Tiny homes come true.
That’s the motto of Teal Brown, co-owner and builder at Wishbone Tiny Homes in West Asheville.
“A lot of people dream about having a tiny home,” he said. “And we’re making these dreams possible.”
And in recent years, the small structures have become popular in the city and greater Western North Carolina.
“For one thing, the mentality of a tiny home really fits in this area, and that’s because a lot of people here believe ‘less is more,’” Brown said. “Another component, which I think is the real driver, is that people are looking for more affordable options, whether they’re wanting a primary or second home.”
With an increasing interest in folks relocating to Asheville and surrounding towns, there’s a great need for open lots, atop a red-hot real estate market in the existing home markets. According to Brown, with a median home in Asheville hovering around $235,000, a turnkey tiny home can run around $150,000.
“You see more people, and more of the workforce, building tiny homes behind existing homes or on small lots because it’s more cost effective,” he said. “With a tiny home, there’s a significant savings on the front end, all as you’re able to still capture the functionality of a regular-sized home. These tiny homes are also built to be very efficient, which means energy costs are very low, as they’re easy to heat and cool.”
Tiny homes are a popular option in Asheville.
In recent decades, Western North Carolina has become a destination for retirees and second home owners. But, as the popularity of the region has skyrocketed, so has the growing demographic of young families looking to also plant roots in Southern Appalachia.
“People are looking for an affordable second home that’s easy to maintain when they’re not there,” Brown said. “And there’s this across-the-spectrum growth in tiny homes for all the housing needs here.”
Originally from Asheville, Brown was raised in the building industry, working alongside his father who also found himself in the trade. When he was in high school, Brown took carpentry and cabinet making courses, something he continued to hone and dig deeper into as he entered adulthood.
“I guess you could say building is in my blood,” Brown smiled.
Initially, Brown pursued a successful career as a musician. But he soon returned to building, which offered him the best of both worlds: artistic creativity and financial stability.
“Building has a little more structure, and yet still allows me to create,” Brown said. “Doing tiny homes requires a lot of creative problem solving, and I really enjoy solving the space and energy solutions.”
“With a tiny home, there’s a significant savings on the front end, all as you’re able to still capture the functionality of a regular-sized home.” —Teal Brown, Wishbone Tiny Homes
When meeting with a client, Brown taps into Wishbone’s keen sense of tailored service, especially in terms of tiny homes that bring about the essence of a person, couple or family.
“These homes are very personal in a lot of ways,” he said. “They distill down what people want and need in their lives to such a small scale. You really get to know people, their personal lives. And as a builder, you have to offer the sensibility and patience to want to understand people at that level.”
And as the spotlight brightens on Western North Carolina, Brown himself enjoys the shifting physical and societal landscape. “I love these mountains,” he said. “I’ve traveled quite a bit, and there are a lot of nice places, but what Western North Carolina has is very unique and serene, with such a beautiful vibe. Even though I grew up here, it feels like a new city every year. There are so many new and interesting people coming in who are adding great energy and ideas to Asheville.”
Wishbone Tiny Homes aims to build sustainable structures and also sustainable relationships with local nonprofits.
This post is adapted from our annual Welcome to Western North Carolina magazine. Click here to read more online, or click here to order your own free copy.