UPDATED – Alex Worlow, of Dripping Springs, climbed the stairs to the bedroom loft above the bathroom of a 200-square-foot tiny home.
The staggered stairs served as storage space, as did every nook and cranny of the home.
The trend of tiny homes, defined as dwellings that only span a couple hundred square feet and built on trailers, is now spreading across Dripping Springs.
Worlow, who owns Nomad Tiny Homes, recently began building tiny homes after 10 years in the traditional remodeling business. He said tiny homes allows him to creatively build without the red tape.
“It keeps the cost and the headache down a little bit and we try to provide a different type of housing for different type of people,” Worlow said. “They are on trailers so they are considered recreational vehicles.”
As long as a tiny home is less than 400 square feet, it is considered a recreational vehicle, he said. A tiny home doesn’t accrue property taxes and currently there aren’t building codes or permit requirements specifically for tiny homes, according to Worlow.
Rick Coneway, Dripping Springs director of public works and development, said the city would have to look at ways of inspecting a tiny home if it was located within the city limits.
He said one of the questions would be if tiny homes would lead to owners wanting smaller, permanent lots.
“It all depends on how permanent it is and if it will be hooked up to a utility,” Coneway said. “It is certainly viable.”
Worlow said many people in the area want to use it as a “grandmother” addition or rental space.
Tiny homes usually cost $40,000 to $50,000, he said.
“One lady’s mom was living in a house, but she couldn’t afford the house,” Worlow said. “So they are going to put a tiny house in the backyard to rent out so she can afford to live in the house she’s had forever.”
Tasha Nikora of Dripping Springs said many of her friends are interested in tiny homes for their sustainability. Since the home is so small, it can be easily hooked up to a rainwater system or a compost toilet.
Nikora said the addition of sustainable techniques separates tiny homes from the typical mobile home or trailer.
“It’s made to take on a modern feel with technology and being earth friendly,” Nikora said. “You can be off the grid and still live in comfort.”
While the trend is growing, tiny homes aren’t for everyone, Worlow said. Tiny homes owners have to consider where it will be placed, how they will move it and if they can even live in a small space.
“I always tell people to park it in an RV park until you figure out where to move it,” Worlow said. “I would hate for someone to buy one and go ‘I can’t stand this.’”
Worlow said he plans to build a tiny home community for those without land, or who want to do a tiny home trial run. It would be set up like a traditional RV park but would be restricted to tiny homes.
Nikora said she and her husband want to also open a tiny home community in the future.
“We want to do what we can for the environment but nothing really accommodates for that,” she said. “We just want to help others not have a carbon footprint.”
Both Nikora and Worlow said they have found land for their individual projects but will spend the next couple of years developing it.
Tiny homes or tiny communities may not be Dripping Springs’ answer to traditional affordable housing, but it is a step toward living outside the traditionally big box.
“You try to go off the grid and do solar or rainwater collection,” Worlow said. “That’s what a lot of people want, is not to be tied down.”
March 23, 2016
Paige Lambert – The News Dispatch
This story originally contained the incorrect image of the home. Our apologies to Westcoast Outbuildings. Check them out here!