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Tiny houses: Affordable and environmentally friendly

The American Dream...home ownership...How about a Tiny House? Homes smaller than most apartments are gaining a lot of attention for affordable living.
Tiny House on display at the Home and Garden Show. January 14, 2016.

The American Dream...home ownership...How about a Tiny House? Homes smaller than most apartments are gaining a lot of attention for affordable living.

Tiny houses will be on display at The Maricopa County Home and Garden Show starting Friday morning.

Christian Parsons and Alexis Stephens have been traveling around the country for the past two years in their 130-square-foot home. Parsons built most of it from recycled parts.

It has a full kitchen with a sink. A mini-fridge and a four-burner stove that is 20 inches wide. Adjacent to the kitchen is the bathroom, complete with a shower and toilet. The living room is just big enough to hold a couch, leaving enough room to access the front door. The ceilings are high making room for two lofts for sleeping.

"I've always loved cozy spaces," Stephens said. "I found I was feeling very overwhelmed by my stuff and not being able to keep up with a bigger house. So, I started researching tiny houses and it really resonated with me."          

Tiny houses have grown in popularity in recent years. They have all the amenities of a standard home, just in less space.

"These aren't shanty shacks. These aren't mobile homes. These aren't RVs," Stephens said. "These are quality-built homes that are beautifully crafted and they are an expression of who you are."

Stephens and Parsons are making a documentary about tiny houses called "Tiny House Expedition." They say you can purchase a manufactured tiny house for far less than buying a standard home.

"I think the financial freedom is one of the primary factors for most people to go small. [It's about] The cost of a car," said Stephens.

For many homebuyers it could mean no mortgage. Ron Blair's company, Global Green Concept Designs, based in Washington, manufactures tiny houses. He says the homes can have a big impact on an owner's lifestyle.

"I think they're a little more stress-free because they don't have the big mortgages. They don't have the big maintenance involved with handling a full-size home," Blair said.

Blair's company also designs kits for the ‘do-it-yourselfers' to put together their own home.

"This is like Legos and Lincoln Logs," Blair said. "Snap together like a Lego; Intersect in the corner like a Lincoln Log."

Modern Container Concepts in Phoenix is converting old shipping containers into tiny houses.

"Foam-insulated it and built the interior to look and give you a cozy feel of a studio apartment," said Adrian Garneata with Modern Container Concepts. "We have electricity. We have plumbing. We have a full bathroom. A kitchen with a quartzite countertop and a refrigerator. Everything you would find in your typical home. We have in our tiny house."

They're also using that concept to convert 40-foot shipping containers into disaster relief homes that can house five to six people.

Stephens says tiny houses are also reducing the carbon footprint by using less energy.

"You're looking at folks who are using a fraction of what the standard American house is using," said Stephens.

The tiny houses will be on display at the Maricopa County Home and Garden Show Friday-Saturday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

For more information you can visit maricopacountyhomeshows.com

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