Together, Johanna and Thomas Elsner are the tiny home builder company Perch & Nest, who designed and built the pictured model "Pecan." Perch & Nest is a passion-driven company to help people realize their big dreams of living small. We recently interviewed Johanna to get her insider perspective on what it means to build and live in a tiny home on wheels and how a custom plan can make tiny living accommodate almost any need (including a pot-belly pig).
Here's what she told us:
What are you known for?
My name is Johanna Elsner. Along with my husband, Thomas, a skilled "master" carpenter, we are Perch & Nest. Our shop and home are based in our hometown of Winston Salem, NC. Our tiny home niche is "residential grade" construction on wheels. Our homes are built utilizing general building code and constructed by licensed trade professionals.
What are the model(s) of tiny homes you offer and what are the prices?
We are a custom home builder so no two homes are alike. Prices and finishes vary greatly. We really enjoy helping buyers obtain a quality crafted home that also speaks to their personal style regardless of their budget.
The Green Bean:
What is the most popular model?
Because we are a custom builder and no two homes are the same design, and each of our builds has been as unique as the end user. However, our "Americana Home Line" featuring tiny takes on classic home styles is underway. We hope to roll out these designs for purchase within the year.
A lot of people are building their own tiny houses themselves. As professionals, what would you recommend for them?
We can't praise and encourage DIY tiny home builders enough. We know the hard, but gratifying journey they are about to embark on in building their own home. We always advise these folks to consult with professionals before starting their build. Most builders (like us) offer hourly consulting services. Even if you're on a tight budget, a few hours of a professional's time is money well spent to ensure you begin your build with a solid foundation. We also always advise having any and all utility systems installed by licensed professionals.
The American Pie:
Have you ever thought of downsizing and living in a tiny house?
Tiny living is our retirement plan. We are obsessed with tiny homes, to say the least, but also have another long-term passion, historic preservation. Our shop is located on a historic farm along with our 122-year-old farmhouse and stables. When we aren't building tiny homes, we are restoring our farm, raising our two children, trying our hand at gardening, and adopting farm animals. We have begun to offer tiny house parking and plan to build our tiny farmhouse on wheels in the next year or so for family travel. Although, we haven't figured out how to work our potbelly pig into the floor plan just yet.
Name one secret about tiny homes that most people would find surprising.
We enjoy seeing the faces of family and friends who accompany potential tiny dwellers on visits and tours of our homes. Not most, ALL of them have been surprised how spacious tiny [homes] can be. Most of them comment "well this is really all anyone needs" before they leave. I think it's great that even folks that would never consider a tiny lifestyle immediately are able to identify with the practicality of this growing housing option.