02/20/2015 11:35 EST | Updated 04/22/2015 05:59 EDT

Geoff de Ruiter builds tree house on Pender Island

Geoff de Ruiter — a PhD student at the University of Northern B.C. and the University of B.C. — lives part of the year in a tree house he built himself on Pender Island.

"I think everybody has the idea of having a tree house as a kid," he told Daybreak North's Russell Bowers.

The first floor is 101 square feet, and with a secondary loft that's home to the bedroom, water reservoir a little bit of storage space. It has all the amenities of a house, with the exception of a shower.

De Ruiter, who splits his time between Vancouver and Prince George, spends summers, holidays and other time off at the tree house.

He was partly inspired by the increased popularity of tiny homes, and living in one has allowed him to connect with his surroundings.

"When you're in a small space, you have to live outside of it more, and in that case, on Pender Island, it's very easy. It's a beautiful island. It's got lots going on."

Living in a tree house also has a financial incentive — no mortgage. 

De Ruiter bought his property, which is about half an acre, for $35,000 in cash, and said the money he saved by not paying rent allowed him to build his tree house.

To hear the full interview with GeoffdeRuiter, click the audio labelled: Geoff de Ruiter builds tree house on Pender Island.