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Forum to explore compact living

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Imagine waking up in the morning, rolling out of bed, and then tucking that bed under your home office two steps above and getting down to work.

It’s called compact living and Dale Buote, business developer for the False Creek Design Group, knows all about it.

The company designed a trundle bed, which rolls out at night and gets tucked under the home office by day, for a 500 square foot Vancouver unit that was a living room, dining room, office and bedroom all rolled into one.

"Your living space becomes living space when you’re not sleeping. It’s quite effective," he said.

Representatives from the company will be looking at the evolution of compact living spaces at the Whistler Housing Authority Forum on Wednesday, Feb. 5 at Millennium Place. The forum is entitled Smaller and Better, and it will be the first in a series of interactive forums looking at housing issues.

Compact living has been a large part of designers’ vocabulary for the last five years as apartments have been getting smaller and smaller.

Buote said developers are trying to maximize their buildings and space and so units have been getting considerably smaller.

"It’s very much become an urban lifestyle in Vancouver and you’re starting the see it take hold in other parts of the country as well, and certainly in the United States," said Buote.

While not an urban area, the same concept can be applied in a setting like Whistler.

"I think the key is compact," he said.

"We focus on storage. Built in storage and innovative use of storage and storage that doubles as other types of furniture as well, which is distinctly different from what you get in large spaces."

He pointed to coffee tables and built in headboards that can double as storage spaces.

At the forum Buote said there will be a focus on the simplicity, flexibility and the affordability of small spaces.

"We’re going to address the lifestyle that goes along with compact living spaces and address the affordability issue and I think in the case of Whistler, with land and space being at a premium, that would be part of the stress of what we’re talking about as well," he said.

There will be three speakers at the forum talking about housing that addresses the community needs but at the same time uses smaller spaces, higher efficiencies and smarter design to reduce costs and improve livability. Along with a presentation from the False Creek Design Group, Kevin McNaney from SmartGrowth B.C. and Alex Zimmerman from B.C. Buildings Corporation will also present.

Tim Wake, general manager of the WHA, is confident that tickets are going to sell out. There is a $10 charge because a box lunch will be provided at the forum. It was thought that more people would be able to attend from 11:30 a.m.-2p.m.

Tickets are available at the WHA office, 4335 Main Street beside the library/museum or call 604-905-4688.

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