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micro home cubes

Vancouver Real Estate Market Got You Down? Consider a Cube

By Joy WoodRise Writer
May 3, 2018

Can’t afford a multi-million dollar tear down in one of the most sought after real estate markets in the world? You’re not alone. Maybe it’s time to get cubed. Vancouver-based company NOMAD has come up with a solution for affordable and sustainable living: thoughtfully designed micro homes that will suit your budget, but will it change your lifestyle?

While considering the impact of a housing market that was out of reach of the local population, NOMAD founder Ian Kent drew on his 35 years of experience designing and building to figure out a solution that could fulfill the basic need for shelter, but also incorporate a design aesthetic to satisfy those needs that are a little higher up on Maslow’s pyramid. He believes that “changing the size of our houses means changing the ways that we perceive our definition of home.”

Two objectives drove the design process: affordability and accessibility. So, he developed a very small modular package that could be shipped anywhere in the world. Easily assembled by someone with just the basic tools and skills means sidestepping the need to involve the multitude of skilled construction trades that typically take part in conventional homebuilding.

Each home has a living room, kitchen, bathroom and bedroom, and the design makes the most of light with thoughtfully placed windows. True to their name, these NOMAD homes can be taken down and reassembled. The structure uses metal insulated panels, engineered wood panels, and pre-finished metal siding. Floors are wide wood grain vinyl plank. Plus, you get IKEA kitchen cabinets!


The Cube: At a price point of 32,000 CAD, these 12.5 by 12.5-foot homes are 100 square feet and make use of every inch of space. The Micro: For 28,000 CAD you can be the proud owner of the micro, measuring 10.5 X 10.5 feet. You also get double French doors to make the most of the light.

NOMAD cube interior render
Render courtesy of NOMAD

I’ll Take That One - With A Side of Solar Power, Please

Add-ons include an upgrade to solar power, with three easy options: grid-tied for $3,500, back-up power for $7,500, or you can go completely off-grid for an additional $25,000.

You can also include furniture perfectly designed to fit in the minimal spaces, as well as handy water management options: 

  • Treatment: so that waste meets or exceeds local requirements.
  • Purification: UV irradiation water treatment - a proven and safe alternative that’s free of harmful chemical byproducts.
  • Collection of waste: Food-grade polyethylene tank with a 50 US gallon capacity and the option to add another tank.

Not Big Enough? Take-Two

If you’re thinking that the cube is just not quite enough space for you, you can double your order and use the handy connector add on to double your space. Each NOMAD connect is $4,000, and it allows you to add on another cube.

What Makes This Sustainable?

The U.S. Green Building Council estimates that as home size doubles, energy consumption increases by roughly one quarter, and material consumption increases by roughly half. So, smaller homes simply consume fewer resources and have a smaller environmental footprint. Making them affordable, adaptable to unique locations, as well as able to be shipped anywhere in the world adds to their unique sustainable features. In this video, Kent voices his ideas about how the home might ultimately create change in the people who occupy it, by reducing the opportunity for consumer culture (you can bring it home, but where will you put it?), intensifying recycling awareness and taking the traditional idea of a home into a different sphere. Or cube. 

NOMAD micro interior render
Render courtesy of NOMAD
Disclaimer: This article does not constitute a product endorsement however Rise does reserve the right to recommend relevant products based on the articles content to provide a more comprehensive experience for the reader.Last Modified: 2020-04-23T13:10:52+0000
Joy Wood

Article by:

Joy Wood

Joy grew up in the natural beauty of the North Okanagan, nestled near the foot of the Monashee Mountains. Hailing from a family of home builders, both the environment and home construction became closely intertwined in her youth. Today, she and her builder hubby are raising their family in Vancouver, where she avidly follows the current sustainable construction trends as the city aims for the title of ‘Greenest City’ by 2020.