Tiny homes — homes usually under 400 square feet — have been popping up all over Colorado the last few years. F9 Productions, a small architecture firm in Longmont, is trying to make tiny homes more accessible for those who want to live simply, starting with their ATLAS home, which will be featured on HGTV’s “Tiny House, Big Living” Monday night.
The idea to build a design for a tiny house came from a joke with a friend, firm partner Lance Cayko said. They designed one for a friend who was interested, but he never built. However, the design remained online. And soon, people started inquiring.
“We would start to get one or two emails a week saying, ‘I love the design’ or ‘I want this design specifically, how much is it?'” Cayko said.
While none of the customers actually went forward with building, Cayko and his partner Alex Gore finally decided to build a full-size model version. When they announced they were building, HGTV got interested.
“HGTV got in contact with us and wanted us for the season finale episode,” Cayko said.
The house is tiny, and unique. It’s 195 square feet, 8 feet wide, 18 feet long and 13 feet high. Sitting on a trailer, it features a fold-up wood porch, a fold-down awning and a full wall of windows. Inside it’s clearly a model — sparse decor, lack of paint and the bathroom is incomplete. But it’s easy to see what it could become with the right owners. The cost of one, from start to finish, is about $95,000.
“It is easily the most unique tiny house you’ve ever seen,” Cayko said.
Very few, if any, other tiny homes feature a fold-up porch and a fold-down awning. In addition this house has solar panels to add extra power and the ability to collect rain water.
HGTV came out seven or eight times during the months of May and June to film critical points of construction, all of which will air as the season finale Monday night.
“It was fun, it was really fun,” Cayko said. “My kids are on camera, we had our whole firm out there building.”
The ATLAS home isn’t the first Boulder County tiny home to gain television fame. The WeeCasa, located in Lyons, is a hotel property consisting of 10 units, which are all stand alone tiny houses. It was featured on “Tiny House Hunters” on FYI before it even opened for business in May.
Owner of WeeCasa, Kenyon Waugh, CEO (or WeeEO), said the 10 units get a lot of traffic from people just wanting to know what a tiny home looks like. Most are baby boomers looking to downsize, or young couples in their 20’s who don’t want a daunting mortgage, Waugh said.
“Some want to see what they look like, some want to talk about their design or see if they could live in a tiny house,” Waugh said.
The hotel property also has units and designs for sale from other dealers. There are actually more firms like F9 Productions than one would think.
“We work with Sprout in La Junta and Rocky Mountain Tiny Homes from Durango,” Waugh said.
Waugh said the spike in popularity represents a larger trend in living.
“I think it’s part of a greater movement to go back to some simplicity and natural living and breaking things down to the bare minimum,” he said.
Cayko still maintains that the ATLAS design is the most unique. And even if it isn’t, it still has an HGTV claim to fame.
“No one has done this one, and no one has done anything like it,” Cayko said. “All the rest of them look like kitschy cabins. Our goal was to try to build something so it doesn’t feel like you’re in an RV.”