Awards & Testimonials2017-06-14T16:06:13-07:00

Accolades from the design/build community!


Jake Fry – Founder/Principle:

Named Ernst & Young’s (EY) Entrepreneur of the Year in Manufacturing


Jake Fry – Founder/Principle:

Nominated for Margolese Awards – UBC, SALA (School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture)

Speaker at the 2013 Sustainable Design and Development Conference, Bellingham, Washington (Collaborating for Carbon Neutral)

Judge of Laneway House Design Charrette, Interior Design West, Vancouver

Speaker at Low Cost Housing Association (LOHA) Alternative Housing Tour, Vancouver (Exploring Small Scale Infill)

Guest Speaker for Laneway House Seminars, UBC, SALA (School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture), Vancouver

Speaker/Presenter at Yukon Northern Housing Conference “Housing Outside the Box” (Living Well – Small and Snug)


Smallworks Certified as Green Builder by Built Green Canada

Smallworks Nominated for the Slow Home Awards

Jake Fry – Founder/Principle:

Awarded the “Power 50 Award” (Vancouver’s 50 Most Influential People of the Year)

Orientation Panel Participant at Orientation for City of Vancouver Head Planner Brian Jackson

Opening Panel Member and Speaker at Cascadia (Green Building Council) Living Future Conference

Industry Organizer, RS-1 One-Family Dwelling Districts Roundtable Discussion, UBC, SALA (School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture)

International Living Future Conference: Opening Panel Member (build small Live Large); Closing Panel Member (The Trouble with Small)

Consultant for BCIT (British Columbia Institute of Technology) Directed Studies, LEW Program


Jake Fry and Smallworks Award the Top 20 Most Influential People in Construction

Jake Fry – Founder/Principle:

Speaker at Housing Workshop, District of North Vancouver, (Infill Housing)


Jake Fry – Founder/Principle:

Lead for Washington and Oregon Executive Working Group, Cascadia (Green Building Council) Housing Innovation Tour

Consultant for Garden Suite Program Pre-planning, City of Victoria


Completed West House – First LWH built under Vancouver’s LWH by-law

Launch of West House – Official Opening at Olympic/Paralympic Games Showcase

Demonstration/Display of West House – Garnered 70,000 visitors



Awarded West House Project – Pilot project showcasing a housing alternative with superior residential energy management (joint venture with Simon Fraser University and the City of Vancouver)

Awarded Second Highest Rating Ever by powersmart BC for the 2009 Laneway House Show Home

Unabashed words of praise from SMALLWORKS’ customers!

Remodeling and Home Design Remodeling and Home Design
Remodeling and Home Design Remodeling and Home Design
Jake Fry in Vancouver, BC on Houzz

Carolyn —

“Smallworks is a highly ethical company with incredible people skills and a wonderful team at multiple levels. They are courteous and efficient and truly care about their clients and the small homes they are creating. I was consistently impressed with the lengths Smallworks would go to ensure their clients were happy. They build beautiful homes and are a company that truly cares.”

>> View Carolyn’s Laneway House

Nat & Roshni —

“We just had our Laneway house in Vancouver built by Smallworks. After meeting with several builders, we chose Smallworks because we liked their previous projects and their professional team. We would like to thank Jake Fry, Brian Morley, Brian Sheehan, Kim Little and the rest of the team. It was a real pleasure working with them. Concerns and questions were always addressed immediately. “WHAT AN AMAZING CREW!” We couldn’t be happier. They were very helpful, courteous and professional, throughout the entire process. Last but not the least, Narges Mowlaee was amazing! Thank you, Narges, for your thoughtful, positive attitude and your patience and knowledge, which made our job as owners that much easier! Smallworks kept their promise to us and delivered our home within the allocated time and budget. The end result, our beautiful new laneway house exceeded our expectations! We would not hesitate to recommend Smallworks to anyone considering building a laneway home and will certainly be telling our friends and family about the exceptional product and service we received. Thank you Smallworks!! Regards, Nat and Roshni Parsad”

>> View Nat & Roshni’s Laneway House

Sasha & Christie —

“Smallworks exceeded our expectations. They offered great design input, the permitting process at the City was seamless (at least to us), and the tradespeople were friendly professionals who produced top quality work. They went above and beyond for us in countless small but important ways. Thanks and warm wishes especially to Jake, Narges and Brian for all their talent, thoughtfulness and hard work.”

