Justin Draplin is a visionary entrepreneur who is going vertical with tiny house development by building tiny homes, developing tiny home communities, and also developing and manufacturing technology for the homes in-house. In this wide-ranging interview, Justin tells me why “tiny house” is a bit of a swear word in his company, his mentality about finding land for development, and some of the features of these impressive cottages.
In This Episode:
- What Eclipse Cottages is doing differently
- Why they don’t use the term “tiny home”
- How Justin chooses locations for his villages
- No wood? Benefits of metal SIPs explained
- Justin’s advice on entrepreneurship
- How do you research what is allowed?
Links and Resources:
- Eclipse Cottages article in Dwell
- Lutron Caseta smart switch kits
Justin Draplin is the very definition of a serial entrepreneur. He’s spearheaded several business ventures – from children’s superhero capes to his eco-friendly tiny homes. When he’s not busy being a husband and dad, Justin can be found on-site at any of his tiny home communities. He oversees everything from design to manufacturing, ensuring that every piece of the home is up to standard. Not only is he bringing tiny home culture to Travelers Rest, SC – he’s bringing jobs too. The manufacturing plant is nestled right at the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains, employing people from all over the community. Draplin’s innovative ideas and passion for his community have blossomed into a business that has gone above and beyond what he ever considered.
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The cottages are on wheels, hidden by skirting
The main floor is very open
The cottages are constructed with metal SIPs
They have stairs, instead of a ladder, to the loft
There is a vaulted-ceiling loft option that allows an adult to stand up
There is room for a washer/dryer under the stairs
Justin Draplin 0:00
If we know that this is what this land will allow, we'll look at it like that first because quite frankly, trying to arm wrestle land into something that it's not currently allowed to be there is expensive and time consuming.
Ethan Waldman 0:17
Welcome to the Tiny House Lifestyle Podcast, the show where you learn how to plan, build and live the tiny lifestyle. I'm your host, Ethan Waldman, and this is Episode 199, with Justin Draplin. This is a wide ranging interview with a visionary entrepreneur who is both developing tiny home communities, and also developing technology for tiny homes and manufacturing those technologies in-house. So this is covering the full spectrum or not the full spectrum. But as we talk about in the interview, Justin is going vertical with tiny house development. And we'll also talk about why Eclipse homes are not called tiny homes. They're actually called cottages. Justin actually remarked that that tiny home is a bit of a swear word in the office. So we'll dig in to that. We'll talk about Justin's mentality when it comes to finding land for development, and also just some of the features of these impressive small homes. I hope you stick around.
But before we get started, did you know that I personally send a tiny house newsletter every week on Tuesdays. It's called Tiny Tuesdays and it's a weekly email with tiny house news, interviews, photos and resources. It's free to subscribe and I even share sneak peeks of things that are coming up, ask for feedback about upcoming podcast guests and more. It's really the best place to keep a pulse on what I'm doing in the tiny house space and also stay informed of what's going on in the tiny house movement. To sign up, go to thetinyhouse.net/newsletter, where you can sign up for the tiny Tuesday's newsletter. And of course you can unsubscribe at any time, I will never send you spam. And if you ever don't want to receive emails, it's easy to unsubscribe. So again, that's thetinyhouse.net/newsletter. Thanks and I hope you enjoy next week's Tiny Tuesdays newsletter.
Alright, I am here with Justin Draplin. Justin Draplin is the very definition of a serial entrepreneur. He has spearheaded several business ventures from children's superhero capes to his eco friendly tiny homes. When he's not busy being a husband and dad, Justin can be found on-site at any of his tiny home communities. He oversees everything from design to manufacturing, ensuring that every piece of the homes is up to standard. Not only is he bringing tiny home culture to Travelers Rest, South Carolina, he's bringing jobs to the manufacturing plant is nestled right at the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains employing people from all over the community. Draplin's innovative ideas and passion for his community has blossomed into a business that has gone above and beyond what he ever considered. Justin Draplin. I'm excited to have you on the show to talk about these Eclipse cottages.
Justin Draplin 3:11
Great. Thanks for having me.
Ethan Waldman 3:12
Yeah, you're very welcome. Can you tell me a bit about about the project how you got into it?
