On May 16, 2015 I had the pleasure of going to the Micro Showcase Open House. This was no ordinary open house! The tiny home I visited was in a hidden area in the alley. When I walked inside the gate, I was struck by all the vegetables, herbs, and flowers flourishing in the garden. In fact, the garden area was larger than the tiny home. Brian Levy, owner of the tiny home and founder of Micro Showcase, was talking to a group of people and sharing tidbits about his adventures in tiny home living. He explained to live well you don’t have to live in a big home. After going to the open house, I interviewed Brian, so he can share his story in his own words.
1. Can you please share what inspired you to create a tiny home?
In part, having seen many tiny house plans that felt a bit too compromised, I was drawn to the design challenge of reimagining what a micro house could be.
Inspiration also came from my own living arrangements throughout my life, where I noticed that my happiness was almost never correlated with the size of my living space. And practically, for me, I feel life is too short to live big- to spend more of our precious life energy than needed dedicated to the gods of designing, building, financing, cleaning, furnishing, decorating, maintaining, and repairing, when we might better be loving, discovering, creating, traveling. There is a joy to be had in embracing certain limits.
I think many in the micro house movement experience a simplicity of existence, the elegant economy of form of a well designed small structure, an added freedom when unshackled from unneeded rooms and unwelcome mortgages. And last, there are clear environmental costs of living large that we simply can no longer afford for the sake of our civilization.
3. How do you capture water? Any tips about types of systems to use?
All the water is supplied by the rain, then treated to be potable. I have lots of information on how this is done here.
4. What type of composting toilets have you found to work the best?
I have an incinerator toilet, not ideal but 100% sterile and no waste.
5. How much does a Minimhome cost? Who builds them and what types of materials are used to create them?
Around $75K complete. We (Minim Built LLC) are working with a manufacturing partner to build them.
6. How have you dealt with zoning challenges in DC? Any good resources you would like to recommend?
My advice is to always do a bit of research, then head down to DCRA, in person, take a number and have a chat with a zoning official, who can help you understand what is and what is not possible on your lot. Depending on the type/scale of the project, a good real estate lawyer is also recommended.
7. Are there online communities and resources you would like to recommend for those who want to get involved with tiny homes?
We are hoping that Microshowcase.com continues to grow into a well researched, curated resource for micro living. There are many other great sites out there and on Facebook. Find out about upcoming open houses.