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Tiny homes are gaining big popularity

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Small houses big popularity.

Livable homes less than 200-square-feet. They are growing in popularity across the country, even here in St. Joseph County.

Based on code these entire houses can be as small as most people's living rooms.

For a local couple, 169 square-feet is what they're calling home.

"We're built on a 24x8.5 foot trailer. Overall from the ground height is about 13 feet tall," said owner David Stillson.

For Stillson and his wife Nikki, bigger isn't always better.

"After being in it and using the space, you just kind of realize, yeah, this is exactly what we wanted it to be," said Stillson. "I like to watch movies and TV so we made a living room in our tiny house. We designed our kitchen to have the things we use most."

The couple hasn't skipping out on safety.

"We have carbon monoxide and smoke detector," he said.

They even made room for their three cats.

"When it comes to the size of the home, square footage the number is really irrelevant," said Notre Dame Professor, Marianne Cusato.

Cusato designs tiny homes, most notably 'Katrina's Cottages' built after Hurricane Katrina.

Now, she's working at Notre Dame's school of Architecture helping students design homes between 800 and 1,400 square feet.

"One size doesn't fit all - we may find that, in fact we will find, we're in a richer community by embracing that and creating the opportunity for everybody," said Cusato.

A size that fits just right for David and Nikki.

"When you live in a structure that you designed and created everything is something you put in place because you wanted it to be there. It gives you an immense sense of joy," said Stillson.

It's worth noting that tiny homes on wheels aren't allowed in St. Joseph County. The county considers those vehicles, so they're under a different code.

A planning commissioner with St. Joseph County tells me you could be cited if your tiny home is on a trailer.

We have a list of the building requirements for tiny homes HERE.

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