Tiny Homes – A Viable Solution for Many

When you start looking into tiny homes on wheels it’s fascinating to see how creative a builder can be while still working within limited length and width parameters. Just watching a few episodes of Living Big in a Tiny House and you can see that there are seemingly unlimited ways for builders to create something very unique, special and most importantly, functional.

Recently, Cordell Pollock of VedaHawk Tiny Homes in Alberta, Canada, reached out to chat about what we’re doing here at Raven’s Perch and to introduce himself and his business. We talked about our shared passion for all things related to tiny house living but we also talked about some of the challenges faced by builders and those purchasing tiny homes. The high cost of buying and building traditional style homes makes it out of reach for most people and so tiny houses are a great option. One of the challenges that many face though, is finding a place to park their tiny home. City and rural bi-laws often prohibit any form of tiny house on wheels structure to be placed on private property.

We are lucky here at Raven’s Perch to have no restrictive zoning that prevents this type of dwellings being built or parked on the property. Where possible, other land owners here, and around the country, are creating similar opportunities for families to share the land and create community. In our region we see more and more land owners creating intentional communities that incorporate non-conventional style homes. Big Calm is one such community and worth checking out if you are interested in a beautiful place to park your home.

I really enjoyed speaking with Cordell, and so, asked him to share with you his story about himself and his business… (you can also check out his blog posts to learn more about Cordell’s life philosophy and helpful tips for tiny home living).

I strongly believe in innovation, creativity, and efficiency.
Tiny homes encapsulate all these things.

I started my company VedaHawk Tiny Homes in April of 2020 as a response to being laid-off from my previous career due to the outbreak of the pandemic. I had always wanted to build tiny houses and run my own tiny house company, so I took lemons and made my lemonade. During the first year I built my first model by myself while undergoing the CSA Z240 RV Certification process with Intertek Certification Services. Once I made it through that, I used my first build as a marketing tool to secure another build, and then another.

I wanted to build tiny homes since the first time I saw them on HGTV (pretty sure that is where we all saw them first). I was initially drawn to the idea just because I love building and they were a very neat concept, but the older I got the more I became aware of the housing issues that so many face.

Purchasing a home has become more and more of a dream for most people and no longer an achievable goal. And so, we rent, and the years go by, and we are still renting, no closer to achieving our goal of purchasing a home because the factors that have priced so many people out of the market are still there and are continuing to get worse.

Photo from VedaHawk website

I believe tiny houses are THE solution, and I believe they are the future of housing. So when I started my company, it was no longer because it seemed like a cool thing to do. I had vision, ambition, drive, and big plans. I started building for individuals and am now aiming to partner with established businesses to bring tiny houses to more people.

Once I have got my name deeper into the market, I intend to develop my own eco friendly tiny home communities. I strongly believe in innovation, creativity, and efficiency. Tiny homes encapsulate all these things, and I think everyone deserves one.

Joining the Tiny House Movement… almost there!

The tiny house movement is more than just living in a small home (generally considered to be a space less than 400 square feet), it’s an architectural, social and environmentally conscious movement – it’s the ultimate lifestyle choice if you have the minimalist mindset.

A tiny house is either stationary and built on a foundation or it moveable and is built wheels. Many are taking a crack at building their own and it’s incredible to see, that is the way to really keep costs down! On shows like Living Big in a Tiny House you get to see the amazingly creative ideas that people are coming up with!

The tiny house movement is really a unique community and I love how the Vancouver Island based tiny home builder Rewild Homes has built a really great site with tons of resources including BC Land Listings for those looking for a place to park their homes (we have space on our land if you’re interested! Check out this link and if you want to apply fill out an application form here).

Whether you are trying to find a place to park your tiny house on wheels … or if you are planning to build a tiny home with a foundation – it is important to do your research. Many municipalities do not allow it and it can be a real challenge to get permits to build. It’s a bit mind blowing to think that even if you own your property you may not be permitted to build a tiny house on it… wow!

We got incredibly lucky with our piece of property as there are (currently) no zoning restrictions in place that would limit our ability to build a smaller than usual home. Even so, we had to spend a lot of time talking to the local permit office and insurance companies to make our plans understood and accepted. Hopefully if people get a little more vocal the laws will begin to relax and become more flexible…

We chose Nomad Micro Homes because they are architecturally beautiful, they are sustainably built and because they are affordable. Another reason is that the design is adaptable for a variety of needs and this was very important to us.

My post in November showed the concrete footings poured and power/water lines buried. Also, the first shipment of two of the three cubes that will make up our home and guest suite were delivered. Then came a) snow and b) the holiday season. Patience, this is my mantra!

