America is in the midst of a tiny house craze. With the proliferation of shows like “Tiny House Nation,” “Tiny House World” and “Tiny House Hunting,” along with countless websites and blogs dedicated to the topic on the Internet, interest in tiny homes — which can be 200 square feet in size or less — seems never to have been larger.
SPOKESMAN PHOTO: LESLIE PUGMIRE HOLE – This Tiny Home was put together in a single day.
Wilsonville resident Taya Hill says that there are reasons people are taking a hard look at living small, and is promoting the concept of tiny houses via a “Tiny House Street of Dreams” that she’s helping to organize in Portland.
“We’re building in Wilsonville like crazy,” Hill says. Construction isn’t keeping pace with rising rental rates and the growing number of homeless in the metro area, which according to Hill means it’s worth considering homes that are less expensive than traditional housing.
The Tiny House Street of Dreams is meant to get people thinking small. It will feature some 10 tiny homes at Harborside RV & Marine on Hayden Island, and is slated to open on the Fourth of July. The homes will be built in different colors and designs, some with multiple stories, others furnished to reflect different themes.
SPOKESMAN PHOTO: LESLIE PUGMIRE HOLE – As with a tradtional Street of Dreams, the tiny homes will be completely staged so you can imagine yourself living there.
All the homes to be displayed there are designed by Global Green Concept Designs, an Olympia, Wash.-based business that was founded five years ago and sells prefabricated tiny home kits.
“We are able to create a building in a matter of hours, rather than weeks or months,” says Ron Blair, owner and president of the company. The tiny homes his company designs and manufactures are composed of boards that stack together like Lincoln Logs, with only some tapping of a rubber mallet required.
The smallest tiny house offered by Blair’s business is only 36 square feet in size, although it also offers slightly smaller ones that are intended to serve as playhouses for children.
Blair says that tiny homes on wheels have become an increasingly large part of Global Green Concept Designs’ business. That wasn’t intentional: The company had only wanted to put one of their tiny homes on a trailer that could be towed to events and used for promotional purposes, rather than just manufacturing miniature versions of the tiny homes to demonstrate their design.
“We ended up falling right into that tiny-house-on-a-trailer world that we were unaware of,” Blair says. “We didn’t even know that existed.”
Blair says that one of his tiny homes can cost less than $10,000. He says he foresees the market for tiny homes continuing to be strong in years to come.
“It’s a movement, and it’s not going to stop,” Blair says. The collapse of the RV market and lingering anxieties from the 2008 recession have created a demand for simple and affordable living that he doesn’t foresee decreasing.
“I expect it to last forever,” Blair says.
The Portland Tiny Homes Street of Dreams will be owned by Patrick Vercoe, owner of Harborside RV & Marine. Vercoe says that the time seemed right to get into the tiny house business.
“I’ve been watching the tiny house revolution come to Portland,” Vercoe says. Areas like the Alberta district, which features The Tiny House Hotel, have seen increasing numbers of tiny homes built both as independent dwellings and as guest homes.
So Vercoe got in touch with Blair, and the two have been working to erect the Street of Dreams at Vercoe’s business on Hayden Island, making Vercoe Global Green Concept Designs’ first Portland retailer. Some of the homes will be permanently stationed there, while others are being built on wheels and can be toted around the region for display.
Vercoe says that he’d like to eventually open a neighborhood of tiny homes on barges floating in the Columbia River near Jantzen Beach, what Blair calls the “floating home capital of Portland.”
Hill says that she can envision a similar floating neighborhood of tiny homes near Wilsonville in the Willamette River. She also imagines the homes being used for extra space by businesses, schools and homeowners alike.
“Everyone needs a little extra storage space,” Hill says. “I think it can benefit a lot of people there.”
Contact Jake Bartman at 503-636-1281 ext. 113 or firstname.lastname@example.org.