Tor Barstad’s idea is to offer a lot in a little package.
With that in mind, he created the Tiny Smart House Company in Albany, making homes he says may lack elbow room but can expand a budget.
“Tiny homes have been catching on around the country,” said Barstad, who owns the new business. “My concept is to make a home that is small in size but feels bigger and homier.”
Barstand, 49, an architect, designed the first tiny house for his own use. He wanted something to replace his camper at Camp Sherman near Bend.
“It’s a little more home-friendly than it is camper-friendly,” he said.
He took that idea further as he began to bring his concept to reality, seeing how the tiny homes could be used in urban life.
“At first I thought it would be a great home for college students, but it really has all kinds of uses,” he said.
The model home, only 212-square-feet including a loft sleeping area, could be used as an extended living area for a relative or, like Barstad first thought, as a vacation spot or fishing house.
The one home he is marketing now is about as cozy as you can get. Just 20 feet long and a little over 13 feet wide, it sits on a trailer bed where it is built to stay.
Of course, Barstad and company Vice President Nathan Light, who is in charge of most of the actual construction, can provide lots of options.
“This is the only one we have now,” said Light, 31, who builds the homes on site at 34012 Texas St., off Highway 34. “At this point we are building as we get orders.”
In operation since early February, Tiny Smart Homes offers customers seven models all about the same size. Orders can be customized to build larger structures if necessary.
“We’ll do what it takes,” Light said.
Barstad says the homes are designed for one or two people, but up to four can be comfortable. The loft will hold a king-size bed and a sofa sleeper could sleep more.
“People are downsizing,” Barstad said. “These homes don’t need permits or foundation tie-ins.”
The tiny houses are designed to be an alternative to RVs, Barstad said, even though since they are mobile they are considered RVs themselves. They are set up with conduits that will bring in electricity. Options can include kitchen appliances like a mini-refrigerator.
Barstad said they can also be set on a foundation if the customer wishes. Light says they are sturdy and built with wood framing and sheathing.
“Material can be upgraded further. We’ll build to match people’s budgets,” Barstad said.
The current model, built by a crew of five in about a month, costs $29,950. Prices will vary with options and size, and the company will deliver to sites up to 50 miles away.
“If sales go like we hope, we can expand and eventually be putting out a home a week,” Barstad said.
To get more information, call 541-908-9066 or visit www.tinysmarthouse.com.