Dolores builder offers downsized, simple lifestyle

How to live in 100 square feet

Minihomes like this one simplify life with a 120 square feet and contain all the necessities: bed, kitchen, bathroom and chair at a fraction of the cost of a regular home. They are custom-built by Dolores resident Chris Curry, owner of Spice Box Homes. Enlargephoto

Courtesy Photo

Minihomes like this one simplify life with a 120 square feet and contain all the necessities: bed, kitchen, bathroom and chair at a fraction of the cost of a regular home. They are custom-built by Dolores resident Chris Curry, owner of Spice Box Homes.

Could you live in a home that is 100 square feet?

Chris Curry, owner of Spice Box Homes, knows many people can, and the reasons are economical and a “simplify your life” philosophy.

“I want to help people afford good housing that does not include an expensive 30-year mortgage,” said Curry, of Dolores. “Working your whole life to pay the mortgage is no way to live, and I want people to know it does not have to be that way.”

For Curry, 26, the solution is custom built mini-homes that use recycled materials wherever possible. His mission is to reuse in order to bring down the costs, and for basic environmental purposes.

“I’ve almost gotten arrested pulling perfectly fine construction materials from landfills,” he says. “It’s a societal problem that so much usable resources are thrown away.”

Minihomes take indoor living to it’s basic core. The homes are stick-built and insulated and come with all the necessities: sleeping area, kitchen, toilet and shower, space for a table and chair, and built-in shelves.

Cost for a basic model start out at $15,000, but the more that recycled materials are used, the cheaper the price.

The beauty of minihomes is that they are transportable, and can be conveniently pulled to the home site. They can remain on the trailer bed they’re built on, or be placed on a foundation.

“Mini-homes encourage more outdoor living and activity, and I believe that is more healthy,” Curry says. “We’ve lost contact with our natural surroundings.”

A nifty trick about minihomes is all about the surrounding deck or patio. Indoors, the basic living needs are taken care of, and the homes are a sturdy, warm shelter from the storm.

But take your meal outdoors and watch the sunset from a 200 square feet, covered deck or patio of your tiny abode, and you get the idea.

“It can be designed to increase your outdoor living space in a comfortable way, working in a sun-room, seating, BBQ area,” Curry says.

Curry’s minimalist approach can be added onto as well, as families grow or more space is needed.

“On a build site, the minihome is the first step, and a family can start living there right away, then overtime it can be added onto,” he said. “Start small, act huge.”

Curry’s eye for discarded, quality building materials is evident in well organized piles of metal siding, roofing, interior materials for kitchens and bathrooms, and lumber.

He has been experimenting with building styles including steel frames (lighter than wood), rammed earth, and adobe brick made from the property.

“By using reclaimed materials, passive solar heating, and efficient appliances, our mini homes are built to coexist with the environment,” Curry says. “We love finding unique materials: wood that nobody wanted but contains incredible designs when polished properly, little vintage RV stoves, and reclaimed barn roofing.”

Curry is an expert carpenter and brings a consulting aspect to his business on how to live on the cheap. His innovative thinking process is always on the lookout for ways to simplify.

“Land here is affordable, so there is a lot of opportunity for people to go in on something together and start a new neighborhood using sustainable practices,” he said. “Minihomes work well for industry too, providing affordable, quality housing for oil workers, or for government employees.”

For more information, visit the website at www.spiceboxhomes.com Email Chris Curry at spiceboxhomes@gmail.com.

Chris Curry, of Spice Box Homes, and his co-worker show off planks of cottonwood that will help shape a custom minihome. Visit www.spiceboxhomes.com for more information. Enlargephoto

Cortez Journal/Jim Mimiaga

Chris Curry, of Spice Box Homes, and his co-worker show off planks of cottonwood that will help shape a custom minihome. Visit www.spiceboxhomes.com for more information.