Tiny Homes, Big Adventures

The tiny home trend makes its way to the Alberni Valley—and the Koszegis jump on board.

Erin and Dave Koszegi take a seat inside their tiny home on wheels while Julia

Erin and Dave Koszegi take a seat inside their tiny home on wheels while Julia

The tiny home parked on the Koszegis’ Sproat Lake property is a little different than the larger homes Dave Koszegi sells for his day job as a realtor.

“I like houses, obviously,” said Koszegi.

“And I think the tiny home movement is cool and so I’ve read about it.”

The tiny home movement has gotten huge—between stories in National Geographic, Home and Garden TV series, a student in Texas using one to graduate debt-free and a Canadian Olympian saving on housing costs, tiny homes are everywhere.

But it wasn’t until a recent family vacation to Hornby Island that the Koszegis started looking seriously at building their own.

“Every year we go for three or four days on Canada Day,” he said.

“We take a Volkswagen van and we’re kind of outgrowing it.”

Last year, they found a book on tiny homes at a local shop.

“It was called Tiny Homes on the Move,” said Koszegi.

“SoI was sitting with these little munchkins with a flashlight reading it,” said Koszegi.

“Right in the book they had one being towed by a Volkswagen van like ours. So we thought, well, this could work!”

It wasn’t a perfect fit, being too heavy for what the Koszegis’ van could pull.

“We had to downsize the materials to make it light enough.”

When Dave asked if he could use lighter, thinner wood planks to reduce the weight, he was told no.

“This van weighed 1,500 lbs and ours weighed 700 lbs.

“We asked if we could build (the tiny home) out of two by twos instead of two by fours and he said it wouldn’t be strong enough…so we did it.”

“So we glued it, lots of glue,” said Koszegi.

“And staples! And screws!” Dave’s daughter Francesca pipes up.

They saved on weight by keeping the floor made of plywood sealed by a clear finish.

It’s even eco-friendly.

“Theses lamps are all solar so they charge during the day and they automatically come on at night.”

Inside, it’s got everything you could want—beds, chairs, storage space and windows.

When the Koszegis stop for the night, it transforms into a little cabin.

“When we camp we put out little legs.”

The Koszegis also tried to use as much recycled material as possible.

“A lot of stuff was made with reclaimed material,” said Dave.

“The windows were out of an old house and the doors were out of an old house… we learned a lot about recycling.”

It was an involved process all around for the family—made up of Dave’s wife Erin, his daughters Julia, 8, Francesca, 7, and son Matteo, 4.

“We did all the work together,” said Dave.

“We started Jan. 17 and it went till four days before Canada Day,”

While the work could have been done faster, the point wasn’t to rush—it was to build a family project to be filled with camping trip memories for years to come.

“A construction guy or a handy person could have probably built it with a buddy in a week or in two weeks just like how you’d build a shed,” said Dave.

“But what took longer than a regular shed was that it had to be glued and screwed for strength… I can’t remember how many tubes of glue we used but it was 20 or something, just a crazy amount.”



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