Nick Koridis dreamed about tiny homes for almost a decade before finally moving into one.
The 28-year-old stagehand paid a Long Island neighbor for a 125-square-foot cabin on wheels earlier this year. He has parked it on land he is renting near Port Jefferson. Total cost: $28,000, plus thousands in renovations he is making by hand.
Want to live like Koridis? It’s possible. The obsession with small spaces began — where else! — in California and was made popular via blogs and TV shows. Now, as the trend becomes more available to New Yorkers, it’s easier than ever for East Coasters to make this dream a reality.
Many microhomes are built as one-offs by enterprising DIY gurus; their offerings dominate Web sites such asand .
But in recent years myriad companies, from Rocky Mountain Tiny Houses and Minim Homes to Greenmoxie and New Frontier Tiny Homes, have sprung up to sate the desires of those for whom the number of square feet is inverse to the amount of happiness they have.
Lori and Mark Mendelis, a Brooklyn-based couple reveling in their new weekend home in Saugerties, NY, are two such people. Their adorable house, one of portable-cottage company Escape’s Classic models, totals less than 400 square feet — yet sits on a sprawling 26 acres of land.
And the Mendelises never saw it in person before they bought and installed the home last December.
“People thought it was crazy,” says Lori, a 44-year-old real estate broker with Compass. Adds Mark, 48, a freelance creative director in advertising, “It was a leap of faith.”
A leap that worked. The home arrived after a 1,300-mile truck journey from Wisconsin exactly as it looked in photos and videos. And despite its diminutive size, the dolled-up RV has perks nicer than some NYC apartments. The one-bedroom includes a full bathroom with heated floors and his-and-hers sinks.
Pricing for the Escape Classic starts at $94,000, but the Mendelises paid $150,000 so that the package included furniture. (They shelled out $100,000 for the land, which includes a stream.)
“The bed, the couch, the chair, the coffee table, the rug under the coffee table — even the blinds on the windows. It was as turnkey as we could get it,” Mark says. “We have all those creature comforts. In summer we have an A/C system. During the winter we have a gas fireplace.”
The couple became enchanted by the Hudson Valley after spending weekends in short-term rentals procured via HomeAway or VRBO. They decided to buy a weekend home last year, and initially looked at existing properties on the market. “We wanted a small, cozy space for ourselves with more land,” Mark says. “a different model of living, just simpler.”
The home may be minimal, but the grounds aren’t. The estate includes a fire pit, a 7-foot-tall carved tiki, a gnome collection and a cornhole game setup. Next year, they plan to add an archery range and bocce court. The Mendelises call the property Camp Aloha.
The couple, who live in a rowhouse in Windsor Terrace, heads to Saugerties at every opportunity.
“We are city people but we had to become country people,” Mark says. They now even look the part. “I have a Carhartt jacket, which I never dreamed in a million years I would have,” says the ever-stylish Lori. “[But then] I come back to the city, put on my [Diane von Furstenberg] dress and go to an open house.”
TINY HOUSES TO BUILD OR BUY IN THE NYC AREA
+ Ready-made (mini) living
Although brokers in most major cities can steer buyers to tiny homes, the diminutive residences can also be ordered from small-scale manufacturers and delivered to the NYC area. There’s Minim Micro Homes, whose flagship 265-square-foot unit costs from $71,000 or Rocky Mountain Tiny Houses, where prices begin at $35,000. Canadian sustainable-living firm Greenmoxie has designed a 340 square-foot “off grid” home priced from $65,000, while the luxe Alpha from Nashville-based New Frontier Tiny Homes packs a Jacuzzi, dishwasher and even an eight-person dining table into its 240 square feet. Starting price: $79,000.
+ Dallas, Pa.
Relatively speaking, this is a large tiny house, spanning 320 square feet. It has two sinks — one double sink in the kitchen area, and a well-sized one next to the toilet. There are two loft spaces. So, you could call it a two-bedroom house. It’s listed at $57,500. Contact: 570-639-2898
+ Saugerties, NY
This cozy 160-square-foot house is insulated and has copper gutters, tin lights, a tin drip edge and 9-foot ceilings (mount the TV on the wall in front of your bed!). It has a plumbed toilet and shower. The glass front door even has tree-branch handles. Price: $28,000. Contact: 917-767-3046
+ Woodstock, NY
This stationary house in Woodstock has a lot going for it, including two sinks, and space for a full stove and oven. All of that is spread across a mere 250 square feet, but the house sits on almost an acre of land. It’s for sale for $135,000. Contact: 845-684-7328; brideymac2@
+ Staten Island
This tiny house isn’t going anywhere, and you don’t have to go super far to get to it. You still need to take a car or bus to get there, but it is within the five boroughs. Tucked behind two much larger houses, it offers quite a lot across its 390 square feet. You get an updated eat-in kitchen, a living room that doubles as your bedroom, a full bathroom complete with a bathtub, and even space for a washing machine and dryer. It’s listed at $259,900. Contact: 917-841-6707