Techie Tiny Home Proves LUX Amenities Can Be Affordable

A Boston architect is proving you can have luxury amenities at a low cost. You just have to offer them in a tinier package.

“Once you talk to people who live in a small and tiny lifestyle, it’s really not that different. You still have all the amenities, all the luxuries that you would have in your normal home,” says tiny home owner Tracey Powell.

Her 150-square-foot tiny home is in the building phase now. But Energy Star appliances, a hot water heater, connected lighting, thermostats, door bell and security systems will all somehow fit in the tiny space.

“Everything is built in,” says Powell. And it has to be, seeing the home is half the size of some hotel rooms.

The television will turn into a mirror, a backup generator will be hidden under the front porch and mostly everything going in the home will have mobile connectivity.

“I can see my lighting system, my heating system, the air conditioning system, the shades that go up and down on the windows,” says Powell. “We wanted this self-contained unit to be an example of best practice for tiny homes.”

After all, Powell has been practicing architecture in the building industry for 20 years. “I move around a lot for work, and I have for over 10 years, so now I just get to take my home with me everywhere I go.”

Her tiny home is on wheels. It’s convenient and by constructing it so small, Powell can surpass building codes. She says she’ll use the home as a second residence and live in it about 50 weeks out of the year.

“They haven’t come out with any true codes for building your home on wheels yet,” she says.

But her “Lil’Lodge,” as she calls it, is meant to inspire other architects and builders not only with its technology, but also its energy efficiency.

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“We have a really efficient air conditioner, heating system, radiant floor heating that’s electric, hot water heater that’s Energy Star. But none of that would be possible if we didn’t have the building envelope that we’re using today,” says Powell.

There’s continuous insulation on the exterior and spray foam on the interior, and everything inside the home runs on 50 amps of electricity like an RV.

“It’s passed REScheck, so it’s 5 percent more energy efficient than normal homes for energy efficiency.” REScheck is a way to determine whether homes meet state energy codes.

Powell will showcase her tiny home at the Architecture Boston Expo in November. And next spring, she has more big plans for her tiny project—solar and a rain collector to take it completely off-grid.

Tracey Powell and her brother pose near the trailer where her tiny home will sit.
Tracey Powell and her brother pose near the trailer where her tiny home will sit.


About The Author

Andrea Medeiros is editor-in-chief, multimedia director and content developer at TecHome Builder. She is a former TV news reporter turned home technology guru and is using her broadcast journalism skills to help our team deliver complicated, tech-focused content in a conversational way. She has a decade of experience in the editorial realm—interviewing, writing and editing stories as well as shooting, editing and producing video content. She is most interested in covering interoperability among smart devices.

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