Petite Homes providing small solutions to housing shortage

Originally published in The Windsor Star

Stuart Miller / MMA Architects
Stuart Miller, an architect with MMA Architect Inc. is shown at his Windsor office on Monday, August 30, 2021. PHOTO BY DAN JANISSE /Windsor Star

A Windsor firm is proposing small solutions to solve the big problem of finding affordable housing in the area.

Petite Homes is offering three different tiny home models ranging in size from 427 to 500 square feet. The basic cost for just the homes before customization will be about $86,000.

“We started in 2019 selling plans for tiny homes that people all around the world have downloaded, but what’s changed is we’re offering the residents of Essex county who want a tiny home a chance to get the whole package,” said Windsor native Michael Hoppe, who founded the firm and is the creative director for the Silicon Valley-based architectural augmented reality company Geopogo.

“As we’ve gotten our local partners in place, we can offer a one-stop-shop – design, architectural approval and permits, construction and finance.”

The other partners in Petite Homes are architect Stuart Miller (MMA Architect Inc.) Chris Weller (Alliance General Contracting) and Scott Dillingham (LendCity Mortgages).

Hoppe said the company is trying to create a new niche in the local housing market that increases the supply of affordable homes and increases urban density.

The company also plans to start producing the prefabricated pieces of the tiny homes in a Windsor factory by 2023 for shipping across North America.

“Our target markets are homeowners looking to downsize or add an in-law suite, people building them as homes for their kids who can’t get into the market, use as flex/office space or to generate rental income,” Hoppe said.

The company also offers consumers and developers the options of just buying a tiny home plan and working with their own architect and contractor.

The firm will build individual homes as well as “tiny villages.”

Petite Homes is currently working on the approval process with a local municipality for the construction of a village of tiny homes. Hoppe added a Southwestern Ontario developer, outside of Essex County, is also close to announcing a similar project.

A village of 30 homes called Surf Town, located just outside of Phoenix, Arizona, is also being planned around a giant wave pool.

“You’re going to see municipalities across southern Ontario get this issue of tiny homes on their agenda as a solution to the affordable housing crisis,” Hoppe said.

“Windsor was very progressive in allowing this. Amherstburg is also allowing it now and the Town of Essex just approved additional dwelling units.

“We want to be the name at the forefront of this in this area as this movement takes off.”

The homes come in three model styles all with one bedroom, bathroom, kitchen, laundry facilities and a living room.

Using augmented reality, consumers can mix and match all finishes, lighting and landscaping and customize their homes by virtually placing it on their property.

“In three dimensions, you’ll be able to walk around and through your home seeing everything you’ve selected as it’ll appear when it’s finished,” said Millar, founder of MMA Architect.

“You’re going to get a consistently high-quality home, the whole process will be simplified for buyers and the efficiency of construction will reduce costs.

“Smaller homes in smaller areas is a new concept that fits well in southwestern Ontario because of the lack of supply.”