While living in the country brings much more affordable properties, a good number of us would rather live in a city, where jobs, nightlife, and other opportunities are much more accessible. Unfortunately urban life also brings much higher home prices and strict zoning regulations often restrict options for new development. Fortunately some cities have taken steps to make things easier for new homeowners. Former Vancouver Mayor Sam Sullivan’s mid-2000s EcoDensity initiative legalized the construction of small backyard accessory dwelling units (ADUs) that have come to be known as laneway houses.
These small dwellings have become quite popular (in part due to the very high cost of conventional houses in the city) and a mini-house construction mini-industry has sprung up. One of the foremost builders is Smallworks, which has put up more than 80 laneway houses over the last seven years. This one, built for newlyweds Tania and Scott, is their 485-square-foot Dunbar model. The open-plan first floor has spaces for cooking, dining, and socializing; upstairs are the master bedroom, a full bathroom, and an expansive balcony. Design and finish on this unit both look to be top quality, and you can see dozens more examples on the Smallworks website.