Take a $80,000 Wheelhaus cabin (not pictured) for a test run. You might fall in love.     Photo: Tammy Strobel/Flickr

Tiny House: Try Before You Buy

Be ready to simplify before jumping on the tiny-house bandwagon.

Tiny house living isn’t for everyone, but most of us can learn to love it. At least that’s what Jamie Mackay, founder and owner of tiny home-maker Wheelhaus, says.

“You have to want to simplify. We design Wheelhauses to feel like more than 400-square-feet of living space, with high ceilings, lots of windows, large doorway openings, wide hallways, and amenities like a fireplace and dishwasher," says Mackay. "But you don’t want to move into that beautiful, simplified space and pack it full of junk.”

We don’t blame you if you’re hesitant to commit to 400 square feet. Most people are, which is why Wheelhaus and its sister company, Fireside Resort in Jackson Hole, announced a new try-before-you-buy promotion. Book a stay at Fireside before April 15, 2015, and you’ll get 20 percent off your stay in a Wheelhaus cabin. If you decide to buy one of the mobile units, which start at $80,000, you’ll be fully reimbursed for the vacation.

Many of Mackay’s clients buy a Wheelhaus as a second home or guesthouse, but some couples (mostly romantic 20-somethings who’ve spent time living out of a backpack) decide to move in full-time. After a week or two, they “learn they don’t need all those things,” says Mackay. “When there’s less house to clean and less stuff to deal with, there’s a lot more time to play.”

Most Wheelhaus cabins have a bedroom that accommodates a king-size bed, a bathroom, a kitchen/living room, and a private deck. There’s a set of four drawers and an under-counter hanging closet that supports a counter-top desk, and the units have storage for toys in eight-foot-long weatherproof lockers under the house. A “Barnhaus” or “Shedhaus” may be coming soon.

So spend a week at Fireside. You may find that open space, even if it’s tiny, gives you a sense of calm and purpose.

Rates: Nightly rates at Fireside start at $225. Firesidejacksonhole.com. Wheelhaus cabins start at $82,000, Wheelhaus.com

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