Justin Draplin 3:17
Yeah, I mean we got into tiny homes, I basically found a very pretty piece of land and wanted to do something there. It was close to town on a biking path. And I came across tiny homes. I mean, I knew of tiny homes, um, but got more into them as somebody recommended I do them here. And so I started developing the land to bring in tiny homes. And then from there, I started looking at building my own. My dad was a builder, a fireman, by trade but built homes on the side. So it always been interesting to me. So I'd always been researching, you know, new techniques and trying to stay up on the latest and greatest construction methods. And so when COVID hit and I was starting to have problems getting product, I decided that that would be a good time to start building my own.
Ethan Waldman 4:12
Yeah. So what when you say you are having trouble getting product what you know, what kind of business were you in before?
Justin Draplin 4:20
Well, it was with the tiny homes,
Ethan Waldman 4:21
Justin Draplin 4:22
I developed the land. We were bringing in tiny homes from other builders,
Ethan Waldman 4:26
Justin Draplin 4:27
And we were just hitting just these insane delays where we had a, we'd have a delivery date, they push it back like three months then they push back another month and they push it back another month. And it was kind of one of those things of well if I have to deal with that kind of delays I might as well be building on myself. Now obviously we've hit our own delays as well because the delays are a lot of it's with materials and labor and stuff like that but figured if I got to deal with delays anyway, I might as well spend that time doing something constructive.
Ethan Waldman 4:57
So yeah, so these homes are 399 square feet? Can you give our listeners a sense of kind of the dimensions of the home? Like what how does that translate out into livable space? And then what? What are the kind of general what's the layout?
Justin Draplin 5:14
Yeah, so um, we basically build them all at about 11 foot 8wide by 34 foot 2 inches long. And they're all a pretty basic layout, you go in the front door, on the skinny side, right, or hot dog ways, yes, I tell my kids. And you go on the one side, and you walk into the living room, which is just an open space, which goes right into the kitchen, which continues that open space. So it keeps as much open space, right when you walk in as possible. Right on the other side of that wall, you have a bathroom. And then on the other side of the bathroom is the bedroom. Next, kind of across, there's a hallway that goes in front of the the bathroom. And on the other side of the hallway is where you could put your laundry center. So it's not a whole room, but you could put your laundry stuff there. And then there is stairs from in the living room, stairs that would go up into a loft that can be used either either as storage, or an additional sleeping space.
Ethan Waldman 6:17
Okay. And there. So for people listening who want to see these homes, they've been beautifully photographed. And I will put pictures up on the show notes page, which will be at thetinyhouse.net/199. And so you can see these pictures, if you're if you're not driving your car or walking down the street, if you want to take a look at them while we talk. You're definitely welcome to do that. So, in terms of sleeping spaces, how many bedrooms are we talking here?
Justin Draplin 6:49
Yeah, so it depends, you know, we do count the one room on the main floor as the kind of the master bedroom because most people don't like climbing up into a loft to go to, you know, to go to bed. But you know, the loft can be used for whatever, can use it as a bedroom can use it as storage, whatever that person wants to use it.
Ethan Waldman 7:09
And, and that, you know, when I would say most of my listeners are thinking of a loft, they're thinking of a tiny house on wheels, they're thinking of a ladder, not being able to stand full height. This loft looks quite a bit more like an actual second floor.
Justin Draplin 7:28
Yeah. And so and they can go to our website to to see some of this stuff, which is www.EclipseCottages.com. We do have a vaulted loft option.
Ethan Waldman 7:39
Justin Draplin 7:40
So it doesn't they don't have to get the taller loft, but we do have a vaulted loft option, which will get you you know, pretty much anybody will be able to stand up in the middle of it. Maybe not on the sides because of the pitch of the roof. But it doesn't it does give you a lot more the feeling of a lot more livable space.
Ethan Waldman 7:57
Justin Draplin 7:58
So we do have people putting offices up their bedrooms up there. It just makes it a lot more livable.
Ethan Waldman 8:05
Nice. So let's talk about the kind of the efficiency and the just some of the things that I mentioned in the intro around the insulation and the thermal brakes and all that.
