Rollin Cabins Brings Tiny Homes to NL: Would You Live in a 160 Square Foot Space?

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160 square feet isn’t a lot of space to work with, but in recent years tiny homes around this size have been catching on all across North America.It inspired Sean Mercer of Grand Falls-Windsor to start Rollin Cabins, his own tiny home company, back in February 2016. 

He figured they were bound to catch on in Newfoundland, and in recent months he’s been getting calls from all over Canada and the United States from interested parties. While many tiny homes are built by the owners, some people order them from companies. And there are plenty of television shows documenting the trials and joys of tiny home ownership, like “Tiny House Nation” and “Tiny House, Big Living.”

When it comes to Rollin Cabins tiny homes, what you see is what you get (for a space little bigger than an average bedroom): a kitchen, room for a small couch, a table, a storage closet, and a bathroom that has a shower, toilet, and a sink. All of the normal household features wrapped up in 160 sq. ft. make up this tiny home, along with a 50 sq. ft. loft for a bedroom accessed via staircase. And because it’s built on a trailer, the home can be moved around.

At the moment, Rollin Cabins has only one design, but Mercer said he hopes to expand in the future. Costs start around $65,000 but can go up depending on what specifications that client wants for their unit. They can also be ready for pickup eight weeks after ordering.

Mercer has heard from people in their early 20s to retired seniors. While some of them are drawn to tiny homes because they’re interested in a cheaper cabin for the summer, there have been younger people looking at it as an option for their first home.

Part of the appeal is the price, he explained. For someone just out of university, a tiny home is in their reach financially and can be paid off faster than a mortgage on a house. Though, Mercer noted, there are certain regulations that may apply: municipal bylaws may regulate the size of homes on property and where mobile homes can be parked.

Mercer said another appeal to the tiny home is that owners can pack up and migrate if they don’t want to be stuck in one place all year round. For example, he said owners could drive their home to good snowmobiling grounds in winter and then relocate to the water in summer. Portability makes it an option for people attracted to a more nomadic lifestyle.

And of course, there are a few other uses to these types of dwellings that don’t have to be residences. Mercer suggested they can function as a cabin, RV, guest house, or even an office in the backyard.

But before you sell your house and invest in a tiny home, these micro-dwellings require a certain type of lifestyle. To make this minimalist amount space work, you’d probably have to cut back on some material possessions and every inch of space would have to be accounted for.

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Elizabeth Whitten

Elizabeth had an MA in Anthropology before she decided journalism school would lead to a far more lucrative deal. So now she has another degree and writes in St. John’s. Web: elizabethlwhitten.com; Twitter: @elwhitten

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