For those wanting to try out small space living without the commitment, Lon Cameron has the solution. For the last two years Cameron, 34, has offered up his own 200-square-foot tiny house located 100 feet from the Class A Crooked River in Waterford though online vacation rental site Airbnb.
“I started renting it out in February 2014, and it immediately became a big hit,” Cameron said. “People really wanted something that was not a traditional bed and breakfast experience, [and] they wanted to pay a bit less to do more.”
Cameron rents his tiny house for $100 per night and is very upfront on what people can expect.
For instance, there is no running water — unless his guests run and get it. In fact, bringing in drinking water is one of Cameron’s three hard and fast rules, which also include bringing their own sleeping bags or linens and leaving the house as clean — or cleaner — than when they arrived.
The “plumbing” is a composting toilet in a separate small shed.
The tiny house itself is a 10-by-14-foot building that includes an 8-by-10 loft with a bed. There is also a “vintage 1970s” sleeper sofa on the ground floor.
“Technically, four people can sleep there,” Cameron said. “But it takes the right four people.”
To date, more than 400 people have stayed in Cameron’s tiny house and his reviews on Airbnb have been very positive.
“I have this instruction sheet I leave for people and handouts about the house itself,” he said. “I really want to make it a user-friendly experience so it does not deter people who may not necessarily be accustomed to that secluded of an area or such a primitive system.”
The instructions cover everything from how to build a fire in the small woodstove to where the best hiking trails may be found…
“People like that I am selling an experience. We are all so busy these days that we can’t get out of our own way,” Cameron said. “It’s become a skill to sit with yourself and be at peace and just think.”
Stacy Smith of New Jersey is one of the 400 who has stayed at the tiny house and said the experience was well worth it.
“I was spending a week in Maine traveling by myself and did think twice about staying there because I was on my own,” she said. “But I am so glad I did. It is such a magical place. I totally plan to go back.”