Small Homes Tell Big Stories

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I recently saw this article on My Modern Met:

Architect Bypasses Mortgage Payments, Builds a Tiny Home

Click to see more photos of this home on My Modern Met
Click to see more photos of this home on My Modern Met

Idaho-based architect Macy Miller longed for a place of her own, but didn’t want the burdensome cost of mortgage payments and decided to construct her own compact home. After having a dream back in 2011, Miller mustered up the initiative to design her small yet efficient home known as Tiny House. Interested in the ever-expanding DIY movement as both a way to save on costs and gain some experience with construction, Miller worked on the 196-square-foot home for two years in the hopes of making her dream come true.

The house, which was built on top of a flatbed trailer with the use of sustainable materials, just recently finished construction. The clever design includes recycled shipping pallets for the siding of the home and practically brand new windows that were entirely donated. Inside the cozy space, every modern amenity needed is available including lighting, a kitchen area, and even a working bathroom.

With so much accomplished on a tight budget, Miller’s project is not quite complete as she is currently searching for a place to park her quaint dwelling. The architect hopes to one day run the entire structure completely off-the-grid, making it both eco-friendly and space-saving. You can follow her continued progress on her personal blog.

I’ve been working in the manufactured housing industry since 1999. Personally, I believe that manufactured housing is perfectly poised to take advantage of some of these niche markets. The Small House Movement has been going on for quite some time. I remember picking up my copy of the The Not So Big House by Sarah Susanka in the late 90s, and then later stumbling upon the adorable Tiny Houses by Tumbleweed. Many people feel a yearning for small homes and simple living.

It isn’t just about small mortgage payments, as the article above mentions. In fact, some of these small homes come with so many custom upgrades that the costs compare to a standard home. In others, the home is quite reasonably priced, the difficulty is in purchasing the land. You know what that reminds me of?

The Staniel Cay II, Winner of the Single Section Concept Home at the 2012 MHI Congress and Expo. Design by Palm Harbor Homes.
The Staniel Cay II, Winner of the Single Section Concept Home at the 2012 MHI Congress and Expo. Design by Palm Harbor Homes.

I see an opportunity here. The manufactured home industry already has the ability to build custom, high quality homes in basically any size. We already have an establish system of land lease communities that are designed for homes to be placed on site. What’s needed is someone to seize this opportunity and run with it. I’m not saying that it is a huge market, but more and more I think people are looking for something real. They want sustainable and affordable living. It seems like the perfect fit.

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