North Carolina Tiny House Community

Highland Lake Cove

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 Tiny House Communitiesconstruction 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.

Tiny House communitiesWhat 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 Highland Lake Covethat 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!

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?


  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.

    • That’s all I want is a small tiny house which is a little bit of land in a nice little porch for just me and my animals and nobody else just my cat’s three of them and my two dogs and I want to live a happy life and I’m 68 years old that I would love to work helping the community build a nice place for all of us

      • I hear you lady!Im a young mind in an old 70yoldbody! I HAVE FALLEN in love with these tiny homes.trying to get back to the Carolinas before long Beautiful!!!

  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


    • Emily,

      Did you ever find out about zoning laws in NC?

    • I live in New Hampshire where there is no zoning.We are starting to get tiny houses in our area.Me and my husband live in a 16 x 24 foot cabin in the woods with our 6 pets. Did you ever move yet Emily?

  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.

    • I am wondering about a place for a tiny home near Greenville or Spartanburg when I retire in about ten years. Please let me know if you find anything near there!


  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.

    • Love the concept. Will be selling my house and living the tiny house life style with my wife.

  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.

  14. My wife and I have been to Asheville several times and are relocating to the area this spring, can’t wait to get out of Flori_da.I am a woodworker and a remodeler currently building out my own tiny camper and would love to get involved with this movement.

  15. i have been reading for the last couple years on these Tiny homes with some interest. I am near retirement and looking for affordable living. I guess I really need the new chapter in my life and begin searching it out.
    I don’t know much about Flat Rock or this community, so thinking about leaving WNY will be a challenge. I could use A little bit of guidance.

    PS. You did a great job with this site

  16. HI! I am VERY interested in buying a tiny house. I’ve been to the Home and Garden Show in Raleigh, NC and toured the two they had set up there, and I was SOLD. The problem is, I can’t find an answer or definite resources on where to put it!!! I’m so frustrated! I live in NC and intend to stay here, so any info would be greatly appreciated. I heard rumors but can’t find any info about it. Help!

  17. Hello my husband and I are both empty nesters and we are very interested in tiny house living especially in a beautiful community we just want to sell everything we live in New Jersey and we were considering moving south anyway so any information you could send us that would be wonderful thank you so much..

  18. I am interested in the tiny homes. I live in Connecticut and would love to be involved in this. Please get back to me.
    Thank you

  19. I would love to get more information on this. Me and my husband are looking to purchase a tiny home for our family of 4.

  20. I am a single older female who lives in New York City…I can’t wait to get out of here…High rents, etc….I would like to move to North Carolina or Virginia, but there again cannot afford high apartment rentals…So, I was thinking maybe this is for me? I am not a “loner” and must live near “people”, shopping, activities, culture…Please advise…And, how much money do I need to buy one? Thanks!

  21. We live in Greenville, SC and totally understand the hype…our town is awesome! We are definitely interested in having a tiny house built and are hoping to go check out the tiny home community in Flat Rock this weekend. Also interested in getting on the mailing list!

  22. I too am going to the Ashville area first week of Sept. and want to visit the site… I have emailed Kerry Lindsey at the address I got off of the Highland
    Lake Community website. They have some info about THE COVE there.
    This place and its mission is exactly what has been in my thoughts for sometime
    now … I am looking forward to seeing the progress in person.

  23. I’m wanting to building a tiny house in western NC. I’m wondering about permits and regulations. I can’t find anything on my local county’s government page. Can anyone help me.

  24. Hello,

    I have been researching tiny house builders and am interested in downsizing to a tiny house in the Asheville, NC area when I retire in 2 years. The idea of being part of a tiny house community is much more appealing than trying to find land for my home.

    How can I obtain more information about the community you are creating?

    Thanks !


  25. I am interested in a tiny home. I live in Miami and would like to get away from the summer heat. I saw a community of tiny houses on the internet near Asheville, but,the HOA fee is $475 a month. I’d like to live in a community, but, the fee is too much. Any suggestions

  26. Sounds interesting. Is there an HOA fee? How much? Wildflower, in Hendersonville,is expensive. I’d like to know more about this new project. I live in Miami. Very hot summers

  27. I live in Charlotte NC and I’m looking to building a Tiny Home but also buying some land for a tiny house community. How do I find out what’s allowed? I have looked but no clear limits seem to be in place. Also is there any tiny homes closer to Charlotte or in Charlotte?

  28. Please notify me of new posts by email. Thanks, Sean

  29. I would love to be a part of a tiny house community, either here in Arizona or around Asheville or a close drive to a beach. If I were to start one of my own, we’d have a large common room, kitchen, and craft/class room, and community maintained garden (flowers included), low HOA, and homeowner owned land. I’d like it to be 55+, but sponsoring one or two deserving young people or families (foster child who aged out of the system, or a single mom), just starting out who need help getting their feet on the ground, incl. sharing life-skills and sharing child-care a la ‘extended family’ traditions, for a year or two stay each. Anyway, that’s my dream.

