Small is in, and it’s not just when it comes to micro-apartments in an increasing number of large cities. Many homeowners are eager to go the minimalist route, often for a vacation cottage or even retreat. When Dan Dobrowolski designed the Canoe Bay resort in northwestern Wisconsin more than 25 years ago, he worked with Frank Lloyd Wright protégé John Rattenbury to develop a prototype. Guests liked the cottages so much that they asked him to replicate them for their own sites. Dobrowolski did, and the ESCAPE Homes concept was born, with homes all under 400 square feet (about the size of a studio apartment) since that’s what he found most wanted. The first examples offered comfortable living with their separate areas to live, sleep, cook, bathe, plus enjoy the outdoors within the shelter of a screened porch. And they were stylish with vintage oak floors, butcher-block kitchen table and counters, and built-in bookshelves. Exteriors were wrapped in cedar lap siding, and their good insulation made them practical for extreme heat or cold. Variations came along in slightly different dimensions and with a second-bedroom option, or a more vintage exterior look and interior ladder to a loft sleeping area. A trailer with the ESCAPE Vintage model allows the cottage to be easily transported. Additional options include a washer and dryer, flat-screen TV with Blu-ray, USB outlets, stone countertops, cellular shades, and exterior shower. Although it’s built like a cottage, the ESCAPE homes fall under the Park Model RV regulations that don’t require a foundation and aren’t subject to property taxes. Costs range from almost $60,000 to $98,000, delivery can be within 90 days, they arrive fully assembled, and all models include a two-year warranty. Since its debut, more than 200 have sold. Down the road, Dobrowolsi, who himself lives in a 1,200-square-foot home, sees Tiny Home communities popping up all over the United States.
What: ESCAPE Traveler RV
Where: Rice Lake, Wisconsin
Founder and owner: Dan Dobrowolski