Last month, we looked at the growing popularity of micro cabins and common challenges that can arise in their construction. This month, we hear how one local builder is achieving success within this flourishing market.
Pat Mathieu, a Contractor’s Choice member and owner of Mathieu Construction in Chelan, Sask., started building micro cabins after seeing the trend on various DIY television networks. By partnering with Parkland Co-op, Pat was able to build his first micro cabin last year. These tiny structures are sparking interest with clients because of their ability to be customized at an affordable price.
Having discussed the idea off-and-on for a few years with Duane Thorpe, Lumber Manager at the Parkland Co-op Home Centre in Porcupine Plain, Pat said, “We thought that this was the time to take the plan from the drawing board to completion.” With retail support and materials in place, Pat started to build his first micro cabin. “Since the construction of the first one, interest in them has exploded,” said Pat.
Even though Pat now offers six different sizes of micro cabins, he tweaks every building to the specifications of the client and local building codes. With the opportunity to make each structure distinctive, the biggest challenge is trying to fit the client’s wish list into the small square footage. To overcome these obstacles, Pat says staying organized and planning ahead go a long way. With most tiny homes rarely exceeding 500 square feet, “every inch matters and no useable space can be wasted.”
The demand for these tiny homes comes from the fact that they are extremely affordable in comparison to larger holiday homes. With the cost being around $100 per square foot, individuals can customize a home that is budget-friendly and perfect for remote locations and small lot sizes. For those looking to get into the micro cabin business, Pat’s advice is “plan, plan, plan.” Tiny houses offer a diverse range of interior options, but they need to be well thought out and able to function properly in a confined space. So, while it is important to remain flexible, one has to be realistic about the design and budget.
Pat will continue to build micro cabins in the coming year for clients searching for a unique and cost-effective twist to a traditional home or cabin. By leveraging a strong partnership with Parkland Co-op, Pat has found a niche market that brings him a sense of achievement and joy.