A volatile and expensive rental market is the undoing of many a family who wishes to live on this rural island [Vashon-Maury Island, WA] that 11,000 call home, but the tiny house movement that is sweeping the nation is helping a few combat the problem.
Juniper Rogneby, an islander of three years, lives with her husband and two young children just east of town on 5 acres. As she looked through island rental properties in a search to find a place her parents could stay while they visited, she was struck by the expense and knew she needed to figure out another plan.
Her parents live in Austin, Texas, and usually visit twice a year. One of the visits always falls during the expensive summer season.
As prices for island rentals offered through websites such as Airbnb and VRBO have climbed, and continue to, she and her husband decided in 2014 that a tiny house could be the answer to the guest accommodations problem.
“It’s so expensive to get a rental in the summer. There was no way we could keep doing it. It was getting ridiculous,” Rogneby said as she stood at the kitchen counter inside her family’s tiny house that has become a guest home.
The 192-square-foot house perched on a hill above the family’s farm is fully furnished with a functioning bathroom, kitchen and two beds, but the road to an affordable guest house was long and winding through uncharted territory.
“There’s a movement of tiny houses as a primary home, but we knew we weren’t interested in that because we have small kids and a dog. But I was looking at blogs and all kinds of things and we thought one could work as a guest house,” Rogneby said. “We had to decide, ‘Do we start from scratch or what?’”
Many tiny home enthusiasts build their homes using a trailer as a base, so it can be towed and moved from place to place. Since the family knew their home would not be moving, they began looking at kits.