Photo courtesy of James Brewer.
James Brewer, second from right, founded AL Tiny Homes a year ago and will serve as host builder for the Tiny House Roadshow July 22-24.
After 19 years in the mainstream construction business, James Brewer decided to shrink his professional scope.
Now, the Mount Olive-based builder solely serves an expanding niche: the tiny house community.
“The tiny house market is a red-hot market,” Brewer said. “It’s a great alternative lifestyle for people. I think down the road you’ll see real estate geared toward tiny house lifestyles.”
While gaining some national popularity, Brewer said the tiny house movement has remained somewhat of an obscurity throughout the Southeast, especially in Alabama.
He hopes to change that.
Brewer is the founder of AL Tiny Homes and will serve as host builder for the Tiny House Roadshow held July 22-24 at the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex.
“The biggest reason I wanted to bring it to Birmingham is to raise awareness for the tiny house movement,” he said. “Most people in the Southeast have never seen a tiny house in real life. I want people to truly see one, touch one and walk through it.”
In addition to hosting 30 vendors that specialize in tiny house-related products, the three-day event will feature up to 25 model tiny houses. Brewer said he expects between 15,000 and 35,000 people to attend.
Unlike other misnomers, tiny houses stay true to their label, Brewer said.
The diminutive structures are built on towable trailers and range between 16 and 30 feet in length. To comply with transportation laws dictating permissible trailer width, tiny houses intended for mobile use are 8.5 feet wide.
As a result, each contains roughly 130 to 340 square feet of actual living space.
Outfitted with plumbing, electric and every major appliance — including a washer and dryer — the houses represent a medium between a house and an RV, Brewer said.
“It’s about downsizing, going back to simpler things,” he said.
Although top-of-the-line tiny houses can boast a price tag of up to $70,000, Brewer said the average cost ranges between $35,000 and $55,000.
Plus, they can be fully constructed and turnkey ready within four to six weeks, he said.
Whether a young professional searching for financial independence or a retiree seeking an RV alternative for cross-country treks, tiny houses fulfill a multitude of purposes for any age group, Brewer said.
He said he’s even built tiny houses intended for commercial use, including mobile dog grooming and mobile physical therapy units.
The structures don’t cost a fortune to maintain, either, Brewer said.
Tiny-house dwellers typically pay less than $50 for power and less than $20 for water each month, granting people greater financial freedom, he said.
The small structures, which can be designed to run on solar energy, also minimize environmental impact.
All factors considered, Brewer said he believes the tiny house movement is here to stay. “It’s not a trend you’ll see come and go,” he said. “It’s a true change that’s sinking in.”
For more information on the Roadshow, including expo times and ticket prices, visit tinyhouseroadshow.com.
Tiny House Roadshow
- WHEN: Friday, July 22, noon to 7 p.m.; Saturday, July 23, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Sunday, July 24, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
- WHERE: Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex
- TICKETS: Adults ages 13-65: $12.50; Adults ages 65 and older or military: $11.25; Children ages 7-12: $5
- WEB: tinyhouseroadshow.com