>> View Sasha & Christies’s Laneway House

Philippa & Chris —

“We have just had a laneway house and a basement renovation built by Smallworks. We chose them because we liked the look of their previous projects, and we were persuaded by the glowing testimonials written about the company. We haven’t been disappointed. We echo the accolades already written, and were surprised and delighted by how beautifully both our LWH and basement have turned out. Our experience with Smallworks has been very positive. The site management was always excellent. The crew tidied up at the end of each day, and did their best to respect neighbours, and to lower the impact of the work as far as possible. Communication was never a problem. Any concerns or questions we had were responded to immediately. Building works can feel stressful but Smallworks does their utmost to make the experience as stress free as possible. Overall our expectations have been exceeded. We liked all the staff we met and appreciated everyones input helping to achieve our vision. We recommend Smallworks without reservation.”

>> View Philippa & Chris’s Lane House Sanctuary in Point Grey

Frances & Rodney —

“What a shock we had when the City revoked our plans to renovate our small east Vancouver house, a charming 1930s cottage with great character and absolutely no foundation. The house was sitting on blocks, and a number of furry critters had taken up residence beneath us. Much as we loved our place, it was beyond salvation. Something needed to be done. We decided to build a small modern house and laneway studio. After much research, we decided to go with Jake Fry and Smallworks. We were familiar with their philosophy, work and aesthetic. We had seen their workmanship at a home and garden show, and we were very impressed. We met with Jake and discussed our plans. This was a big project, as it involved a demolition, as well as the building of both a house and a laneway. It was also very stressful for us, as we were cast out of our home. In any project of this magnitude there will always be some issues that require clarification and communication. However, in our experience with Smallworks any issues that arose were quickly resolved. Jake is a reasonable, practical and professional individual who sincerely wants to do a great job for his clients. We always found a good and workable solution. We are happy we chose Smallworks to build our home. We highly recommend Jake and his team. They were all a pleasure to deal with. They had wonderful ideas, and they managed to keep everything within time and budget. We were in our new house in less than 8 months. We love our house and we would hire Smallworks again without hesitation.”

>> View Frances & Rodney’s Modern Home with Laneway House

Tony & Braden —

“We just built a laneway house on our Kitsilano-based Vancouver property. We used Smallworks who came highly recommended. We have been very happy with our experience with the Smallworks team. Everything was upfront and easy. No surprises! The timeline was accurate and I was able to make plans using the dates they set me and they stuck to them. Everyone on the Smallworks team was helpful and courteous and professional, whether with the design team in the planning stages or the with the trades people once the project was underway. We happily recommend using Smallworks to anyone.”

>> View Tony & Braden’s Little House

Justyna —

“Thank you to everyone on the Smallworks team for your hard work, knowledge, friendliness, professionalism, patience, and attention to detail. I am in love with my new home, it is absolutely perfect for me. If I would do this again, I would choose Smallworks every time without hesitation and I highly recommended them to anyone considering building. I was updated constantly, I felt a big part of the process and the team was flexible, all the while keeping the budget in mind. Every small detail was considered and the results speak for themselves; all my visitors are in disbelief at how gorgeous it turned out.”

>> View Justyna’s Quintessential Laneway House

Susan —

“Working on all aspects of my lovely laneway house, Smallworks was amazing in terms of efficiency, workmanship, and meeting deadlines. I found all the people I met from Smallworks to be friendly, helpful, and professional. I have nothing but praise for Jake and his team and would recommend them without hesitation.”

>> View Susan’s Arbutus

Diana —

“My Lane Cottage was begun in mid December and completed in mid April according to plan. It was a pleasure working with Smallworks and all it’s professional crews involved with this project and the final result is fabulous! I was impressed with the effortless way things flowed during construction and when small issues had to be resolved it was done to full satisfaction and without delay. I would definitely recommend this ethical company to build a lane way home which I did in conjunction with Vancity Credit Union. The results speak for themselves! Thanks Smallworks!”

>> View Diana’s Lane Cottage

Haley & Chris —

“Working with the team at Smallworks was seamless. They pride themselves on being “on time and on budget” and they fully delivered on that promise. They were very responsive to my queries and were also just lovely people to work with. I now have a beautiful laneway home that has been described by others as, “the nicest laneway I’ve seen”, “great design”, “high quality and solid build.” I would highly recommend Smallworks to others who are considering building a laneway house. Thanks again for all your work.”

>> View Haley & Chris’s Arbutus

Beth & Bruce —

“Working with Smallworks to build our Laneway House was a pleasure from start to finish. We are both busy people and the Smallworks team handled all the details and only contacted us with information when decisions needed to be made. However, they welcomed our input when we wanted to be involved. All problems were handled expeditiously and courteously. We are thrilled with the end result.”