Justin Draplin 8:22
Yeah, so we're building what basically amounts to the most net positive home mass produced that currently exists. You know, we do, every single home that we build has a full solar roof. So not you know, it's it's it's our own proprietary product. So we are getting it manufactured ourselves. But it is an integrated steel solar roof, as opposed to a roof with solar panels on top. It's actually integrated into the roof. So every home comes standard with that every home comes built with steel SIP construction, which is a structurally insulated panel. And that allows us to have a higher degree of insulation, you know that having that full vapor barrier if you think of traditional construction. Everywhere that you have a stud which is usually 16 inches on center is basically like event. So you even if even if you go bigger if you go a 6 inch wall and you're using traditional construction, you've got event every 16 inches, which really hurts the insulation, no matter how thick you put your insulation, you're still going to have those vents where that wood is because wood is a terrible, terrible insulator. So what ours is, is basically creates an entire break of thermal protection. So fiberglass or closed cell foam is between the outside and the inside everywhere. There isn't even so much as nail or a screw that pierces through both sides of everything gets gets secured into insulation.
Ethan Waldman 10:08
Got it. Yeah. And, and our listeners are definitely familiar with the concept of thermal bridging. If I've done my job, it's something that that we talked about a good amount and, and they've heard about SIPs to and I think, you know, what's what's interesting and unique here is that we're seeing that this can be applied to homes that are slightly bigger than, than a tiny house on wheels. And you can you can wind up with something even at 399 square feet that that really looks quite spacious. And and not that a tiny house on wheels isn't livable, but this this kind of has quite a bit more space than then your home on wheels.
Justin Draplin 10:50
Yeah, certainly. No, ours do come on wheels.
Ethan Waldman 10:53
Justin Draplin 10:55
But yeah, most people are gonna put them in place, you know, put some skirting on them.
Ethan Waldman 10:59
Justin Draplin 11:00
Make them look more like a traditional home.
Ethan Waldman 11:02
Okay, so these are delivered. So you deliver them on wheels.
Justin Draplin 11:07
Ethan Waldman 11:08
And then is the is the trailer the wheel system integral to the house? Or is that something that kind of gets taken away?
Justin Draplin 11:16
Up to the end user?
Ethan Waldman 11:17
Justin Draplin 11:18
You know, we the communities that we manage, we usually just leave them on.
Ethan Waldman 11:22
Justin Draplin 11:23
Not that anybody can see them. But if you take them off, then you've got to do something with them, too. So...
Ethan Waldman 11:29
Got it. Got it. What is the - So and these are you said 11 foot 8 wide. So I would imagine that that transporting one isn't quite as simple as just, you know, having the right pickup truck and hitching up your tiny house and going. What is, what is involved in the moving?
Justin Draplin 11:48
Yeah, I mean, you have to hire a professional company to do it. You know, these are you're talking 15 feet tall as well. So there's special permitting that needs to be pulled to move one of these you want to make sure you get professionals involved if you're if you're going to be doing that.
Ethan Waldman 12:04
Yeah, yeah. So what is so there's both Eclipse tiny homes and then there's Eclipse villages.
Justin Draplin 12:14
So it's it's so ours is Eclipse Cottages,
Ethan Waldman 12:17
Justin Draplin 12:18
Don't use the tiny homes word. tiny homes is a swear word around here.
Ethan Waldman 12:22
Justin Draplin 12:24
But EclipseCottages.com and then EclipseVillages.com.
Ethan Waldman 12:27
Okay. Why is tiny homes a swear word?
Justin Draplin 12:31
Um, there's becoming a negative connotation in the industry.
Ethan Waldman 12:34
Justin Draplin 12:35
Especially when you get to the development side.
Ethan Waldman 12:37
Justin Draplin 12:38
So when you're doing a community, and you call it a tiny home community, it is triggering people to think of mobile home parks. Something that's rundown, transient. And so we're trying to use our own verbage show, it doesn't turn into that. It and the other thing is tiny homes is such a broad term.
Ethan Waldman 13:05
Justin Draplin 13:06
I mean, it can be applied to, you know, a conversion van. There, you're living out of all the way to a stick built 400 square foot home. So it's such a it's such a broad term, you you almost leave it open to so much interpretation based on who's hearing the term.
Ethan Waldman 13:26
Justin Draplin 13:27
And that just that just doesn't leave. That makes me uncomfortable.
Ethan Waldman 13:33
Yeah. Yeah. No, that that makes sense. So cottages is just something very much more specific, because it means a small home.
Justin Draplin 13:42
Correct. I mean, I think it I think there's more consistency in especially with what we build. We feel like that fits better with what we build.
