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Scott and Tania’s 485 Sq. Ft. Backyard Cottage

After newlyweds, Scott and Tania, traveled to Asia for their honeymoon they returned to Vancouver, Canada to build their ‘pint-sized’ house. This 485 sq. ft. cottage is their home that was built in Tania’s parents backyard.

The rules in that particular area allow for small houses to be built in the alley way. Usually as guest houses or home offices, etc. This home has a very open living and dining room combined together with the kitchen right along side too. I love the upstairs bedroom with the exposed ceiling beams, sky lights  and the balcony patio.

Would this size house work for you?

Scott and Tania’s 485 Sq. Ft. Backyard Cottage


Images © Tania Clarke

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Images © Tania Clarke

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Andrea is a contributor for TinyHouseTalk.com and the Tiny House Newsletter! She has a passion for sharing tiny and small house stories and introducing you to new people, ideas, and homes.
{ 55 comments… add one }
  • Nancy
    May 28, 2015, 8:46 am

    OMG! This house is adorable! I could definitely live here and love the upstairs especially the window boxes and love the curb appeal. Has to be one of the cutest tiny/small homes I have seen yet.
    Thank you for sharing!

    • Kris Henderson
      May 28, 2015, 2:01 pm

      I agree – it’s “comfortable with some space for individuals!!

  • Kath
    May 28, 2015, 8:55 am

    Awesome guys. Tiny houses rule!! And this one shows you can have efficiency, beauty, style, and a great living space.

  • Toonie
    May 28, 2015, 9:08 am

    A beautiful little house. Screams “WE HAVE AN ENDLESS SUPPLY OF MONEY!” not knocking the house at all but if you have enough money you can buy anything. Even tiny homes can be exceptionally expensive when the whole thing is (obviously) custom built. Kudos to them for being in a situation where they could afford such a thing. I’d take it in a heartbeat if someone else wanted to pay. 🙂

  • Jenna
    May 28, 2015, 9:12 am

    I’m loving this house my son and I could definatley live in this!!! I’m interested in that kitchen/dining/livingroom floor, does it have heating in it? And it looks very slippery.

  • gale
    May 28, 2015, 9:19 am

    Really cute. Half bath downstairs would be nice addition for guests but otherwise very nice.

    • Porcsha
      May 28, 2016, 3:46 pm

      I agree, it’s not a good idea to entertain guests when they have to parade through your upstairs bedroom. Otherwise, super cute house.

  • Rob Frank
    May 28, 2015, 9:42 am

    Beautiful house, love it!

  • Marthe
    May 28, 2015, 9:50 am

    Wow. Probably one of my favourite tiny houses yet. I love the Asian feel to the outside and the outdoor living space as well. The modern designs inside are, of course, a winner!! 🙂 My only thing is that with most of the more “traditional” and appealing tiny houses like this one that come with a little more space for a family (non bus/wheeled homes), costs are not included and that’s disappointing. I am seriously considering alternatives in this market and pricing would be most helpful with posts like this. Is including pricing a possibility, please? Thanks so much. 🙂

    • Doris
      May 28, 2015, 3:15 pm

      If you are serious, arm yourself with floor plans and pictures and sketches, then contact a local architect or builder to get legitimate estimates, be willing to pay for their time, and know that every change to the plan is going to cost more.
      I agree it would be nice for those in Vancouver to be able to see the builder’s sign in the front yard. However, construction material and costs vary widely within communities, not just regions in the US and Canada, that it would be hard to get an authentic idea of price unless you live just down the laneway.
      Usually, cost-per-square footage is confined to fine homebuilding and architecture publications, if the owner is willing to disclose it, and quickly becomes dated.
      Besides, like many of you, (judging from the bad knee comments) I was raised in a generation where it was downright rude to ask someone what they paid for a new sofa, much less their home. I appreciate the fact that these people open their homes to us, often receiving petty critiques about their color choices, lifestyle, or bathroom habits in exchange for their kindness. I would not expect them to make their finances public for further discussion among strangers.
      Every time some brave soul mentions the price of a featured tiny house, a few commenters scream in outrage. Just look at previous posts. “But here in Ohio, I can get a condo four times bigger than that for half the price.” “I can build it myself for five thousand in scraps from the dump.” “That’s ridiculous, that builder shouldn’t expect so much for all his work.” And so forth.
      Good luck to Marthe, researching is a lot of work, but you’ll wind up getting what YOU want. Meanwhile, it’s fun looking.

