30-year-old freelance graphic designer Matthew Arthur starts his day like the rest of us – he climbs out of bed and brushes his teeth. But he does most of his moving around crouching down, in a space that’s about 45-square-feet in size.
This five-feet 10-inch man is taking micro units and laneway living to the extreme. For $1,000 he bought a van and converted it into living quarters, complete with a sink, outlets for a heater and lamps, a fridge and stove with one pot where he can make his morning tea. He hasn’t tried to cook any meat yet. He even has three plants.
“You would be surprised how many bathrooms exist everywhere,” said Arthur. “And I use them. I shower at yoga everyday.”
He pays $200 a month for the off-street parking space in East Vancouver that includes hydro and laundry. Before this, he and his brother paid $1,700 a month to live in one of Vancouver’s first laneway homes. But his brother was moving out and Arthur was confronted with where to live next in the City’s expensive housing market.
“My friends and I will joke when you’re looking on Craigslist for an apartment it’s like the most depressing thing because it’s all basement suites along Kingsway,” he said. “That’s what you get.”
He will live in the van for one year and he’ll blog about his experience. The idea behind this wasn’t primarily financial, and because of that he’s gotten some hate mail.
With all the money he’s saving, Arthur hopes to get a piece of land and convert a cube van to live in permanently.
“I probably will never own a home in Vancouver,” he said. “Because it just doesn’t seem smart. I want to travel so I’m OK with the trade-off. And yes there’s moments of being uncomfortable but it’s not substantially different from living in a real house.”