Tiny House, Tiny Living, The Tiny Life.

North Carolina Tiny House Community

highlandlakecove

On Easter morning I had the pleasure of speaking with Kerry Lindsey, an innovator and developer in Flat Rock, North Carolina who has begun a project to bring tiny houses to his existing retreat centered community. I was excited to hear about his plans and what he has going on in this gem of a town in the Blue Ridge Mountains. It was so inspiring to speak with Lindsey about his experiences living the tiny life, what he’s accomplished and his continued plans involving tiny houses, community and the importance of mindfulness in our current world. Check it out!

How did you discover the tiny house movement and what drew your interest?

My interest in tiny houses began when we were kids. My folks built their first home from the rock and logs off the land of their mini farm, and as kids we copied them; building 2 fairly sophisticated tree houses (for kids) and a tiny log cabin. That interest continued and a couple of years out of high school I bought a junked school bus for $150 and converted it into a camper/house , traveling for several months (Kesey style) around the southeast in it with a handful of hippie friends . I continued building small outbuildings at my own first mini farm and after buying this property, restored all the old summer camp cabins here as we started the first conference center. By the time Jay Schafer came to town the first time, 4-5 years ago, I had the bug bad and was dredging and creating waterfront sites in the early stages of this project.

What is your ideal vision in building and sustaining tiny houses IMG-20140228-00049construction and what life experiences brought your developing such community?

This place is the intersection of three strong paths in my life: creating artistic buildings, a 5 business entrepreneurial streak and the understanding gleaned from my own spiritual community about the essence of community. So many of the outcomes we’ve looked for in the so called “American Dream” can’t be found in a media driven consumerist approach to life. It takes slowing down. Living a simpler lifestyle (like Tiny House living) as well as creating a more intentional approach to community can be a great support for the peace and happiness we all aspire towards. While I think many folks want to build these to garner more independence, I think its the fact that one can both have that, and create truly supportive communities (by “rounding up the wagons” so to speak) that is so interesting. We all need privacy but there is also a certain magic in coming together more collaboratively to create things together.

What influences stylistically are you basing your designs off of?

I lean towards the Appalachian cabin vernacular but with a whimsical twist. Tree houses….hobbit houses…. Creativity is energizing and the more that people are connected to the shelters they build or personalize, the more life it brings into the community. It creates a felt-sense of place. This is not to say we don’t have guidelines….we are in the middle of a retreat center business after all, and the place needs to feel congruent with our reason for being here.

IMG-20140228-00048What demographic are you attempting to reach?

Like we did in our first neighborhood across the street, we strive to appeal to an inter-generational market because diversity adds to the value of communities. I can see our larger models clustered together around a common house to create a pocket neighborhood akin to a senior co-housing community: because we also put an emphasis on creating business opportunities within the projects we’ve done, and have kid friendly areas, I’d also expect to see a younger crowd here, learning both how to build a home and start a business. The third market is “second home” folks like here in the Garden Hamlet People that are simply wanting a quiet place to get away to on weekends or to take a vacation. Like the Hamlet cottages that surround the goat meadow, these cabins can also be placed back in the retreat rental pool so that folks can earn a little off their investment when they’re not using them.

What is your timeline for development? Have you started construction and when do you project to complete this community?

We are 28 years into the overall community and the retreat section is the 4th of the 7 planned phases. We’ve got our primary infrastructure in as well as the new cafe/community building. Four tiny’s are under way (mostly students from Dan Louche’s workshop here last fall) as well as our first double-sized one, a 400 sq ft unit. This is a two module design that can be moved with a normal pick up truck. Because there are many great Tiny House providers on the market today, our focus is primarily on the next size up. While its not something one would haul around day to day like an RV, it would be moveable so that people could have more flexibility about where they live. Here we’ll have lots that can be leased which will make it a very affordable community for young folks starting out or retirees looking for an unencumbered, active, learning, community based life style.

In what ways do permaculture and tiny house ideals coincide for you? How do you feel they compliment each other?

Well the obvious first part is their small footprint and how well they can be integrated into a mini-farm like layout. Here at the Garden Hamlet, even though the cottages are larger, over 60% of the land is held in permanent open space for gardens, greenhouses, fruit trees, farm animals and gardens.

Can you elaborate on your community incubator series and how highlandlakecove1that has played a role in your development of community?

The fundamental learning tracks in it grew out of my experience working with key employees over the course of my 43 years in business….helping them take a more “intra”preneurial approach to running their departments. My approach is more along the lines of the Integral Incubator Series at Integral Institute in Boulder. Beyond the basics, I’m more interested in helping folks with a Four Bottom Line approach. . . People Planet Profit & Personal Transformation. Part of the purpose of the incubator is to help people create meaningful work in their own communities. I deem myself lucky because I always found myself in a business that arose out of personal passions and creativity and always kept me learning and evolving. So many folks work so they can retire. I prefer to help people create work that’s inspiring.

Are you going to have workshops this summer geared towards building tiny houses?

Yes our next on is May 24th-25th. It will be taught by Teal Brown of Wishbone Tiny Homes here in Asheville along with some of our students and staff for certain elements. It will also include an introduction to building with cob for folks thinking about creating more fixed structures.

