Inside the “Matchbox,” there’s plenty of room for romance. (Just don’t rock too hard, or the 150-square-foot home-on-wheels might come off its foundation.)
“It’s definitely very cozy,” said Jay Austin, the 24-year-old federal government staffer and self-described “lifestyle artist,” who designed his tiny home atop a trailer in northeast D.C.
“A tiny house is sort of a great filter. Some women will be scared away by it certainly, but I find the people I’d be compatible with are sort of into the notion of the tiny houses,” he told “Power Players.”
“You sort of have to have a sense of humor to appreciate it,” he added.
Humor, and most definitely tolerance for tight spaces and few luxuries of modern city living.
“It’s off-grid, totally unplugged and self-sustaining,” Austin said, “meaning there is no propane shipped in, no natural gas being moved in to power the unit.”
Water is collected from the roof and “rain chains,” triple-filtered and stored in tanks for the shower and sink. Electricity will come from solar panels. There is no hard-wire cable TV.
That smell of cedar inside? The sawdust material for flushing a composting toilet that sits directly below the bed.
“The bucket method,” Austin calls it. “That works really well. It’s a great way of ensuring that we’re not flushing waste into” nearby creeks.
The “Matchbox” is part of a community of tiny homes that has transformed an abandoned alley in the shadow of the U.S. Capitol to a vibrant and efficient use of urban space.
The designer homes are pioneering new ways of living for eco- and cost-conscious millennials, while skirting zoning laws by technically qualifying as impermanent dwellings.
Hot tub? Check. Fire pit? Check. A grassy yard to host social spillover from those tiny living rooms? Check.
What began as an experiment now appears to be thriving, giving more evidence that the “tiny home” concept has taken hold nationwide and is winning over new fans.
“I don’t think it will ever be the ubiquitous American Dream,” Austin said. “I think it’s always going to be somewhat of a fringe activity, but I do think that people will start steering away from the notion of the 2,000-square-foot white picket fence home with the garage.”
What’s the biggest drawback of living there, and what lessons can tiny home owners teach full-size-home dwellers? Check out the latest episode of “Power Players.”
ABC News' Alexandra Dukakis, Tom Thornton, Chris Carlson, and David Girard contributed to this episode.