So who lives in a tiny house? This guy ...

Darryl Bray is not only B&B Micro Manufacturing's new building designer; he also lives in a tiny home he designed and built from scratch.

"I bought the trailer and did the rest myself," said Bray, 28, of Ansonia, Conn., soon to be of the Berkshires. "It's 84 square feet with a 6- by 13 1/2-foot interior space. I can't fully extend my arms across it." He added the tiny house has a storage loft and a bed that folds up.

"I went to school for design," Bray told The Eagle, explaining why he went tiny. "It was inexpensive and I wanted something to be permanent, and yet something I could bring with me. An RV wasn't a good option because of the cost and the fact it's your vehicle also. RVs are recreation vehicles, not residential vehicles."

Bray said he paid $6,000 for the initial materials, including the trailer, which he found on Craigslist, and did all the work himself. He found all the materials and looked for the best deals. He estimates he's spent about $10,000 up to now, although he says it's a "work in progress."

Although Bray designed his house to be able to live off the grid, he said he currently runs electricity to it.

Going tiny isn't new for him, Bray said. "I spent summers camping out and built a 200-square-foot yurt one summer. I then worked with Habitat for Humanity in Seattle and spent three months sleeping in my car. It's more about getting used to the space you're in and getting better organizational skills."

The biggest challenge to tiny house living are cities' and towns' zoning laws, he said.

"There's a lack of interest with towns to consider tiny houses. They say 'You can't live here; you can't do that.' How do you make it work?" he asked. "I got zero help from town officials. So, I went rogue and did it."

Bray said for him, the biggest reward was financial.

"Each month I have money left over, as opposed to renting and maintaining a larger living space. I can go out and do fun things with friends and travel with the extra money," he said. "I have a different outlook on things. I'm more easygoing and minimal, and I'm not worrying about the things my friends are."

What has surprised Bray the most is "how much stuff you don't need each month and each day."

He admits to having a full kitchen in his nearby workshop, but has no refrigerator in his tiny house.

"I get by by getting food at the time I need it and getting food that don't need to be refrigerated," he said.

Bray plans to build a larger tiny house in the next few years, possibly 8 by 24 feet or 8 by 28 feet. He recently worked with a friend on two tiny houses on trailers that could be linked together to form a 240-square-foot L-shaped tiny home.

He sees the tiny house movement as more than just a fad, saying, "It's here to stay and it needs to be here to stay."

He pointed to a shift from the 1940s and 1950s, when the dream was owning a single-family home with a white picket fence and a shift from rural to urban living. He sees yet another shift with the latest generation gravitating toward tiny houses.

"It fits their needs," he said. "They're coming out of college and going into entry-level jobs. Why make it just work when you can thrive?"


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