>> View Beth & Bruce’s Dunbar

Janice & Vince —

“We love our new laneway home! I extend my compliments to everyone at Smallworks for the quality of the home’s workmanship and the beautiful, efficient, and well thought out finished product. We had discussions with a handful of architects and builders prior to deciding to move forward with Smallworks. Ultimately, we chose you because of your numerous home designs but even more important was your reputation within this unique housing market as being the best. As we look across the backyard to our newly finished and recently rented little home, we recognize that the Smallworks reputation is hard earned and well deserved. Thanks again to you, Jake, and to “Team Smallworks” for building a laneway home we will love and enjoy for years to come. We have told everyone who has asked (and of course wanted a tour) just how pleased we are with our LWH. We will continue without hesitation to recommend your company.”

>> View Janice & Vince’s Georgian

Karen —

“Just a word of appreciation and gratefulness for walking with me and mom this morning looking at my beautiful home. . .looking at the details of it and making it perfect for my move on Saturday. It was an absolute joy to start the day hearing the words from Jake, “You can move in”. I am so thrilled and it is so real!! I have been thinking, praying, for the past 10 years (ever since I moved back from undergrad) of the best use of my finances and to live on my own. This is the perfect solution in this big and expensive city of ours, and close to mom. I just want to say thank you (which is an understatement) for the care that you have shown throughout the whole process. A home is so important to everyone. It is a refuge to get away from the world, a place to enjoy a cup of tea, a place where all the worries get left at the front door, a place to welcome friends into your private space to share laughter and memories. It was wonderful to know that your people took that degree of care to design and build my home while I carried out my daily life with hardly any interruptions. I like that. You guys were amazing and awesome to work with – including all the front line tradespeople, they were very respectful and caring. So, it is with a deep sense of gratitude that I say it has been an absolute pleasure and joy to work with you and your team. I look forward to continue to work with Smallworks in the future.”

>> View Karen’s Arts & Crafts

Ann —

“I have been living in my home for a year now – in my daughter’s back yard. Absolutely a joy. My grandchildren love having Grandma close. When I began to consider the idea and began my search for a builder/contractor, my decision was a very easy one. Smallworks had been building laneway houses for a couple of years and they knew the process well. I did interview others, but Smallworks was the expert. Whenever you are designing and building a home, there are going to be stumbling blocks, issues with the city, licences etc. Jake, calmly and quickly not only communicated with me, but made the problems go away. And I can only say that Brent became ‘my best friend’. He even brought me pickles. All of the trades were wonderful. They all had the same very high integrity level. Ask Birk if he enjoyed the Thanksgiving dinner served (by me) to him while he was in the cold dark house – working hard even over a holiday weekend.So not only did I get the most wonderful cottage to live in, I now have many new friends. Thank you Smallworks.”

>> View Ann’s North Vancouver

Erin —

“Having the laneway house built by Smallworks was easy, ran on-time and if I had another backyard I would do it again. With the help of family and friends it was easy moving into the new small house and has been a pleasure to live in. With the vaulted ceiling it feels much larger then it is and I am constantly getting told by visitors that they feel this way too. Also, now living on a main floor, I find myself going outside on my new patio much more often than before because it is just so accessible to go out even for a few minutes.”

>> View Erin’s Arts & Crafts

Helene —

“Thank you for transforming our old space into a splendid laneway home. We wanted 2 good sized bedrooms, 2 full bathrooms and an appealing open floor plan. You were able to create all this on schedule and build a comfortable small home with clever storage areas.”

>> View Helene’s Arbutus

Deborah —

“Sharing our laneway house journey with Smallworks was both fun and surprisingly easy. The Smallworks team was with us every step of the way and was very committed to delivering to us the best small home imaginble — even as my imagination evolved during the design stage. Since we built this home for our own use, attention to detail was very important to us. Kate, our designer, took the time to understand how our lives work and what we needed in an efficient, user friendly living space. Our desire for wonderful appliances, a powder room, three bowl kitchen sink, room for the recliner, a dedicated laundry/ironing room and lots of light were all addressed, as was the use of every possible inch of storage space. Once the building started, Brent and his team of contractors were efficient and respectful — the scheduling of the trades and service people was a wonder to behold. Jake was a calm and reassuring presence whose dedication to building small homes has clearly done much to change our local landscape in the best way possible. Building a laneway house was a better option for us than moving to a condo. Even though we wanted to downsize, we didn’t want to leave our neighbourhood (or pay condo fees). And this way, another family will get to enjoy our big house as we enjoy our small one. Thanks gang!”

