September 2017

Low Country Tiny House Show: Attainable Housing Solutions

Author: Kitty Bartell

Invention is the holy grail of the sciences and of design, where research and development may result in adapting what is known, or it may bring about something brand new. Creatives are generally problem solvers, and Ben Kennedy, one of the founders of New South Living, LLC, a Lowcountry land developer and builder, is stepping up with some out-of-the-box solutions designed to address the labor/housing crunch troubling area workers and businesses. The weekend of September 9-10, the Low Country Tiny House Show, presented by New South Living, Kennedy’s partnership with fellow building pundit Steve Ramsby, comes to Hilton Head Island. Education and curiosity-building are the goal. “Attainable housing is a hot topic on the island. It’s a hot topic in Bluffton,” Kennedy said. “We are using this show as an avenue to educate the public, the town, building officials, and other governing bodies. These homes can be a temporary or long-term housing solution. It’s built like a normal house with foam insulation, regular appliances, and traditional plumbing. It’s no different than a real house, except it’s smaller.” This is a right-now solution, with a ground-breaking-to-move-in schedule of approximately six to eight weeks.

Anticipating a minimum of 10 tiny houses rolling in for the show, guests will be welcome to explore all the nooks and crannies of these petite gems. Focused on high-end finishes and custom-like construction, visitors to the show will learn just how swank the tiny house lifestyle can be. “We want you to feel like you’re in this little cottage—your own oasis,” Kennedy said. “There’s a reason people go the tiny house route; it’s a paradigm shift in their thinking. Not only is it economically driven, it’s lifestyle driven.” Sixty-eight percent of tiny house owners do not have a mortgage, and 55 percent have more savings ($10,972 on average) than the typical American. Residents spend more time outdoors and report a greater sense of community, and the peace of mind that comes with lesser financial burdens and a greater ease of mobility.

Leveraging his expertise and connections, Kennedy and a team of housing professionals built their first tiny home in response to the housing need created by the historic-level flooding in 2015 that displaced many South Carolinians from their homes. “Our goal was to give back to the community. We didn’t solve the problem of people who lost houses, but we did help families.” There is a family still living in this tiny home while their house is being reconstructed. Once they are back in their home, the tiny house will be moved to assist another family in need, wherever that may be.

Answering the question of where tiny houses may be built is a crucial component to the ongoing discussions. Kennedy sees the Low Country Tiny House Show as a vehicle for continuing the already-active discussion and getting people to think a bit out-of-the-box. “We don’t have the magic answer, but we believe in Bluffton, we believe in Hilton Head, and we want to be part of the solution.” Necessity certainly seems to be the mother of invention.

For more information or to purchase tickets, please visit Located at Shelter Cove Community Park on Hilton Head Island, show dates and times are: Saturday, September 9, 9 a.m.-6 p.m.; Sunday, September 10, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tickets are $20 for one day, $35 for two days; children under age 12 are admitted free.

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