Regina company designs grain elevator home as ode to Saskatchewan

Do you want to live in a grain elevator? A Regina design company is ready to make that happen.

Design 1 of 13 based on each Canadian province and territory

Robinson Residential Design has come up with plans for a small house that resembles a grain elevator. (Robinson Residential Design)

A Regina-based home design company is celebrating Canada's 150th birthday by designing 13 new small homes, reflecting the distinct character of each province and territory.

John Robinson, architectural engineering technologist and partner with Robinson Residential Design, came up with the concept to create a small house for each region.

His designs started in Nova Scotia with a small home reminiscent of a lighthouse. In January, during the company's slow season, they began to pour their resources into the project.

Robinson said it was a chance to work on something without worrying about client demands.

Although the plans were created without anyone in mind, Robinson Residential Design is already working with a developer who wants to build all 13 as rentals.

"We want to really deck them out with things from that province...make it feel like you're in that province, when you're in Saskatchewan still," said Robinson.

Left: The design for the Northwest Territories home. Right: A small home based on a lighthouse for Nova Scotia. (Robinson Residential Design)

Robinson said the 300 to 750 square-foot homes could be built for under $150,000.

It's a different take on a new home, slightly larger than a "tiny house," but smaller than houses which are usually on the market.

"I think we just need to have those options and start a dialogue about how we can locate houses in cities that aren't necessarily 1,000 square feet. That's what I wanted to see happen with this is just get that dialogue started and get people excited about living in something different than the status quo," Robinson said.  

In April, they began posting one design on Facebook every Friday, which built up momentum as the project advanced.

When it came time to design Saskatchewan's small home, everyone called for plans based on a grain elevator. Although Robinson resisted at first, he eventually gave in.

That design ended up being the most popular on social media, by far.

Robinson said the biggest reaction came from Willows, which he wrote on the side of the elevator. Robinson grew up about three miles from the community located about 117 km south of Moose Jaw.

"Our great grandfather's homestead was near Willows and the farm is still in the family. We hauled our grain to the elevator," one woman commented.

Although Willows once had four grain elevators, Robinson said it now has only one which has been abandoned.

The plan has been available for about two weeks and Robinson said many people have shown interest in it.

The package of drawings for each regional small home can be purchased for about $1,000.

With files from Saskatchewan Weekend's Peter Mills