Interested in building or buying one of those eco-friendly, mortgage-free tiny houses in Florida?
Florida is an ideal state for tiny houses. The climate and growing season make it perfect too; with the 12 month sunny season an outdoors lifestyle is possible. Most expensive houses have large patios and porches, and some families live outside most weekends.
Much of the buzz about the tiny house movement is centered on the West Coast, however they suffer from a nannyish government complex that makes living in a tiny house difficult, especially in large metropolitan areas. However, in some jurisdictions in Florida, zoning laws are not carefully enforced because of the large transient population and prevalence of mobile homes. Agriculture, with its need for multiple outbuildings and staging areas, also means that a well-kept tiny house can be seen as a civic asset, not a liability.
Florida is also the birthplace of the New Urbanism movement. Architects Andres and Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk have been leaders in the movement, one aspect of which is encouraging so called “mother in law” accessory dwellings that can house one-room studios that are separate from a main house.
Below, a few ideas on Tiny House living in Florida:
- Middleburg: In the Jacksonville area, Marc and Trudi Boese built a house on wheels on an acre of land in Florida that also houses several chickens and their vegetable and fruit garden. The story listed is a few years old, but it gives a vivid picture of how beautiful life can be in Florida with a small house.
- Gainesville: Internationally renowned architect Dennis Fukai has a site insitebuilders.com which has information about building small houses, including his book, Living Small.
- DeLand: Tiny Home Builders is located in DeLand. Dan Loche’s company focuses on teaching folks how to build tiny houses with two-day seminars. You can follow their Twitter here. There are also videos on his site.
- Zephyrhills: Cy Englert has started a Tiny House meetup group in Zephyrhills, which is near Tampa. Also related to the meetup is Emily Lindahl’s Facebook page group of Florida Tiny Houses.
- SignaTour campers, small houses built on wheels in the Tampa area, also sell light travel trailers.
- The Wikipedia entry on the small house movement.
- Tiny House Blog has a page of Florida related stories here.
- Excellent discussion of Florida zoning issues here.
- Gainesville tiny house source.
- Funky houses in Matlacha.
- You can search for tiny house classifieds HERE.
- Mobile home makers are following up on the tiny house trend, though its still a mobile home! For instance Jacobsen Homes sells a cool looking smaller mobile home that echoes a tiny house.
- Consider a houseboat. Many older models are quite inexpensive and marina slips can be but a few hundred a month, including utilities. However, there is no room for much gardening; you will have to learn to fish. Check out the Florida houseboat listings on boattrader.com.
- Where is a good location for tiny houses? Florida is home to more trailers than any other state in the U.S., but there is a vast difference between a trailer park and a person living in a tiny house. Tiny houses are all about growing food and living sustainably and frequently attract younger residents who are seeking to downsize or live in a more authentic way.
- Are there counties or jurisdictions that are agreeable to sustainable living? Very many zoning departments say that they encourage this, but when it comes to actually building a tiny house, the reality is different. For instance, there are depressed counties and areas around Port Charlotte that have hundreds of lots that fill up unsuccessful subdivisions from earlier eras. However, deed restrictions and county zoning prevent small houses from being constructed there.
- Where are low cost manufacturers of tiny house shells? Across the state, many local contractors and companies build smaller sheds that work as offices, etc. We would love to gather up a listing of companies that sell these sheds, especially those that are larger. You can add your ideas on the comments below.