Product Creation Gurus

Tiny Home

Tiny houses ‘the next big thing’ in Sussex? Entrepreneur thinks there’s a market

If it is any indication of popularity, there are now at least nine television shows devoted to tiny houses.

Indeed, going tiny, in the words of John Weisbarth, one of the show hosts, “is the next big thing.”

The reason for growing popularity?

“Drawn to the prospect of financial freedom, a simpler lifestyle, and limiting one’s environmental footprint, more buyers are opting to downsize,” said the introduction to HGTV’s popular show, “Tiny House Hunters.”

Initially, most tiny houses, generally under 500 square feet in size, were designed for a permanent location.

But the desire for mobility — not unlike a travel trailer — led to the construction of tiny homes on wheels, which could be easily moved to different sites.

While most of those moveable houses feature typical construction atop a two-axle trailer frame, creative designers have found other possibilities.

And those alternatives include the conversion of commercial steel shipping containers, which are commonly used in intermodal transportation.

Roger Brul, a Delmarva tiny house entrepreneur, was attracted to the shipping container approach. His company, Tiny House Container, is now converting shipping units into small dwellings, mostly for seasonal use.

The intent is to offer low-cost seasonal dwellings that could be used throughout the region.

“It certainly is a different concept,” Brul said.

Brul, a former helicopter pilot, wanted an inexpensive place to live between helicopter flights out of an airport in Savannah, Georgia.

After buying some land, Brul said “I wanted to put a small structure on it” to live in.

Ultimately, after rejecting the notion of building a small house, he acquired a new shipping container and began the process of converting it into a home.

“I really compared it to a RV (recreational vehicle),” he said.

Though the container — 20 feet long, 8 feet wide — has double doors at one end, Brul wanted more access — and more light — so he cut holes in the side and back for additional points of entry.

The French doors on one side of the container are the primary source of natural light for the interior living space. The double doors also allow access to a deck, which is included.