You can buy your very own Vancouver Special house for under $100


The real estate market in Vancouver isn’t exactly what you’d call affordable. Even for an old Vancouver Special house, likely the land it sits on will cost a pretty penny. Heck, we don’t even have pennies anymore, that’s how expensive life has gotten around here.

Now a local pair of creative minds have come up with a way to get an iconic Vancouver Special house into the hands of anyone, for well under $100 a pop. Okay, it shouldn’t surprise you that we mean literally in your hands, because it’s absolutely tiny and definitely not habitable.

Photo courtesy Patsy Kay Jewelry

It’s a Vancouver Special necklace, made by a local jewellery artist and her architect partner.

Vancouver jewelry designer Patsy Kolesar says she and partner Ian Robertson had been talking about collaborating for a long time but couldn’t decide on a project.

“Then one day we were chatting and I said I thought the most pure collaboration with jewelry and architecture would be to make a house wearable. And we decided to start with the iconic Vancouver Special,” Kolesar tells Vancouver Is Awesome.

Known for its large footprint, use of inexpensive materials, and ease of design, the Vancouver Special house was popular in the area in the 1960s through the 1980s, and has become not only Vancouver vernacular, but also an icon of its era.

Kolesar says she and Robertson looked at several Vancouver Special-style houses for inspiration for their eventual design. “We wanted to make a classic Vancouver Special so that the details were recognizable.”

However, what was once affordable in real life isn’t necessarily so these days: The average price for a Vancouver Special in 1966 was $15,000. The average price for a Vancouver Special in 2018 is $1,500,000.

The price of Kolesar and Robertson’s Vancouver Special necklace, however, is an amenable $75.

The necklace charm is made of 3D printed plastic and comes in an array of vibrant colours. They’re available for purchase via Kolesar’s site (prices are in USD) or in person on Dec. 15, 2018 at the Chinatown House pop-up market.

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Lindsay is the Managing Editor of Vancouver Is Awesome, and the co-host and co-producer of the Vancouver Is Awesome Podcast. A fifth generation Vancouverite and life-long foodie, Lindsay also serves as a judge for the Vancouver Magazine Restaurant Awards. Previously the Food Editor of Daily Hive, Senior Editor of Vancity Buzz, and Editor-in-Chief of, in her past life in L.A. she earned an MA in English, attended culinary school, and was an English professor. Lindsay's first published piece was December 1980 in The Province; it was her letter to Santa. E-mail: // Twitter/Instagram: @squashblossom