The Esk’et tiny house is a gorgeous work of art (and has a really cool spiral ladder)

Posted by Assia Awad

A lot of love and work was put into Robert and Bettina Johnson’s first build, the Esk’et Sklelten, a tiny house that beautifully reflects, the First Nations community, Esk’etemc, that Robert and Bettina are honoured to be a part of.

The house has a total square footage of 280 sqft, including 2 lofts. It is built on a 20 ft long trailer. The builders  extended the floor space on the trailer, by adding an overhang of 6 inches on each end of the trailer, and also added overhangs of 20 inches on one end plus 1 foot on the other end of the lofts. The height and width are within legal road restrictions (8’4″wide, 13’6″high), so it can be hooked up to a truck and moved, without the need for wide load permits.

Many tiny house designs are a more narrow build, allowing room along the roofline for overhangs where the venting is located. This is a more simple way to build, and it’s cheaper. Robert and Bettina chose to maximize the interior space, by building to the outer wall. They have used closed-cell spray foam insulation (that eliminates the need for air venting in the rafters) and installed an air exchange system instead for venting.

Robert and Bettina built their tiny house with a woodsy exterior that fits perfectly into its natural surroundings. The siding is beautiful local pine, treated with Shou Sugi Ban method. (a Japanese technique of preserving wood). The house has sqlelten (salmon in the Shuswap language) shaped roof rafters that have inspired the Aboriginal carved features on the exterior, all handcrafted by Robert.

The carvings in the custom door and the salmon along the roofline stand out as beautiful, artistic features.

tiny house esket 7
The couple used a ton of white paint which made a big difference in the feel of the space


tiny house esket 5
The kitchen feels very open and spacious. The builders installed a butcher block countertop, routered the edges to give it a “live edge” feel, and extended it (using the individual off-cuts) to create an eating area. The cabinets were cut down to a custom size. The kitchen have a 3-burner stove and oven, and a small fridge (above the wheel well)

tiny house esket 3
tiny house esket 4
tiny house esket 1
The shape of this custom roof is absolutely perfect for maximizing space in the sleeping loft area, right where you need it. The loft extension allows room for a storage area next to the bed. The windows face the view.

tiny house esket 2
Robert and Bettina Johnson are starting their own tiny house company, where they will offer building plans and custom built tiny houses. For more information visit their website.

Photo: Casey Bennett

Take a guided tour of the Esk’et tiny house

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


Join Living in a shoebox on