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Take a Tour of Some of Connecticut’s Tiny Homes

The tiny home movement is growing and some in the state are starting to look at ways to take advantage of the trend.

Could you live comfortably in a 300 square foot space? More people in Connecticut are deciding that they want to be living in a tiny home.

A typical night at home on the Connecticut shoreline, and homeowner John McCarthy completes a few small a few small chores as he wraps up another day living out his big dreams in his tiny home. "It actually is better than I imagined," he said.

"We have a five-burner stove, full sized refrigerator and if you come right around here, you have the bedroom," said McCarthy offering a very brief tour of his home. There is a place to cook, a place to eat, a place to relax and somewhere to sleep. There's even a loft area for a guest to rest. "And from up here, you have a whole view of the house."

McCarthy's home has 344 square feet of living space.

Take our interactive 360-degree tour of some of Connecticut's tiny homes. Note that the video will only show in 360-degree view in certain browsers - Chrome, Firefox, MS Edge, and Opera are all compatible. On mobile, use the YouTube app.

"We have a beautiful home and it's a great house with giant windows," said McCarthy. "That makes a big difference I think."

Designed and constructed by a company in Wisconsin, John's tiny home - on wheels - rolled into the lives of he and his wife and their dog, Winston, more than two years ago. 

"We stood on the street with Winston and just watched the house come down the street back up into here," said Amy Garner, McCarthy's wife.

With a base price of $78,500 dollars, John and Amy expect to have their place paid off in just the next few years. They said it has taken time to get used to life in a house this little.

"You kind of have to keep the things that are important to you or that you actually use," said Garner.

"There's no space to accumulate stuff, which actually makes it great," McCarthy said.

At Stratford-based homebuilder Craft & Sprout, co-owners Ken and Tori Pond are betting big on the tiny house movement. 

Have you ever considered living in a tiny house? This Connecticut couple took the plunge and say their 344-square foot space is all they need.

"We have a lot of young people, millennials coming in and we actually have retirees that have bought from us as well," said Ken Pond.

The Ponds currently have a tiny home for sale which measures 24 feet long, 8.5 feet wide and 13 feet, 4 inches tall. It has about 300 square feet of living space.

"We have a full working bathroom with a 32 inch by 32 inch shower," said Ken Pond, who also pointed out the home's gas stove, hot water, air conditioning system and a farmer's sink.

The sales price is between $50,000 to $75,000, depending on finishes selected.

Tiny homes that have been constructed on wheels fall into the “Camp Trailer” category and are registered with the Department of Motor Vehicles.

John and Amy do not pay municipal property taxes. Instead, they pay a private landowner who's agreed to be their landlord.

"They're not considered a structure, which is sort of the foundation of local land use regulation," said John Guszkowski of the Connecticut Chapter of the American Planning Association. Guszkowski said that the flexibility of a tiny home on wheels can come with a catch. Where you can park it - and for how long - is not really clear; at least not yet.

Meanwhile, a tiny home on a foundation would fall under the same building codes as a typical residential home. The Office of the State Building Inspector told NBC Connecticut Investigates that the agency is in the process of adopting codes specific to tiny houses. The amendment to the residential building code would derived from Appendix Q of the 2018 International Residential Code. If approved, the new code requirements would be effective in October 2020, according to Joseph Cassidy, the State Building Inspector. 

A town's zoning rules would have to allow for a tiny home to be built in the first place.

"Every town in Connecticut, all 169 municipalities, do it differently," said Guszkowski. Step one, he said, would be to go to the municipal planning and zoning offices in the town in question.

At the Connecticut Realtors Association, some believe tiny homes could help with our state's lack of affordable housing. They say it is time for cities and towns to look at writing the rules so the state can be a part of a trend already taking off in other parts of the country.

"Connecticut does not have the zoning to accommodate this and they need to start considering that," said Joel Grossman of the Connecticut Realtors Association.

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