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Japanese-inspired wood-clad (legal) tiny home in Ohio town

When Alex Melamed and his wife moved to the tradiational brick and mortar town of Yellow Springs, Ohio they built a home only as big as they needed at the time. Melamed is a builder (Green Generation Building) and could keep costs low while still incorporating high design elements like shou-sugi-ban (charred wood) siding.

The tiny square house was affordable to build and to run. It meets Passive House standards relying on “primo” insulation, passive solar and a heat pump when necessary. “Our electric bill was $36 last month,”  explains Melamed.

Johnny Sanphillippo filmed the video and gives more context to the story on his blog. “It’s not only a super insulated Passive House, but it’s also a super small and cute Tiny House. It was part of a long-term plan that allowed Alex and his wife to buy land, build a honeymoon cottage for themselves, then save and organize the construction of a larger home in the front portion of their lot. The Tiny House in back will eventually be pressed into service as a home office/guest house/rental unit that can provide flexibility and/or generate income as they go through different stages of life. They’ve actually built with their future children and grandchildren in mind. People are more likely to build a durable high quality home if they expect to occupy it for a lifetime. That’s a very different approach than a developer slapping up cheap condos and speculators buying them with the intention of flipping as the market fluctuates.”

“The larger home that’s currently under construction will not only meet the Passive House standard for energy efficiency, but it will blend with the historical character of the neighborhood while sporting a few modern touches… Of course the town itself is a significant part of why Alex and Andrew are building where and how they are and it’s a key part of the success of their business model. Yellow Springs, Ohio is a pre-World War II “Norman Rockwell” town that offers a pedestrian oriented environment where kids can walk to school and the elderly can age in place in their own homes without the isolation and auto-dependency that is common in post war suburban sprawl.”

* Filmed by Johnny Sanphillippo, owner of a small, mortgage-free home. He also films stories about urbanism, adaptation and resilience for his site Granola Shotgun.