Ethan Waldman 13:51
Justin Draplin 13:53
You know, a tiny home people, you know, I have people that live in like 1000 square foot homes that say they live in a tiny home. And then you got, you know, 150 square feet on wheels that say they're a tiny home. Well, okay, who are you talking to? And that'll determine what what that tiny home word means.
Ethan Waldman 14:12
Justin Draplin 14:13
So yeah, we've we've really nailed down on Eclipse Cottages and our communities we're calling Eclipse Villages.
Ethan Waldman 14:20
Okay. So tell me tell me more about the communities was, you know, as a as a small home or cottage builder. I won't say tiny home, but sorry, the name of this podcast is the Tiny House Lifestyle Podcast, so we can't change that. Right.
Justin Draplin 14:36
Fair enough. You But see, that gives you a wide audience.
Ethan Waldman 14:38
Right, right. And we cover
Justin Draplin 14:40
You can talk to the skoolie people and you can talk to the Yurt people
Ethan Waldman 14:43
and we do
Justin Draplin 14:44
those are all kind of tiny houses. So we say a tiny house community. If people start thinking skoolies and Yurts, it doesn't work for for what we're trying to do.
Ethan Waldman 14:55
Yeah, that that totally makes sense. So what you know kind of what came first, the village or the cottage?
Justin Draplin 15:03
Ethan Waldman 15:03
Justin Draplin 15:04
Ethan Waldman 15:05
And are these bring your own home villages? Are these you know, short term rentals, long term rentals? How do you do it?
Justin Draplin 15:12
We're working on a whole bunch of them right now. So we are actively trying to partner with people across the lower 48. To do more villages, we have some in process that are basically just primary residences, we have some that will allow short term rental, we have some that are basically going to be more like a boutique hotel, where all of them are going to be more more rental options. So we're not I don't know, I feel like there isn't really a cookie cutter. I mean, there is you could make it a cookie cutter and say, we're only going to do that this way. Our focus from the development side has been like, let's find really cool pieces of land. So that means does it have mountain views? Does it have a pond or some creeks? Is it what is it close to downtown, or like Creek walks on a bike trail like? I feel like that's such a part of it, because we're about Abundant Living, right. So part of what what a tiny home or cottage or small living does was allows you to live a more abundant life, you can spend more time living your life as opposed to paying, you know, making money to pay for your expensive bills or clean your home or cut grass or you all those things. So part of that is well, where do you live in? Where are you living? Anybody could take, you know, 30 acres that's flat in old farmland and build a tiny home community. But in my mind, nobody would actually want to live there other than there's not a whole lot of tiny home community options out there. So they might live in that one. Whereas we're focusing more on Well, let's find the right dirt. Let's find pretty land, good locations, and then we'll look at it and then we'll see what makes sense for it.
Ethan Waldman 17:06
Got it. Got it. And so how many villages are operating now or in the works right now?
Justin Draplin 17:12
We have four where we already own the dirt. And we're developing in the process of developing right now. There's another let's say for that we're kind of in negotiations with either people on the dirt because we get a lot of people that bring either capital or land into this. And they say, well, we want to do a community. You know, they I am becoming a little bit known for where we're at, because we're building kind of cutting edge tiny homes. You know, I've got more tiny home community lots I've got over 1000 Community lots in development, which is you know, more than anybody else that I'm aware of. So which means we've got more and more people coming to us saying, hey, we want to do this. But we want to work with somebody that knows what they're doing when it comes to these types of communities. So we got people that bring us dirt, I got people that come with money and say, you know, I want to invest, you know, $3 million into a tiny home community. We have people that want to convert, I'm talking to somebody that wants to convert an old mobile home park, I've got another one that wants to convert an old campground like, you know, summer camp kind of place.
Ethan Waldman 18:28
Justin Draplin 18:30
But they don't know where to go on this stuff. You know, we have some people know mobile home communities, but they don't get the difference between tiny homes, which it's a big difference. Anybody that's doing a mobile home community that tries to just start putting tiny homes in it fails miserably, because that connotation that mobile home parks have, you know, is for a reason. And so the people that are living in tiny homes, or our cottages, you know, it isn't their, their aspirational, right, this is a choice that this is how they want to live their lives. And as a general rule, you know, people in a mobile home, it really isn't like a life's desire to live in a mobile home. It's kind of a this is just where I'm at in my life right now. This is all I can afford are those kinds of things. Right? Not necessarily I'm making some gross generalities. But that's just it, the mentalities of the two groups are just very, very different.
