84 Lumber, a retailer with 250 stores in 30 states, is jumping on the tiny house bandwagon.
The Pennsylvania-based lumber chain said its “Tiny Living by 84 Lumber” line of portable houses makes the company the first major building supply retailer to offer houses under 200 square feet. They will come in four models, according to a company press release.
There are three ways to buy the houses: as architectural blueprints with a materials list and a trailer suited to the model you’ve selected; as a “semi-DIY” building shell placed on a trailer, complete with windows, a door and a shower; or as a move-in ready, fully outfitted house that doesn’t need any work on the part of the new owner. The last option has a lead time of eight to 10 weeks.
“Our four tiny homes, ranging from classic to contemporary, are portable and under 200 square feet,” says the company’s 84 Tiny Houses website, “giving you financial freedom and a greener environmental footprint. So you can focus on enjoying life’s little moments.”
Among goals of the new retail program are helping people live “happily with less,” and “to inspire a spirit of adventure that encourages our buyers to simplify their priorities.” These are familiar refrains among tiny house promoters and owners.
Packages for the Roving start at $6,884 for the trailer and plans (the balance of the materials is available at 84 Lumber). The semi-DIY package starts at $19,884, and the complete, fully furnished version starts at $49,884. Prices for other models will vary slightly.
Becky Mancuso, the company’s vice president for marketing and public relations, said by e-mail that all four models are available nationwide and can be ordered online.
Green building details
The 154-square-foot Roving has a half-dozen features typical in sustainably built houses, including the use of reclaimed wood, LED lighting, cork flooring, low-VOC paints and stains, and a composting toilet. The refrigerator is Energy Star certified.
The building is clad in cedar lap siding and comes with low-e, aluminum clad windows and a steel roof.
The website Curbed reports that the prices listed by 84 Lumber are competitive with others already on the market. The real breakthrough is that the houses can be ordered from any of the chain’s retail stores around the country, which should make them more visible and accessible to a larger pool of potential buyers.
Tiny houses have popped up in a variety of settings around the country, as stand-alone, single-family houses and also in larger communities, such as Quixote Village in Washington State, a cluster of 30 houses built for the homeless. Their defenders are often passionate about the advantages of shedding big houses and big mortgages, but mainstream builders are largely ignoring them, and zoning restrictions in many parts of the country limit where they can be placed.
Tiny houses are an ‘amazing opportunity’
Tiny houses are still a niche market, but 84 Lumber sees growth ahead.
“We see tiny houses as an amazing opportunity!” Mancuso’s e-mail said. “Our owner and president, Maggie Hardy Magerko, was actually the initial driving force behind Tiny Living by 84 Lumber. She was very aware of, and interested in, the continuing popularity of tiny houses, and thought that we had a unique opportunity to impact this movement and make it accessible on a large scale, through our relationships with leading building materials manufacturers, our expertise with green building materials, and our national footprint.”
It wasn’t clear whether the company has actually sold any of the units, but Mancuso said interest has been high, with inquiries coming in “from around the world.”
“So far,” she said, “we’ve found that interest in tiny houses has no geographic boundaries.”