New York

Tiny House Movement Comes to New Jersey

The growing "tiny home" movement may be ready to take root in the suburbs of New York City, where some of the highest housing prices in the nation exist.

Bloomfield, New Jersey's Malcolm Smith, 36, is joining up, though a 250-square feet house he started building in Montclair had to be moved this past week to a Newark junkyard over weight issues. The 8.5-feet wide, 13-feet high house sits on a trailer, however, so it is perfectly legal from a mobility standpoint.

It has one large loft for a queen-sized bed; a new, full bathroom; a kitchen area with room for a refrigerator and stove, closet, office cubby, and even a second loft for guests.

"It's got everything that I need," Smith, an IT consultant who works from job to job, told NBC 4 New York.

Smith said it is an environmental statement as much as a financial decision, as he also plans to equip it with solar panels.

Even though he started building it before he had a place to park it, Smith says he is confident he can work with a suburban town to get through variance issues.

Erica Gramp is being more cautious.The school teacher and single mother of three also wants to downsize to show her boys that life doesn't have to be so full of "stuff" that people accumulate, she said. But she plans to wait to start building her tiny house until she gets the variances she is seeking from Montclair.

In the meantime, she has already identified a backyard of a senior citizen who will get land rental income from her, while Gramp also promises to look in on her landlord from time to time as an extra courtesy. Gramp said her two boys that still live at home in an apartment are excited.

As for Smith, he said his girlfriend, who has her own apartment, is sympathetic, but when it comes to moving in, they're taking it "one step at a time."

According to The Tiny Life, which bills itself as a resource for those seeking to live simply and responsibly, the tiny house movement is a "social movement where people are downsizing the space they live in," mostly for environmental concerns and financial concerns, and to have more time and freedom. 

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