      • May 28, 2015, 3:55 pm

        Doris. I can easily see the builders sign in the photo. It says Smallworks. I googled it and it popped up. http://www.smallworks.ca
        It’s Smallworks Studios and Laneway Housing in Vancouver.

        More cute houses on the site 😀

      • May 28, 2015, 4:37 pm

        Doris, I can easily see the sign in the front yard. It says Smallworks. If you google that, the website will pop up on google.

        I replied to you earlier and posted a link to their website but my reply was deleted. I am posting again without the link to see if my comment makes the cut this time.

        The company is called Smallworks Studios and Laneway Housing.

      • Kathleen-Florida
        May 28, 2015, 4:40 pm

        Great!, now they are both there. — SORRY!!

      • Doris
        May 28, 2015, 5:05 pm

        At my age, I need to be told twice, Kathleen, before it sinks in :-). Thanks for the tip, I’ll try it again with a different computer or just maybe different glasses. If Marthe is in that area, maybe she can get started on The Dream.

      • Gigi
        May 28, 2016, 6:48 pm

        Thank you, Doris, for your eloquent response about the cost of the home. Everything you said makes perfect sense.

  • May 28, 2015, 9:55 am

    loved this house, but i would have my the garage my studio and traded the shower for a bath tub, but that’s just me. great house plan and finished details to die for. i live in 397 square feet and love it.

  • Jennifer
    May 28, 2015, 10:02 am

    Lovely design. I agree with Gale and Isabel above, though. I need a bathtub! Also, a half-bath downstairs makes good sense and would be worth a few additional s.f., in my opinion.

    I love the garage, the open design, the natural light, the “normal” sized kitchen, and the upstairs deck.

    So where can I purchase the house plans? 🙂

  • Louise
    May 28, 2015, 10:39 am

    I love this. I would use a store brought sofa and add a small chair. Half bath would be great. Washer and dryer a must for me. I would love to live in this one. I do not know how to get something like this. I live in Pa. A perfect home for my dogs and me.

  • May 28, 2015, 10:44 am

    Love it…except the sofa. Mein Gott, it looks horribly uncomfortable. Why can’t tiny homes manage a half decent sofa? After all, with limited space, you’re going to be spending a lot of time ON it.
    But the rest of the design is absolutely stellar. I might change up the floating sink just to make use of that extra floor space as storage, instead…or maybe they don’t need that.
    It’s stunning. Especially the deck.

    • alice h
      May 28, 2015, 11:24 am

      I think that “sofa” is actually banquette seating for the table.

    • Janni
      May 28, 2015, 11:59 am

      I agree, that is my biggest issue with tiny homes is the poor ergonomics they offer for a home office and the lack of a comfy sofa that two people or one person and a mid size pet can fit on.

  • SteveDenver
    May 28, 2015, 10:46 am

    I presently live in a carriage house that is a little smaller than this. The high-level finishes make this suitable as a long-term housing solution. I applaud a young couple for choosing to live efficiently instead of snagging a McMansion to cram full of stuff. This is a beautiful home.

    • Jeremy
      May 28, 2015, 11:41 am

      While I agree this is a very nice little place, I’m not so sure they chose this type of place in order to be more efficient. It’s kind of the way young couples in Vancouver have to go unless they happen to have an extra $1.5 mill kicking around.

      • Doris
        May 28, 2015, 5:09 pm

        Hmmm. This strikes me as being efficient. Close to loved ones and family, making the most of unused space, and having a beautiful little home despite some rough zoning codes.
        SOMEbody has to live in our cities. We can’t all flee to the country or there would be no country.

        • Comet
          May 28, 2016, 4:22 pm

          agree! We cannot keep building on our farmland. (That said I live in a former tenant house that was on an actual farm; farm is still here but not run the same) I was traveling thru Vermont this week and am noticing more and more “sprawl” and in fact they just enacted some new rules on this. The thousands and thousands of cookie cutter beige snake-path developements are horrid and you just KNOW that the people who are paying way to much for them (they are not built as well as you might hope!) are going to be tearing out the “builders grade” kitchens and baths in a mere few years. They have “yards” the size of postage stamps and each and every one of them has to buy their own mower; they HAVE to have a car because there is NOTHING walkable to buy groceries or even a quart of milk and a loaf of bread. I would almost rather see something built so there was communal property so there was some one paid to take care of the grass (I hate grass in any case!) and a play yard and maybe a small store and community facilities for all ages.

          I see these awful places springing up all over the place as I travel–most always on farmland.

