Tiny is the Next Big Thing!

Tiny houses are a big trend these days.

Homeowners all over the country are ditching their McMansions and most possessions in them in favor of squeezing into comfy little houses not much bigger than a tool shed.

Typical American homes are around 2,600 square feet, according to thetinylife.com. The typical small or tiny houses that come in any shape, size and form are between 100 and 400 square feet. They are designed to “enable simpler living in a smaller, more efficient space.”    

The tiny house movement picked up momentum with national exposure on television shows such as HGTV’s “Tiny House Hunters” and FYI Network’s “Tiny House Nation.” CNN, The Associated Press, Guardian, Huffington Post, NBC, Oprah and PBS have all reported on the trend. Now it is picking up steam regionally as well.

John Starceski, divisional marketing specialist for 84 Lumber, headquartered in Eighty Four, PA, near Pittsburgh, said the company began selling tiny homes over a year ago. “We’ve made big strides in the tiny house market in a relatively short time,” he said.

Founded in 1956, 84 Lumber now operates more than 250 stores– including one in Pittston– as well as component manufacturing plants, custom door shops, custom millwork shops and engineered wood products (EWP) centers in 30 states, representing the top markets in the country. Starceski said the tiny homes sold by 84 Lumber are portable– mobile units that can be permanent residences or hitched up to trailers for traveling. They are under 200 square feet and range from classic to contemporary styles.

“Tiny Living by 84 Lumber provides a unique opportunity to live happily with less,” Starceski said. “We are dedicated to delivering high-quality products while offering value-added packages and services to our customers that promote an excellent quality of life. Our focus is to inspire a spirit of adventure that encourages our buyers to simplify their priorities.”

According to Starceski, tiny homes are popular for a number of reasons. Some people want financial freedom from large mortgages and other household debt, others want to “go green” and help preserve the environment. “Some people just want a simpler lifestyle,” Starceski said.

According to thetinylife.com, “For most Americans a third to half of their income is dedicated to the roof over their heads; this translates to 15 years of working over your lifetime just to pay for it, and because of it 76 percent of Americans are living paycheck to paycheck. So what is the alternative? One solution might be to live smaller.”

As for going green, Starceski said 84 Lumber’s tiny houses are environmentally friendly. All models include LED lighting, water-efficient faucets, an Energy Star certified refrigerator, low VOC paints, low thermal emissivity windows and are completely insulated.

For those interested in tiny living, Starceski said 84 Lumber offers three options:

BUILD YOUR OWN: Trailer plus plans. This DIY package, starting at $6,884, is a “budget-friendly option.” Shipping is quick. The package includes the architectural blueprints for one of the tiny home models, a materials list and a trailer built to meet the requirements of the selected house. All materials on the list and essentials to build a tiny home can be purchased at a local 84 Lumber.

SEMI-DIY: Tiny Home Shell plus trailer plus plans. The Semi-DIY package includes a “shelled in” tiny house placed on a custom trailer, complete with windows, a door and a shower. The package also comes equipped with the architectural blueprints and a materials list for DIYers to add their own exterior and interior finishing touches. Starting price for this option is $19,884. “This option gives you a head start on your project,” Starceski noted.

MOVE-IN READY: Fully Outfitted Tiny Home. A completed tiny house that is fully outfitted both inside and out. The home is built on a custom trailer and ready for move-in and immediate travel. These homes take eight-to-10 weeks for custom completion. Price ranges from $49,884 to approximately $85,000.

Starceski said several communities are seeking local laws to allow more areas zoned for tiny houses. Legalities and permits are based on a state-to-state or county-to-county basis. He suggested homeowners check with their local permit office to see what is permitted. Tiny Houses can be moved from property to property and are easier to navigate some of the issues related with permits, zoning, etc. There are some communities that are working to zone areas specifically for Tiny Houses.

84 Lumber conducts open houses for its tiny home models every Tuesday and  Thursday from 4 to 6 p.m. or by appointment at its headquarters in Eighty Four. Call (888) 456-8491 or visit www.84tinyliving.com.

–Teri Lyon