Pair of friends in Garfield County examine tiny home opportunity
January 8, 2018
The cost of housing is almost as popular a Garfield County conversation as the Grand Avenue Bridge project was in 2017. A difference, though: The end of the affordable housing discussion is nowhere in sight.
A pair of Garfield County men hope to further it, though, by building tiny houses.
"A lot of the demand is from the millennials, who are looking for a lifestyle, not stuff," said Randy Glassman who, along with construction veteran Bruce Hoffman, has worked on the project for five months.
Hoffman, of B2 Contracting, drew the plans and the pair is completing everything except plumbing and electrical themselves. For those, they've turned to contractors Hoffman has worked with previously.
Municipalities have different regulations that guide tiny homes, which are generally considered 500 square feet or smaller. Many of those regulations were originally instated to limit the number of single-wide trailers.
But now, tiny home projects are on the rise in Colorado, where many areas face housing challenges. Notably in the Roaring Fork Valley, Aspen Skiing Co. has turned to the structures for employee housing. And, as of last April, county commissioners repealed requirements that single-family homes be at least 20 feet long by 20 feet wide in unincorporated Garfield County.
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Hoffman and Glassman are nearing completion on their first effort, a 26-foot home plus utility space, with shed dormers and a gambrel roof. They have completed inspections through the National Organization of Alternative Housing, a voluntary organization that allows builders to demonstrate compliance with safety and other standards.
Hoffman's interest in tiny homes developed as he watched shows about them with his wife. The two met when Hoffman took Glassman's Rifle house down to the studs and rebuilt it.
The pair hopes this will be the first of several such homes. And though it's taken a while — they estimate another two months of work — future projects should be faster.
The first home included preparing their workspace, a barn in Silt, and sourcing materials for the home.
They've selected the materials carefully: The interior will feature tongue-in-groove paneling, tempered glass windows, a dark floor, pine walls and a full kitchen (as opposed to a kitchenette, as included in some homes).
"If I was moving into one of these, there's two things I've got to do: I've got to have a bathroom and I've got to eat," Hoffman said.
The houses are built off site at the Silt work barn, sold and moved to properties where they are allowed.