Home Downsizing Leading To Unique Housing Options


UPDATED: Thursday December 27, 2012 6:38 PM

A growing trend in the south and west has begun to catch on in central Ohio.

Downsizing during the recession has led to an uptick in a unique – and tiny – kind of home.

David Barker has helped architect Alex Melamed build his dream home in Yellow Springs.

His dream is big, but the home is small.

“This is a 300-square-foot house,” said Melamed. “It’s less to deal with, less to pay a mortgage on, less to clean.”

Melamed, who works for Green Generation Building in Yellow Springs, put his money on the inside of the home, bringing quality finishes and a custom kitchen that takes up one whole wall of the home.

One corner serves a double-purpose.

“So, it’s sort of a kitchen, sort of an office,” Melamed said. “Dining room, living room, all in the same. Fifteen feet.”

Behind one wall is a compact bathroom, including a hidden drawer for storage.

Melamed and his wife will sleep in the closet.

“The bed will fold out from this wall,” he said.

A few blocks away, in another tiny house, homeowner Ellen Dawson Whitt uses a pull-down staircase to climb up to her loft bed.

Her home is even smaller at less than 200 square foot.

Her heat comes from a wood stove, and her power from a solar panel. Her focus is green living.

“I try not to own too many things, and I try to have a low carbon footprint,” said Dawson Whitt.

She said that when others see her tiny house, they’re fascinated.

“It appeals to people,” Dawson Whitt said. “They know that they’ve got too much stuff. They know their lives are encumbered with things that don’t bring them joy.”

Whether for saving resources or saving money, Melamed said that tiny houses are a growing trend.

He said that they can squeeze on small lots, and for people who have lost bigger homes in the recession, they can be a chance to start over by starting small.

“A tiny house is a natural way to go,” Melamed said.

Melamed works for Green Generation Building, and has designed another tiny house, this one bigger than his, at 500 square feet.

A  Texas company specializes in tiny homes that can be ordered, shipped, or built from blueprints. Prices start at about $20,000 and can go up from there.

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