>> View Deborah’s Georgian

Lucy and Don —

“It was such a great experience working with Smallworks. The overall process was seamless and easy. From permit application to design to construction, Smallworks’ staff always kept us informed and involved while getting the work done themselves so we were not overburdened. Construction was efficient. All our neighbours were pleasantly surprised at the minimal disruption of their lives. The end product is beautiful, functional and green. The use of space inside the house is very creative and makes a very tiny space big to live in. After completion service is also amazing. Jake and his team really take care of their customers. Thank you Jake!”

>> View Lucy & Don’s Arts & Crafts

Peter and Liz —

“Our experience with building the laneway house was an extremely satisfactory one and we are grateful to everyone for their work on the project. Smallworks has assembled a remarkable group of trades people who are highly skilled, hard-working and always considerate and respectful of clients and it made what could have been a stressful time much less so.”

>> View Peter & Liz’s Argyle

Emily & Fiona —

“Emily & I want to really thank you for taking such great care of us all through the laneway design and building process [and] thanks so much for coordinating and getting the house ready for showing. We arranged all the [potential renters] last week remotely from Edmonton and it just felt so good knowing you were taking care of things here!! We had lots of interest and the people who did come through just utterly and absolutely loved every detail. That’s a shout-out to Smallworks for making such nice laneway houses. In the end, we found a couple who live in the area and want to stay here. They are lovely people with a cat named JoJo and they’ll be moving in soon. We can’t wait for Carol and Kim’s laneway house to be built up the lane and hope to see more in this neighborhood.”

>> View Emily & Fiona’s Edwardian

Gordon —

“I am extremely happy with my new lanehome built by Smallworks. The quality of construction is first class and all the trades working on site were professional, courteous and friendly. This was a first “new build” experience for me and it went much more smoothly than I had anticipated. There was a new house also being built next to me by a builder not nearly as professional as the Smallworks team and the difference in building practices was obvious. Jake obviously cares very much about producing a product that is going to exceed his client’s expectations and he does everything possible to make that happen.”

>> View Gordon’s Mackenzie

Margaret, Shaun and Jean —

“Our aim was to keep an expanding family together in the neighbourhood where our children grew up. We began our search at Smallworks and actually went no further. Jake and Michael were able to show us exactly what we wanted. The ever patient Kate guided us through the ropes and was there to answer every question. Brent became a fixture overseeing the activity in our back yard which was left tidy at the end of each day. In four months from breaking ground, our lanehouse was ready. The result by far exceeded our expectations. Although the original decision was somewhat scary, the process turned out to be painless and the decision one of the best we have ever made.”

>> View Margaret, Shaun & Jean’s Arts & Crafts

Brendon and Akua —

“SMALLWORKS – We picked you because we liked you as people. Yes, we loved your homes, and yes we were impressed by your knowledge of environmental design. But really Brendon and I chose your company because we enjoyed your company. Now as all good business relationships go, we were not without our differences, but on a project so complex and complicated we feel lucky to wrap up our contract not only with a beautiful home but a warm friendship. Kate and Jake – you are superstars, patiently guiding us through this home building process accommodating our novice questions and applauding our early successes. You are changing the landscape of the city. . .or the better. Brent, Brian and John – from building to our bank accounts, you kept this project rolling.”

>> View Akua & Brendon’s West Coast Loft

Douglas Welch and Elizabeth Ball —

“SMALLWORKS looked after all aspects of our beautiful laneway house, including design, permits, construction and finishing. We are very pleased with the results of their dedicated work. SMALLWORKS immediately understood what we wanted in a design appropriate for our neighbourhood and delivered a laneway house that was a top favorite on the Heritage Vancouver Laneway House tour. We are delighted to recommend SMALLWORKS’ services.”

>> View Doug & Elizabeth’s Arts & Crafts

Allan —

“We contacted SMALLWORKS back in 2007 expressing interest in what was then referred to as ‘backyard cottages’ after reading an article in the Vancouver Sun: The Urban Cottage. Then we had to wait a couple of years due to fact that the city had to setup the Eco-density Charter but in the meantime there was the 2009 BC Home & Garden show that served to whet our desire of having a laneway house. Walking through SMALLWORKS’ ’09 model home cemented the fact that if the eco-density charter went through, SMALLWORKS would be our 1st choice as builders. Dealing with the company as a whole has been a very pleasant experience, from initial contact to the various follow ups, to finally sitting down with the designer to customize our laneway house, all the way to the end product. SMALLWORKS provided excellent service and listened to concerns and made changes accordingly or directed us to services that we could use. Now about the house itself, we chose the open loft design as we love the light, open, airy feel it gives the space, and with windows pretty much on all four sides natural light floods into the space. Having been in the space for the past 6 months my only regret is that I really should have thought about storage space a little bit more. That being said it is MY space and I love it! I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend SMALLWORKS as THE laneway house builder.”