Ethan Waldman 19:34
Yeah, I can see the distinction there and that, that you're you're trying to create a place that is both affordable and also aspirational. I think that's a good way to put it. So in terms of the cottages themselves, you're producing them for yourself, but but they're also available to individuals.
Justin Draplin 19:57
Like so they will be okay. All right. Now we're just so backlogged that we're only building for our developments.
Ethan Waldman 20:03
Justin Draplin 20:04
So somebody that does want our cottage today, you know, if they want it within the next year would have to be coming into one of our developments.
Ethan Waldman 20:13
Justin Draplin 20:14
Which is another reason people are trying to do developments with me because, you know, if you want my cool home, right, you can only get it by doing your development
Ethan Waldman 20:23
through doing development. Interesting. And so you're kind of that sounds like you really have a lot of a convergence of expertise here, both the building of the cottage, and then also the, the development end of things.
Justin Draplin 20:41
Yeah, I mean, and they do go hand in hand, to a large degree, more so than most people realize. Well, I think I think anybody that has a tiny home realizes it because they got to find a place for it and should realize they can't find any place for it.
Ethan Waldman 20:55
Right. Right. Uh, you've kind of gone vertical. You've, you're, you're handling both the building of the home and the parking of the home. Right?
Justin Draplin 21:04
Ethan Waldman 21:06
In terms of the, the insulation and the R value, can we get into the specific numbers? What what is the R value of the walls, ceilings and floors in the in these homes?
Justin Draplin 21:18
So right now what we're doing is an R 35 all the way around.
Ethan Waldman 21:22
Justin Draplin 21:23
So it's gonna be a wall ceiling floor. Now, once again, that's a closed cell, spray foam, full thermal break. So when you actually compare it to, you know, any kind of traditional construction, it's just, it's just really insane. The difference?
Ethan Waldman 21:43
Sure, yeah. And that that does make sense. And, you know, as somebody who stick built, you know, I was an amateur builder. 2012, kind of early to the tiny house movement. I have a stick built tiny house, that spray foamed, but, you know, it's it's only four inches of foam. And then there's a stud every 16 inches. So it's not drafty, but it's the floors especially are quite chilly. So I certainly think about SIPs and those, you know, people who are getting that constant insulation with no thermal bridging and I, my feet are jealous.
Justin Draplin 22:19
Ethan Waldman 22:21
Is there you know, are there options for you know, if you say we're going to put one of these houses in in Vermont, where, you know, the residential energy code, you know, says that ceilings should be a minimum of our 49, for example, or for flat ceilings are 38 Would there be an option to upgrade and kind of do thicker ceilings?
Justin Draplin 22:47
Yes. So not right now.
Ethan Waldman 22:49
Justin Draplin 22:49
Um, once again, we're just so backed up that we're really we're so limited on even the modifications that we're doing, you know, it's like yeah, this is this is the rectangle. That's it, this is where your windows will be. Yeah, we let them pick some colors. But other than that, we're trying to standardize just because we need to ramp up so many when you get into those custom builds it just it just delays everything and just Yeah, way more communication with it with a customer on all their tweaks and then reviewing plans and sign offs and it's just eventually you know, we'll have more options such as that. But right now we're just trying to streamline so we can get these homes in more people's hands.
Ethan Waldman 23:37
Right, right. So what I would say that most of my listeners are familiar with a SIP that has OSB you know, so apply wood on both sides. These do these metal sips have that ply layer and then the metal or is it just like a sandwich of steel? Insulation steel?
Justin Draplin 23:59
Yeah, yeah, yeah. So it's basically two frames right now is what we're doing okay. So you've got an interior steel frame and an exterior steel frame and nothing but a foam between them. So it's a lot of extra work. Now we are working on a modification to this which is going to use less steel have better engineering, but also keep a thermal break so I don't want to get too much into it because we're exploring patents on the technology and how we're putting it together. But we're looking at basically redesigning the SIP with steel and neither of them use any any wood at all.
