BY PAUL BICKLEY
Last year, Loren Wood Builders constructed a 5,000-square-foot home on Covenanter Drive. Early this year, the home builder and remodeler went the other way, creating a house measuring just 20 feet by 8 feet—160 square feet of living space that can accommodate up to two adults and a child.
Loren Wood and his wife, Lindsay, launched the company, located at 4535 E. 3rd St., in 2010. He compares the tiny house to a camper, which can be permanently located or mobile, and must be able to travel within a 9-foot-wide roadway lane. The tiny space contains a sitting area, kitchen, bathroom, and two lofts. A framed glass door and 12 windows supply light. There’s even a folding, aluminum-framed hardwood porch.
The project began as something to do for fun and to give his employees work during a slow period. “Then we all became intellectually and emotionally involved,” Wood says.
Initial goals were to offer essential functionality and enough space for traffic. The result is a dining table, bench, and kitchen counter that all fold down. Cabinetry folds down and in, and ladders slide on tracks beside the lofts and can be stored. Because a typical bathroom door, opening in or out, would block light and walkways, the bathroom has a tongue-and-groove sliding door not visible from outside. And 1 1/2-inch square tubing, instead of standard 2-by-6-inch framing, provides 4 more inches of space between the loft frames and the 11-foot ceiling. “We were very excited about the engineering challenges,” Wood says.
Wood also wanted the house to bear the company’s signature aesthetic of metals, finished woods, and glass. Corten, a type of weathering steel that eliminates the need for painting, sides the house. The loft frames are exposed, and the shower boasts a copper pan and floor-to-ceiling shingled copper flashing. The ceiling is poplar; the floor, a bamboo-and-cork laminate; and the cabinets, ash.
Wood plans to build more tiny houses. While he considers them “a bit of a fad,” he also sees them as an affordable, efficient option for homebuyers—and one that can be built to “live large.”
“We’re very happy with this home’s functionality and elegance,” he says. “It’s a beautiful little space.”
For more information, visit lorenwoodbuilders.com.