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Interview: Introducing the 160 Sq. Ft. Inaugural Tiny House by Graham Wales

I first met Graham Wales at a tiny house workshop in Wilmington, NC last year.

He immediately told me about his dreams of becoming a tiny house builder by starting his own company to offer design/build services.

I thought that was awesome and it gets better because today he’s accomplishing exactly what he told me along with completing his first tiny house on wheels project that I’m excited about showing you here today.

The house he built is called: The Inaugural. And his company: East Coast Tiny Homes.

Graham also took the time to let me interview him which you can read below.

I think you’ll really like the home since it has some space saving features that you probably haven’t seen before in other small houses so enjoy below and share what you liked most about it in the comments below.

Introducing: East Coast Tiny Houses (Interview)

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© EastCoastTinyHomes

I hope you enjoy touring his tiny house below along with the interview with Graham (founder of East Coast Tiny Homes) below:

Interior with Loft, Kitchen, Bathroom and Living Area

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Custom Built Couch with Built in Storage

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The Kitchen

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Lots of Built in Storage for all of your stuff

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Latches for Hidden Storage in the Ceiling Under Loft

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Hidden Built In Storage in the Ceiling

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Smart Space Saving Pull Out Table (Love This)

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Genius idea in my opinion (I’m sure many of you probably agree).

Sleeping Loft with Skylight and Clever Storage

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Built-in Storage in the Loft

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Compact Kitchen with Lots of Features

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Custom Table (Notice Legs)

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Interior View

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Bathroom with Normal Flush Toilet

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Washer Dryer Combo

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Shower

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Exterior of the House

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Exterior Storage

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Video

Interview with Graham of East Coast Tiny Houses

THT: So why did you start building this particular tiny house?

Ever since I knew that tiny houses were a thing I’ve been interested in them. It seems like an industry and subculture with strong, meaningful ties, and so I decided to merge my interests with tiny houses with my desire to start my own company, and after a great labor of love, I created The Inaugural.

THT: Can you tell us how it was designed? 

I believe that one of the biggest barriers to the growth of the tiny house movement is that many “outsiders” see it as a fringe thing. They see designs with things like composting toilets and tiny kitchens and minimal storage (which I think are all great) and think, “yeah, that’s cute and all, but it seems like a little too uncomfortable for me.” They see it as too much of a jump from their lifelong lifestyle to really get interested. So when I sat down to design this house, I tried to make it as appealing as possible to the masses, hence the dishwasher, washer/dryer, relatively large fridge and as much storage as I could fit in it. It’s still a tiny house in every sense, just hopefully with a broader appeal.

THT: Will the plans for it be available for purchase?

I plan on sticking to custom designs and builds for now, so I won’t be making any plans available. Just going with a different business model for the time being.

THT: How big is it in square feet inside?

The floor is 160 sq. ft. with an 87″ wide by 92″ deep loft.

THT: What are the dimensions of this house?

It is built on an 8.5′ by 20′ trailer. I pushed the width of the house to the maximum legal road width to allow as much interior space as possible. The height is right at 13’6″.

THT: Where did you get the trailer to build it on?

I bought the trailer through a company called Rigsbee Trailers in Knightdale, NC. Mr. Rigsbee was a very helpful old sage and the trailer was manufactured by Maxey Trailers in Texas. It was a pretty quick turnaround (2.5 weeks) for a custom trailer.

THT: What was the most challenging part?

I actually had very little construction experience before starting this one. I have friends that are professional carpenters that helped me think through designs and issues along the way, though. It’s difficult to point to one single issue as being the most challenging. Overall, this was a new adventure for me, and I took my time and learned more in a few months than many do in a few years.

THT: What are you going to do next?

With my company I hope to do custom designs for specific clients. I don’t aspire to have a large company, so that I can maintain a personal touch and craft the perfect house for each person. I had a ton of fun building this one and I know I will enjoy future builds just as much.

THT: What inspired you the most to start building tiny houses?

When I was probably nine or ten years old, I had a copy of the Guinness Book of World Records, and one of the records in that book was “smallest space lived in for a year” (or something like that). I was fascinated with it and vowed to beat that record. I probably won’t, but the dream never really died. I was always fascinated with cozy spaces, and when I happened upon an article much later in life about tiny houses, something clicked. I knew that this was a thing I wanted to be involved with, and everything just evolved from there.

Graham, thank you so much for taking the time to do this interview and for sharing your tiny house with us.

Learn more about Graham and his company East Coast Tiny Homes over at his Facebook Page and click the Like button to stay in touch with him there. Note: this tiny house is for sale.

If you enjoyed this Inaugural tiny home you’ll love our free daily tiny house newsletter with more!

