Woman Builds Unique Tiny House for Affordable City Living – Tour & Interview

After finishing grad school, Sam Gambling decided that a tiny house would be a perfect fit for her lifestyle. She wanted to remain in Vancouver, BC to be near work, family and friends; but the cost of living in the city was incredibly high. She also wanted to be able to work a not-for-profit job without worrying if she’d have enough money for rent each month. Last but not least, tiny houses were a housing solution that fit well with her environmental sustainability values.

She knew tiny houses weren’t legal in the city, but she went ahead and hired a builder, and began construction on her tiny house in 2016 anyway. After a few months, she realized that it was harder than she thought to find an urban parking spot for a tiny house. She did receive many offers to park her tiny house in rural areas though.

After meeting other people in the tiny house world who were encountering the same issue, she co-founded the BC Tiny House Collective with Anastasia Koutalianos to try and legalize and legitimize tiny houses in the province of British Columbia, and in Metro Vancouver.

The two women are working with partners and volunteers to do research, outreach, consultations, tiny house builds, and pilot projects to make tiny houses legal.

BC Tiny House Collective:

For the time being, Sam isn’t living in her tiny house. She’s waiting for a pilot project opportunity so that she can legally live in her home.

The tiny house is 10 feet wide, and was built using some reclaimed materials for things like the trim and the cork flooring.

The house is designed to collect rainwater for landscaping and gardening, it has a vermi-composting toilet, full kitchen with a propane stove, two electric heaters, and a 120 Volt extension cord to power the house.

We know there will probably be questions about the conveyor belt toilet! It’s sold by Toilet Tech Solutions and you can find out more about it here:

We hope you enjoy the full tour of Sam’s house on wheels even though it isn’t completely finished yet 🙂

Thanks for watching!

Mat & Danielle


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Music & Song Credits: 
All music in this video was composed, performed, and recorded by Mat of Exploring Alternatives.

Editing Credits:
Mat and Danielle of Exploring Alternatives

Filming Credits:
Mat of Exploring Alternatives

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26 Replies to “Woman Builds Unique Tiny House for Affordable City Living – Tour & Interview”

  1. Frank From Upstate NY

    Sam….I wish I was a bit younger…I'd "propose right now"…..you have your strategies in good working order. BTW: urine is supposed to be sterile, "when you pee"….unless one has some sort of UTI.
    Nice video…beautiful human being.

    One question…how do you get computer connections…are you using a "repeater" from the local house to connect?

  2. 2815Juan

    This directed to those complaining of cost. These little homes aren’t that difficult to build. Build it yourself and save half.

  3. Donna Macey

    I'm curious about what happens to grey water ie dirty soapy water from washing hands, body, dishes etc, although you do talk about how urine and human waste are handled. Electricity is supplied by extension cord from main house, how is potable water supplied? Some of the objections to parking these homes in urban backyards (not drivewayss) may come from lack of regulations concerning waste handling, soil & ground water pollution, air pollution from wood burning stoves, fire safety and access, setbacks and orientation away from neighbouring properties, building heights, stormwater runoff etc that must be met for other types of structures on urban lots. If you want a toilet in your garage or garden shed or an outdoor shower for example, they must be plumbed directly to the city sewer system.

  4. Greg Coste

    very well executed .. rare is the 10' (wide) TH and it changes the space entirely (regardless of length) .. good job!

  5. Zooks

    I appreciate she is trying to make it legal, but its essentially a modern day caravan. I like her tiny house, but if the city says 'yes' to her, they also say 'yes' to those crappy caravans and soon the area looks ghetto. I understand the citys view and i understand her view, its not a straightforward answer.

  6. Debbe Long

    Sweet house, us old ppl need stairs to the BEAUTIFUL loft, clearly 10 feet wide is the way to go though. Thanks for sharing

  7. YocoWheelin

    Awesome movement! Here in the good ole USA it's illegal to own a tiny house in many states. (Land of the free eh?)

  8. AnnMitten

    An update to this video would be helpful. She had this house built, but isn't living in it. Did she ever find a legal spot to place it? Where is she living in the meantime?

  9. ecosselion

    Like your tiny house,one problem,privacy, you have no blinds or curtains on the windows ,? if you are happy with that fine,they also keep the heat in and stop it's escaping out the windows, I am not criticizing your home, I am also thinking about your security,being a young women on her own in a tiny house.

  10. Carol Weideman

    It looks like she is in someone's backyard. If so who's yard? She shows the house but get real to many questions left unanswered.

  11. John Cooper

    What a cool person. My own daughter (20 years old) is in her 3rd year at UBC and plans to get a masters and work for an NGO.

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