>> View Allan’s Loft-Style Laneway House

Lydia and Chris —

“When we decided to replace a rusting old tin garage with a garden and potting shed a few years ago we needed a specialist builder — one willing to do a small project. We had already seen artist’s studios built by SMALLWORKS and talked to their happy customers. Then we saw one of their heritage renos during the Heritage Home tour. That clinched it. Soon we were into design consultations and manufacture with them. We wanted something very specific and they accommodated us willingly. Amazingly, they promised to deliver and set up the entire building in one day. Sure enough, the flat bed and crane arrived one Saturday morning and by that evening the structure was in place. Finishing, painting and finessing took only a month and the results were exactly what we had envisioned. Our “shed” looks like a tiny cottage at the end of our garden. SMALLWORKS delivered on every promise. They were on time, used recycled materials whenever possible, stuck to the contract price and were cheerful and helpful throughout. They even installed an old brass ship’s porthole as a window for us. Seeing them work with SFU, BC Hydro and the City of Vancouver to create energy efficient small homes seems like a natural step in SMALLWORKS’ evolution. We’re very glad we got to know them and always recommend them gladly to others.”

Julian —

“We are delighted with our new laneway house from SMALLWORKS. Every aspect of the project went extremely well, including the first assessment of whether the project was viable or not within the finances we had available; the needs assessment and project planning; the design process; the permit process and dealing with organizations like architects, hydro, the city, gas etc; the final fixed-price costings; the incorporation of the ‘extras’ we wanted done on the rest of our property at the same time; the selection of fixtures, fittings and decorative elements; and then of course the site preparation and build. The house was delivered bang on budget, with the only differences being items we decided to add as we went along; and only a couple of weeks late which, bearing in the mind the excessive rain we had this winter is a minor miracle in itself ! We also found the process much easier than we had imagined. Our project manager, assigned on day one, worked with us every step of the way in the design and build phase, and made decisions on design and decoration simple. The other aspect we appreciated was that we were shielded from all the 3rd parties like contractors, engineers and inspectors; expert site management took care of those issues which could drive you insane if trying to do it yourself. Payment and invoicing was clear, and we knew right from the start what our payment schedule would look like, allowing us to plan the funding to minimize our own interest costs. The final product exceeded our expectations, it was very hard to imagine what it would look like from the drawings, but the design of the Edwardian house is really neat, and with its open interior, feels much larger than its 500 square feet. Build quality is excellent, we are particularly pleased with the cabinetry and flooring, while the heating and ventilation systems promise to achieve efficiency and low running costs. I would certainly recommend SMALLWORKS to anyone looking to build a laneway house in Vancouver. Nice work, Jake and the rest of the SMALLWORKS team!”

>> View Julian’s Edwardian

Brad Janzen —

“I am very happy to offer Jake Fry and his team at SMALLWORKS the highest praise in their construction of my Laneway House in Vancouver. My craftsman style LWH was the first one built by SMALLWORKS and one of the first (if not the first) to be completed under Vancouver’s new Laneway House guidelines. SMALLWORKS is truly a one stop, turn-key operation for building a Laneway House. They worked hard to take care of us every step along the way from planning and finance to millwork and finishing. Being one of the first LWH’s to be built under the new LWH program, there was the occasional surprise from the City of Vancouver and various other external stakeholders as the kinks in the new program were ironed out. Jake and his crew were always on point and worked hard to not only anticipate these potential problems but also to solve them as efficiently as possible. I would also like to mention that SMALLWORKS was very budget savvy. The design team and Jake himself were excellent at presenting me with a variety of options to tailor the entire project to work within our budget. Once we signed off on the project, the cost never changed and I never had to worry about hidden surprises. Hats off to Jake and everyone at SMALLWORKS for championing the the LWH cause in Vancouver and raising the bar in terms of customer service, professionalism, and commitment to quality. If SMALLWORKS were an auto-maker, it would be a well-designed and slick German auto factory.”

>> View Brad Janzen’s Carriage House