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The story of Oshawa’s tiniest house

Ryan Carr has renovated this 253 sq. ft. home located at 96 Queen Street. Carr says he hopes to have the home on the market by Labour Day. (Photo by Dave Flaherty)

By Dave Flaherty/The Oshawa Express

A house that will promptly be on the market in Oshawa is remarkably different from most of its competitors.

This house, located at 96 Quebec Street, is a mere 253 sq. ft.

Ryan Carr, owner of R.W. Carr Investments Co., has been flipping houses and completing renovations for five years now.

However, this project was like one he’s never taken on before.

“I’ve never been in a house this small or seen a house this small. So it would be the first one for us, and I believe the first one in this town,” he says.

The structure, which dates back the 1940s, has been lived in for years, but Carr says it was missing out on its great potential.

“It was always here. We just went back in and made it look great again,” he says. “It was old, tired and disgusting.”

Carr also purchased the neighboring home at 98 Quebec Street as well.

“We bought both sides. Whenever this subdivision was mapped, 96 Quebec Street was a house on its own lot,” he says. “We put the lot lines back in as they were originally.”

He estimates it will be a few more weeks until the house is exactly as he desires it.

“We’re not 100 per cent done, I’d say about 80 per cent. Kitchen, bathrooms, flooring, and paint is usually what we like to stick to,” Carr notes. “We put in some new wiring. It’s a lot of cosmetics.”

With this being his first venture into tiny houses, there was quite a bit of ‘guesswork’ involved.

“When we were evaluating this property to see if it was worth it, we had to investigate what comparable houses had sold for on the market,” Carr says. “What was the smallest, cheapest house sold on the local market, and can we even replicate it.”

The plan is to have the house on the market by Labour Day, with Carr speculating on a $199,000 listing price.

“That’s the price we’re shooting for, and if somebody wants it that bad, maybe they’ll overshoot,” he says with a laugh. “It’s suitable for a single person, or a couple just starting out. It’s going to run cheaper than rent, so from a financial perspective I really think it would work for them.”

There has been plenty of interest so far.

“I actually got a note that was left in the door saying ‘Please call me, I love what you’re doing here, and I’m interested in buying it.’ That was really cool.”

Carr is hoping to catch the ear of city council and staff to see more projects like his in the city.

“In some places, namely Peterborough and Markham, you can build a ‘coach house’, which is basically what you see here, in the back of an existing property and put a family in that. It would be like a basement apartment, a second unit on the property,” he says. “Right now, policy here says you can do secondary units like a basement apartment, or an addition, but you can’t have a detached structure.

“So what I was saying to the mayor was we’ve got two houses on what would essentially be one lot. Let’s replicate this, let’s be the leaders and at the forefront of really setting Oshawa apart.”

Mayor John Henry who visited the house on Aug. 1, along with councillors Gail Bates and Doug Sanders, seemed interested in having discussions on the issue.

He says he is impressed with what is being accomplished at 96 Quebec Street.

“It’s a very interesting day. We want to extend our sincere congratulations on this milestone, and it is a milestone,” he said. “This 253 sq. ft. tiny house, this is Oshawa’s tiny house. It is the one.”

So-called ‘tiny houses’ in Canada came into prominence in 2008, when Ellen DeGeneres’ talk show featured a 312 sq. ft home in Toronto, near Dufferin Street and Rogers Road.