Ethan Waldman 24:46
Justin Draplin 24:46
You know partly with that OSB is you run into what you know what chemicals were used on that OSB how flammable is that OSB? What kind of bug food is that? You know when we're going with the steel and just insulation The benefits are just so much greater you avoid, you know, all of those problems like I said, you know, the fire, you know, we've got our walls are flame impossible you you're never gonna catch these things on fire it's all steel in in in fire retardant foam, you don't have to worry about bugs and termites and all that kind of stuff getting into this you don't have to worry about off gassing the harmful chemicals that that come from that. So it's just trying to eliminate as much of those chemicals and toxins. And it's interesting because the more we focus on just what's the best option, not what's the cheapest? Not what's the most profitable, not what's the you try to not take shortcuts, we end up saving money. So like, just because our envelope is so tight, you know, we power the whole home with a single zone 9000 BTU mini split. Which means, you know, you're saving a ton of money on heating and cooling your home, not only from a installation standpoint, you know, the amount of equipment needed to heat and cool that space. But from an operational standpoint, you know, you have a 23.5 SEER unit heating and cooling this whole home. So you end up saving money in areas that you you know, kind of weren't expecting to.
Ethan Waldman 26:30
Got it. Yeah. So one thing that that I've certainly drilled in for my listeners, and we've talked about on the show a lot is, you know, we're building these these very small, very tight homes, and that it's very important to have mechanical ventilation, you know. So what, what kind of ventilation systems are you putting in?
Justin Draplin 26:52
We put an energy recovery ventilator in every single unit
Ethan Waldman 26:55
Nice. And and I appreciate that, because I know that there are builders who make that optional. And, you know, I'm of the belief that that shouldn't be an option. That's like letting someone buy a car without seatbelts.
Justin Draplin 27:12
Well, when you build like we do, yes, right.
Ethan Waldman 27:15
Justin Draplin 27:15
When you use the, the full with the thermal bridging and the air tightness of the of the product, you're asking for problems. It is interesting, though, you know, back in the day, when we constructed we didn't have breathing issues, because like, the whole, the whole house breathe all the time, right. There wasn't insulation, it was like you're you always had fresh air.
Ethan Waldman 27:40
Justin Draplin 27:41
And now we've gotten to the point where we've tightened it up so much that now we have to intentionally bring in fresh air, otherwise, we could get sick, or you can grow mold or mildew. Or, I mean, that's another thing with ours with the steel and the insulation, like it is mold and mildew resistant. But once again, though, if you get humidity in there, and you don't have a way to get it out, you're gonna have problems. I mean, you might, you might not have mildew in your walls, because our walls are so good, but all your furniture is gonna have mildew in it.
Ethan Waldman 28:10
Justin Draplin 28:11
So managing that humidity is a big, big part of it.
Ethan Waldman 28:14
Absolutely. And I mean, if you live in it, there's going to be humidity just from your breathing from your cooking, showers, your plants, the shower, everything. Fascinating. How many of these cottage models have have you built?
Justin Draplin 28:30
So we've only completely delivered 4. We just launched in September. We've got we're trying to ramp up as quick as as quick as we can. So we're, we're ramping up our inventory of product. We just announced some hiring. You know, we got over 160 applicants in the last week and a half, which is pretty amazing.
Ethan Waldman 28:53
Justin Draplin 28:54
Um, you know, we need to get to the point, I want to I want to be putting out one a day in 18 months. That's kind of my goal.
Ethan Waldman 29:02
Justin Draplin 29:02
Got a long way to go to get there.
Ethan Waldman 29:04
Justin Draplin 29:05
But I think it's doable.
Ethan Waldman 29:08
Justin Draplin 29:08
You know, doing all of this in the midst of a national or international pandemic created its own challenges, but I figured we can do it now.
Ethan Waldman 29:19
Justin Draplin 29:21
When things straighten out, we'll just be rocking and rolling.
Ethan Waldman 29:25
Yeah. Yeah. That's fantastic. And looking at the some of the pictures, you know, the the model I think I saw on the Dwell article, which I'll link to, you know, it has a nice deck that kind of is wrapped around. Is that something that was built kind of after the fact after the house was placed?
Justin Draplin 29:48
Yeah, now when the whole that entire deck was actually built after
Ethan Waldman 29:51
Justin Draplin 29:51
um, the the homes that we're delivering right now do have a 10 foot covered front porch built on.