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Alex

Alex is a contributor and editor for TinyHouseTalk.com and the always free Tiny House Newsletter. He has a passion for exploring and sharing tiny homes (from yurts and RVs to tiny cabins and cottages) and inspiring simple living stories. We invite you to send in your story and tiny home photos too so we can re-share and inspire others towards a simple life too. Thank you!
{ 41 comments… add one }
  • Mopsa March 13, 2014, 12:06 pm

    I love this tiny house. The interior is stunning! Great job!

  • jerryd March 13, 2014, 1:19 pm

    Great work and even more so because of being new at construction. But he has a great eye for practical design and making it look great, so important if you want to sell them.

    His business model is going to be much more in the future, a tiny company doing a few units/yr can be more profitable and far less hassle than a bigger one.

    And not just in stickbuilt TH’s but in trailers, boats, cars, EV’s, Renewable energy, MC’s, MC trikes, MC sportscars, food production/hydroponics, etc the future is a person or 3 getting together and making good things locally.

    My business model for companies I’m starting up is design, build, test products like the above list that many can do locally, say 1 EV MC/week could have a nice $1ook/yr profit. Though do high end ones and do only 10/yr for the same money.

    TH’s are the same. Since most of costs are employees by doing most of the work a person makes most of the money, thus five/yr making $40-70k/yr profit.

    But can only be done by keeping overheads, costs low like living where you work and pricing them realistically and building on orders, not spec other than the first one if needed. Once known for good quality and price, you can just pick your work is smarter than hiring more than a person or 2.

    Graham has a great start here and should do well.

  • Joe March 13, 2014, 1:25 pm

    Maybe I missed it, but how do you get to the loft?

  • Tenderloin March 13, 2014, 5:20 pm

    Really packed a lot of nice features into a small space. One of the best tiny homes I”ve seen. But I’m still puzzled why a person attempting to build a tiny home would use full-size fixtures. Furniture, toilets, cabinets, fridges, sinks, doorways, and even the electrical system (12-volt) are downsized in an RV to provide the maximum possible amenities in the smallest space. And yet they remain very livable. So, why don’t tiny home builders use fixtures made for the RV industry? Tiny homes with full-size fixtures are just overbuilt campers–and you’re probably better off just buying a camper if you want something that small. I think it would be far more helpful to humanity (and would probably meet a more positive reception by a larger number of people) if those interested in promoting compact, cost- and resource-efficient living put more effort into re-imagining the small (not tiny) house. Something between 500-1000 square feet. If all the creativity and inventiveness displayed in these tiny home prototypes was applied to something just a little bit bigger, You could have a practical, affordable concept with a much broader appeal.

    • cheryl March 13, 2014, 8:04 pm

      Sounds like a great idea Tenderloin! For you. And maybe for lots of others.

      That said, there are others who prefer tiny homes, and will find lots to love here!

  • Lori Eanes March 13, 2014, 7:41 pm

    I like everything except the toilet right in front of the door at the end. It’s best to keep the toilet out of view… Everything else is well thought out

    • Paul April 7, 2014, 6:39 pm

      Lori, the toilet is in view for the photographs so you can see its placement in the house. But, it has a sliding door which fits in the wall cavity. My feeling is, if you were in there by yourself you probably (well I wouldn’t) have the door closed all the time. But, if 2 or more living there most likely you would. The bathroom/toilet/laundry does have a window thereby allowing extra light in when the door is open.

  • Comet March 13, 2014, 8:05 pm

    Where does the full size “regular flush” toilet and the extremely tiny washbasin sized “shower” DRAIN TO??? Is there a giant holding black/gray water tank under there somewheres?

    I do admire the clever boat like storage altho unless I missed something the “roof storage” looks like– a panel with 2×4’s on it? How do the stored things stay–stored?

    The kitchen however–now THAT I like! Better designed and with way MORE storage than the one in my actual house. And the pull out table—that and the shortened leg table are genius. Def something to be kept in mind–just today I was looking at a book case sticking way out from the wall due to an elec baseboard we have never used. But you can’t exactly rip them out now can we?

  • john March 13, 2014, 8:10 pm

    Clever ideas never get old…the storage in the loft floor is great. I also like the mini split AC/heat system.
    He’s right, too many see things like composting toilets and refuse to consider that it’s a choice not an imperative in a tiny home. That said, that nice toilet won’t be working on the road or at your new location without some plumbing being hooked up to existing service at the new location.
    The number of older people who keep posting about loft issues are growing, someone should look into why so many older people are attracted to tiny homes and build a few models for them….though a bed will take up half the room in these trailer based homes…a trade off that would make it hard to squeeze anything else in. They’ll be frying bacon and eggs from bed.
    Those same older folks aren’t usually driving trucks capable of towing them either…it seems so odd to me that they have latched on to an idea that doesn’t suit them very well. It makes me wince to think about all those older ladies driving trucks towing 10,000 to 15,000 pound trailers down the nations highways……you sure won’t be towing them with your cute little gas sippers.

