Guest post by Laurie Kazimir
My husband, Christian and I love building beach homes and have been building and selling them for the past 5 years on the Olympic Peninsula, way out here on the edge of the country in the state of Washington. We are probably one the most pristine, remote locations in the entire 48 states. Just 20 minutes away is a one million acre national park filled with hundreds of pure rivers and forests of old growth trees that can rival the Redwoods. We are fortunate enough to be able to hike to both glaciers on the top of snow capped mountains, and to deserted beaches sprinkled with sand-dollars. The air we breathe has been rated some of the best in the country.
When we moved here 8 years ago, from New Jersey where our parents were involved in beach real estate, we realized that clean air and water, and natural space are the things that matter to us most.
A few years ago, we came up with this idea: to get an extra large multifamily lot, and build four tiny homes a block from the sandy beach. Our goal was to provide a beautiful beach home with everything a true home entails for under $100,000. These small homes were a new idea for the area, and it wasn’t easy to get the go ahead.
We had to learn and grow and work with the city to figure out ways to get past the minimum square footage requirement. At first we got a definite “no” because the city was misinterpreting the zoning codes, and thought that each cottage had to meet the minimum. We were able to politely educate them and slowly go over the rules and legal language. By putting all four homes on the lot and totaling the square footage we were able to surpass the square footage requirement.
After selling our first home, to a very nice person, they explained to us that they had been trying to build a tiny home for many, many years, and that they kept running into the same minimum square footage problem no matter where they tried to build. This person actually moved across the state, over 100 miles away from the place that they were trying to build, just so they could have a tiny home. They didn’t purchase the cottage because they wanted to be a block from the beach like most of our clients, but because they wanted a small home that was nice, new, and efficient with low maintenance and in a price range that they could afford. Needless to say, they are extremely happy, and now that they’re here, they are glad to have made the relocation, because this is a great place to live.
These experiences really showed us that building a tiny home can be impossible in most towns, but by designing a tiny home development, we could overcome all the red tape, and create a true small home community. This same concept can be implemented in other towns and cities that would not normally allow a small square footage home.. We are very excited, and we think that this concept can be repeated.
Now that the cottages are built they are absolutely beautiful. We have incorporated 9ft walls and vaulted ceilings to create a more expansive feeling. With lots of large windows, you never have to turn on lights during the day. The 400 square foot homes have a full kitchen and bath, and a custom made Murphy bed allowed us to combine the living and sleeping areas. They’re fun and affordable, and for a vacation home, that may only be used a few weeks a year, we can’t think of a better option.
Currently we have two of the four cottages sold, and we are getting lots of interest in the other two, which are available for $99,000 each. Visit the Belmar Cottage listing page to learn more.
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