Innovative design is often the result of someone addressing a need and that’s certainly the case with Vancouver’s Mint Tiny House Company, which is exhibiting at the 47th annual BC Home + Garden Show, Feb. 21 to 25 at BC Place Stadium.
Brian Persse moved to Vancouver from Ireland in 2013, and his Canadian brother-in-law asked him to build him a tiny home. Persse’s background was in construction and his wife Shannon was in real estate; together, they discovered there was real market for tiny homes and launched the Mint Tiny House Company.
“Our initial focus was people who couldn’t afford to purchase a home themselves,” he says. “But the market has grown wider since. We’ve got clients who are buying them as first homes. We’ve got people who are retiring and moving into them. We’ve got people who are buying them for recreational use, who are living in them and renting them out as well. We’ve basically found, I think, over the last couple of years that there’s multiple uses for these tiny homes. Obviously, the housing crisis in Vancouver is one part of it.”
Mint tiny homes start at around $50,000 for a 20-foot-base model, Persse says, and people can customize them any way they choose, spending, on average around $80,000.
Vancouver’s Mint Tiny House Company builds tiny homes that are fully customizable to peoples’ needs and tastes. Photo: Mint Tiny House Company for The Home Front: Tiny home design at BC Home + Garden Show by Rebecca Keillor [PNG Merlin Archive]
“For $50,000, you get basically a nice little tiny home,” he says. “A sleeping loft that can sleep two people comfortably in it, and you can customize and add in different appliances, and things you like from there.”
The feedback they get from their customers is that these homes allow them more freedom, both financially and time-wise.
“The cost of running these homes is very, very low,” he says. “They’re very well insulated, there’s minimal maintenance and minimal bills every month. They realize they don’t need as much stuff, and they get more free time. Because, let’s face it, on a Saturday morning, an average person starts to clean their home, and maybe spends half the day cleaning their home; with a tiny home, half an hour and you’ve got it spic and span and you’re ready to do what you want.”
Most of their tiny homes go to places like the Gulf Islands, Vancouver Island and outside the city of Vancouver, along with the U.S., Persse says. They’ve sent a lot of homes to California.
“Construction on the Gulf Islands can be quite expensive,” Persse says. “Because there’s a limited amount of builders on those islands who kind of have the monopoly, if you like, of the construction over there, and getting materials and everything to and from there, everything gets expensive. Whereas, with what we’re doing, it’s all built in our factory here in Delta, and it’s a single ferry ride over and a simple installation that’s very cost effective. Obviously, it doesn’t upset the neighbours because they’re not listening to any construction noise going on for weeks and months at a time. A few hours, or day at the most, we’ll do the install and that’s it.”
Vancouver’s Mint Tiny House Company builds fully customizable tiny homes. Photo: Mint Tiny House Company for The Home Front: Tiny home design at BC Home + Garden Show by Rebecca Keillor [PNG Merlin Archive]
For those happy to commute, says Persse, or have the option of working remotely, these homes are also very appealing.
“A lot of our clients are able to work from home in their tiny home, and location isn’t so much of an issue these days,” he says. “For people with tech jobs, or whatnot, it’s actually very very suitable, providing they’re OK with being outside the city, and then even if it means working from home two or three days a week, and commuting two days that’s fine.”
Every home they build is customized to meet their clients’ needs, Persse says.
“If we know they’re going to be on a site that has full electric hookups we’ll build an all-electric unit,” he says. “Whereas, if someone is going more off grid, we do have options for solar, we’ve got solar packages, so the home can be completely self sustaining.”
At the BC Home + Garden Show, Mint is exhibiting as part of the tiny homes village, alongside Modpools (swimming pools made from shipping containers).
“We’ll have three different builds there, all of different sizes, and slightly different designs, so something for everyone to see there,” Persse says.
For more information on the show, visit bchomeandgardenshow.com