Small House on Gabriola Island, British Columbia

This small 576 square foot house is located on Gabriola Island in British Columbia and has two stories, a 24′ by 24′ footprint, type-3 septic field, instant hot water heater, and cork floors. The landscaping around the house was finished in river rock so as to avoid having to water lawn. The photos, plan, and video below were sent to me by it’s owners, Michael and Kathy.


I was happily surprised to learn that a building permit was issued without requiring the drilling of a well on the property first. It seems that rainwater collection systems are not only well understood in that area but preferred because they put less of a burden on natural resources. Here is what Michael says about rain water collection systems in British Columbia.

“There is no problem building a house in BC without a well. Rain capture is a well accepted methodology and there is actually a growing movement to encourage new home builders to put in cisterns so as to take pressure off existing aquifers.”

Downsizing to this smaller scale has also caused some curiosity among family and friends. Michael says:

“Our friends and family are quite reluctant to embrace this scale of living, but become more comfortable with the idea once they see how good planning and space utilization can make a difference.”

It’s really exciting to see more small sustainable homes being built. It’s even more encouraging to hear that more planning departments are not only allowing alternative solutions like rainwater collection systems but are beginning to encourage it as a best practice. Homes like this are evidence that sustainable architecture can be attainable and with some sweat equity cost less. Thanks for sending this to me Michael & Kathy… great house… thanks for sharing!

24x24 house plan




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