Texas-Style Tiny Houses

Tiny Texas Houses uses old stuff to make funky new homes—all less than 300 square feet.
May/June 2010
http://www.motherearthliving.com/Green-Homes/texas-style-tiny-houses.aspx
Salvaged windows date to the 1880s. The siding is made of salvaged old-growth cypress from circa 1910. The 19th-century doors have some of their original patina.


Photo Courtesy Texas Tiny Houses

As the owner of Discovery Architectural Antiques in Gonzales, Texas, Brad Kittel hated seeing piles of excess building materials go to waste. When he started putting them to use creating one-of-a-kind tiny dwellings, Tiny Texas Houses was born.

At their Luling, Texas, headquarters, Kittel and his team create houses that range in price from $38,000 to $90,000 and in size from 10-by-16 feet to 12-by-33 feet. The company’s goal is to build houses that will last for 100 years or more, “just like our ancestors did,” Kittel says. Using Old World building techniques and new technology, the team creates well-insulated, energy-efficient homes that “demonstrate just how great it can be to downsize our carbon footprint, simplify our lives and live in a house with a soul,” Kittel says. 

Kay Love’s 12-by-21-foot home (plus 6-foot porch) in Stockdale, Texas, was made with 99 percent salvaged materials. It costs Kay about $35 a month to cool her home during hot Texas summers, and she runs her on-demand water heater and stove with a 5-gallon propane tank.

The good stuff

• Salvaged windows date to the 1880s.

• The siding is made of  salvaged old-growth cypress from circa 1910.

• The 19th-century doors have some of their original patina.

• Kittel’s team used 9-foot-tall side walls and a shallower-than-usual roof pitch to create a feeling of spaciousness. Ceiling wood dating to the 1880s retains remnants of its original paint.

• Kay’s two grandsons sleep on twin beds in the loft when they visit. She sleeps on a daybed downstairs.

• With a stackable washer and dryer and apartment-size appliances, Kay enjoys the same conveniences she would in a larger home.

• Cabinets and counters were custom-built from salvaged longleaf pine, which is extremely hardy and resistant to rot.