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Friday, July 13, 2018

Two Cowboys: Learning Why Little Things Matter for Tiny House Builder, Finished Right Contracting, in Morinville, AB

The Little Things

When you consider living in a Tiny House, you know that the little things matter. 

It matters because space is limited in your living quarters. Everything has its place, and everything must have a purpose, or it is in the way. It also matters because you recognize how precious space is in your mind that you dedicate to the things around you. 

When you are conscious of your physical and mind-space limitations, you discover how little meaningful time you have and how much of this precious resource it can take to truly dedicate to “belongings”. There are only so many hours in a day, days in a month, and months in a year. Keeping something for "in-case" or "sentimental" value quickly becomes something in the way or another thing that needs storage, maintenance and care. It merely occupies space you may no longer have.


The same applies to the people with which we surround ourselves. If we choose to have them in our lives, do they honestly matter? Should they matter? Does your employer really commit to your wellbeing like you commit your precious life hours to theirs or will they let you go the moment you are no longer needed, useful, nice, or “a team player”. Do clients really care about your welfare or are they merely focused on extracting as much as possible for as little as they have to offer? 

Should you care to whom you hand over your money? Do the people from who you buy have your health and well-being in mind when they sell you that highly preserved meal, lousy coffee or device that will stop working or break in 18 months. Who makes, grows or crafts the items that fill your life? Are you with a partner, parent, or is your older child with you because they build you or because they use you or even worse, abuse you?

This is probably why minimalism and living tiny go hand in hand. Both are contrarian outlooks in today’s fast-paced consumption driven life. Both require a lot more thought about the things we have, the time we spend, and the people we have around us. It is anti-hoarding. It is less that is allowing for more. It is living with purpose.

We’ve discovered that it has the power to create space for more meaningful living. That is why we like it. We’ve also found that it doesn’t come easy, though. It requires firm resolve and dedication. Every decision made, item used, hour spent, and person loved needs to made conscious of the real value, role and purpose it plays in your life. The little things matter because that is where you find meaning.

A lot is said and produced online about Tiny Houses, tiny living and the motivation of people that choose the lifestyle. At the outset, it sounds bohemian to be able to live in a space that is considered small by North American standards ( Europe and Japan with their space limitations, even our tiny is considered big). A home you can move with you if you choose to live in another part of the town or country. It comes with a philosophy of possibility. It also comes with a perspective of quality which is different from what you get in a mobile home, RV or a motorhome.


We were fortunate enough to meet Steve Zaleschuk of Finished Right Contracting who shares in our philosophy. He is a tiny house builder just north of Edmonton, Alberta. Steve has been doing carpentry for over 34. You can see his keen sense of accomplishment when he takes a stack of lumber and turns it into something beautiful and useful that can stand the test of time. This is precisely what he does when he builds his customers’ small homes. Everything Steve makes is scrutinized by that little voice inside his head, “Would Grandma be happy with this?” If not, I do it better!  

Steve Zaleschuk is a true craftsman and maker. He prides himself in making a tiny home that will be enjoyed for the next eighty years by all who walk through the entrance. Everything is hand-finished and done custom to the client's satisfaction. This takes a lot longer and costs more at the outset. However, as we know with things that are well made, over time it's better.

Steve “overbuilds” his tiny houses. He thought of everything. Every last detail is done with care and consideration. Nothing is too much. Just right. We’ve discovered that the fit out of a tiny home can be a minefield of options. It is a marriage between a conventional building and an RV. Traditional buildings last longer and is more comfortable during bad weather but is heavy, more expensive and less mobile. RV thinking ads mobility, less cost at the outset, but quality and durability are usually an issue. Should you do solar? Do you really need water tanks? What heating should you use? How do you cool down in hot weather? All these questions come up, and Steve has an answer for every one of them and more. He did his homework and will guide prospective customers through a build that is perfect for their needs.

We have not seen the amount of care before that Steve puts into constructing tiny houses for other people. Steve can rightly call his houses, “homes”. If there is a little home we want to live in, Steve’s is at the top of our list. Who knows? Maybe we will get a chance to do it.

Hendrik van Wyk 
Minimalist Cowboy

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