Tiny homes in Northeast D.C.

Photo by Rebecca McDevitt

Down a back alley in D.C., an abandoned lot has been transformed into a community of tiny homes. At a whopping 210 square feet, Brian Levy's house dwarfs the other three.

“Obviously I can't have a dinner party for 20,” explained Levy. “But I can have a dinner party for seven.”

Though just 140 square feet, Jay Austin's home is an open-concept design. And Lee Pera hired an architect and builder to ensure her design - with a kitchen, bathroom, living area and loft - maximized all 160 square feet.

“For me, this is a big creative challenge,” said Pera. “And challenging the way we think about living in society and creatively living in urban spaces.”

The three homes under construction are considered to be part of the second generation of tiny homes. Each one has its own unique custom design.

The fourth home on the block was completed years ago and had a cookie-cutter, first generation design. It’s parked in the neighborhood temporarily.

These homes cost between $20,000-$50,000 to build and can also minimize utility expenses.

“Solar array on south face power most of the appliances and lighting in the house,” explains Levy. “Also rain water collection, almost all water will be rain water filtered through some filters.”

And while D.C. zoning laws don't allow for full-time living in these so-called "travel trailers" now, the owners are showcasing their tiny homes in hopes of inspiring change.