Big Ideas for Tiny Homes Get Attention at Dwell On Design Show in LA

Austin, Texas designer Kim Lewis says tiny homes are here to stay.

By Sarah Clarke

 

Don’t suggest to Kim Lewis that tiny homes might be just a trend.

 

This “Little Lady with Big Ideas” has enough faith in the staying power of this movement that she is partnering with Cavco Industries to develop her line of stylish tiny homes that meet most budgets.

 

She unveiled her new Joshua Tree Tiny Home June 23-25 at the annual Dwell on Design trade show in Los Angeles, and likes this 560-square-foot double trailer unit so much she plans to make it her primary residence in Austin, Texas.

 

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Inspired by Joshua Tree National Park, she dreamed it up for “Desert Dwellers” incorporating soft hues like those found in a desert sunset and a flow that’s airy and tranquil with the bedroom on the first floor rather than in a loft.

 

House Tipster was there at the Los Angeles Convention Center to ask Lewis, the founder of Kim Lewis Designs in Austin, about the future of tiny homes. We’re not surprised that she couldn’t stop smiling as she talked about tiny homes making big strides.

 

“This is truly a shift. We are revolutionizing housing with the tiny movement, and it’s a shift that’s not going anywhere,” Lewis told House Tipster.

 

Regardless of age, income, and direction in life, Lewis thinks that tiny homes can fit the needs of just about anyone.

 

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She envisions baby boomers looking to downsize, young couples on a tight budget for their first home, and business owners in need of more space, all gravitating to tiny homes. Need room for your hobby? Tiny homes can serve as an extra space for a workshop, music room, or whatever else one might imagine.

 

“If anything this trend will keep growing because it’s a new way of living and people are recognizing it just makes more sense,” she said in an interview with our news crew.

 

So where did Lewis get her inspiration? For eight years, she says she drew “really big houses” as the lead designer behind ABC’s “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.” Then her career shifted to FYI’s “Tiny House Nation” as a design consultant, and she made a heart connection.

 

“I totally fell in love with the tiny house movement and what clients were seeking, which was a home they could afford and a lot of adventure in life and flexibility,” she said. “I found myself designing something for the first time that I could see myself living in.”

 

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Her new Joshua Tree Tiny Home with its eclectic, earthy, organic feel was truly a highlight of the Dwell on Design trade show, drawing hundreds of guests to tour a home that transitions well from indoor to outdoor living.

 

“Our brand is all about traveling and being a free spirit, so we want to say we’re nesting for free birds. We want people to feel they have a retreat to come home to so every style is very different,” she said.

 

Lewis explained how every piece of furniture must have at least three functions. Take for example the butcher-block-topped kitchen island that serves as a dining area, counter area, and an island for cooking. It’s on casters, so it fits neatly against the wall freeing up valuable space when not in use.

 

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Since space is a commodity in a tiny house, oversized appliances are out. Working hand in hand with Kim Lewis Tiny Homes is BlueStar with its new 24-inch sealed burner gas range, the latest in its Small Spaces line of pro-style appliances designed especially for smaller kitchens.

 

This burner range may be compact, but it’s powerful so that cooking can be a pleasure and not a chore in a tiny home.

 

“We are expanding our Small Spaces collection to accommodate our customers’ diverse spaces. Now, anyone can enjoy an extremely hard-working, pro-style kitchen with a variety of unique options no matter the size of the space,” said Eliza Sheffield, president of BlueStar.

 

Check out BlueStar's House Tipster profile here.

 

Lewis likes that BlueStar products don’t compromise on performance or design.

 

Larger than most tiny homes, Joshua Tree also features a removable deck and a cozy covered breezeway between the two units. 

 

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They may be tiny homes, but Lewis wants to make sure they are big on personality.

Next: Panasonic Showcases Unique & Innovative Products at Dwell