Tiny home a perfect fit for Carleton student's mom

A tiny house on Carleton University’s campus will soon be Denyse Hayward’s home sweet home in Edmonton, and she couldn't be happier.

Architecture student built 180-square-foot home for his mother in Edmonton

Denyse Hayward stands inside the tiny house that will one day be hers. (Ben Hayward)

A tiny house on Carleton University's campus will soon be Denyse Hayward's home sweet home in Edmonton, and she couldn't be happier.

Her son, Ben Hayward, an architecture student at the school, designed the compact mobile home as a school project.

After he built it, the home was featured on the HGTV show Tiny House Big Living.

Denyse Hayward said when her son first told her about the project, she never imagined she'd one day be living in it.  

"It just sort of evolved over time, that this could actually be a house for me," she said.  

Carleton University architecture student Ben Hayward poses outside the tiny house he's planning to give to his mom. (Hallie Cotnam/CBC)

She said she realized her Edmonton home had more space than she needed.

"I started paying attention to the rooms I actually spent time in," she said.

Not 'elder abuse'

Hayward said she was amused by the response to a CBC Ottawa story about the house, and wanted to assure everyone she is genuinely excited to move in.  

I feel really privileged that he has built this house for me.- Denyse Hayward

"I noticed some of the comments online were treating it almost like elder abuse, but I think it's a wonderful thing that he has done," she said.

"I feel really privileged that he has built this house for me."

She plans to live in Edmonton for a few more years, but said she could move the house when she retires to somewhere on the West Coast.

She said she's also pleased to be able to contribute to her son's research on whether the home will live up to expectations when it comes to energy use and warmth.

The interior of the home, looking from the sleeping/couch area toward the front door. (Ben Hayward)
The bed, which is suspended by wires, descends from the ceiling with the push of a button. (Ben Hayward)

Sweat equity

Hayward, a professor at the University of Alberta, helped her son build the house during her summer vacation, an experience she found rewarding.   

"It is just a really lovely feeling to know that the things in the home were things I put my sweat equity into," she said.

She also had a say in the design: a bed that comes down from the ceiling instead of one she'll have to climb into, for example.  

"[Climbing] is more like camping than actually living," she said. 

Denyse Hayward helped work on the house during a visit to Ottawa in the summer. (Ben Hayward)

She said they even measured her clothes to make sure there'll be appropriate hanging space.

"Those are the features that will make it a place I want to live, instead of a place I have to live," she said. "I really feel like when I am in there, that I am sitting in a piece of art."


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