I remember hearing different things about tiny houses, but never had actually seen one. I happened to be looking for something on Craigslist to remodel my current small, but not “tiny” house, and came across a tiny home for sale. I remember showing it to my husband and commenting, “This would be a great opportunity for a rental!” The idea stuck with me and I began to research it. The initial idea was a traveling rental house. But the more I looked into it, it seemed more like a a liability, rather than an opportunity. I also thought of buying one and renting it as a guest house, but our neighborhood is currently not zoned for tiny houses, as I discovered many other neighborhoods aren’t as well. As I talked my business plan through with several wonderful mentors, they suggested that I find a great location, and living in Colorado, there would be plenty of ideal spots. And thus, the idea of tiny vacation rental was hatched. The idea appealed to me as although I like to experience nature, I prefer to sleep in a bed at the end of the night and have a shower to freshen up. I just needed to find the perfect location, and an amazing tiny house.
During my search for the perfect tiny house, I came across WeeCasa, in Lyons, Colorado. WeeCasa is the first tiny home hotel in Colorado and only the third in the United States. They offer weekly tours, and I thought it would be a terrific opportunity to actually see several tiny houses for the first time. I was so excited about my idea of the tiny vacation rental, I had yet to actually SEE a tiny house in person. My husband and I took a drive up to Lyons and I thought it would either make or break the idea. Either way, it would be a fun way to spend a Saturday morning.
As soon we drove on to the property, I fell in love. Skye McDonald, one of the partners, gave an amazing tour. He was so kind and enthusiastically answered any questions I had. The property is sprawling along the St. Vrain River, where they have weddings almost every weekend during the summer. It is perfect for fly fishermen, outdoorsmen who want to explore Rocky Mountain National Park just a short drive away. It’s also walking distance into town where where there are breweries, restaurants and family run ice cream shops. He told me that they had several properties for sale, and you could rent a space on the property and WeeCasa would manage it. I was so excited about the prospect of this. It brought all of the parts of my business plan that I was completely inexperienced on together, such as property management and zoning. It also gave me a wonderful opportunity to learn from the business owners through their expertise as they had been running the business already for a year.
I went home and wrote an impassioned letter to the owner and “WeeEO” Kenyon Waugh, telling him how I wanted to be involved. I thought it would be a fantastic partnership as my day job is being a flight attendant, I could help market to many of my travel-passionate colleagues. I ended up purchasing the Pa Dutch, which was at the time being used as the office on the property. It was actually the first unit I stepped into, and I immediately cherished the unique interior. It was built by a father and son in Maine, and you could feel the heartfelt craftsmanship. Kenyon was kind to take me on as one of his first renters and he and the operations manager Karen Agena have kindly supported me through the learning process every step of the way.
The unit feels very open and light as the ceiling is composed mainly of skylights. One of the huge selling points is the full-size kitchen with a farmhouse sink. I loved the idea of being able to come up and cook a full meal to share with others outside. It surprisingly has a dishwasher and massive amounts of closet space. It has a gorgeous bathroom with a stand-up shower and hand-tiled sink and backsplash.
There was little that needed to be done to update the unit. The one thing I did know is that I wanted it to sleep four, and there was plenty of space for a Murphy bed. I mainly wanted my parents to be able to enjoy it when they came to town, and I knew they wouldn’t be able to climb into the loft bed. Kenyon had a beautiful Murphy bed with a fold-down couch built, and now the unit can sleep four adults comfortably. We also needed to winterize the unit so when the colder months rolled around the gorgeous skylights still kept the house warm. Burle, the on-site property manager, has been a total asset in helping me set the unit up and get it plumbed as well.
I must say the part of this whole experience has been collaborating with various people to make it happen. Kenyon, Karen and Skye at WeeCasa have been wonderful. I partnered with several graphic designers in making my logo, and also have a partnership with several local artists who have their art featured in the tiny house. We have all worked as a team in promoting each other’s businesses. I also have a photographer friend who came up and stayed and took gorgeous photos and helped us spread the word through social media.
In the end, I think the most gratifying part of embarking on this small business is seeing what a sense of community WeeCasa creates. The feedback from guests has been how much they love that when they stay, they end up meeting all the other fellow tiny house guests. Burle is an integral part of bringing people together with his infectious personality and charming people skills. Guests often sit out by the fire and make new friends during their stay. Just talking about Pa Dutch and this new adventure gives me great pleasure, and inevitably it excites people when they hear about it, as it’s so unique. I can’t wait to have you stay there as my guest!
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Pa Dutch, Unit #21
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