The Canal Winchester Times

Mobile 'tiny house' generating big interest

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Brothers Adam and Aaron Leu stand on the porch of their "tiny house," which has been bought by a Kentucky couple and will be transported there. The house, approximately 130 square feet, includes a kitchen, bathroom living room and loft. It took the brothers about 3 1/2 months to build.
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One tiny house is attracting big interest in Canal Winchester.

Brothers Adam and Aaron Leu, both city residents, share an interest in "tiny houses" (generally considered to be homes of 1,000 square feet or less), as well as other alternatives to traditional housing.

The price tag for this house was $27,000. It is built on the frame of a 1970s-era motor home so it can be transported easily, Adam said, in this case to a couple in Kentucky who purchased it.

"The idea behind the tiny house is that in some ways, they mimic an RV, but are considered long-term, year-round living space, so the construction is more like a normal framed house on a small scale," Adam said. "But they probably weigh twice as much as a regular camper."

"A lot of the design process is involved in looking at aesthetics, so we used board-and-batten cedar siding, nine double-pane glass windows and doors and nice detail accessories like custom cabinets and pinewood flooring," he said.

The rustic modernist home they designed and built is a mere 130 square feet while still including most of the amenities of a larger house.

"I think our church mission work helped us to see how the rest of the world lives," Adam said. "We spent time in Asia, where people don't have a lot of stuff - and aren't burdened by their stuff.

"The idea is that it is possible to live small; when you see how the majority of the people live in the world, you realize we're the ones who are different."

After college and overseas mission work, the Canal Winchester natives returned home and began working together as house painters and handymen, Adam said. All the while, their interest in alternative housing options continued to grow and led to this project.

"You don't find a lot of this type of building in the Midwest," Adam said. "It has been more accepted in the Northwest and West Coast; in Ohio, there's not much along these lines.

"It's good in the sense that we don't have competition for building these here, but it's hard because a lot of communities won't allow it under their current zoning codes."

Regardless of the legal issues surrounding these tiny houses, the Leus' building has drawn a lot of interest, so much so that they may decide to pursue such construction as a business.

"We finished the house up about a month ago and put it up for sale. It sold in two weeks," Adam said. "We were really surprised by all the interest. There are already more than a handful of people who'd like us to build one for them."

Beyond just meeting a need, the Leus feel like they're answering a call.

"Our trends in housing in the U.S. over the last 50 years have seen house sizes triple but family size is shrinking," Adam said. "I feel like God is calling us to simplify and live more of a simple lifestyle."

More information about tiny houses is available online at www.tallmanstinyhouse.com.

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