- Associated Press - Friday, November 27, 2015

JACKSON, Wyo. (AP) - Jackson resident Adam Glos is building a life centered around the mantra “less is more.”

Actually, he’s building a home. A tiny home.

In a world increasingly concerned with human impact, more and more people are shrinking their lives and trading lifestyles of excess for ones of simplicity. As a response to wasteful living, climate change and housing shortages, tiny houses are growing - not in size but as a sustainable, mobile housing phenomenon across the country.

Which is why Glos decided to build his own, on his own.

Glos moved to Jackson after graduating from Connecticut College in 2009. He brought with him degrees in art and architecture and several summers of construction experience. He arrived at the right time to find housing. The real estate market had just crashed, and he was able to put a roof over his head right away.

“I found a place to live day one, but it took four months to find a job,” Glos said. In Jackson, he said, it’s always “either one or the other. You need work, or you need a place to live.”

Six years later Jackson’s job market continues to grow faster than its housing market can accommodate. As demand increases so does cost. When Glos moved here in 2009 he paid $450 a month in rent. By this past spring that had increased to $700. So Glos decided he was done renting. He wanted a place of his own.

“You throw money away renting,” Glos said. “I wanted to invest in something that was mine. (Renting) is still an investment - but in somebody else’s home.”

In April he moved out of his 10-by-10-foot bedroom and began to build a house. His new handmade home is, when looked at optimistically, 1.5 times as big as the bedroom he left behind.

By early June he had fixed the trailer on which his home sits, framed the floor and begun framing the remainder of the house. He was working full time and living out of his truck on a friend’s property, the same property on which he was constructing his new home.

“I’m giving every free moment of my time,” Glos said.

Time, or lack thereof, was one of many obstacles Glos worked through this past summer. One of the primary purposes of having a house and a roof over one’s head is protection from the elements. Those same elements put added pressure on Glos to finish his home quickly but also occasionally prevented him from doing so.

“It’s going more slowly than I’d like because of the weather,” Glos said of June’s heavy rain.

By September rain was less of a concern than freezing-cold air.

Perhaps his biggest obstacle, however, was the sheer size of the project. The house may be tiny - it measures about 150 square feet - but Glos estimates he has built close to 90 percent of it on his own. His only company was often a voice speaking through the FM radio at the time - he usually listened to KHOL - and Tobias, aka Toby, the black Labrador retriever who lives on the property and is the official tiny-house mascot. Toby was usually not too keen to lend a helping paw unless a game of fetch was involved.

The extra hands Glos did use belonged to his friends and his girlfriend, Kate Sullivan.

“I don’t know what I’m doing half the time, but (Glos) gives good direction,” Sullivan said. “A second set of hands is really useful.”

Glos’ architecture degree and carpentry experience provided a solid foundation of knowledge and skills. But many steps to the process were new to him. He had never insulated a house, put a roof on, done electric work or laid tile, among other things.

He hired Bressler Insulation to insulate the house - “the only thing I had someone else do,” he said. For everything else, he simply looked online.

“I’m resorting to YouTube a lot,” Glos said. “I’m definitely learning a lot as I go. It’s working so far.”

Most of his knowledge came from tiny-house experts and communities like Tumbleweed Tiny House Company, Tiny Home Builders and Rocky Mountain Builders, which provided expert advice and resources when needed.

Glos wired the house himself but crowdsourced social media for advice before turning the lights on for the first time.

“I’m literally going to stand here with a stick,” he said of the occasion.

Surviving to see the lights go on was “by far the most rewarding (and relieving) moment of the project,” he said on his Facebook page.

Glos’ tiny house is not, in fact, technically, or legally, a house. It is a “habitable dwelling under 800 square feet,” Glos said. Its size and its position atop a trailer classify it as an RV.

It was modeled primarily after Tumbleweed Tiny House Company’s Tiny House RVs and is typical in many ways: It hooks up like an RV, though Glos hopes to be “completely off the grid” next year. When the dwelling is complete the sink and the shower will use the same plumbing unit. The toilet will be compostable. The bedroom is a sleeping loft.

But where many tiny houses have small steps or a ladder leading to the sleeping loft, Glos has a climbing wall. The woodstove in the corner of the house is handmade. Christmas lights illuminate the sleeping loft with a soft glow. His loft beams are local, harvested from the Bridger-Teton National Forest and custom-made with the help of a friend. Most of his materials, including appliances and furnishings he didn’t build himself, are reclaimed.

“I’m trying to use as many renewable resources as possible,” Glos said. Doing so saves money, produces less waste and gives the house “a unique look.”

The house “totally suits Adam’s personality and his ingenuity and creativity,” Sullivan said. “The things that he’s added are things that I’ve never seen in any other tiny house.”

Glos’ tiny house was still incomplete at press time, but he is ahead of schedule. His goal in June was for it to be “habitable” by Thanksgiving, and habitable it is. Now he hopes to make it more comfortable with finished floors and a functional bathroom. Glos knows it won’t all be done in time for ski season.

“But when you own a house it’s never done,” he said.

The house will remain parked on his friend’s property in Wilson for the winter. Glos is still working out the logistics and legalities of living in a tiny home, as most building code regulations do not allow for such small homes on private or rented property.

“But no one’s going to stop me from living in it,” he said. “I just can’t call it a house.”

Glos built his home in response to the housing crisis. He realizes his circumstances are unique: He had the time, dedication and skill set to see the project through. But while he recognizes that there is no one solution to the housing crisis, he thinks that tiny houses could certainly be a part of it.

“It’s a piece to the puzzle,” Glos said. “It’s a versatile and alternative means of housing in a town that’s trying to find just that.”

Sullivan, who now lives in Boise, Idaho, said the city already uses tiny homes as affordable housing for the city’s low-income and homeless populations.

But tiny houses require a lot of sacrifice, Glos said. They take immeasurable amounts of time and dedication. And when they are complete they demand a certain lifestyle.

“It forces you to simplify your life,” Glos said.

In exchange, however, “you have more time for other things,” he said. “It’s comfortable to be in a space that’s your own with everything you need.”

In her essay “On Miniatures,” author Lia Purpura explores why people are so fascinated by tiny things.

“It’s why we linger over an infant’s fingers and toes, those astonishing replicas: We can’t quite believe they work,” she wrote. “Miniatures are the familiar, reduced to unfamiliarity. Miniatures are improbable, unlikely … feats of engineering. Products of an obsessive detailer.”

Glos is one such engineer.

“Adam’s the type of person that when he decides to do something he does it right,” Sullivan said. “I had no doubt … that he could pull it off.”

Standing in an empty 20-by-8-foot room, it is almost impossible to imagine an entire home fitting inside. But then the room fills with a wood stove in the corner and an oven in the kitchen and a wall with a built-in shelf enclosing the bathroom, and by some miracle it feels less tiny.

For Glos, it feels like home.

“It’s something to be proud of,” he said.

___

Information from: Jackson Hole (Wyo.) News And Guide, https://www.jhnewsandguide.com

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