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Tiny home industry spikes in East Tennessee

We've heard the old cliché "bigger is better," but don't tell that to a growing number of East Tennessee tiny homeowners who are downsizing.

We’ve heard the old cliché “bigger is better,” but don’t tell that to a growing number of East Tennessee tiny homeowners who are downsizing.

So, what’s considered a tiny home?

The average house is the U.S. is about 2,600 square feet. A tiny home is anywhere from 100 to 600 square feet.

Randy Jones launched Incredible Tiny Homes in Morristown two years ago. The new business “represents a dream to provide an affordable and comfortable housing for everyone,” according to the company’s website.

Before 2008, Jones was building resort-style homes that were 20 times the size of tiny homes.

In the last 18 months, Jones and his team have built 37 homes. Requests have come from coast to coast, including recent requests in Chicago and Houston. HGTV featured their work on its reality TV show “Tiny House Hunters.”

In October, the Sevierville Convention centered hosted the Tiny House Roadshow.

Joanne Towber is one of those people who's tired of living large. She decided to downsize, got rid of almost everything she owned,and moved from her 2400 square foot home into a 160 square foot tiny house.

"I enjoy it better than I did my dream home. This is my dream home. My tiny, little castle," she says.

Now, her kitchen, bath, living area and loft bedroom are all within steps of each other.

She knows her lifestyle wouldn't work for everyone.

"If they say maybe I need two tiny homes put together then I say, 'well you don't want a tiny home then.' That's not living tiny. But if you are willing to downsize and you want to travel and meet new people and just enjoy life – go tiny – it's great. It's very enjoyable," she says.

Jones says Towber fits the mold of the tiny house movement. Most are women from their twenties to their sixties who are looking to simplify their lives.

But before you decide to go tiny, check the rules in your community. Jones says the regulations differ from place to place.

In some places, like Knox County, a tiny home can't have wheels. They must have a permanent foundation and have heat, water, and sewer connections.