Tiny houses draw B-I-G crowds in Cleveland

Posted at 7:59 PM, Mar 18, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-18 19:59:05-04

It is a house where I could almost touch both its east and west walls at the same time.  The tiny house has arrived.

The houses, which are about 8 feet by 20 feet, have found an attraction with people who are looking to downsize...literally.  The houses feature living areas, bedroom, a bathroom with shower, and a kitchen.  

If it sounds like the usual full-size house, then you should wait a minute.  Each room is only a couple of steps away from the next.

Amy Smiley, of 84 Lumber, which sells tiny houses ranging in price all the way to $48,884, and I spoke in the living room-dining room area.  We could hold hands with each of us in the middle of our own rooms.  When we exchanged positions, it only took about two steps each.

To get to the bedroom takes a bit of climbing.  In the 84 Lumber tiny house, there was no ladder to the second floor.  There was one step up, a foothold on the wall, and a handrail which I used to pull myself into the loft where I fell into a mattress.  I could not sit up in bed.  If I did, the beam at the top of the house, at its 13-foot height, would have caught me in the forehead.

Still, it was basically comfortable, especially for one person.  If it is a lot of stuff you have, the tiny house will not work for you.  It is as efficient as efficient can be.

Across the Cleveland Convention floor was Small Spaces CLE, a Cleveland-based tiny house manufacturer.  Its prices were along the same lines as 84 Lumber.  In the Cleveland Home and Remodeling Expo, these two companies were trying to out-small each other.  Karen Scott sat in her dining area in the Small Spaces CLE house she just bought.

"I don't know where I'm going to put it," she said, noting that the tiny houses are on wheels and can be trucked along the roads.  "Eventually, I'd like to move to Florida," she said.  The house is already decorated with beach scenes. 

"I don't really like having all the stuff in my life anymore," said Scott.  "I want to live a more simple small life."

She will. 

Others, too, who are looking for a less expensive way to live.  However, there is not a lot of room for anything that is not essential.  But that is what tiny houses are all about.