This is a 260 sq. ft. curved roof tiny home by Structural Spaces along with an interview with the designer/builder, Chad Smith.
From the outside, you’ll notice shingles and a unique curved – and flat – roof.
When you go inside, you’ll find a geometric space with a kitchen, bathroom, living room, and loft bedroom. Scroll below the pictures to listen to an interview with the builder!
Please enjoy, learn more, and re-share below. Thank you!
260 Sq. Ft. Curved Roof Tiny Home by Structural Spaces
Images © Structural Spaces
Images © Structural Spaces
Interview with the Builder
(Introduction music playing)
Alex: Hi I am here with Chad Smith from Structural Spaces and we would just like to welcome him. “Hi, Chad how are you today?”
Chad: I am doing really well it is nice and sunny.
Alex: Nice. Yes it’s a beautiful day. I am all the way in Florida and I know you’re in Vancouver? Is that right? Where are you located?
Chad: Yea well Burnaby just on the edge of Vancouver there.
Alex: Oh nice. So how long have you been designing and building homes for? Not just tiny homes but home in general maybe?
Chad: Well I’ve been building since I got out of high school, but not always doing the designing as well. So I started on Hornby Island and worked for a design and architectural company for 4 or 5 years and then I moved out to Nelson and did some furniture design and building and small renovation. And then I moved to Vancouver, or back to Hornby for another 5 years and worked for the same company I worked for when I was younger. And then I moved to Vancouver and been doing renovations and just in the last I guess last May, I decided it was time to start my construction building the tiny homes.
Alex: Awesome. What made you decide to go with the tiny houses?
Chad: Well it is actually different than the small homes movement that everyone else is doing. I did it because it is something that I can use all my skill base in. It’s small enough for a single person company to do, and I live in one also. So I guess that is why I was inspired to them and I knew about them, because on Hornby Island when I moved back from Nelson, we needed a place and rental home own is really hard to find. And I came up with the idea that if I built myself a little place and just park on somebody’s land and live in that they wouldn’t be able to kick me out of my house in the summer time when rents are super high and they could get more money and lucrativeness from that so that is what inspired me and that is why I am doing it. It’s something that I can maintain just as a single person company.
Alex: That’s fascinating, I didn’t realize that when I first reached out to you that you actually live in a tiny house. So I didn’t know that.
Chad: I did for years.
Alex: Oh wow.
Chad: Yea for five years we lived with my daughter and partner.
Alex: Wow that’s wonderful. So that was your first tiny house you built than I assume was yours, your own?
Chad: Yes that’s right and I ended up selling that to [someone] on the island. When I left Hornby it made more sense to not try and store it because any building is better lived in than left alone. There is a place that does ‘mead’ which is a honey wine and they have woofers that come and stay on the farm with them and they needed a spot for them. They fell in love with my house found out I was selling and bought it from me when I left.
Alex: Wow cool. Did you build another one for yourself after that after you moved?
Chad: No. No we moved to Vancouver. I guess there is potential I could have tried to do that and live in it. But at that point we just really wanted to change up the lifestyle. My partner was going to go to school. We were just looking for simple rental when we moved to Vancouver.
Alex: Gotcha. Perfect.
Alex: I know you clued us into it a little bit. But, what was your life like before you decided to build tiny houses? I know you were working in carpentry and things like that.
Chad: Yea what was it like? What would I say I always enjoyed building? And I guess I am constantly designing for other people because a lot of my jobs aren’t architecturally designed. It’s people with ideas and concepts to add to their house or change their layout and then we go through the process and do it. And so because of working with a company that I felt was really awesome, which was Blue Sky Design on Hornby, they taught me a lot about seeing what the house is right now and turning the renovation so that you don’t notice what changed and to what is there that is one of their biggest things doing any draw it shouldn’t look like an add on it’s an add-on and if it’s changed and you have to change everything. I learned a lot from there and I played with it I guess.
Alex: That’s awesome that leads perfectly into one of the other questions I have for you. How do you build for your clients? Do you do the design work for yourself, do you team up with somebody else, or do your customers design? How does it normally work or is it different every time?
Chad: It’s quite different most of the time. I usually work with the client and just come up with a concept of what they want. And then in different stages where I feel like ok now I need their influence, do you want this or that? I do a structure or material use I get them to plan there. But if it just comes to building something I am not going to ask because it just starts to get too complicated.
Alex: Got it. My next question is is and I know it might not always be an issue because it sounds like sometimes you do renovations. So maybe it is not that you are always building doing tiny homes, is that right?
Chad: Yes I do definitely work on the other jobs as well. I mean right now from switching from doing renovations to doing tiny homes it is a totally different market. And because I am a builder, not a marketer it is going to take me awhile to get the reputation and get the interest and also because I build I use a lot of expensive material due to my ethics of building. I kind of have really a hard time using anything that I don’t feel completely comfortable with. All my exterior is usually cedar or it is steel or it is something that is not going to depreciate quickly and that will cost you more and I also use stainless steel fasteners for all my stuff outside because the stuff can rust or wear out so my products are trying to be Canadian and I find I try to buy locally. It’s not in the “budget” small homes market sometimes.
Alex: Got it.
Chad: But my passion is about building and I figure there is a need for me there somewhere so.
Alex: Awesome. So how do you go about building these tiny houses? Is is just you, do you have any help at all? Do you contract any help or is it just a one man show?
