Tiny Houses – What Are The Issues? Part II

http://tinyhousetalk.com/tiny-house-movement/

In our last blog we began a dialog on tiny and small houses intended to familiarize the reader with issues that surround the growing interest in the tiny house movement.  84 Lumber and GreenEdge Supply are “all in” with the introduction of our initial four tiny house designs.  They can be viewed in detail at http://84tinyliving.com.  In this blog we address a number of common questions regarding tiny house living.  We invite your questions and observations, and welcome any feedback regarding 84 Lumber’s initial designs.

Can families live in them?  Tiny houses (up to 400 square feet) and small homes (400 to 1700 square feet) are generally not intended to provide housing for more than a few people at a time.  This is in keeping with their popularity with young couples using them as starter homes, those downsizing from conventional housing in the “empty nester” years of their lives, individuals interested in low cost, eco-efficient living, and a variety of other occupants living alone or as couples.  An infant or small child may be accommodated, but the needs of a growing family are best satisfied with a larger small house or more conventional housing.

Tiny house living offers little opportunity to accommodate large gatherings inside, though there are many ways to develop a tiny house site to enjoy being together outside.  Depending on where the home is located it is possible to add outside space under roof by combining the utility of additional storage buildings, pergolas, arbors, decks and porches.  These amenities provide valuable respite from a small interior.  84 Lumber offers a number of products and ideas for enhancing outdoor living at http://www.84lumber.com/Homeowners/BackyardLiving.aspx

outdoorliving

Backyard Living structures by 84 Lumber can enhance tiny house living.

    Keeping pets presents other challenges.  Living with a small dog, a cat or two or a fish tank is possible.  Sharing a tiny house with an adult golden retriever or St. Bernard may not be.

How much do they cost?  Like other housing options, the cost of tiny homes vary with size, finishes, the number and quality of appliances, space conditioning systems and other common cost drivers.  Cost also depends on how the project is purchased and delivered.  Tiny Living by 84 Lumber offers 3 different pricing options including a Build Your Own Tiny Home option starting at $6,884, a Semi-Do It Yourself (DIY) starting at $19,884, and a Move-In Ready option such as our “Roving” model that starts at $49,884.   DIY tiny house builders can use recycled materials, volunteer labor, more affordable financing, and other creative ways to reduce costs.

The total project cost will include acquiring and developing the site and, in some cases, having the tiny house delivered.  Tiny houses are also subject to all applicable permit requirements, utility connection costs and fees, taxes, etc.  These can vary significantly, so the tiny house advocate should research each thoroughly.

Where can I live in a tiny house?  Tiny houses are subject to interpretation by local codes, community covenants and municipal jurisdiction.  These range from the minimum size a housing unit can be, to whether and / or how long a tiny house on wheels is allowed to inhabit a site.  Tiny houses constructed on a permanent foundation can be interpreted and permitted differently from one on wheels.  Urban dwelling in a tiny house on a small lot can have very different challenges than one located on a much larger rural site.   Beyond the tiny house per se, amenities such as composting or chemical toilets, alternative energy systems, rainwater harvesting, attendant storage facilities, or any deviation from using conventional civil infrastructure may be subject to the local permitting process.  None of this is unconventional, and each applies to any kind of housing, but the tiny house advocate should research which applies to them.

84 Lumber and GreenEdge Supply have in-house expertise and experience in building and delivering tiny houses.  Visit us online at http://www.84lumber.com/HomeOwners.aspx or www.greenedgesupply.com, or stop by and tour one of our tiny houses.

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