A 'Fundamental Shift is Occurring' as People Flock to Tiny Homes
The coronavirus crisis is giving them a huge boost.
Tampa Bay Village.
Tiny houses are a conundrum. They were designed to look like, well, tiny houses, but they were built on chassis to recreational vehicle standards so that they could slip "under the radar" of building codes and zoning bylaws. Except the radars got better, and a tiny house without land was all dressed up with no place to go.
Dan Dobrowolski has been building tiny houses and giving them a place to go for a while; we have shown a number of his Escape tiny homes, and his Canoe Bay property in Wisconsin. Now he has opened a new development, Escape Tampa Bay Village, in the middle of the coronavirus crisis, and it is a real demonstration of how tiny houses have come of age.
Dobrowolski bought a run-down one-acre mobile home park and redesigned it as a tiny home community. What's the difference, besides the terminology of mobile vs tiny home? Park vs community? For one thing, space – he doesn't pack them in, there are only 10 tiny homes on the site. He put in a lot of native landscaping, and you can't bring in any old trailer; you have to buy one of his Escapes, which are built in his factory in Wisconsin to high standards, so there is a consistency and a feeling of quality throughout. Dobrowolski tells a local paper, the Business Observer:
It has to feel open and look a certain way. It has to look great. It has to give you space. You have to be able to breathe. I just can’t bring myself to stack units in next to each other like sliced bread, like a typical mobile home or RV park. You can do all the infrastructure right and then blow it on the look. You have to make sure it looks right.
The trend is so strong now for 1) escaping crowded housing and 2) just escaping major metro areas like NYC, LA & SFO, it is almost overwhelming. This is a major shift...we're seeing this all over the US with buyers.
This is something that people have been trying to do for years and it is a slow process; when I was trying to develop an eco-park in my pre-Treehugger days, I found that the circles in the Venn diagram of the people who understood and were willing to pay for tiny homes and the people who understood trailer parks never overlapped.
And then the Covid-19 crisis hits, and everything changed overnight. The people who would never consider living in a Park Model mobile home in a trailer park suddenly are seeing a tiny home in a community of like-minded people to be an attractive proposition. Dobrowolski tells Treehugger that demand is coming from all over: