Tiny Home movement gains momentum
ICC code sets standards for tiny homes in communities across the country.
TRENDS | By Michaelle Bradford
An important inflection point in the tiny home, micro-living movement happened last December when the International Code Council (ICC) reported that a tiny house speci;c
appendix will be part of the 2018 International Residential
Code (IRC), allowing people to receive a Certi;cate of Occupancy (COO) for their tiny house when built to meet the
provisions of the adopted code appendix. A lack of recognition of tiny houses in the IRC had been a major hindrance
to the creation of legal tiny houses in communities across the
United States, the council noted.
The approval of RB168-16 was driven in part by the efforts
of Andrew Morrison (
TinyHouseBuild.com) and a team of
architects, builders, designers, and educators.
According to the group, tiny houses have gained popularity in
the last few years as a result of several factors, including high
housing costs, ;at-lined wages, and a grassroots movement
towards minimalism. A tiny house speci;c code helps not only
those wanting to build small, but also local building of;cials
overwhelmed with applications for tiny house projects.
“RB168-16 brings much needed safety standards to tiny
house construction,” says BA Norrgard, volunteer coordinator
at Habitat for Humanity and a founding member of the Tiny
House Collaborative. “This is a huge breakthrough that holds
incredible potential for positive change in the housing sector.”
Although the approval of RB168-16 may be historic, the
group also notes that each jurisdiction currently enforcing the
IRC must adopt the appendix for it to become law.
And it seems to be picking up momentum, as more and
more cities and municipalities across the country are approving tiny home structures within their communities.
A few examples since the beginning of the year include:
Tiny Homes of Oklahoma announced a partnership to bring
tiny homes to the Wheeler District of Oklahoma City. According
to the group’s website “You will be able to choose from a selection of approved tiny home designs with exteriors that meet the
Wheeler District’s design guidelines and standards.”
Eagle County School District in Colorado is considering
tiny home construction as an incentive in its efforts to recruit
and retain teachers.
Adoption by high-profile influencers
Not only is the implementation of safety codes and regulations
making micro-living more “credible,” but the adoption of the
lifestyle by high-pro;le in;uencers is also a major growth key.
One example is B.J Siegel, Apple’s Director of Store Design,
who designed his own customized, prefab weeHouse from
Alchemy in collaboration with the company’s founder and
principal architect, Geoffrey Warner. Although designed in
Minnesota, the house was shipped to Santa Rosa, California,
approximately 90 percent complete.
According to Alchemy’s web site, “this small, ultra-mini-mal, high-end home is based on Alchemy’s weeHouse, but
customized to meet the luxe ;nishing requirements the client
requested. The prefab house is composed of two minimalist
open-sided boxes set on a concrete plinth, nestled on the
edge of gnarled oaks and an expansive view. Both structures
feature steel frames, 9-foot-tall sliding glass walls set into custom corrugated weathering steel boxes and ipe interiors with
oiled oak cabinetry. The boxes are offset on board-formed
concrete plinths connected by a set of Alchemy-designed steel
stairs and railings fabricated in Minnesota.
“The 16-foot by 40-foot, 640-square-foot primary box features a whitewashed oak bed box in the middle of the volume,
creates a kitchen-dining-living room space on one side, and a
bath space on the other side. For shipping, the primary box
was composed of two modules, with the 10-foot by 40-foot
porch arriving 90 percent complete, bolted onto the main
module on-site, and cantilevered into the site’s landscape.”
“The accompanying 330-square-foot guest house is an
abridged version of the larger module with a large whitewashed oak wardrobe forming the bathroom wall.”
The project has been featured in Dwell magazine as well as
numerous online publications, further increasing the exposure of the concept of tiny home living and with various
options, including ultra-luxury designs, now available.
84 Lumber displayed one of its Tiny Home models at the
2017 Kitchen & Bath Industry Show in Orlando, Florida.