  30. are people allowed to visit and look around and visit with you

  31. Would like love to learn more about this community. I moved from the Hendersonville area and hope to return there after retirement. Have talked to a builder and asked about communities of tiny homes and glad to hear there is something there.
    Would love to visit when there in October.
    Where is this located?

  32. Me and my husband would love to visit and start looking or building our own tiny house for a vacation home
    Would love to visit in October. Could you send us your address so we can visit .
    Tanks Doris keefe

  33. It’s great to have these communities popping up! They will serve as models for future development. Here in Georgetown SC we are in discussions with the planning board who is working on redevelopment of this once vital port town! Only 15 minutes to the public beaches! And 5 minutes or less to the hospital! With an historic downtown area! We are hoping to find much support for this plan.

  34. Very interesting, but just where is this area located, and how does one inquire further concerning bringing a tiny house to the area, and at what cost????

  35. In the process of gathering info on the tiny house movement, requirements for parking, zoning, classifications, etc…

    Interested in meeting like-minded people in the Raleigh-Durham Triangle area, that may know of communities forming, areas that allow tiny homes year round, and people interested in forming communities, have development backgrounds, and/or contacts in Planning and Zoning, that can assist in promoting this environment.

    Look forward to your responses. From seeing all the previous responses, I know we are growing in numbers and that there is a pent-up demand to expand into central and eastern Carolinas.

  36. I am an 87 year-old widow, planning to move to Charlotte, N.C., still sound of mind and body but ready to downsize. Does any townhome community include garages? A garage is essential for me. Let me know.
    Thank you in advance.

  37. I have questions for anyone who has recently purchased or is thinking about purchasing a tiny home. Please contact me. I’d love to talk to you!

    • I’m seriously looking into that. What kind of questions you have Jason?

      • I am ready to build but deciding whether to wait till this spring and to do in NC vs CA where I work on both coasts.

  38. I am going to be purchasing a tiny home and need to know where it can be parked in Chapel Hill NC

  39. I want to live in a tiny house community but no matter where I search I cannot get actual addresses or phone number to get solid information. I am in process of selling my condo in New Jersey and I need a place to live outside of this ridiculously expensive state. North Carolina has always been a favorite for me, I would love to live in a tiny house in a tiny community with like minded people.
    Please email an address, phone number, name of the development anything to get me to the right locale.

  40. I currently reside in NJ, I have put my condo on the market now I need a tiny house. Tiny houses are easy to come by but finding a place to put is so difficult.
    I keep reading about these communities but can’t actually find info on them, who do you contact? It’s great to get a list of communities but with out contact information they are useless.
    There are slot of us looking, HELP SEND CONTACT INFO!!!!!!!!

  41. Above is my reply

  42. I love the area and love your idea of cafe/community with retired people who are still actively living their lives. I am almost 70 years old, a portrait artist who loves to travel and hates to clean house. I’ve just started looking into the possibily of a little house with a pergola for Wisteria, fence for my little dogs, and lap pool for me! I’d also like to put up an organic greenhouse. I, too, don’t want to be isolated from people. but also enjoy my space. I’ve never lived in the mountains, but know I would love it. Do you have lots for sale right now? If so, would I have to build right away? Please send me any information on your development. Thank you so very much! Kim S.

  43. i would lke too rent to own a tiny house there in summerfield,n.c. please respond as soon as possible aas i have emailed you beford to get permission to come to livein one of the tiny houses before sept.,1,2017. please help me. JOANN JAMES

  44. Where is the village I want to buy a tiny house but can’t find the village in Havelock or swansboro anywhere on the internet. Please call me if you can. 919 791 8002

  45. Great concept and no doubt the future for many people. Why? Because in too much of America the costs in main cities and their surrounding burbs have become extraordinary to the point it is not healthy for a nation. Too much immigration is also driving up the costs for housing and creating a major homeless crisis in and around main cities. Was reading the city of LA has close to 60 thousand homeless now and that is the govt stats which of course means it it is more than that. How can people get out of the homeless or just barely hanging on mess that has happened due to insane greed and too much immigration? Obviously tiny houses is a major answer. The irony of life is people are going back to the way things were years ago with smaller houses and looking to get rid of costs as much as possible that have consumed the lives of too many.

  46. I am interested in a tiny house (not too tiny) either in north or South Carolina that is no more than 35miles from where my grandchildren are moving which is Charlotte NC.
    I am so hoping this is possible. This will also have to be my secondary residence (NYS has to be primary) b/c of pension/retirement reasons.

  47. I have checked out your company online and your website and I saw a few issues that I thought that maybe you are not aware of it and I should let you know.

    So wondering if Its ok with you if I send you a few screenshots (or if I”ll have time mayeb a screen recording video) to show you the issues I think you are not aware of but would want to know about it?

  48. Do you rent them out for long term.

  49. Can yo tell me if there are any tiny house communities in the Franklinton, NC area?

Leave a Reply