Ethan Waldman 29:59
Justin Draplin 30:00
And then anything after that, you know, the wraparound back decks that kind of stuff will get added after got it. Once again, that's one of those things that we'd like to add more on. But for the sake of expedience, 10 foot covered front porch. Most people are pretty happy with. Yeah. So that's, that's what we're working on now.
Ethan Waldman 30:24
And then the, in the photos. It almost looks like the house is on a concrete foundation. But But you mentioned that that's just skirting
Justin Draplin 30:35
Correct. Yep. That house is actually on wheels.
Ethan Waldman 30:37
Okay. And what, you know, is there a concrete pad that you pour there? Like, how do you prepare the site? You know, because it's , it looks It's just Yeah.
Justin Draplin 30:48
Yeah, the, the company that we hired to level them up using cinderblock piers.
Ethan Waldman 30:54
Justin Draplin 30:54
And then there, they are, using hurricane straps to make sure everything's secure and down, you know, homes that kind of blow over and, you know, that kind of stuff. But, um, and once all that's done, then yeah, we'll actually we actually frame in around the exterior and then use a hardy board cement product to skirt it.
Ethan Waldman 31:17
Yeah. And that. I mean, that hardy board looks, even though it's not like a particularly attractive product on its own, it looks right for for a small house, because you expect to see kind of below grade below the first floor, you expect to see concrete that really kind of speaks the language of and, you know, it fooled me, I thought that these were site built or that they were at least, you know, maybe built somewhere else, but then brought and put on to a concrete foundation.
Justin Draplin 31:48
Ethan Waldman 31:51
Well, very cool. What else? You know, I feel like I've asked you about a lot of the systems in the house. You know, the insulation, the ventilation, is there anything else in the house that you're particularly proud of? or excited about that you want to talk about?
Justin Draplin 32:06
So, we just standardized um? We just made the call this last week? We're going all wireless switches.
Ethan Waldman 32:14
Justin Draplin 32:15
all of our homes.
Ethan Waldman 32:15
Justin Draplin 32:17
So every single switch, you know, basically will give people a box of buttons.
Ethan Waldman 32:22
Justin Draplin 32:22
You know, move around, which is... Put them wherever you want. Yeah. Now we're working on. Those are just RF right now. So you can't control them with your phone. Yeah. But we're working on fine tuning the, the app to control the Wi Fi. Yeah. So the goal is to eventually switch those over to a Wi Fi functionality. So you can control every switch in your home with your with your phone without having to go and buy an extra, whatever, download this or anything like that. So that's
Ethan Waldman 32:54
fun. That's fun. I know, the Lutron Caseta is a really nice system. I don't know what which one you're using, but they do a good job.
Justin Draplin 33:03
So we're actually we're actually direct manufacturing those.
Ethan Waldman 33:07
Oh, wow. Okay.
Justin Draplin 33:09
Yeah. So I mean, part of our whole model is like, we're gonna have the value, right? So, you know, like Tesla in their cars, right? They can do batteries in house because they're doing the value. They're their biggest customer.
Ethan Waldman 33:23
Justin Draplin 33:24
And so that's the same thing. So we're doing the solar roofing in house, we're doing the wireless switches in house, we're going to be doing our own steel SIPs in house. And then our goal is not only will that make our product better, but we'll also have the opportunity to sell that product right to other builders. So like even our solar roofing product, I've already got two other tiny home builders interested in that product, as well as some traditional builders.
Ethan Waldman 33:55
Yeah, I'm interested in that product.
Justin Draplin 33:58
Yeah. So I think that that's just gonna be a huge market for us.
Ethan Waldman 34:02
Yeah, yeah, I agree. And I think that that's, it's quite a vision, but it's, it makes a lot of sense. Where, so members of my online community, Tiny House Engage are able to kind of listen in live. Yeah, and there are a couple of questions from the chat that I wanted to pass along, which is, where are you building and do you offer factory tours?
Justin Draplin 34:28
So no factory tours, okay. We don't really have much of a factory right now. Quite honestly. Um, we are building in Travelers Rest South Carolina.
Ethan Waldman 34:38
Justin Draplin 34:39
I mean, if people are welcome to come by and take a little tour. There's just not much to see yet. We're looking at building an additional facility here.