Chad: It’s pretty much a one man show. I have hired people in the case like there is this one fellow I have used and that is just to lift my beams into place. When I was doing the home you saw probably. The one with the curved roof. Those beams were too hard for me to manipulate up by myself. Also with doing the curve softening trying to push it up and nail it at the same time is not humanly possible. So there are some things I have gotten some help for. In the construction part of it very small amounts most of the time. And then the electrical and plumbing I have been getting them certified because I thought that maybe there are these lane way homes that are involved in Vancouver so I wanted them to be certified and to just be able to be parked wherever. In rural areas there is not so much regulation on that kind of stuff but there are in cities and I didn’t want to restrict on where I could sell my buildings.
Alex: Got it. How do you help your clients overcome obstacles with zoning? Like here in the United States it is a big issue. But I know that you are dealing too with like Lane Way homes and sometimes you’re doing renovations so maybe it is not always tiny homes. But I was just curious if you had any ways to overcome the obstacles. Is it going rural? Are there any unique solutions in your area for tiny houses?
Chad: It’s still in the works. I don’t think there’s like, yea there are obstacles. And I haven’t had to deal with too many of them, because the situation so far I have had just selling to people living in a rural area with not as much restrictions and as much hoops to jump through.
Chad: So moving to mobile park or mobile home parks and stuff like that which I think are possible. But yeah but I just don’t have the experience with that part of it I just have the experience with building the places.
Alex: Cool. Okay we are almost running out of time here and I would like to just squeeze in like 2 or 3 more questions. one of them being what would you say your tiny house company is inspired by?
Chad: Ahh, like how did I … why did I [do] the tiny home thing?
Alex: Yea why are you doing it? Did you have a passion for it? And if so why? I mean from the conversation from before I take it high rent, something to beat high rent because that is something you experienced in the past?
Chad: Yea. I guess my biggest focus for that was… That’s a hard question actually. I’m thinking small and utilizing space is such an interest and challenge and making things comfortable yet small and not being unattainable like just having a space that you can utilize that’s smaller has always been interesting to me. We seem to build so vast these days and there seems to be a lot of wasted space. And I like thinking in geometric shapes and stuff. And to utilize things into multi purposes interests me. So the puzzle pieces of building small is a challenge and I have found very interesting also they are more and because they are small they draw less energy it’s not a full-on big home, you can utilize solar and wind and you can have all these alternative energy sources to run these because they are not as demanding for that. So being able to pull from those resources which seem to be coming more and more available is a great thing.
Alex: Perfect, yes, I find it fascinating, too, [with] what you can do with a smaller space it’s just incredible. And it’s awesome to see so many people come into the movement and the design and the building aspect just to see what comes out. You never know what somebody’s going to do. You think you’ve seen everything than to see somebody come out with something completely unique which is just awesome.
Chad: Yea no doubt. I have seen a lot of interesting designs out there so. I did mean to tell you the one thing that inspired me about the one building that is for sale right now. The reason why that has that curve and that building existed, it’s because ten years ago on Hornby when I moved to the spot where I moved my little building there was a big curved cedar tree, and the lady that I was moving onto the property she was logging that section of the property. And I was like don’t cut that, leave it as a whole tree. And she was like well why. And I was like there’s a beautiful beam in that or a couple. And I could build something with that someday and it would be really inspiring to me so can you leave that. So she ended up doing that. And I ended up using it in lofting mill which is a chain saw saw mill you just have kind of like a bar than attach it to your chain saw and cut beams with it.
Chad: so that’s where that building came from. 10 years ago I just had this building in my head I didn’t need drawings I just built it so it’s like yea that building has something deeper to me in a sense I needed to build the building. I didn’t have a customer for it. I never planned on having a customer for it. I just wanted to build it and it’s been kind of expensive for me to go for but I also could not not do it. (Chuckles)
Alex: (chuckles) Well that’s awesome. Would you share your website / blog with us that way those that are listening can find what you are talking about?
Chad: Oh definitely.
Alex: It’s structuralspaces.com is that right?
Chad: Yes that’s right.
Alex: Perfect. Yea so anyone interested in learning more about Chad and his tiny house construction company just head on over to structuralspaces.com and you’ll get to learn more about him there, you’ll get to see some of his work. And if you’re interested and you’re somewhere in the area and you’d like to hire him to build for you, you can also get in touch with him right there. So Chad thank you so much for spending this time with us and sharing some of your knowledge and just sharing some of your life with us. Just to close things if you had just one tip one piece of helpful advice for people that want to build tiny, want to start their own project or want to just convert [something]. Because you have lived the lifestyle yourself for several years. So what tip would you give someone if you could just say one thing to them, someone who’s thinking about going tiny?
Chad: I would say make sure that you know what you own and what spaces you are going to need for that. Like if you have outdoor gear and stuff you’re probably gonna need something beyond your tiny home or storage. And our home is great you can stay in it. But you need spots for your extras because we all have things we like to do and play and sometimes those things take up more room than a tiny home can hold.
Alex: Awesome. Excellent tip. Alright, Chad I want to thank you again for sharing with us. Again Chad is over at structuralspaces.com. And Chad thank you so much.
Chad: You bet Alex it was a pleasure talking to you.
(Music and over.)
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Natalie C. McKee
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