By RONDA GREGORY
News & Journal Staff Writer
We’ve all been witnessing the trend of the tiny-house movement – from hundreds of Facebook posts depicting a multitude of designs and floor plans to HDTV’s “Tiny House Hunters”.
For people who think this a fleeting fad, they just might want to reconsider. The desire to make tiny houses a home is becoming a popular sought-after lifestyle – living big in a tiny house.
“The customers that I’ve talked to want to simplify their life, reduce unnecessary belongings, and not have a heavy mortgage hanging over their heads,” reports Doug Fritsch, director of Web and Packaging Sales for 84 Lumber, headquartered in Eighty Four, Pa. “It’s a big movement.”
Fritsch agrees the movement has taken off because of people’s concerns to have a smaller environmental footprint, to economize and to be more mobile, (Tiny homes are built on a trailer that can be hitched to a truck and moved at will.) to have a richer, more rewarding lifestyle.
Fritsch explained that most of the people who are interested in these houses want a place to “bunk” – a place to eat, shower, sleep and keep them out of the rain – but who want to experience the outdoors and surrounding amenities in the areas where they live.
“They will spend 90 percent of their time outside enjoying an ocean front, the hills of West Virginia – just someplace where it’s nice to be outdoors,” he said.
Recently 84 Lumber, a major national retailer of building materials and services, became just the place to shop for a tiny living home. The company now has a series of tiny houses, all under 200 square feet, to order. They come in flexible packages for anyone who might be interested in this down-sized lifestyle – for the customer who is serious a DIY-er or for someone who just wants a fast, readymade tiny home.
The DIY-ers can buy anything from just the trailer and blueprint and materials list or shell to a fully built tiny house with custom finishings, Fritsch stated. The finished ones are equipped with appliances and other vital needs, such as water tanks, composting toilets, Energy Star-certified appliances, LED lighting and more.
Launching “The Roving” model first, 84 Lumber has three other styles from which to choose. The store in Bridgeport, located 1284 Johnson Ave., can help you pick the right one for your particular wants or needs. The Roving has a fully built-out prototype (available to tour at the company’s headquarters in Eighty Four, PA). It is a 154-square-foot structure with cedar-lap siding, a mini front porch and reclaimed wood details. The other three models range in styles from the more cottage-like “Shonsie” to the more modern “Degsy”.
Jake Barnhart, 84 Lumber store manager at the Bridgeport location, referring to the tiny house trend and convenience, said, “They’re all pretty nice. I think we’ll be selling a lot of them.”
Fully built models range from about $49,000 to about $69,000, but the DIY-ers packages are, obviously, much less. Costs depend on how much you want to do yourself and what materials you choose, he said.
For the gung-ho who want to build their own tiny house, the company offers a $6,884 (starting) “DIY package” that includes architectural blueprints, materials list, and a trailer outfitted with a subfloor and ready for walls. Next level up is the $19,884 (starting) “Semi-DIY package” that includes a “shelled in” tiny house on a trailer, along with windows, a door, a shower, and blueprints and a material list for finishing the home inside and out.
A major perk to ordering a tiny ready-built house is that it’s a quick acquisition. The estimated turnaround time is about 8 to 10 weeks for a fully outfitted home, contrasted to that of a traditional-sized home, which takes about a year to complete.
Fritsch reports the houses are well-insulated so are cozy in the cold weather months. And, he said, they hold up well in high winds, too.
“They’re very structurally sound … as good as any other house,” he stated.
Issues have arisen as to where to put these transportable tiny houses, because of zoning issues. Will cities allow people to park and live in these tiny houses, and not just as second dwellings attached to another property?
As the growth of tiny home building continues, though, surely communities will take a positive stance on this issue.
“Hopefully, cities will adopt ordinances that will not only allow you to put your tiny home there, but you’ll be welcome,” Fritsch stated.
For more information about 84’s tiny house offerings, visit 84TINYLIVING.COM. Or to speak with a sales person at the Bridgeport location, call (304) 842-5484.