Does size matter? It’s the age-old question, but when it comes to housing, Melanie Hewer doesn’t think so.
Hewer has brought the tiny house movement to Kamloops, a social revolution where people choose to live simple and sustainable lives by building homes the size of the average bedroom.
“My girlfriend about 10 years ago had a garden shed made, and it was just this cute little cottage and I just stared at it all the time when I was there. I thought, God, if it was a bit bigger I could live in this,” she said. “And then about five years ago…I saw online Tumbleweed Tiny Houses and I was addicted.”
Hewer is building her dream tiny house on her property on the North Shore, with over 600 people following her journey on her Facebook group “Melanie’s Tiny Home Journey — SERENDIPITY.”
“Once I move in I am going to move it to a different property. A few people I know have land, out of the city limits and they said ‘there’s room for you and your tiny house,’” she said.
Hewer said the reactions from family and friends had been mostly positive with people donating items and offering their time to help build the home.
“They see my excitement…different people think ‘wow it’s cool, but it’s not for me.’ I’ve lived in big houses, I’ve lived in small houses. I prefer small. I don’t use what I have, it’s just wasted space,” she said.
Hewer does admit, however, there will be some things that she won’t let go of easily.
“I am a blanket person. Every couch, every chair has a blanket on it. That one will be hard, and clothes,” she said.
Though she is looking forward to getting back to basics.
“I’m not much for cooking, I’ll bring my freezer with me, my Crock-Pot, make soups and vegetables and can them. I used to do that a lot but I haven’t done that in years, life’s just too busy,” she said.
Hewer said building more tiny houses would be an asset to the Kamloops community, giving people the opportunity to return to a more sustainable, self-sufficient lifestyle.
“We’re so far away from the natural foods and nutrition, and the exercise of it. We’re just busy drinking coffee, driving around, going to the grocery story when you could spend five minutes to do it at home,” she said.
She also sees tiny living as a way to avoid mortgages and debt.
“The younger generation, if they could do this now when they’re young, build it themselves…It will save you millions of dollars over the years. Stay debt-free, don’t go into all this debt because it’s killing everybody. It’s hard on your relationships with your spouse, with your parents, with your kids. It infects you, your whole life,” she said.
Hewer wants more people to join the tiny house revolution.
“You don’t need any special talents or expensive tools. If you want to do it you’d be able to,” she said. “Do your homework, YouTube has everything you need.”
“It would save you a lot of money over your lifetime, if you could spend 5 years as an adult, even with your spouse, even children, it would save you so much money,” Hewer said.