  • Donna Rae
    May 28, 2015, 10:51 am

    I love all of the materials and finishes but the layout seems a bit awkward to me, especially the eating area and stairs…just not as homey as others I have seen. It looks very cute from the outside but if they changed the roof line, they could have provided more square footage upstairs. Oh so cute but I would definitely make changes to the floor plan. It’s not very often that you see a garage included and even though that would probably be great where there is a lot of bad weather, here in Southern California, garages are often used for other than cars! 😉 I totally agree with Isabel about using the garage for a studio…and maybe using part of that space to make the living area larger, eliminating the garage altogether. It’s all about personal preference, though, isn’t it? I could definitely live in it and be content but someone else might think it is absolutely perfect!

    • Comet
      May 28, 2016, 4:32 pm

      Are there rules on if you are ALLOWED to have your car parked outside? In some places you are not so using the space as a studio or a workshop is not possible. In some places you can only park outside for a very short period of time –like long enough to clean out the garage or wash the car! Some cannot be parked outside over night.

      I personally find these rules absurd–most people have nice cars and these are not some blot on the landscape. Not rusty old weed filled clunkers in the yard! I could not live where some one came along and gave me a ticket or added to my tax bill everytime I needed to have my car outside—and what if you need TWO cars?

      I guess I had better stsy in the country for now!

  • Vic Stevins-Owens
    May 28, 2015, 11:08 am

    One of my favorite features is the large kitchen sink. I’m a fan of installing the largest sink possible, no matter how small the kitchen, because it can always be spanned by a cutting board for extra working surface. Sometimes I see tiny homes with a small bar sink and that just looks like a prep/clean-up struggle, because I cook most of my own meals.
    I would opt to have the stairwell along the wall where the entertainment center is built, so the access from the entry or kitchen wouldn’t require cutting through the living/dining area.

  • Mike Trenshaw
    May 28, 2015, 11:08 am

    I could certainly see us living in this. I could also see converting the garage to a mater bedroom and bath with office space. With our kids and friends visiting, it would be nice to have an extra bedroom.

  • Karen R
    May 28, 2015, 11:17 am

    Lovely design and finishes! I agree that a tiny half bath downstairs and a washer and dryer are needed plus comfy living room furniture, but that is personal choice . . .

  • alice h
    May 28, 2015, 11:23 am

    Zoning restrictions in some areas mean you “must” have a garage space in laneway houses but they really can’t prevent people from using it for other purposes as long as it’s still usable as a garage space in the future. Laneway houses are allowed as replacements for garage and/or onsite parking spaces and are supposed to keep from adding to street parking pressure so there might be complaints from neighbours if you use street parking for vehicles that used to be accommodated in a garage or backyard before the laneway house. Most bylaw infraction clamp downs are the result of complaints, so definitely something to avoid. They are also not able to be sold separately from the main house.

    There’s a cute laneway house nearby but they are across the boundary in Vancouver. In Burnaby they are not allowed, though the city has just started to allow legal secondary suites for people other than family members. I’m hoping they go for laneway houses here too sometime soon. They are an excellent way to add density.

    • Doris
      May 28, 2015, 5:25 pm

      Thank you for the definition of laneway houses. I always wondered what their official purpose was. So technically they are supposed to be garages that just happen to have homes “attached?” I would hate to give up my back yard, but it is a solution in this area, and I’m always glad to see family living nearby like we used to.

  • Virginia
    May 28, 2015, 11:51 am

    Absolutely delightful! Just one question: Why do windows overlook the garage?

  • May 28, 2015, 12:09 pm

    It is not often that I don’t have some comments about one of these tiny houses, but this is absolutely beautiful, they thought of everything and I would love to build this house in my own back yard! This is simply beautiful!

  • Kate
    May 28, 2015, 12:37 pm

    A tidy and functional design! I can see how this could be adapted for several lifestyles. With decor etc. it could be very much like home.

  • May 28, 2015, 2:28 pm

    Who says a 1/2 bath has to be in the living area? I can see by doing an On Demand Water Heater and converting the under stair area to a half bath access from the Garage side a perfect addition to this jewel.

  • alice
    May 28, 2015, 3:59 pm

    Really nice floor plan with great architectural details everywhere. Yes, I could easily live and entertain in this house!

  • Nancy
    May 28, 2015, 4:00 pm

    Nice, about the size of my apartment, but not really a “Tiny House”

    • Doris
      May 28, 2015, 5:16 pm

      They didn’t call it a tiny house. They referred to it as a “pint-sized house.” If you check out the menu for this newsletter, you’ll see that they feature all types of alternative homes and spaces, and don’t have rules about where the line is drawn with creative housing ventures. That’s up to our nasty building and zoning departments to declare how people should live.

