Husband-and-wife duo Thomas Small and Corinne Watson are the owners of Tiny Homes of Maine, a Windham-based company specializing in tiny homes.

Tiny Homes of Maine provides design and construction services for mobile tiny homes, which sit on a trailer. It will also provide design services for larger homes, but its focus is on homes under 1,000 square feet. Although the small, mobile structures are marketed as tiny homes, Watson said they could be designed for a number of different uses, including a home office or artist studio. The base model tiny home starts at $45,000.

Small and Watson moved to Windham from Smyrna, a tiny town in Aroostook County. They live with their three children in a modest, but not-quite-tiny home, Watson said. They both have full-time jobs: Small as building information modeling manager at Eastern Point Solutions, a construction services company, and Watson as a process engineer at Idexx.

Watson said she has “always been a big fan of small spaces.” As a child, she liked exploring attics and making forts as a way of “feeling cozy.” She has followed the tiny-house trend since its beginning. Although the tiny-home concept and its accompanying social movement has recently taken off, it started about 15 years ago, she said.

The couple researched starting a tiny-home company for about a year before deciding to go forward, Watson said. Their goal is to make tiny homes available “to others to help them to simplify their life and provide a more environmentally friendly lifestyle.”

They documented the construction process of their first tiny home on social media, Watson said, and garnered a “huge interest in the project.” The couple hosts open houses with tours of the tiny home at local businesses, and they’ve attracted hundreds of people interested in tiny-home living, Watson said.

Now Tiny Homes of Maine is working on the first order for a client, Watson said, and will provide “a turn-key tiny home for a gentleman this spring,” she said.

The Lakes Region Weekly spoke with Watson about the business, the perks of tiny-home life and the status of the movement.

Q. You and your husband are working on your first tiny house for a customer right now. What is the process for designing and constructing a tiny home?

A. The client comes to us with an idea for a layout and some pictures from the internet. We work with them to design a space they love. We may make a few changes to the design to stay within the client’s budget. Once the client approves the final design we begin construction.

Q. You said your husband makes 3-D renderings of homes to allow potential customers to “walk through” the home. Can you tell me more about how he does this and why this service is important to your process?

A. Sometimes it’s hard to visualize what your space is going to look like by viewing it on a 2-D layout. Tom creates a 3-D model to allow the customer to get a better feel for what it’s going to look like in real life. Tom also creates a 3-D rendering of the tiny home so you can take a virtual tour of the home’s interior and exterior.

Q. How big is the average tiny home?

A. Our model tiny home is on a 8.5-by-20-foot trailer and is 240 square feet, including the sleeping loft. I think that size is pretty average.

Q. You’ve had tiny homes on your radar for more than a decade. How, if at all, has the movement changed?

A. I think the tiny house trend has changed by becoming more popular by the TV shows. The movement has been more glamorized than in the beginning, when it was people who were sick of being tied to big homes and big mortgages.

Q. What are some of the benefits of living in a tiny home?

A. Simplifying life by scaling down to possess only the things that matter is very freeing. Also, by reducing the expenses and maintenance of a larger home, you are freeing up time and money to do the things you love. Your home is mobile, allowing many more opportunities to travel comfortably.

Q. Why are tiny homes considered an eco-friendly living option?

A. Tiny homes have a small carbon footprint compared to a larger home. In their construction they do not using as much materials and do not waste as much, not to mention the small amount of energy and water need to sustain a tiny home.

Q. What are some of the challenges the tiny-home community/movement face right now?

A. In Maine, some challenges may be towns not allowing a person to live in a tiny home. Tiny homes on wheels are relatively new to Maine so the zoning and building codes don’t include tiny home regulations. It makes it difficult to identify and enforce tiny home living.

Q. Do you have plans to live in a tiny home eventually?

A. I’m not sure if we will live in one anytime soon, but maybe in retirement.

Corinne Watson and Thomas Small outside their tiny home in Windham. They run Tiny Homes of Maine, a construction and design company focusing on tiny homes.

The model tiny home for Tiny Homes of Maine, designed and constructed by Corinne Watson and Thomas Small.

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