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Cottages on Vaughn: Half-Acre Pocket Neighborhood with Tiny Homes

It’s no surprise to anyone that there’s a housing crisis, and a need for more affordable and diverse housing options, but the folks at MicroLife Institute worked hard to do something about it. They teamed up with the city of Clarkson, Georgia — a suburb of Atlanta — to create a “micro pocket neighborhood” with eight homes ranging from 250 to 550 square feet. When they broke ground in 2019, they already had an interest list of 1,500 people!

Eight lucky folks purchased their micro-cottages for between $119,000 and $201,000 — the homes include shared edible and renewable landscaping, and there are solar panels and other “green” initiatives on site. While we can’t go live there, MicroLife Institute is selling plans for their homes, and their website has tons of resources for replicating their initiative in other semi-urban settings where there’s a need for housing.

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Eight Tiny Homes in New Atlanta Micro Community

You can see the blue cottage has awesome solar panels.

Everyone has a parking space.

This is one of the smaller cottages.

Edible landscaping provides supplementary food.

The inside of one of the cottages.

Happy owner and spacious kitchen.

Living area.

Another look at the kitchen.

Village plans.


The new pocket neighborhood, situated on a half-acre lot a block away from downtown Clarkston, includes eight micro-cottage homes, a common green space for gathering, and climate-conscious development features such as solar panels and edible, regenerative landscaping. You can now purchase our 250 square foot floor plan as well as our 492 cottage home plan.

Learn more:

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Natalie C. McKee

Natalie C. McKee is a contributor for Tiny House Talk and the Tiny House Newsletter. She's a wife, and mama of three little kids. She and her family are homesteaders with sheep, goats, chickens, ducks and quail on their happy little acre.

Latest posts by Natalie C. McKee (see all)

{ 15 comments… add one }
  • Fran Marie
    December 6, 2021, 8:14 pm

    These are nice. This is a nice community. I don’t know that I would want to be that close to the next house, though.

  • Stephan of Arkansas
    December 6, 2021, 8:27 pm

    Very well done! I adore this kind of thing! How lovely it would be to have blocks of small/tiny house “villages” scattered through a town rather than several floor multi-apartment “ghetto blocks” (as my late Mother called them) as is happening in my beautiful home town of Fayetteville, Arkansas. My town is the home of the mother campus of the University of Arkansas with 30,000 or so (it rises each year) out of area students, each of whom needs local housing. The developers here have for years (and continue to) build large blocks of apartments, which are approved by the city authorities. A dear friend of mine (Harvard PhD… a kind scholarly gentleman) recently spend 4 months in my town and his verdict: “This lovely town is being ruined by new blocks of privately-owned high rise apartments that are spreading like a terrible disease.” How much better it would be for these small/tiny house villages to be approved and built instead. No doubt it is more expensive to build clusters of small/tiny house villages than 3 to 5 story high-rise apartment complexes, and of course developers go for the bottom line: PROFIT. Anyhow…. highest praises to the city government of Clarkston, Georgia, and the developers that created this lovely in-town village. These comments are respectfully submitted. Stephan of Arkansas

    • Eric
      October 23, 2022, 5:29 pm

      Exactly what is happening in New Zealand… ironically introduced by a Labour Government, rather than a National Government. We’ve got to house immigrants… why? We’ve got a population of just over 5 million now. I don’t want hordes of immigrants flooding the country. But no, the Labour Government says we have to. I suspect a vast majority of people here think the same way. But “Jacinda” has decided and made it a “right” to build 6 stories. One look at what has transpired in Wellington fair gives me the sh*ts.

    • Paula Brady
      January 30, 2024, 7:21 pm

      I’ll bet you’ll really enjoy lugging everything you buy from the parking lot to your house in the humidity and rain. UGH….can’t fathom spending 150k+ and can’t park next to my side door. They may be pretty but NOT practical.

      • January 30, 2024, 7:56 pm

        Hi Paula. It seems to me that yours is a fair comment. Small or tiny house living — especially without adjacent parking — is not for everybody. No doubt there will be such housing with a parking place right in front of or beside it, so that would be for folks like U. I am almost 75 years old, with rheumatoid arthritis, and walk slowly with a cane. As it is now, I walk approx 65 ft from my parking place to my apartment door… and I am glad to do it. It forces me to stay active. But hey, to U what U like; to me what I like. Hopefully U would agree that to each her/his/its own.

      • James D.
        January 31, 2024, 3:00 am

        Proximity to parking isn’t always an issue, as some people just don’t travel and it has become popular to have just about everything covered by a delivery service. Especially, after the lock down made such services more wide spread.

        While some people don’t get enough exercise and may find short walks actually beneficial.

