Prefab revival

Selling tiny prefabricated abodes to space-strapped Vancouverites.

Credit: Kelvin Humenny

InHabit Modern Dwellings

Everyone needs a little space, don’t they? Kelvin Humenny, owner of InHabit Modern Dwellings, is taking that concept literally by selling tiny prefabricated abodes to space-strapped Vancouverites.

“I’ve always had a passion for designing and building,” says Humenny, an architectural technologist who built InHabit’s prototype (shown above; it’s ­also his North Vancouver home office) and launched the cottage industry last year.

Need a place to practice your drums? The 100-square-foot Studio 1.0 might fit the bill. The 10-by-10-foot stand-alone studio has a window and a glass door, which let the light stream in, plus a four-by-10-foot covered deck, all for about $12,500 (electrical hookup is extra).

For those seeking more elbow room, there’s the 500-square-foot Dwelling 5.0, which can be used as a vacation home or even a guest house. With city councils already considering changing zoning in an effort to densify single-family neighbourhoods, these prefab homes could be an affordable option. Prices start at $49,500 (appliances and plumbing fixtures are extra). InHabit takes care of the necessary permits (dwellings larger than 100 square feet require a building permit), code requirements and site prep, and assembles the new addition on-site in about three weeks.

Humenny uses local cedar in his prefab structures, but will soon offer FSC-certified wood and low-VOC plywood. In the meantime, he maximizes efficiency and minimizes waste. “When I built the prototype, all the scrap fit into two garbage pails,” he says.

InHabit Modern Dwellings