  • Patty
    May 28, 2015, 4:02 pm

    Very nice house; perfect size for me. I especially like the stairs and the wood. Hope you enjoy it.

  • Nanny M
    May 28, 2015, 5:16 pm

    I could live in this size with no sacrifice.

  • Andrea Hardy
    May 28, 2015, 5:34 pm

    great looking house! kudus to Canada powers that be for being reasonable and making it legally possible to live in tiny houses without making a big production out of it! Hopefully, the U.S. and other countries will follow suit!

  • Andrea Hardy
    May 28, 2015, 5:35 pm

    THAT would be nice!

  • Diana Woods
    May 28, 2015, 6:13 pm

    I wonder how much it cost without lot? I remember seeing a tv show about Sears selling homes in the early century but it would cost lots more theses days. Very cool!

  • Vee
    May 28, 2015, 7:23 pm

    I never cease to be impressed with these very smart small houses.
    Cons on this one include: the banquette, liv. rm. area — looks narrow and kind of “cold”, tho I’m sure it could be cozied up. Pros: The kitchen, bath lovely shower, are so stylish and nice. Looks like plenty of space in the kitchen, too. The upstairs with skylight, wood floors, lighting and builtin shelving looks great. Cute little patio as well! Another winner!!

  • Clare
    May 28, 2015, 10:36 pm

    How much did this cost to build?
    Thanks! I love it!

  • Rue
    May 29, 2015, 12:16 am

    Agree with others that the main floor layout could be improved, plus a real sofa, some kind of tub, and a washer/dryer….but this is just about the right size, for me personally.

    I do like the upper-floor deck space…you can get outdoors without being in your neighbors’ noses.

  • Marie
    May 29, 2015, 3:14 am

    Would love to find a community in a mountain area and for 50 and over, that’s my dream, love this floor plan.

  • Jaime
    May 29, 2015, 12:17 pm

    A lot of interesting comments on possible variations of this plan with some good ideas – I won’t add to them here. But one thing I -would- like to note is that this is perhaps one of the best and most useful photo sets that I’ve seen on this site to date – the floor plan is clear and large enough to see good detail, and there are plenty of pictures of the living spaces (including the bathroom – very important) and those photos are all easy to relate to the provided floor plan. This is particularly nice since it allows you to compensate for the visual distortion from the wide angle lens used to take the pictures. It really makes it easy to get a good feel for the layout of the place and give it a fair evaluation for livability, long term or otherwise. Kudos for a truly useful set.

  • Denise
    June 3, 2015, 8:12 am

    I love the layout and craftsmanship of this home, it is beautiful and feels warm to me with what looks like a polished cement floor. I imagine summers are cool and the floor helps insulate in the winter.

    I can only see this as a guest house however, and not something I could live in full time and it is due to the location of that bathroom with it’s absolutely beautiful shower. If I did live in it full time, as the bathroom is upstairs, anyone visiting me would have to tromp up and through my private space to use it, and my 88 year old friend with Afib and RA in her lungs who is currently staying with me would not be able to navigate those stairs at all. Otherwise, for me alone it would be no problem.

  • Tania
    June 8, 2015, 7:21 pm

    Hi there! Thanks so much for sharing our pint-sized blog with your viewers. I’m the resident of this pint-sized house, so I thought I’d mention a few things for those who are curious since we’ve been living in the home for three years now.

    We (thankfully) do have a washer/dryer in our garage space. Also, the garage offers an additional 200 square feet for a car or in our case, storage and a workspace, since we don’t own a car. We opted not to get a tub because we only use a shower, and since this was a custom design we didn’t have to think about what renters or buyers might want. The sofa works really well for us since it offers extra storage, but I will admit I sometimes miss our old squishy sofa. We debated it for a long time while designing the space but in the end I’m glad we opted for the hidden storage. Compromises have to be made in small spaces! I made a foam ottoman-style cover for the coffee table that is removable, so that makes the area more loungey. Our living area on the main floor is very spacious and we’ve hosted parties of 25 people in our house comfortably. I was initially worried about seating, but people actually like sitting on the heated floor! It’s funny looking at these old photos now, since the space is definitely more cozy since we’ve added our personal touch to everything.

    And yes, our balcony is awesome, totally private and we live on it most of the summer!

    Thanks again for the feature!

    • June 9, 2015, 12:07 pm

      Awesome! Thanks for sharing 🙂

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