        So, whether practical or not will vary on the individual and their situation. Along with level of willingness or resistance to adapting…

  • Maria Kentala
    December 7, 2021, 6:01 am

    They are cute but way out of my price range. I have a 3 bedroom 2 bath house that I only paid 120,000.00 for. I have a nice big back yard and a nice size front yard. I would like to go tiny,but the prices out there are too high for me. I’m retired and only have an income of 564.00 per month. Thank god my house is paid for.

    • James D.
      December 7, 2021, 8:49 am

      Location is always a factor on the pricing of any real estate property. Generally, the more rural the lower the costs and the more urban then the higher the costs, along with other variables like supply and demand, tract home vs high end custom, what is and isn’t included, and old vs new as most of the cost would be in new construction but that doesn’t get passed on to subsequent owners… So they won’t all be in this price range, just these in this location and time…

      While there could be ways to leverage your existing property to live a more efficient life without needing to actually switch to a tiny house… There’s usually multiple ways to do just about anything. Just also always trade offs and what works best will vary upon situation…

  • Licha
    December 8, 2021, 12:40 pm

    Can I just buy the home plans & blue print? If so,how? & how much?

    • Dick
      December 10, 2021, 5:14 pm

      @Licha, https://www.microlifeinstitute.org/shop.

      @Stephan of Arkansas, we really like Fayetteville! I’d love to live in one of the loft apartments on the square, or at least somewhere within walking distance to Hugo’s (for those who don’t know, a basement cafe off of Fayetteville’s town square that serves great food). Our problem is affordability.

      • May 11, 2023, 6:42 am

        Greetings Dick @Licha,
        My hometown of Fayetteville, Ark., is delightful in every way EXCEPT THAT it is growing much too rapidly and now has approx 90,000 residents. Old town Fayetteville is beautifully green with mature trees dotting the landscape. But the new outer areas of Fayetteville are, in my view, suffocating. Developers are building multiple dozens of houses at a time, whole blocks in fact, that are crammed closely together, with mature trees bulldozed and later tiny 5 ft tall stick saplings are planted in place of them, and far too often the developers do not take the time/money to water and groom such saplings and so many of them die. Old town is the place to be, but prices have sky-rocketed and are beyond budget of my middle class friends. A condo on The Square is I understand is more than $1.5 million. As U say, Hugo’s restaurant just off The Square is a delight. These comments are respectfully submitted. Stephan of Arkansas

  • Donna Rae
    December 16, 2021, 1:49 pm

    Pocket neighborhoods were very popular around the turn of the last century and were beautiful. This neighborhood is great! I love the cottagey feel to all of the homes and even though some will say they are too close together, I see neighborhoods with McMansions that don’t have much space between houses, either. Many people with busy lives or who no longer want the work of a big yard will appreciate these smaller than normal lots…I would, for sure! I have been suggesting something similar to my own City for years but so far there is no movement in that direction. These are so much better than apartments and thankfully smaller than the monster houses we see being built. Smaller houses on smaller lots are an excellent way to make single family homes affordable either as a starter home or a retirement community. Hope there aren’t any HOA’s…I’d like to do the gardening myself and don’t want the added monthly expense. If I could change one thing it would be to have my parking space right by my house. I’m sure creative planning could make that possible so it didn’t feel like apartment living.

  • Donna Rae
    December 16, 2021, 3:00 pm

    If we are to have any wild areas left in the years to come, we all better get used to the idea of high density housing. Our city has some very attractive condo/apartment complexes and they may not be for everyone, but they utilize land really well. These small-house pocket neighborhoods are a great alternative for those who really don’t want to share walls…though if apartment buildings were insulated properly, we wouldn’t hear each other which is one of the biggest complaints…and want a little land to putter around in and have a BBQ grill, etc.. Location, as mentioned in several comments, is key to pricing but the smaller lot sizes should help to make homes more affordable. In all of history, homes that are closer to downtown are generally more expensive and I can’t see that being different but what if these small communities went a bit further and had businesses that would provide jobs, too, to reduce commute times and use less fuel. Clusters of small neighborhoods could share a common shopping area with a grocery store, dry cleaner, small shops and other places that would provide both jobs and services. How great it would be to have these small communities be near railways for those who still work a distance away? We all need to start thinking differently to make our growing population fit into smaller spaces than in the past when land seemed to go on and on without end. I don’t know all the answers but I do know our mindset has to shift if we are to have a good quality of life for everyone. Water will become scarce in some areas, electricity is expensive everywhere and getting worse, McMansions are unwelcoming and poorly designed multifamily buildings can become a blight quickly. Those who live in dense housing need to take some responsibility for keeping it nice looking as do the landlords if they are rentals. Yes, some families need a large house so we need to come up with combination neighborhoods. We all better try to think in ways that benefit the community while still providing good choices.

  • Laura J Smyser
    December 28, 2021, 6:09 am

    Cool. I like them.

  • audrey
    October 26, 2022, 9:44 am

    I wish someone would build a community like this in the Charlottesville area. I love it!

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