Home & Garden

Tiny house is turning heads

A gentle breeze was blowing Thursday morning and the sky was as blue as the siding on the tiny house that drew people to the parking lot at 84 Lumber in Gulfport.

Bradley Legg-Dearing, Tammy Pruitt, Irene Donahue and Robert Doll, all of Biloxi, are fans of FYI Network’s “Tiny House Nation” and were excited to see one up close and personal.

“This is like a treat,” Pruitt said after the group explored the 154-square-foot model named Shonsie, made by 84 Lumber. The company offers the portable houses at different levels of completion, from a custom steel trailer and blueprints to a fully finished dwelling on wheels. “It has everything but the washer and dryer.”

They had explored the sleeping loft and admired the amount of storage and interesting fixtures in the tiny house.

“It’s a chance to go greener,” Donahue said, referring features such as the house’s toilet, which can convert from composting to operating on a more traditional water line. A 30-gallon storage tank also supplies water. Power can be supplied by a generator or solar panels.

“If I could buy this right now, I’d do it in a heartbeat,” Doll said. He’s an avid “Tiny House Nation” watcher who admits, “I absorb all that stuff.”

The house is available for tours at 84 Lumber, 3804 25th Ave. (U.S. 49 North, in front of Lowe’s), until 7 p.m. Thursday. Tiny Living by 84 Lumber houses range in price from $6,884 for just the trailer and plans to $59,884 for a move-in-ready, fully outfitted tiny home.

In addition to the cottage-style Shonsie, 84 Lumber also offers the contemporary Degsy and more rustic Roving tiny house models.

Gulfport is the first stop on this particular Shonsie tour for John Starceski and George Wilson of 84 Lumber, who drove from Tampa, Fla., on Wednesday to bring the Shonsie model to the Mississippi Coast. Earlier this summer, the house toured the East Coast, ending in Tampa.

“From here, we go to St. Rose, La., for Saturday,” Starceski said. He and Wilson will then take the house to Texas, ultimately ending the tour at the Tiny House Jamboree near Colorado Springs, Colo., on Aug. 5-7.

Consumer interest in tiny houses has been growing, Starceski said, though municipal acceptance has had slower growth.

“It depends on zoning, but they’re becoming more accepting of it,” he said.

A tiny house can be a permanent dwelling or taken on trips like a travel trailer, Starceski said.

“You can take it to the woods for a hunting camp, to the beach, up to the mountains,” he said. “You truly can go off the grid with it, if you want.”

Tammy Smith: 228-896-2130, @Simmiefran1