Victoria couple makes a splash with tiny home built on former BC Ferries lifeboat


A Victoria, B.C., couple is making a splash documenting their adventures aboard Luja, a former BC Ferries lifeboat that’s been given new life as a tiny home.

Over the past year, Dani Tate-Stratton and Toryn Sundstrom have been turning the 28-foot, semi-enclosed lifeboat into a “completely customized” living space, according to their website.

The pair is keeping fans in the loop every step of the way on YouTube and Instagram.

“A record for ourselves, for our friends and family, and we’ve been lucky to find a community online who are interested in her and what we’re doing with her,” said Tate-Stratton, sitting on Luja’s hull in Sidney, B.C.

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Tate-Stratton and Sundstrom met in 2010 while doing equestrian vaulting — acrobatic tricks on horseback. As a couple, they’ve questioned the need to live what many people would consider a conventional lifestyle.

“I feel like people tend to get stuck in the regular, ‘I need to buy a house and I need to do this and this is just how my life needs to be,’ and I feel you don’t really need to be that type of person,” said Sundstrom.

“We have lots of friends who live aboard their boats and they live amazing lives … You can travel any day and your house goes with you.”

Luja isn’t quite seaworthy yet, but the couple’s goal is to complete renovations by 2022 and start checking boxes on their travel bucket list. Right now that includes Southeast Alaska, the St. Lawrence Seaway, and the canals of Europe, according to their website.

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In the meantime, their fanbase is growing at home and abroad.

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“We have a lot of friends with sailboats and they want to know about this funny boat that’s electric and all the different things about that,” said Tate-Stratton.

“We also wanted to show people that having an electric powerboat is possible. There’s quite a few electric sailboats now and there’s almost no electric powerboats.”

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Luja offers 200 square feet of living space — the size of some modern micro-condos, she added.

Faced with the prospect of purchasing a condo or paying skyrocketing fees to rent one, the lifeboat offered a creative alternative.

“We thought if we’re going to have a micro condo we’re going to make it our own,” she explained. “We love Victoria, but we didn’t want to be tied here, and also this was a much more reasonable way to get that 200 square feet to be ours.”

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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