Small is big this week at the Tacoma Home & Garden Show at the Tacoma Dome.
Inside Tacoma’s largest space by volume are two houses — two really small houses.
They’re part of what show promoters are calling the “tiny house revolution.” It’s a movement toward living in small spaces.
“We’re meeting a lot of people who are planning to live tiny,” said builder Kurt Galley.
The two homes on display are 200 square feet each. Both have a bathroom, kitchen and sleeping lofts. All of it could fit in a large walk-in closet.
Base price: $31,500.
The homes were built by Galley’s Carriage Houses Northwest. The Shoreline-based company brought to the show two of its six models —the Northwest Cedar Bungalow and the Big Little Barn.
The homes were attracting a lot of attention.
On Thursday, showgoers entered, took a 360-degree spin and stepped out.
That’s typical, Galley said.
“It takes people about 30 seconds to see everything that they want to see,” he said.
These are not RVs. The 9-by-22-foot homes seem downright spacious compared to those.
“People say, ‘Wow. I can’t believe you got a shower and a toilet in there,’ ” Galley said.
He buys the exterior shells from an Oregon builder and finishes them to owner specifications.
He’s been making the homes since last summer. He thought customers would use them for backyard cottages, vacation homes, Airbnb rentals, home offices, art studios and mother-in-law cottages.
Instead, they are using them as a full-time living structures.
“We’re meeting a lot of young people who are prepared to live in 200 square feet,” Galley said. “Millennials are concerned about their carbon footprint. So a lot of them are already thinking small in everything that they do.”
Tiny houses are not without controversy.
“Before you even think about this, find out what your local codes are,” Galley said.
Steilacoom’s tiny house couple, Peter and Shannon Johnson, came up against town officials in 2016.
The administration ruled the couple’s 200-square-foot home could not be used as a permanent residence.
The Johnsons moved out of the home this month, after their appeal to the town was denied.
Cities in Pierce County and the county itself do not have regulations specific to tiny homes, making it a gray area for consumers looking to buy a home for a full-time residence.
One couple at Thursday’s show, Sue and Bob Japhet of Olympia, were checking out the model homes as a possible living arrangement on vacation property.
They weren’t impressed with the lofts, which require ladders to reach.
“We know what sleeping in a loft is like,” Sue said.
The 34th annual show runs through Sunday and features more than 500 exhibitors, a Vintage Market, how-to seminars, garden displays and more. Parking is free.