Dreams are not universal. Some imagine themselves retiring in a mansion or a vacation home. Others dream of a smaller, more manageable home.
For Junnel Gurrobat and his parents Estrella and Noel, they simply wanted to convert their bungalow home into a two-story property so they could rent it out and earn some passive income.
Junnel works as a front desk officer in Doha and he’s been sending a part of his earnings to his parents for years.
Their initial plan was to extend their home vertically for added space. It’s also more economical that way. But they found out that their home’s existing foundation could not carry the weight of such an undertaking.
Junnel’s parents were heartbroken. The idea was shelved until inspiration struck his father. They have a small space behind their home, which they wanted to use as storage space.
“My parents surprised me. They sent a picture that they were already digging for the new foundation of a tiny home,” Junnel said.
The 38-square meter home took two years to finish. The pandemic lockdowns slowed down the construction, with limited access to hardware stores. But the main reason was that his 67-year-old father built the tiny home on his own.
“It might be hard to believe that he could do it given his age, but he has a background in construction. After the framework of the house was finished, he took over,” Junnel said.
Noel was in charge of the layout, design, electrical wiring system, tiling and finishing. He also took care of the interior details such as the doors, cabinets, staircase and paint. Noel even welded the railings of the balcony.
Junnel expressed his regret that he was not in the country to help his father build their dream home.
“My parents focused on the flow and layout of the home. It was a tiny home but they didn’t want it to look it,” he said.
They prioritized the dining area, the position of the staircase and made sure that it had a high ceiling.
The total cost of the construction was a little over a million pesos. The completed home has two bedrooms. It could comfortably house four adults.
Home Buddies hack
They used the Home Buddies hack of putting mirrors next to the dining area to give the illusion of an expanded space. Home Buddies is the Facebook group of DIY home renovators.
Junnel’s parents moved to the smaller home and rented out their original house. He said that his parents like their new house better. Their old one was poorly planned hence they consider their tiny home an upgrade.
“It is more relaxing and gives off more good vibes,” he said.
It helps that since the space is smaller, the less they have to worry about it. Junnel said that it’s easier to maintain and clean. It leaves his parents more time to do other leisurely activities like gardening, which his mom loves.
Mobility-wise, a small home is better. Everything is within an arm’s reach. Impulse buys are also curbed because of the lack of space. Appliance purchases are deliberate—are they worth the space they will occupy on the kitchen counter or any part of the home?
“When you have a small space, you really think hard if you need something. There’s less temptation to buy stuff. It sounds like a disadvantage but we save up a lot because of it,” Junnel said.
He also likes that their smaller home makes them physically closer. Junnel enjoys his vacations to the country because he sees his family members more often in the house.
But, he says, one disadvantage is that they can’t hold big parties because of space limitations.
Junnel said that a tiny home doesn’t allow you to collect things that you do not need in your life. It pushes you to collect more memories with your loved ones. And that’s a dream we can all relate to.