs. Since I moved the living room downstairs, that frees up the miserable tiny space that a mattress was shoved into…to become the UPSTAIRS BATHROOM!!!! Which overlooks the deck!!!!! Yeah!

    I can’t stand balconies in homes that overlook spaces (what.a.waste.of.squarefootage!), so I’d enclose that space and make the former “living room” an amazing bedroom with tons of storage space for clothes which 4-Season home owners need! Now, the upstairs has a bathroom, great closet space and the deck remains.

    4) One last comment: are my husband and I the ONLY TWO HUMANS that need/desire/ night stands???? In Tiny Home after tiny home, I see the futon/mattress pressing right up against the walls of the loft or alcove…where the hell do you people put a) your current book?; b) a lamp?; c) a box of tissues?; d) a glass of water?and the friggin’ e) ALARM CLOCK?????…and that’s under normal circumstances! When sick, where’s the place for a thermometer, your medicine, more boxes of tissues and perhaps a space for a wee posy in a bud vase? Come on, we can’t be the sole people who need a space for a clock and lamp, are we? So, I solved that issue by doing the switcheroo. We could be quite happy in the space as I changed it for our needs.

    But, once again, this space works for those that own it, it’s THEIR steak, not mine. ;)

    • Bill Burgess January 22, 2014, 12:55 am

      So a little sketch would help your explanation.. All of which is right on in my opinion. Of course that is why I am doing the Park Model format at 4Fathoms Designs on FB. For some reason I often wonder on where the designers are spending their senior years. NEVER a bedroom without a bath on the same floor(I always have at lest 1.5 in all my designs now… Come to think about it I have ALWAYS had 1.5 bath since the 60’s when I started designing and building .

      • ME January 24, 2014, 12:19 am


  • Marcia@Frugal Healthy Simple December 31, 2013, 6:52 pm

    This is adorable

  • AL March 8, 2014, 9:08 pm

    indeed prefer making the garage into living room, upstairs living room to more bedroom, bedroom in there seems too closed in just enough for leg room, then ofcourse don’t need too spacious bedroom only there to flop down and sleep! balcony has more room than the bedroom switch, turn the small space bedroom to walk-in/storage closet! there’s enough room outside make driveway for the car fence with seasonal canopy?

  • alice h March 9, 2014, 12:19 pm

    Laneway houses in Vancouver have to build within some tight guidelines, the number of off street parking spaces for that lot being one, and they usually replace an existing garage. That’s why they often have a garage built in. A clever architect can come up with a designated garage space that can also function as living space if done right while still fulfilling the legal requirements. You have to remember that these are auxiliary living quarters, just like having a rental or in-law suite and will never be sold as a stand alone property separately from the main house.

  • Glema March 10, 2014, 5:18 am

    Cahow, Just a quick help for the nightstand problem. On one of Alex shares there was a modern conversions type of apartment. A tiny sliding table came out of the side to serve as a night stand right from the side of the bed. If that idea doesn’t tickle your fancy, perhaps a small drop leaf from each side of the walls so that you can move it out of your way if you need to get up, yet have it available should you need it. Hope this helps. Happy Trails and God bless you

  • Vickie March 10, 2014, 10:03 pm

    I Love This one!! Can I have it NOW.!?!

  • Hannah April 28, 2014, 12:34 am

    I agree with making the garage the living room because (living in the country) I really have no need for a garage aside from protectin my car from harsh elements (which I’m none too worried about). Knocking out the door leading into the kitchen and the garage door, I’d add in a sofa (or two for company), chairs, and a coffee table with a nice rug. I’d also knock out the door leading from the garage to the outside in favor of a glass semi-wall. I’d also trade out the mechanics room for a landuray/linen/mud room.

    With the now freed up upstairs, I’d have a full bed moved up against a wall, a chair or love seat, and some shelving, a small stock of drawers, a nightstand, and a wardrobe to serve as my closet for hanging nicer clothes. I’d convert the previous bedroom into a small office/study for work by adding a glass door to the entry (for privacy) instead of taking away some of the balcony.

  • yarnpiggy May 26, 2014, 10:41 pm

    Oh, Vancouver…how insane you are.

    Median price for a Smallworks unit: $290,000.

  • Mintconstruct Pty Ltd March 3, 2015, 7:00 am

    Great information there, Thank you for the share. You are helping others to grow their knowledge by sharing such a valuable information very helpful Thanks Again best

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