Tiny house craze hits close to home

WALLA WALLA, WA - Tucked away in Walla Walla is a company that brings new meaning to the word "downsize."

"Even though we're Seattle-based, to be in eastern Washington [is nice] because now we're closer to other states for delivery," said Sharon Read, owner and designer for Seattle Tiny Homes.

In 2010, Read started Seattle Tiny Homes, a company that specializes in building custom-made, easily transportable tiny homes. These homes are designed to give buyers all the amenities of big house living for a fraction of size and price.

"You know what's so interesting in this business I have is that actually there's appeal to every generation," Read explained. "Every generation sees a need or a want for a tiny house."

Read has worked with clients from all walks of life, no matter the age or income.

"So, you've got the young people that are mobile and they just want to be able to take their house with them and they want it to be affordable," she said. "You have the people who are in midlife and have kids and they just want a vacation cottage."

Even those reaching their twilight years and looking to downsize are purchasing tiny homes, which gives grandma the freedom to park her house wherever she wants, whether that's in her daughter's backyard or the Grand Canyon.

But, no matter why you might choose to go tiny, Read wants people to know that cutting down on size doesn't mean sacrificing comfort.

"Basically, a tiny house is a regular house with all the wasted square footage taken out. So you still have your kitchen, you still have your bathroom, washer, dryer, fireplace if you want it, all your amenities because I don't believe living in a smaller space that you need to sacrifice. I don't want my clients to feel like they're camping. When I design a tiny house for somebody, my goal is they will love it and so far, that's been true."

But while these tiny houses are made in Walla Walla, did you know that you can't actually own one in town?

Earlier this week, Walla Walla Councilman Riley Clubb wrote a Facebook post about Seattle Tiny Homes.

While the business is quite successful, don't expect to see any of their models in town. This is because the local ordinances prohibit any tiny homes within city limits.

However, Councilman Clubb discovered new state building codes that would allow people to buy the homes... but only if these codes are also adopted by the City.

"I've seen a lot of people who are interested in tiny homes," Councilman Clubb said. "I think if they have that interest and there's a demand, they should have the freedom to put that in their backyard or set it up wherever they are. I just think that flexibility is really needed and I think it could be really great for the community if there are more affordable opportunities to live in a home than we have now."

Last month, Councilman Clubb formed the Affordable Housing Task Force to look into policies that can support tiny home development. He hopes the City will consider the voices of those interested and begin to make a change.

Recommended for you