When 2011 New College grad Sarah Moore moved back to Sarasota, she tried to buy a condo, but several deals in a row fell through. Then, while visiting Dayton, Ohio, she happened upon the building company Tiny House Chattanooga, which was displaying a handsome spec house of just 270 square feet—a tiny house, like the ones featured in the hit HGTV show Tiny House Hunters.
“Renting is very touch and go,” says Moore, “and when I found out I could have it delivered, and I can take it with me anywhere I go, I bought it.”
Moore paid $70,000 for her eight-and-a-half by 24-foot home on wheels. At 13-and-a-half feet high, it has two lofts, one that can accommodate a king-size bed and another that can fit a twin bed. Storage is built-in under the stairs. The kitchen has a three-burner propane stove with a hood, white cabinets, dark granite countertops and stainless steel appliances. The ceiling is walnut coffered and the walls are whitewashed tongue-in-groove. In the bathroom is a combination washer/dryer.
She adapted the tiny house for her roommate, who happens to be a cat, installing a cat walk across the ceiling, cutting out a pass-through in the loft and installing a cubby with a fan for the litter box. “She can literally climb the walls,” says Moore.
Importantly for Moore, who is acting executive director of Transition Sarasota, a nonprofit organization that advocates for sustainability through workshops, classes and events like Eat Local Week, her tiny house runs on solar power. “It can run off grid,” she says, “and gives me whatever I want to do and more.”
Moore is renting space at the Linger Lodge RV Campground in east Manatee County, where, she says, “People have definitely been curious. I’ve had people driving by taking pictures, wanting to look at my water heater. People are very interested in housing options, to have everything brand-new and clean and still be mobile, with the added benefits of earth-friendly technology and saving on utility bills.”
She’s the first tiny home owner in her circle of friends, “although I’ve met a few since I bought this one,” she says. “It’s been a really great financial move for me.”