Friday, May 10, 2013

Meet Kevin Harrington of Cozy Home Plans

Kevin Harrington has over 25 years in the construction industry including landscaping, remodeling, and real estate sales, and he and been living the tiny house lifestyle personally for three years. He has also been the general contractor on several house flipping projects. His goal with creating Cozy Home Plans was to keep the American dream alive with affordable small house plans that provide realistic housing options for first-time home buyers and people wanting to downsize.

1. How would you define a "tiny house," and why are they becoming more and more popular?

Tiny houses are typically 300 sq. ft. or less. Their popularity comes from several different factors, in my opinion. The novelty aspect, of course, and simplifying your life while downsizing in this day and age of technological overload is great. There are numerous workshops available that actually teach "hands on building techniques" to the average person who wants to build their own tiny house. People are realizing they have too much stuff and are looking for ways to save money and simplify their lives. Tiny houses just make sense and are here to stay.

2. What are some key factors that can help turn a tiny house into a cozy home?

A person can absolutely live in 100 sq. ft., but can they share the space with others and truly live? After living the tiny lifestyle myself, I have what I call my "6 Must Haves" for a tiny house. These are the guiding principles for all of my designs, and I think they help differentiate us from other tiny house designers. Cozy's motto is "Living Large in a Cozy Home," and we're always posting to our blog about storage ideas, furniture, and construction techniques for making the most of your square footage. Come check us out!

3. What are the benefits to customers in buying your cozy home plans?

I think we actually offer several benefits. My stock plans are all very reasonably priced and designed for both comfortable living and utilizing cost-saving construction methods. We also always utilize the incredibly efficient on-demand hot water heaters and a Mini-Split ductless heating and cooling systems for making the monthly bills as reasonable as possible. Another motto of ours is "Let Our Signature Be Yours." This means all of Cozy's plans are 100% customizable. We love working with people to make their vision become a reality and to help give them the cozy home of their dreams.

4. Are most of your customers doing DIY building projects, or are they using the plans as a starting point for working with contractors, etc?

So far, the vast majority of our sales have been contractor-built homes. Building a home is certainly more involved than what you see on TV. People can actually waste a tremendous amount of time and money if they are NOT aware of their own limitations. Municipalities have building codes, and one of those requirements is typically a set of blueprints, which are also necessary for any legitimate sub-contractor to aid in getting a proper bid.

5. Based on your personal and professional experience, what advice would you give people who are considering downsizing to a tiny house and who are interested in doing at least some of the construction work themselves?

First of all, just go ahead and take the plunge--it won't kill you! There are hundreds of people doing it, including myself, and so far I'm not aware of anyone regretting it. You may want to hire professionals to build the shell if you lack the time or skills to do it yourself. This is typically called a Dry-in or Rough-in, and it's usually the most challenging part of a construction project. The interior work is more DIY-friendly and forgiving of errors--plus you get all the bragging rights!

Thanks, Kevin!

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