Now we have an amazing power/water pump ‘shack’. It is steel clad which is really important in this environment where forest fires are a real threat. Seeing this structure in place was an exciting day for us, to see something physically built on our property!

Even though we have chosen to have our home on a foundation and will build some outbuildings such as a cold storage and perhaps a work-out space, our home itself is about 340 square feet with two sleeping lofts. We are both passionate about living with a minimal amount of “things” so we do our best to make very conscious purchases. I think our main weakness is books and we have quite a few between us!

Now that the second shipment arrived, the suite can now be framed up. Once it’s at the same stage as the main home then all of the finishing work will progress with both. The final push!!

Adapting to the new norm

In my last post I shared thoughts on how being adaptable can help us to navigate through stressful times and how learning to be ok with change can help us to be calm and respond to situations despite the fear or uncertainty that we may feel. To seek out solutions instead of focusing on what is wrong.  We may even find that we learn how to thrive during times such as these.

The way that we carry out almost every activity in our daily life has changed in such a short period of time, and just the other day I encountered a new one. Our bank appraiser came by the property to asses the progress made on our home in order that funds from my construction loan may be released to me. He let us know ahead of time that because of the COVID-19 situation, he is only permitted to perform drive-by viewings from the road, he can’t actually drive or step onto the property.

When he arrived, we spoke to him from across the road and he instructed us on what photographs he’d need to see in order for him to complete his report. Below are some of the photos we took and you’ll see a lot of work has taken place in the past month. The siding is completed, the windows are in, the roof on and soffits installed. Last week the electricians made a lot of progress and this week I believe the plumber is coming in. Then begins the fun stuff like drywall!

Adaptability and embracing change has been my friend throughout the length of this project and we still have several months to go. So many delays and moving timelines to manage along with the tedious and often stressful task of juggling finances. The money aspect is one which has forced us to re-evaluate the original plan again and again … and yet again. Sure there is stress within this process and yes I have shed tears of frustration at times wondering if I had bitten off more than I could chew. However I truly believe that with each requirement to change we have come to the most incredible way forward and I don’t think we would have got here without everything “negative” and “challenging” that has happened along the way!

We are very fortunate to have a property outside the ALC which allows us to be creative and to play with lots of different possibilities. The part of the property that is down the hill and through the cedar forest from where we are building the Nomads is a big beautiful open field. Some of our ideas have been to find a partner to build a boutique micro-brewery. Another was to build a really cool house on stilts like the Sol-Duc. We also thought about building several live/work studio homes for people in the area, or a business centre for the local community.

And then… COVID-19 came along and here we now are at the end of March in a Brave New World, the strangest of days. So within a few weeks and with all the uncertainty surrounding everyone and everything, all of the plans that we had considered got thrown out the window and we had to re-evaluate our plan.

One morning, about a week ago, while I was doing my idea machine “workout” I had the seed of a thought which, while later brainstorming it with Steve, germinated into something fabulous – the idea to marry my love of tiny homes with my interest in permaculture gardening together to build something for ourselves and for the greater community. The plan to invite between 3 – 5 experienced permaculture designers/ farmers who will park their own off-grid tiny home on wheels on our property began coming together.

lower field

Then the question became… how? How do we reach out to find these people? Where to begin? Well, about a year ago I had joined the Young Agrarians organization and while I hadn’t been actively participating I did remember that they have a B.C. Land Matching Program so I started by reaching out to them. The other part of this plan involved reaching out to ReWild Homes, a builder of tiny home on wheels located on Vancouver Island. They have a resources page which includes a lands listing for tiny home owners to find a place to park their homes. I’ve connected with two amazing human beings who are helping me to make this dream a reality!

The vision and plan is to bring like minded people together to build a model or blueprint for sustainable living. We must change the way we live, it has become so apparent in these last few months that we must not, for the sake of this planet, continue being consumer focused and that we need to take control of our local food sources – to become more self sufficient.

We human beings are only stewards of this land, we don’t “own” it, we are only temporarily taking care of it for the next generation as well as for all of the creatures great and and small that share the land with us. It’s shocking – in a horrible but also good way – to see the beneficial affects of the slow down of industry is having on our planet. Blue skies and clear waters in places around the globe where this hasn’t been the case for as long as local residents can remember.

I believe it behoves us to take this global life altering situation that we’ve found ourselves in and make a change for the better – however that might look for you. To go back to the way things were just doesn’t, in my mind, seem to be an option! If you were to change just one thing, what would it be?

I’ll get off my soap box now but leave you this a final note: if you, or someone you know, is a farmer (particularly versed in permaculture) who wants to participate in realizing this vision I have for our Winlaw property, you will share in the harvest, sell at an onsite weekly market and have the opportunity to run workshops and lectures on the property to demonstrate the value and importance of permaculture gardening. If you are interested in participating in any way with this project please feel free to reach out, send me an email at info@ravensperch.co.

