Kristopher Angstadt of Fredericksburg’s Tiny House Building Company has been transforming would-be campers into tasteful tiny homes since he first started out as a Class A Contractor nearly 20 years ago.
“My forte was building these small, custom homes that I called jewel boxes way before we started with the tiny homes,” he says. “People say ‘Well, what’s the difference between this and a camper?’ and I say, ‘You’ve just got to come and see.’”
Angstadt’s tiny houses have reached an outstanding level of popularity in the mere three years since the company was officially established, having made noteworthy appearances on FYI’s Tiny House Nation as well as Harry, Harry Connick Jr.’s talk show. Angstadt says they are on track to produce more than 150 homes this year alone. The company’s stellar reputation and successful online presence could largely be attributed to how seriously Angstadt and his team appear to take the tiny-house market in general. “With tiny houses it’s almost like the builders are always just poking around and treating it like a fun thing to do but not like a serious business,” he says. “So I wanted to take it to the next level.”
The tiny-house movement has deep roots in the philosophy of minimalism, which is basically the decision to eliminate that which detracts from our overall satisfaction and to promote the essential things that leave us feeling happier and more fulfilled. The tiny homes on the market today range widely in terms of size, function and the facilities they come equipped with, but the thread that ties them all together is the measure of simplicity they allow the average modern consumer to achieve. Tiny homes are extraordinarily environmentally friendly, with the added bonus of being both mobile and self-sufficient. Furthermore, if you’re someone who is spending a third or more of your annual paycheck on rent, as many Americans are, the prospect of owning property whilst saving on resources is an equally enticing aspect of radically downsizing.
There is no single type of person that Angstadt has encountered in the tiny-house sphere because the appeal of the tiny house lifestyle is manifold.
“I think our clientele age range is 25 through late 70s,” he says. “Tiny homes appeal to everyone because they give people more time and money to do what’s more important to them in life than paying their mortgages,” he says.
In its early stages, Tiny House Building Company partnered with Peoples Community Bank to be able to offer financing to its clients. “We actually created a tiny-house product that didn’t exist before, and it’s almost like a mini-mortgage for a tiny home—a tiny mortgage,” Angstadt jokes. Pricing for the smallest models hovers around $25,000, but Angstadt concedes that the 28-to-32-foot long models, which start at $75,000, are the usual choice.
In terms of the degree of customization offered to clients, Tiny House Building Company reigns supreme. Angstadt has virtually eliminated any possibility of customer dissatisfaction by bringing his clients in to choose everything—the type of siding used, the color scheme, the type of metal the roof is made of, the color and fabric of the carpeting, the types of vinyl, backsplashes, stain colors, flooring, composting facilities, solar panels and even an optional rain-catching filtration system—all for no extra fee.
“Everything’s 100 percent customizable with us; there’s other people that say they are, but in all honesty I feel like we are the true custom tiny-home builder,” Angstadt says. Remarkably, many of the company’s tiny houses could easily sleep six people through the crafty implementation of lofts, bunk beds and goosenecks.
Tiny homes have also proven to be lucrative real estate investments for Angstadt’s clients due to their legal classification as personal property. “I’ve actually gotten a lot of clients interested in looking at it as a rental property business where, for example, I’ll sell you a tiny home to put on your land, and you can do short-term rentals with them and make twice what you could have made renting out a traditional home.”
Angstadt is certain the company will only continue to thrive as more and more people witness the benefits of the tiny house lifestyle. What began in the outskirts of society as a counterpoint to the more-is-more American mindset could just be the way to become happier, less encumbered with debt and more in tune with the environment all in one go.