'I really enjoy the small space': Take a look inside this P.E.I. tiny house

A P.E.I. man says living in a tiny house is helping to reduce his carbon footprint, and lowering his fuel bill.

Bill Hernon's humble abode may be tiny, but he's happy as a clam

Bill Hernon's tiny house measures eight by 16 feet. The house was lent to Hernon until he builds his own in the fall. (Pat Martel/CBC)

The first thing you notice when you walk into Bill Hernon's tiny house is his not-so-tiny 46-inch TV. 

That's one thing Hernon says he couldn't leave behind when he made the big move into his 8x16 foot home in Harrington, P.E.I. 

"I had to basically get rid of 90 per cent of what I owned, but I wasn't parting with that so I found a way to make it work." 

Take a look inside this tiny house

7 years ago
Duration 0:55
Take a look inside this tiny house

Hernon hung the TV in his office. Yes, he has office space —  tiny, of course —  under his bunk bed. He removed the lower bunk. The space also doubles as his living room.

Creativity counts big time in a small space, he said, and of course, you really have to be organized.

"If you bring anything into this space you have to put it away or find a place to hide it because otherwise it makes the place look like a disaster area," said Hernon.

Bill Hernon says not many homeowners can reach both walls of their house at the same time. (Pat Martel/CBC)

"Doesn't take much, you bring in one bag of groceries and it's like you exploded in here so everything has to be in its place." 

'Live tiny, live within your means'

Hernon has lots of reason for downsizing to a tiny house. Many of those reasons relate to the Energy Systems Engineering course he's taking at Holland College. 

"It's just a way to reduce your carbon footprint. Live tiny, live within your means."

Bill Hernon's office, which is under his bed, also doubles as a living room. There's even room for his 46-inch big screen TV. (Pat Martel/CBC)

Hernon's house is powered by electricity, and is heated with a small wood stove.

 Another advantage of living in a small house is that food is not wasted.

"I very rarely throw out food because I have so little on hand. Basically, I just buy what I need when I need it." he said.

Bill Hernon says his tiny wood stove only needs a few sticks of wood, 'It keeps the space nice and warm. In fact, if it runs for too long, you wind up sweating.' (Pat Martel/CBC)

"I really enjoy the small space."

He shares the house with his two pets — a fish and a cat.

5 minute clean-up, but no big parties

Housekeeping in a tiny house is a breeze.

"It really takes five minutes to come through here with the vacuum, wash the counters, wipe off the surfaces whereas if you have a larger home, it can take you a few hours to clean."

Living in a tiny house does pose some big challenges — for example holding a house party. 

"You can fit, if you wanted to cram people in here, about 10 people. Other than that, I do have a little space down here, so two people can sit down here, whereas two people can stand in the kitchen."

Bill Hernon says the key to living in a tiny house is to make sure everything is neat and orderly and in its place. (Pat Martel/CBC)

Hernon's love of cooking is also a bit cramped these days.

"I can't cook the way I normally like to, which would be making larger meals and then saving the leftovers for the next few days because it just doesn't fit in the fridge," he said.

From tiny to a little less tiny

While Hernon is happy in his humble abode, he is planning to build a bigger — but still tiny — house this fall.

It will still only be eight feet wide but it will be eight feet longer, and more energy efficient.

"Ideally I'd have solar to offset my power needs and I'd be somewhere where I could connect to power like I've done here."

Bill Hernon says everything has to be in its place at all times. 'Otherwise it becomes a little unlivable. You start tripping over things.' (Pat Martel/CBC)

Hernon knows it may be difficult to find a spot for his new tiny house. He had to place an ad on Kijiji to find his current spot. 

Charlottetown doesn't have regulations to allow for tiny houses, while Stratford allows them, as long as they are on a foundation, and hooked up to the town's water and sewage systems. 

Bill Hernon says one of the challenges of living in a tiny house is that things get cramped when he's brewing his apple cider. (Pat Martel/CBC)

None of that bothers Hernon, and his big dream to move into a new tiny house in the fall, who said he likes being in a rural area.


Pat Martel has worked with CBC P.E.I. for three decades, mostly with Island Morning where he was a writer-broadcaster and producer. He joined the web team recently to share his passion for great video. Pat also runs an adult coed soccer league in Stratford. He retired in Oct. 2019.