This Newlywed Couple’s 100-Square-Foot Cabin Is the Island Hideaway of Our Dreams
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This Newlywed Couple’s 100-Square-Foot Cabin Is the Island Hideaway of Our Dreams

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By Kate Reggev
From wedding venue to weekend retreat, this tiny cabin on an island near Vancouver encourages sunbathing and hot tubbing.

Vancouver–based design firm Trim Studio recently completed this tiny home on an island off the coast of Vancouver for a young, newly engaged couple named Kris and Ali, who were excited to create a vacation home they could share with family and friends.  

Ohana, as the couple call the Galiano 100 house, is oriented so that it faces northeast towards Vancouver. Because of its location on the island of Galiano across the strait from the city, the dwelling feels secluded but has the benefits—and views—of the nearby urban environment.

Ohana, as the couple call the Galiano 100 house, is oriented so that it faces northeast towards Vancouver. Because of its location on the island of Galiano across the strait from the city, the dwelling feels secluded but has the benefits—and views—of the nearby urban environment.

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Kris and Ali visited the site and, as Rodrigo Munguia, principal of Trim Studio, tells it, "immediately fell in love with the property." Dubbing the site and house Ohana (meaning family in Hawaiian), the couple knew they wanted a cabin that spoke to the wooded area and took advantage of the property’s magnificent views. Particularly exciting for Munguia was the fact that they also wanted to have their wedding on the property, and planned to start their lives together at Ohana as a married couple. 

The home was designed as much for outdoor living as it was for indoor living, with a large porch around the home.

The home was designed as much for outdoor living as it was for indoor living, with a large porch around the home.

For Trim Studio, the design requirements were simple and straightforward: a living area, kitchen, wood-burning stove, bathroom, bedroom, patio, log storage, and an outdoor shower. The challenge, however, came with the square footage restrictions: the home could be no larger than 100 square feet, and no taller than 16 feet high.  

Windows were strategically located throughout the home, including this small aperture at the bottom of the stairs that lets natural light into the kitchenette.

Windows were strategically located throughout the home, including this small aperture at the bottom of the stairs that lets natural light into the kitchenette.

To take advantage of the astounding views that extend beyond the Strait of Georgia to the cityscape of downtown Vancouver, Trim Studio oriented the home so that it faces northeast. Ohana, or Galiano 100, is outfitted with large, oversized windows and floor-to-ceiling glass sliding doors so that the space feels larger than its 100-square-foot footprint.

The toilet is tucked under the stairs as a space-saving measure, and the kitchen features open shelving that doesn't take up as much visual and physical space as upper cabinets would.

The toilet is tucked under the stairs as a space-saving measure, and the kitchen features open shelving that doesn't take up as much visual and physical space as upper cabinets would.

The exterior features dark gray cladding with a rough-hewn, rustic wood trim. A wood porch surrounds three sides of the home with an outdoor shower tucked away on one side, and a grill and log storage on the other. The front porch has steps leading down to an additional outdoor deck with a jacuzzi and Adirondack chairs—perfect for soaking in the stars, the twinkling lights of the city beyond, and even the North Shore mountains in the distance.

A well-placed skylight directly over the bed in the lofted bedroom is perfect for stargazing and bringing in natural daylight.

A well-placed skylight directly over the bed in the lofted bedroom is perfect for stargazing and bringing in natural daylight.

The simple, fresh interiors employ white board-and-batten paneling oriented vertically and horizontally, with exposed wood decking at the lower level for the lofted bedroom above. The kitchenette along the back wall sports a neutral palette of black that stands out against the white walls, and wood butcher-block countertops that continue the use of wood in the space.

A hot tub with a view encourages guests to spend more time outside soaking in the view.

A hot tub with a view encourages guests to spend more time outside soaking in the view.

The lofted bedroom continues the material palette of the lower level, with exposed wood decking on the ceiling, white board-and-batten siding, and a black wood-burning stove. Recessed ceiling lights and a hanging pendant ensure that the space is well-lit without taking up additional horizontal surfaces from table or floor lamps. 

An outdoor shower, tucked away in a more remote part of the open porch, was one of the tricks used to reduce the amount of program for the 100-square-foot interior. Because of the secluded nature of the property and the shielding from shrubs and trees, privacy isn't an issue.

An outdoor shower, tucked away in a more remote part of the open porch, was one of the tricks used to reduce the amount of program for the 100-square-foot interior. Because of the secluded nature of the property and the shielding from shrubs and trees, privacy isn't an issue.

The deck near the home and the porch surrounding the house are lit up at night to allow for entertaining and outdoor living.

The deck near the home and the porch surrounding the house are lit up at night to allow for entertaining and outdoor living.

Because the interior of the home is so compact, the addition of an outdoor living room on a deck, complete with a jacuzzi, Adirondack chairs for relaxing, and some extra storage, is a great benefit.

Because the interior of the home is so compact, the addition of an outdoor living room on a deck, complete with a jacuzzi, Adirondack chairs for relaxing, and some extra storage, is a great benefit.


Trim Studio's sketch of the exterior elevation shows the shed roof and how its overhang over the front porch allows for shade, and its angle allows for head height in the lofted bedroom.

Trim Studio's sketch of the exterior elevation shows the shed roof and how its overhang over the front porch allows for shade, and its angle allows for head height in the lofted bedroom.


The floor plan of the main floor depicts the home's compact layout, with a shower area, grill, and log storage on the exterior.

The floor plan of the main floor depicts the home's compact layout, with a shower area, grill, and log storage on the exterior.


The floor plan of the upper level of the home shows the three exposures the lofted bedroom has. The room is accessed from a narrow staircase, and the bed is oriented so that it looks out one of the larger windows.

The floor plan of the upper level of the home shows the three exposures the lofted bedroom has. The room is accessed from a narrow staircase, and the bed is oriented so that it looks out one of the larger windows.