Tag Archives: apartment

Our Tiny Home Christmas Tree

Wall Tree

It’s Astrid’s first Christmas and we’re spending it in Vancouver this year, so we thought it would be appropriate to get a tree. However, 1) our building doesn’t allow real Christmas trees; and 2) we really don’t have space to set up a full-sized artificial Christmas tree (or store it the rest of the year). So, we needed to get creative.

In 2013, we used a small potted spruce as our Christmas tree. Sadly he died last winter.

This year, after searching for creative Christmas tree ideas, we decided to make a wall-mounted Christmas tree from garland (inspired by this blog post).


  • 9 feet of NOMA Aspen C9 LED Garland (with lights)
  • Two 3M Clear Medium Command Hooks
  • A bunch of zip ties and wire

Step 1: Arrange the garland on the ground and bend it into a tree shape

Wall Tree

Step 2: Hold it up to the wall to make sure the spacing and size looks good

Step 3: Back on the floor, zip tie the elbows together so it holds its shape. The bottom piece was too far away for us to use a zip tie so we used wire.

Step 4: Fluff out the garland branches to fill any gaps.

Condo-sized Christmas Tree

Step 5: Attach a hook to the wall where you want the loop at the top of the garland to go. The garland we used was pretty heavy so we placed a second hook about a third of the way up from the bottom.

Step 6: Decorate and enjoy!

The final result:
Wall Tree

Olympic Village Housing Update

No Pictures Please
After two weeks, we finally heard back from Coho Management Services, the company renting out the market rental suites at the Olympic Village. Their response:

We have received your application and attachments. Unfortunately, your combined gross household income is above the upper limits set by the City of Vancouver. For this reason, we cannot offer you a suite.

Time to pop the champagne, we’re rich. Or at least too rich for the Olympic Village – land of of condos averaging $1 million. You could have fooled me. But according to the City’s guidelines, anyone wishing to rent at the Olympic Village cannot get paid more then 5 times the rent (pre-taxes).

I’m not sure how forcing people to spend at least 20% of their pre-tax income on housing helps the City meet its “affordable housing” goals. For Emily and I, a 2-bedroom unit would have been closer to 19%, but apparently the City thinks we should be paying more. Instead, we’ll stay in our current apartment and save over $800 a month.

Good luck trying to find enough people who make less then us to fork over $1900 a month for rent.

Rental Housing at the Vancouver Olympic Village

Living Room
About one year ago Emily and I sent out dozens of applications to co-op housing throughout Vancouver. We were hoping that co-op housing would give us more stability and community then renting, but without having to pay Vancouver’s crazy housing prices. Even though Vancouver has a decent number of co-ops, they all have long waiting lists and rarely have vacancies. So far, we’ve had 2 interviews for co-ops, but none of them have worked out.

A few months ago the city decided that the social housing units at the Olympic Village would be managed by the Co-op Housing Federation. Some of the units are to be rented out at market rent, some at subsidized rates for low-income earners and people with disabilities, and some turned into Vancouver’s newest housing co-op. Emily and I were interested in the co-op, so we sent an email and were asked to come and check out the units on Saturday. The people running the program must be still figuring things out because they are only renting out the market and subsidized units right now – the co-op portion is still being worked out.

The Olympic Village is an impressive development. It feels like a showcase for the best in green design. Energy is recovered from sewage, rain water is used to flush toilets, there are solar panels on all of the green roofs, community gardens everywhere, LED lights, and even personal Energy Aware energy meters in every suite – which I’d love to try integrating into Pulse Energy. The only downside is that none of the units have dishwashers. As an energy saving measure, I can understand that, but I do love having a dishwasher.

After touring the units, Emily and I made a quick list of pros and cons comparing our current apartment to the Olympic Village. The Olympic Village offers a chance to live somewhere true to our high environmental standards, with an an extra bedroom for guests (and who wouldn’t want to visit us in the Olympic Village!), with a bigger kitchen, and extremely easy access to the Seawall. The downsides were the price ($1902 for a 2-bedroom – we barely pay half of that right now) and the neighbourhood. The rest of the Olympic Village is half-empty, million-dollar, luxury condos, surrounded by light-industrial. Compared to the abundance of grocery stores and vegetarian restaurants within a few blocks of our current home, it would be a real change.

In the end we decided to send in an application. I’m not sure if we’ll get in because they give preference to people who work in emergency services, public health, and education, and people who make less money. It is weird that for us spending $1902 on rent would be very expensive, and yet we’re at the upper cusp of the maximum income allowed to rent these units. It’s twisted, but if we made less we’d have a better chance of getting in.

Kitchen Bathroom Master Bedroom 2nd Bedroom Living Room Living Room Huge Patio Rooftop Garden View Energy Aware Hallway Roof Garden 122 Walter Hardwick Salt Building Rooftop Garden Kitchen Bathroom Bedroom Tiny Juliet Balcony Living Room Kitchen Bedrooms Bathroom 2nd Bedroom Master Bedroom Juliet Balcony Washer and Dryer Living Room

Get Your Own Garbage; And Leave My Lululemon Pants Alone

My apartment building is going to hell. Either a thief or an evil spirit is prowling the laundry room in the basement.

On Saturday I had my recycling stolen…twice! Yes, someone stole my recycling, not once, but twice. Who does that!?

I went down to do my laundry in the afternoon and took down a bin full of paper recycling. I left it off to the side as I threw my clothes in the washing machines, and when I left the laundry room my bin full of paper was gone. It wasn’t more than 10 feet away from me the whole time. I thought it was really weird, but kind of dismissed it. Then later, when I was transferring my laundry to the driers, I took the rest of my recycling down, and again left it off in the corner of the laundry room. And again, someone or some thing nicked it from the laundry room. WTF? It was while I was doing laundry someone pointed out the notices on the bulletin board from tenants who had their laundry stolen. There were two letters from angry people who had clothing stolen from the laundry room. When I went down today to take a picture, there were 4 angry, but amusing, notices.
Missing Laundry 1  Missing Laundry 2  Missing Laundry 3
I’m going to have to start locking my door at night.