With aspirations to overcome the economic troubles that have stunted the growth of the annual Umpqua Valley Homeowners Association’s Home and Garden Show, organizers may have found the biggest secret to success with a Tiny Homes booth.
The product doesn’t hide behind a fancy name, because like the finished product, what you see is what you get — and people seemed to like that Friday afternoon. Perched on a trailer, a miniature log cabin with a dark stained singled facade, dark green trim and a shining farmhouse styled lighting system lured showgoers to the back row of booths in Douglas Hall at the Douglas County Fairgrounds. To the side of the fully furnished home, packed with people wandering in and out with astonished looks on their faces, a half-finished model sat with two rubber mallets nearby.
“We’ve put that together and taken it apart four times already today,” said Ron Blair, owner and president of Global Green Concept Designs and a Tiny Home kit manufacturer. “We had a couple of kids working on it earlier.”
And that’s the pitch: Blair and his distributors can sell the homes for a fraction of the price as the competition because he sells kits, not homes. When a Re/Max realtor wandered by and asked whether the homes come on trailers, Blair responded with deadpan seriousness, “No, they come in boxes.”
The Tiny House models will be on display for one more day as the Home and Garden Show concludes today from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
From a 194-square-foot home with a porch for under $8,000 to a 521-square-foot, four-room cabin for $25,000, Tiny Homes can be as big as you want — even a 3,000-square-foot, full-size home.
“It’s like LEGOs and Lincoln Logs,” Blair said of the construction. “It’s the same technology, but it’s furniture grade material sturdy enough to build multiple story buildings, which we do.
“My daughter built her first Tiny Home in one day,” he added. “She was 12.”
While Blair may be the mastermind behind Tiny Homes in the U.S., Tammie Noel of Tiny Homes By Tammie is the local distributor in Douglas County. She has a dream to use the idea to do more than hook people up with affordable vacation or retirement homes.
“My dream is to make a Tiny Home village for veterans in Douglas County,” Noel said. “I run around the VA and all around Roseburg and I see these places and I see all these vets on the streets and of all of the homeless, the veterans shouldn’t be living under the bridges.”
That dream, which has already been put in motion by Blair’s company across the world for emergency housing crises like hurricanes, fires and to provide temporary housing solutions, may soon become a reality.
Jeff Woodcock, of Roseburg, who perused through a self-guided tour of the home, said he sees the idea as “a future in homes.”
“We’re running out of property and we keep getting more and more people,” Woodcock said. “It’s going to turn into a compartmentalization of properties and houses.”
On a personal level, Woodcock liked the idea of a small, portable house to put on a piece of property whenever he pleases.
“I could pull it away, take it wherever, it’s just convenient,” he said. “We’re just looking to buy a piece of property, drop a trailer version of (a Tiny Home) on the property without having to pay real estate.”
Overall, the Home and Garden show appeared to be a hit, with people lining the breezeways looking at a plethora of improvement ideas. For Marilyn Maynard, of Tenmile, making the trip every year is “just what you do.”
“We always get ideas,” she said. “We’ve done a lot on our garden and we’re going to have someone come out and look at our bathroom and look at replacing our back shower.”
Maynard said the variety of booths and vendors captured her attention more this year that it has in the past few years.
“Last year was more about home construction and this year they have the things that go in the home and the garden, which is more interesting to me,” she said.
“You can always dream,” she said, laughing. “We just come here to day dream.”
Show admission is $4 per person or $3 per person with a canned food donation that will go to the United Community Action Network.