Living for less: Tiny homes on the rise around Virginia

Living for less: Tiny homes on the rise around Virginia

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Tiny houses are starting to pop up in Central Virginia.

Owners are disconnecting from the grid and going mobile for a fraction of the cost of a house, but, here in Central Virginia, there's one thing you absolutely need before you invest your time and money.

Seth Numrich, one of the stars of AMC's "Turn" being shot here in Richmond, has a tiny house here in the Commonwealth.

"He's here in the Richmond area about six months out of the year, so having a home that is more for him is more than what he can pull out of a suitcase is an important thing in his life," designer Thom Stanton explained.

The tiny home is filled with Numrich's personal belongings and has everything he needs in 240 square feet, including a small marine refrigerator, RV-size stove, a horse trough re-purposed into a tub, and a cubic wood stove.

Seth's sleeping loft holds a queen-size bed.

"Composting toilet, he has solar collection, rain water catchment." Thom adds.

And, the whole thing is portable and highway-safe, with Numrich's home being 18 feet by 8-and-a-half feet.

When Seth decided he wanted to build a tiny house, he went to Thom Stanton. Seth cut some costs by putting in 1,000 hours of his own time.

" You could build one for as little as $25,000," Thom said, remarking that Seth's home cost "about $40,000."

As Thom has found, The concept of living with less is catching on across America, but here, some tiny house owners have hit a snag. You have to have a designated place to put it.

"We, and most jurisdictions are, set up in subdivisions, set up for single family dwellings, it's single family. You're only allowed to have one dwelling per lot, so as soon as you introduce a second dwelling unit, you're in violation of the ordinance." according to Chesterfield County's Ron Clements, who is the Assistant Director of the Department of Building Inspection.

Same case in Henrico, plus zoning officials say homes must be at least 900 square feet.

Hanover says it's possible to own a tiny house there, but only if you have your own land and are not part of a subdivision.

Seth's tiny house should be safe where it is. His show was just renewed. When he comes back to film, his home awaits and when the show is over, he can take it with him.

Bottom line, do your homework. Ask zoning and inspections what's allowed where you live before you invest.

Copyright 2016 WWBT NBC12. All rights reserved