What’s in a Number?

A few years ago I took Numerology course with the amazing teacher Brenda Lawrence through the Inner Quest Foundation in Victoria, British Columbia.  The field of Numerology isn’t new, it was begun by Pythagoras way back in 569 B.C.  The theory is that each number carries a certain vibration that equates to certain qualities which can predict a persons personality among other things. According to Numerologists nothing happens by accident, everything happens because of numbers.  Mathematics  explains the whole of the universe and we, as human beings, are made up of particles of the whole of the universe… so it all kind of makes sense. 

I am fascinated with and love numerology and the insight that it can provide into self, relationships and even homes.  The funny thing is that me and math (or numbers) did not have a happy start – I barely passed grade 9 math, repeated grade 10 math  and then gave it up after my second time through. I tend to be somewhat dyslexic when it comes to numbers as well so it makes me chuckle that I am so very drawn to this subject.

So now, to the point of this post – when I bought the property it’s recorded “address” was PL-NEP20007 Hoodikoff Road. I could guess what the first number was going to be based on the neighbouring lots but beyond that I didn’t know. Thinking I had to wait for all of my permits to be issued before I received a number, I patiently waited. It wasn’t until I spoke with Bruce (the milling guy) that I realized I could apply any time.  That afternoon I made a call to the regional district office and  Bob’s your uncle they said I’d have a number in a few days!  

When the email arrived it stated that I had not one but two address numbers… This, apparently, because there are two individual structures on the property and the address numbers are useful in the case of emergency.  Using my knowledge of numerology, I immediately brought each of the four digits to single digits and ended up with one address (5631) being a “6” energy and the other a “4” energy.  We will be using the address number that equals “6” because it’s more in line with our hopes and dreams… (read at the bottom of the post if you’re interested in what 6 represents). 

We will often be referring to this property as simply Raven’s Perch as it is a big part of our project so that in itself carries a huge amount of weight when it comes to understanding the vibration that we will be imprinting on the property… Or, wait! Did we pick the name or did the property “speak to us” and reveal it’s name?  That’s where the metaphysical esoteric intuitive arts get all mind warp-y and why I find it infinitely intriguing!  Anyway, I digress… I did the numerology on the name (for those new to the topic, each letter is associated with a number and once you’ve worked out what numbers align with each word you narrow it down to a single digit). Raven’s Perch is an 11/2 and the 11 particularly resonates with me and this particular property because the moment we first saw it we both felt an instant pull and we even agreed with each other that this is a truly magical place… (read at the bottom of the post if you’re interested in what 11/2 represents).

The intention is to use the property not just for ourselves but to have people stay in the guest suite (hopefully to use it as a retreat from the outer world due to it’s beautiful natural setting), to run workshops on the land related to gardening and natural healthy living (we’re setting up tree stump seating in the forest grove), and who knows what other ideas are yet to be borne. Since we do plan on making it a very active place, these numbers will not only influence us as stewards of the land but also will influence those who come to visit! I will be interested to see how people end up responding to the land and their experience on the property.

You don’t have to know about numerology and understand it for it to work. You’re already living and breathing it!    All of the above to say, I am thrilled with the address that I received!  Below is just a very brief description of the numbers 6 and 11/2.

Interesting to note that within the Tarot, the number 11 is associated with the Major Arcana card “Strength” which in turn is also associated with Leo the Lion in Astrology (which is coincidentally my birth sign).  

Here’s some information about 6 and 11.
5631 (equals 6) This number is the vibration of love, service, compassion, creativity, and artistry. It is said that a 6 house is a home with heart.  It is a great home in which to raise a family and these homes are often filled with children and animals. The 6 house is conducive to its owners hosting intimate gatherings with friends as opposed to wild parties.  Those living in a 6 home can have a tendency of becoming a bit reclusive or not leaving home because it’s so wonderfully harmonious!  It is a great home to run a service-based business, particularly one that is heart-based and/or has an aspect of healing. It is an address in which artists and teachers will thrive.  Under the influence of this number a person living in a 6 house will probably make some wonderful friends and have much enjoyment as it is the most favourable number for harmonious co-operation.   

Raven’s Perch is an 11/2. First of all, looking at the number 2 – this number is known to bring balance to life. This number is excellent for those who love to derive happiness from the little things in life (such as a tiny home!). It is also for people who are kind, generous and believe in creating long-term relationships.

Looking next at the number 11 – homes with the energy of “11” are extremely powerful, intuitive, and they hold an almost magical energy as well as irresistible charm and allure. In this place you will find your intuition and psychic abilities awaken.