02/22 The big impact of Sonoma’s Tumbleweed Tiny House

Steve Weissman on the porch of one of the original Tumbleweed tiny homes.

Steve Weissman on the porch of one of the original Tumbleweed tiny homes.

Tumbleweed Tiny House Company, the hottest builder in the tiny house craze, is headquartered right here in Sonoma, where the rooftop of its first teeny creation is peeking up from behind a fence just off Broadway.

It is owned by Steve Weissmann [originally founded by Jay Shafer but the two had a falling out]… Steve is joined by a team of tiny house believers who work out of a bungalow on West MacArthur with the enthusiasm that one hopes for when building a company that’s grown 50 percent every year for the past five years.

Tumbleweed Tiny Houses are technically RVs that look like permanent homes, and are just as cozy. Most owners do not tow them from place to place, but park them behind their real homes to serve as guesthouses or backyard offices.

They also appeal to retirees looking to downsize – and as a place to put “boomerang kids,” young adults who show up on mom and dad’s doorstep and find that a tiny house out back is a boon. And for those with a swath of land, tiny houses become weekend escape destinations and yes, you guessed it, vacation rentals.

Weissmann likes to describe their major markets as “hippies and hipsters,” referring to those at both ends of the adult lifespan. “People with families don’t buy these,” he said. Because where would the toys go in tiny homes that are only about eight feet wide and range from 117 to 186 square feet?

They also can’t be parked just anywhere and, for now, Weissmann confirmed that living in them is mostly a no-no in Sonoma County.

“My opinion is that that’s going to change in the future,” Weissmann said. “I think 10 years from now tiny houses will be common and in 20 years half the country will be allowing them.” He points out that there are 17,000 municipalities in the country, each with different zoning rules, and that buyers need to do their research to conform to local law.

Read more – http://www.sonomanews.com/news/5271235-181/the-big-impact-of-sonomas

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Elaine Walker