There is a housing trend toward not only downsizing, but living tiny. A Windham couple is ready to help anyone interested in tiny homes from creating designs to building the structure. Corinne Watson and Thomas Small have built their first of many tiny homes and with the help of My Sister’s Garage on Route 302 in Windham, will host an open house this Saturday and Sunday.
Watson has been a process engineer for 15 years and with her engineering background she is fascinated with tiny living.
“I’m interested in building in efficiency and everything in its place,” she said. Living simply or decluttering simplifies her life, she said. When they moved to Maine they got rid of the majority of their possessions allowing the family of five to spend more time as a family and less time cleaning and organizing.
“It’s a freeing feeling. You get time back. There’s nothing to clean so just go to the beach,” she said.
Although they don’t live in a tiny house, Watson has discussed it before. “Not only do I want a tiny home, a lot of people do,” she said.
Small designs buildings for a living. The show house is the first tiny house he had designed. It took six months to get everything right. “We put a lot of time and research in the design. It’s quite complicated to fit everything in a small space,” said Watson. The upfront design is more important, knowing how each inch will be used. From the electrical and plumbing to knowing how to fit a light switch between a window and door, Small worked to perfect the design.
They contracted out some of the work and with three children and day jobs time they had to work on the project was limited.
Now that they’ve launched the business, they are ready to “design custom tiny homes for people and build them.” They plan to deliver anywhere in New England. Their plan at present is to build one structure at a time, however they are offering design consulting or plans for those who want to build the tiny home themselves. There will be an hourly consulting fee for those who have Small design their tiny house. The opportunity to ask Small and Watson questions as the build happens is a perk of working with them.
The open house will give the curious a chance to walk through and feel the space, Watson said. “What’s really appealing to me is getting back your time and money,” she said. With a tiny house, very few people have a mortgage. It takes a lot less time to clean a tiny house. My Sister’s Garage is staging the tiny house for Saturday’s event with many repurposed items.
“It’s a luxurious space,” Watson said. “With no mortgage, no bills, no maintenance.” She said there is a lot less to pay for living in a house as small as some people’s walk in closets.
The starting price for a tiny house through Tiny Homes of Maine is $45,000. The model on display is closer to $65,000 with the upgrades of flooring, stainless appliances and lighting. They can do off the grid homes working with Revision Energy. Typical builds will take between two to three months to complete.
The tiny house will be good for Maine winters with spray foam insulation and a mini heat pump to keep the space warm in winter and cool in the summer.
Watson has noticed that most people who are interested are not looking for a tiny house to use a primary residence, but rather as a place to stay on lakefront property or at a family camp to have their own personal space. Some in Windham are interested in using a tiny house as an in-law suite.
Single people with no children can use the tiny house as a primary resident and because it is portable, it works for those who like to be mobile. The Town of Windham told Watson that they welcome the opportunity for more affordable housing and that nothing in Windham prohibits tiny homes.
The house is built on a retrofitted car hauler and is registered as a trailer. The space is 8 feet by 20 feet with a sleeping loft. By simplifying and downsizing, people can be saving money for the things they care about like travel, Watson said.
Those who can’t make the open house can call to make an appointment to see the home.
Details for the open house can be found at www.tinyhomesofmaine.com and on Facebook. They are also on Instagram, Twitter, Tumbler and LinkedIn.