    • Cosy March 13, 2014, 9:16 pm

      John, I know you were attempting humor in your older people statement. I happen to be what you would probably consider an ‘older person’ & I see know reason why these wonderfully creative builders won’t be able to accommodate a single level tiny home if requested. In fact I’ve seen several very nice home without loft bedrooms. As to your towing concern, most of the ‘older ladies’ who comment here have no desire to move their home around. I will add though that the first vehicle I learned to drive was my dad’s standard Ford pickup truck. I’ve also towed ski boats for years & not so very long ago towed my car (an SUV ) behind a uhaul truck
      cross country, so I don’t think I’m ready to turn in my car keys for a motorized wheelchair just yet.

      • john March 14, 2014, 9:32 am

        Good for you Cosy!!
        I love a woman who can drive a stick, and ignores what is expected of their gender and what is not. I was trying for humor…the humor has the bite of truth for some.
        I think that many older folks would be well served with “mother in law cottages” it’s sad that people move around so often building in their backyard makes no sense. It’s sad that so many children don’t consider aging parents while looking for homes themselves, it’s sad that so many are trapped in the rental market.
        There are many cultures around the world that revere older people, that plan to care for them, but in the US it’s very uncommon to find children who plan for anything but a nursing home.
        A “granny flat” or “mother in law suite” should be a priority for adult children who buy homes…building code around the nation should allow for it in every backyard. Just imagine the pressure taken off of our elderly parents, the medical system, the nursing facilities…medicaid and social security should even contribute to those costs in building them…it would save money. It would improve the well being and health of the elderly by keeping them close to family.

        • Shelia April 8, 2014, 2:54 pm

          Granny flats are a great idea. Now go talk sense into all the zoning committees in the US. Very few allow them.

    • rivka March 15, 2014, 3:59 pm

      John, I’m 57, a woman, and can drive almost anything but a tractor trailer. Have driven trucks, tractors, boats , 4 wheelers (ATVs) in the Alaskan bush, snowmachines (snowmobiles), Class C RVs, pulled trailers and 5th wheels and horse trailers, all of this all over the US. Women have fewer accidents than men. Time to leave the women driver comments out of the convo. 🙂

      • Paul April 7, 2014, 6:48 pm

        Rivka, he “was” trying to inject a little humour into the conversation. Point taken that women have fewer accidents than men… but, statistically men drive more miles than women, and women also tend to be more cautious. Also, across the population I think that drivers of large loads/vehicles would be mainly men by a pretty big order of magnitude.

        • Rivka April 7, 2014, 7:43 pm

          I realize that, thus the smiley. 🙂 True, most of the larger vehicles/loads are hauled by men. It’s a guy thing. 😉

  • Cosy March 13, 2014, 8:51 pm

    I would never guess that this is your first time building project. Very well done! I could definitely live there.

  • Dominick Bundy March 13, 2014, 9:55 pm

    Absolutely perfect! in every aspect. there is nothing I’d do here to alter or change anything. This is one of the most well thought out tiny homes ever presented..

  • coffeewitholiver March 13, 2014, 10:07 pm

    Sharon from the facebook comments, you’ve described exactly what I plan to do with my own Tiny House! Great minds, and all that. 🙂 I want to do a bit of variation by having the fold out portion be split in two, to allow a larger, comfy cuddling spot on the couch without having the whole space taken up by the bed platform – not sure if I described it very well, but once it’s done I’ll be putting up pictures.
    I agree that having a bed on the lower level is a really good idea, even though I plan on sleeping in my loft. What if I have company stay over, or what if I can’t get into the loft because I, I don’t know, broke a leg or something. Just nice to have the option. 🙂
    Parker

  • susan March 13, 2014, 10:27 pm

    I believe older people are attracted to tiny homes because they are nearing retirement and would like to own a house outright that is a reasonable price. That’s why I like them. Then I will have a chance to live on my Social Security checks. Younger people don’t understand the difficulity of ladders or stairs for older people. Its really hard to believe when you are young that one day you will be less steady on your feet. I never thought I would be afraid to fall. It’s all over if you fall. Personally, I would prefer a small house I’m just not sure I could afford it. Love to look at tiny home plans and try to figure out where I can put it. I have no intention of driving around with it.

  • 2BarA March 13, 2014, 10:52 pm

    John, your comment about older female drivers reminded me of an incident
    about a decade ago. My late husband and I were travelling on a US Interstate in our camper van, which I would not drive as I thought it was too big. We stopped at a rest area and in rolled a very big truck with a 5th-wheel trailer in tow and, behind that, another trailer hauling a large boat and motor. Out of the driver’s seat got an older woman, barely five feet tall, and about 100 lbs. at most. Her husband was a tall man with a severely under-developed right leg, which would explain why she was the driver. She had all the confidence in the world. After that, I learned to drive the camper van.

