Fes­ti­val cel­e­brates cre­ativ­ity of down­sized dwellings

The Denver Post - - FRONT PAGE - By Joella Bau­mann

Kee­nes­burg will be­come the tem­po­rary tiny-home cap­i­tal of Col­orado this week­end, when 25 homes go on dis­play for those cu­ri­ous about down­siz­ing and liv­ing off the grid.

Bob Kamtz and his son Luke, who have a com­bined 30 years of ex­pe­ri­ence in cus­tom-home and cus­tom-cabi­netry build­ing, started their fam­ily tiny-home busi­ness in John­stown a year ago. Af­ter two months and thou­sands of hours, they put the fi­nal touches on their $120,000 pro­to­type Sun­day and drove the tiny home to the fes­ti­val grounds north­east of Den­ver.

“I love the cre­ative­ness and be­ing able to build for the wants and needs of peo­ple’s lives,” Kamtz said.

The 360-square-foot home fea­tures two be­d­rooms, a bath­room, liv­ing room, kitchen, two tele­vi­sions and even a doggie door that leads out to a doggie deck. They be­lieve the home could com­fort­ably house two or three peo­ple — and, for shorter pe­ri­ods, up to six.

“It’s move-in ready — just bring your per­sonal be­long­ings,” Luke said.

The Col­orado Tiny Homes Fes­ti­val runs Fri­day through Sun­day at The Wild An­i­mal Sanc­tu­ary. Most of the builders are from Col­orado, but some are from as far away as New Mex­ico and Alabama. Seven­teen other com­pa­nies, as well as ed­u­ca­tional speak­ers, will be on hand to help con­sumers learn all the ins and outs about the process of go­ing tiny. Part of the pro­ceeds will ben­e­fit the sanc­tu­ary, and at­ten­dees will also get a dis­count on en­trance to the park.

Tiny homes are gain­ing in pop­u­lar­ity as more peo­ple seek ways to re­duce their im­pact on the en­vi­ron­ment while liv­ing more eco­nom­i­cally, or­ga­niz­ers said. Al­though the idea is about liv­ing more eco-friendly and down­siz­ing, what con­sumers lose in square footage they gain in flair.

“This is still so new, but it’s get­ting harder to af­ford tra­di­tional hous­ing, and more and more peo­ple are in­ter­ested in tiny liv­ing,” said Elis­a­beth Mon­aghan, a mar­keter for the fes­ti­val.

The con­sen­sus on what’s tiny is 400 square feet or less. But Art Loubach, co-founder of the fes­ti­val and owner of Ein­styne Tiny Homes, said the new­est trend in tiny homes is to build

them all the way up to 600 square feet. This is still a far cry from the av­er­age home size of 2,000 to 3,000 square feet.

Loubach said peo­ple most in­ter­ested in tiny homes are mil­len­ni­als, empty-nesters and seek­ers of an in­ex­pen­sive va­ca­tion home that can dou­ble as a short-term rental.

“This is not just an event for builders and lookie- loos,” Loubach said. “Here, peo­ple want to learn about, buy and build tiny homes.”

Bryan Booth, of Har­mony Tiny Homes in Ox­ford, Ala., has been build­ing homes since 1999 and jumped into the tiny-home busi­ness last year.

“I’ve been fas­ci­nated with small struc­tures for a long time. I’ve wanted to do tiny build­ing be­cause it’s cre­ative and in­ven­tive,” Booth said. “You have to think 3-D, cu­bi­cally, in­stead of 2-D. Things have two to three uses that way.”

Pho­tos by RJ San­gosti, The Den­ver Post

Half-pint houses start to ar­rive Thurs­day for the Col­orado Tiny Homes Fes­ti­val at The Wild An­i­mal Sanc­tu­ary in Kee­nes­burg, north­east of Den­ver. The event, pro­ceeds from which will go to the sanc­tu­ary, will run Fri­day through Sun­day.

Twenty-five res­i­dences, such as this one by Kamtz Tiny Home Com­pany, will be on dis­play at this week­end’s event, which will also fea­ture ed­u­ca­tional speak­ers.

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