Tiny House Village Employee Housing Experiment
It’s been six months since the Aspen Skiing Company began housing employees in their tiny house park. I interviewed one resident and found her to be quite happy, actually ecstatic, to be living in a THOW (tiny house on wheels). Leigh, already a THOW enthusiast, says, “A tiny house for a tiny person.” Just five feet tall she finds the tiny house to be quite roomy. Leigh is used to living alone so she is renting the entire tiny alone for a whopping $1,350.00/mth. Her willingness to pay that amount of rent is indicative of the housing situation in the Roaring Fork Valley. She has her own car and commutes 26 miles to the ski town of Aspen.
Leigh really likes the heated floors but admits she broke the heating system several times before they showed her how to use it properly. She loves cooking and found the kitchen to be adequate but did add a large toaster oven because the micro wave/convection oven really didn’t work well. She noted that the stairways to the loft bedrooms were “death traps” and that some of the workmanship could have been better. I wondered why she had the shades pulled on the few windows but noted that the only view would have been the next door unit just eight feet away.
Housemates and social situations:
Aspen Skiing Company did not fill all of the THOW’s yet but when they do they might insist she takes on house-mates. I’ve been wondering what that experience would be like. I, too, had many housemates when I first moved to Aspen, over forty years ago. Even in a full size house it led to some interesting, not always pleasant, social situations. Then again, I did meet and marry one of my housemates. We are still happily married today.
But back to the topic at hand. Aspen Skiing Company has always been forward thinking, looking for ways to be “green”, lower their carbon footprint, etc. At this THOW employee housing village they have repurposed shipping containers to serve as storage lockers ($40.00/mth) and wind breaks for outdoor lounging areas.
Tho she has never used the community room, Leigh found the laundry machines to be quite small. When I popped into the community room I found the reek of sewer to be more off putting than the bare white walls and sparse furniture.
If and when Leigh buys her own THOW she will definitely incorporate laundry machines. For today, she is very happy with her situation, and job. She continues to amass ideas in her Pintrest account and dream about one day building her own THOW.
May 2018 Update:
I ran in to the manager of the project in the lumber store in May. He said the Ski Company looks at the winter season as a success concerning this experiment.
He said they had three minor incidences of housemates not getting along.Two of those involved the same people.
The house worked well but they did have many pipes freeze because they used a heated extension cord to keep the exposed water pipes warm and these cords had a high failure rate. They were replaced with a better cord, problem solved.
While the units were not 100% rented over the winter they were already 100% rented for the summer season.