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What's Life Like In 200 Square Feet? Tacoma Sustainability Expo Features Tiny House

Tiny houses — sometimes known by their clunkier name — accessory dwelling units, have been a thing for more than a dozen years. Lately, we’ve heard more about them as an option to house homeless people. But tiny houses could be the answer for a lot of people.

This weekend it will be at Tacoma’s South Sound Sustainability Expo. It’s the first time the fair has featured a tiny house.

The house in question measures in at just 200 square feet. It’s got eight solar panels, a fresh water tank, a gray water tank, battery packs and wheels. You can pretty much take it anywhere.

Brett Marlo is the Gig Harbor designer whose company built the cottage. She says millennials and baby boomers tend to be most interested in the compact space.

“We put a lot of time and energy and concentration on the kitchen being really great like you’d see in any other house, you know, lots of counter space, a really nice size fridge and freezer,” she said. “It’s really nice to show off how a small footprint house can feel really, kind of spacious when you’re in it.”

Marlo says tiny homes are just now becoming mainstream as people search for affordability and diversity in housing.

She does get a lot of questions about where to put a tiny house. Right now that’s one of the biggest obstacles. But there’s a web site in the works — Try It Tiny — which is expected to launch this spring. It’ll match landowners with tiny home dwellers.