    • john March 14, 2014, 9:34 am

      Great story!
      There are many capable women…and many who are not…it’s never too late to become capable!

  • Rich March 13, 2014, 10:57 pm

    ….what is the “short-circuit” vent by the bathroom window? A good example of why there are plumbing, building, and other safety codes.

  • Doug March 14, 2014, 12:56 am

    Very nicely done.

    A couple of suggestions:
    Flip the doors under the couch down instead of up, could have small bins on the doors and much easier to see inside.
    Have a fold down leg for the short leg and latch on the black custom table, then it could be moved around also.

  • Jean Copley March 14, 2014, 2:14 am

    East Coast Tiny Homes Company – It’s good to find some one a little closer
    to where we live, the West Virginia Area. I am looking for a future retirement home , downsizing but not quite this small and of course no loft with ladders to climb up. So you may want to consider some larger cabin like houses for the aging baby boomers also.

  • Maria March 15, 2014, 7:39 am

    I would like to know how long and wide the couch is. If it is about 7 feet long then you could put in an Ikea day bed that pulls out to sleep two people, so by day you have a couch and at night a bed. Where the pull down shelf is put a pull down door with stairs to the loft and use it for storage instead. Just a thought for older folks like me who don’t want to sleep in a loft.

  • Lori Hagen April 6, 2014, 4:11 pm

    Love all the hidden storage, but the one thing I see time and again is the built in couch. It might as well be a park bench. Comfort is a must and the padded bench is insufficient, although the storage below is great. I would like to see more thought put into comfortable built in seating. Love the table, but the three legs prohibit moving it anywhere else, say on to a deck for an outdoor meal. Altogether great look and I do love the kitchen.

    • Paul April 7, 2014, 6:53 pm

      Valid comment on the table with the short leg. However, that could easily be overcome by having a folding leg extension that fold down if you were to take it outside. Would just need a latch like on the roof storage things that he shows for stability while in use.

    • Alex April 8, 2014, 8:06 am

      Good call Lori

  • Ursula April 7, 2014, 4:44 am

    Why do they need such an absurdley giant fridge and a dishwasher? Would there live more than 2 persons ? With 2 you don’t need a dishwasher. In Europe you would put a normal size fridge in the place where the diswasher is and save a lot of space and energy.

  • Catherine Wilson April 7, 2014, 11:47 am

    Hi! I just love all the thoughtfully planned niches and pullouts. Great carpentry for someone who’s not a pro!!! I’d ditch the dishwasher tho!! How many square feet are given up for that convenience?? Waste of space and money in my opinion. I doodle around with designs myself and other than using stairs to a loft I would like to see a version of Jay Schaeffer’s bed in his old Popomo design. A cosy downstairs niche that could have storage underneath and at each end of the bed. Make it up nicely, and voila! It’s a sofa too!! Placed at the end of the trailer, it could look very appealing too.

  • Paul April 7, 2014, 7:00 pm

    Tenderloin, it is my experience that appliances for RV’s are a pain in the you know what. Too small for storage of food items etc. Clothes don’t magically get smaller in size just because you have a tiny home. Sure, you’ll probably have less in qty but still a shirt/dress still takes up x amount of space whether in a tiny home or the late Aaron Spellings GINORMOUS estate.

    The only RV type fixture I’d consider is a small sink for washing the dishes etc.

  • Paul April 7, 2014, 7:05 pm

    The only things I see here which I have not seen before is lifting the refrigerator up on a cabinet thereby getting more storage, and putting the laundry in behind the toilet. I think that, given the design of the house is sheer genius. I noticed on the outside there is storage under the shelf where the washing machine sits. Great use of space.

    As Mr Spock from Star Trek would have said, “Logical Captain, simply logical.”

  • Johna388 July 20, 2014, 4:37 pm

    You could certainly see your skills within the work you write. The world hopes for more passionate writers like you who arent afraid to say how they believe. Always follow your heart. gecafadeakde

  • Wendy August 8, 2014, 8:02 pm

    I have seen the tall man tiny homes and love the idea since I’m 6’2″ and the hubby 6’7″. I wish they would talk about the dimensions of ceilings and bathrooms etc. I’m trying to design a tiny home for us to live with our daughter while we built a small but bigger home. And later we want to keep the tiny home for my mother in law or to rent it out or as a traveling camper.

  • Camille February 14, 2015, 8:06 pm

    So glad to see a white painted interior here! It seems to me that in a space as tiny as this, allowing for as much light as possible makes the space seem bigger and more livable. It’s a trick interior designers have known for years. Though I understand that there’s not a ton of wall space, using a large mirror also helps to open up the space visually. Love those skylights and the couch/bench with storage too. Smart!

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