To find out more about workshops, retreats and the community visit www.highlandlakecove.com!

Thanks again Kerry for talking to me and for growing tiny house love and community in the Carolinas!

 

Your Turn!

  • Are you inspired by tiny houses to build community? If so, how?

Via

20 Comments
  1. Love this concept. I believe building tiny/small house pocket neighborhoods is a way to increase their acceptance. As I drive around in my day to day tasks, I often see vacant properties some for sale/some not, and see the potential for development along this path. I not only want to live and work in such a community, but be part of developing one. I also think his concept of inviting all the generations has excellent merit. We all live on earth together, and we should learn to live together too. All generations have something to contribute and we can learn from each other. Thanks for posting this interview.

  2. I would love to find out more about possibly becoming a part of this community.

    • I would recommend jumping on their mailing list and possibly asking to visit. I look forward to visiting when I am back in the Carolinas!

  3. I’m building my first tiny home this year in Massachusetts and am interested in building a community here or in Vermont. Do you have any tips on zoning research? What are North Carolina’s laws? Ideally, I’d like to get a special “Tiny House Permit” zoning section introduced, but that could take some time. I’d love to chat about any research you’ve done.

    • I live in Massachusetts and think it’s awesome you are going to build a tiny house here or in the awesome Vermont! : )

    • How do you get around building codes? We have a lot near Ocean Isle, NC and wanted to build a tiny houser. We found out that the smallest house you could build was 800 sq.ft. It also has to have a bedroom, kitchen, living room and bathroom. We have a motor home but found out that it cannot be parked and lived in for more than 30 days at a time. 

      • Codes are the hard part. I had a lot of issues with similar codes in Vermont but this particular community in NC has a unique zoning situation. Check out Ryan’s e-book Cracking the Code for all the latest on this topic.

    • Hi Emily,

      Check out Ryan’s e-book Cracking the Code. You can find it at http://www.thetinylife.com/store.

      Cheers,
      Andrea

  4. Oh, how I would love to be a part of such a community. I live here in Virginia, and although I love it here in Virginia Beach, I certainly would hop down to North Carolina for a chance to be a part of the Tiny House Movement :)

  5. I have been searching for a place for a tiny home near Greenville, SC. Will make arrangements to visit FlatRock soon. I have been to the playhouse many times but did not know about this community.

    • I have been visiting my uncle in Flat Rock for years and had no idea either. I am very much looking forward to visiting this fall when I move back to the Carolinas.

  6. I recently visited the Carolinas, fell in love with the area and thought Flat Rock would be an awsome place to live (we stopped and ate at Hubba Hubba)…then I came home and found THIS! Hmm…I went on the website to get on their mailing list as suggested above, but it seemed to be about guest services – or did I miss something? I’m also very interested in relocating to the Greenville SC or Asheville NC areas. Tiny house may have to wait till the teens are grown and gone, but it sounds like a wonderful community.

    • I sent an e-mail to Kerry Lindsey and got a prompt reply. At this time he does not have a tiny house for show but was very receptive to meeting with me to go over concepts.

  7. I think that the concept is excellent and would love to go visit Flat Rock N.C. to
    see for myself how everything works

  8. Hi. I am very interested in learning more about the concept of community living in Tiny Houses. I want to relocate from (very hot) Florida to the Asheville Area.
    I will be in Asheville next weekend for my son’s wedding and would love to see one of these communities.
    Can you please tell me the average cost of the houses and the rental of land that it would be sitting on?
    I am in my late 60’s, a retired teacher from NY. Please write back. I look forward to hearing from you. Thank you.

  9. I am looking for a lot to builb a 12×24 retirement cabin in the mountian and want to know what would it take to get a lot, price and building code if any

  10. We live in Asheville. Our last bird is in college and we are looking at selling it all and buying a tiny house. We would love to stay in Asheville/Flatrock and would love to hear more or see the community. I would also be interested in the next workshop and what a good idea if the workshop is helping someone else build their home while we learn how to build one ourselves. The pyramid begins…

  11. How does a person sign up to be on mailing list? Am looking for communities around the country to locate a tiny home within the next two years or so; have visited friends Asheville & this is one of my desired sites.

  12. Greetings. My husband and I (both empty nesters) are very interested in your community as well as tiny
    housing living. I would like more information on your community and what codes are for your area.
    Our thoughts would be to have a home on a custom trailer that can be moved if need be but for the most part would like to stay in one place. We may be part time residents as we may want to be elsewhere
    from time to time. For over 25 years we were tied to a business and never took vacations. It is now our
    time to travel a bit. We have our home in S.C. up for sale and plan to have a custom tiny house built
    that will fit our needs perfectly somewhere between 300 – 380 sf. We are also interested in a self
    sustaining unit with solar panels, gardening space and a generator if need be. We have not researched
    yet the options with tiny housing and what could be considered.
    Thanks for your help.

  13. The ‘cafe/community building’ caught my attention, since I love to cook & bake-have done so for 40 years & have my bakers assistant certificate.

Leave a Reply

What is 8 + 8 ?
Please leave these two fields as-is:
IMPORTANT! To be able to proceed, you need to solve this