In Texas, of course we do everything bigger. But there is a movement afoot to do exactly the opposite.
A few weeks ago, the tiny house movement rolled into Austin when the National Tiny Home Jamboree took over the Rodeo Austin Fairgrounds. With two days of industry speakers plus a trade show and over 50 homes to tour filled the grounds all weekend.
I feel fortunate that Amity and I visited during the Industry days before the crowds of over 40,000 descended. Even though it was hot, hot, hot – it was also a treat to see the amazing spaces that the builders have crafted.
Tiny Homes come in many sizes and styles – from converted school buses to the larger park models with no wheels, designed to be parked in a stationary location such as RV Parks or Tiny Home “Villages”. Everything we saw (and we toured ALL of them!) used all the latest finishes and design styles that realtors see in typical new construction of larger homes.
We saw cottage chic with barn doors and shiplap. We saw mid-century modern with slick finishes and crazy colors. We saw rustic with cedar walls, bunk beds and fanciful rooflines. And we saw traditional with full sized appliances and front porches.
The thing that really sets all tiny homes apart is the ingenuity of making small spaces liveable and the focus on building community. The idea of clearing one’s life of too much stuff is appealing in itself, but the clever ways to make use of limited space offers ideas that we can use no matter what size house we choose.
For me, the best thing about this movement is its potential for building new kinds of communities. We met many builders and developers with projects in Belize, Colorado, North Carolina, California and Texas. All of them have a focus on affordability, community engagement and sustainability.
Unfortunately, the rules and regulations still have a long way to go to meet the exploding demand of Tiny Home owners. Associations of enthusiasts, builders and hopefully city planners are forming with the goal of creating standard building codes and ways to adjust those codes to tiny homes without losing any safety considerations.
Stay tuned!! We will be following this movement closely!