Ethan Waldman 34:50
Justin Draplin 34:50
And then we're going to be building a we're in the middle of pulling permits on another building down off I-95. Okay, which is a few hours from here, but it's still South Carolina. So we're looking at starting to build there as well. And, and now we're, once we get those two locations more operational, then we're looking at trying to build a bigger plant. And at that point we'd probably have, you know, be better equipped to do tours. But sure, that's going to be more of a giant factory where we got our, you know, we start manufacturing our solar roofing in house in that plant.
Ethan Waldman 35:26
Justin Draplin 35:26
We have our homes being produced in that plant, we have our steel panels being produced in that plant. So that's going to be a whole you know, that's whole next level stuff. So we'll be working on that capital raise probably on the towards the end of this year, 90 that
Ethan Waldman 35:42
Nice. Another question, is the wiring in the home all AC? Or is there some DC wiring to tie into the the solar?
Justin Draplin 35:56
Right now we do convert it all. Okay, um, I'm trying to think I'm not an electrician by any stretch of the imagination. So I may not be the best person to answer that intelligently. But because it all goes into a battery pack and is fed directly into the breaker box. Yep. Um, it all goes through that same point of contact.
Ethan Waldman 36:16
Okay. Okay. Yeah. And that that often is, is what ends up making the most sense from a complexity perspective. But, um, you know, you can you can gain some efficiency if you do those DC lights and things, but it adds a lot. Awesome. Well, one thing that I like to ask, you know, all of my guests, is, what are two or three resources that that have inspired you or helped you out along the way that you recommend? It sounds like, you know, if you have anything around development or entrepreneurship, it sounds like you've you've got some experience there, and maybe some resources to share?
Justin Draplin 36:55
Oh, yeah. I mean, I don't know. Um, I don't know that I can, that I can point to anything out externally.
Ethan Waldman 37:04
Justin Draplin 37:04
That was like, Oh, that was it. I feel like to have success and entrepreneurship, it's got to be mostly driven internally. And that goes to naught. And yeah, there is no golden key, right? There isn't a one or two resources, you can do it if you only have these one or two resources. And quite frankly, anybody that says that they're trying to sell you something, sure. They're making money on their book, or whatever. And it's, quite frankly, it's all a lie. You need like, 1000s of resources.
Ethan Waldman 37:40
Justin Draplin 37:40
And so it's more about your mindset, that you're going to go out and pursue this stuff. Because there isn't, you know, even doing a development like every single municipality, the rules are different.
Ethan Waldman 37:54
Justin Draplin 37:55
So how is somebody going to tell you how to do a community where you're at? Yeah, when they have no idea how to do it, where you're at, without doing a whole bunch of research? Now, there's some things that carry over, but I think it's more for people look inside themselves and just start pursuing everything that that they can. Yeah, like I said, I don't have myself, one or two individual resources. It's just constant resources. It's always next. It's always like, Oh, this was great. What's the next thing I can read? And I get that that's what you're trying to get from me? Like, what are some good next, um, but it's just I spent a lot of time googling what I want to what I want to search for sure. For where I'm at, because, you know, it just depends on what you're where you're at. What's getting it? Yeah. And that's, that's the focus is just what do you what do you need right now? That's what you need to pursue. You don't need another generic solution, you need to be pursuing answers.
Ethan Waldman 38:59
Yeah. And so is that, for example, you you mentioned this a second ago, and it kind of sparked the follow up question for me is like when you are, you know, looking at some land in a particular town, how do you approach doing that research around those municipal rules? Do you do you hire consultant? Do you just spend a lot of time poring through the the, you know, town plan and documents yourself? Like what's what's your approach?
Justin Draplin 39:24
Well, I mean, the the easiest thing is I find out what I can initially, you know, how big is it? How many acres? Are utilities available? What's the zoning so so what would be allowed in that location already? That's all pretty basic information.
Ethan Waldman 39:47
Justin Draplin 39:48
From there, that's usually pretty easy to gather from there and then you have to start really digging in. So depending on what that zoning allows might depend how I do a tiny home community. So the zoning might allow RV parks, it might allow campgrounds it might allow agritourism, it might allow eco tourism. So there are many things that we can take and put a tiny home community that might fit. What that zoning allows. So that's part of it is like, if we know that this is what this land will allow, we'll look at it like that first, because quite frankly, trying to arm wrestle land into something that it's not currently allowed to be, is expensive and time consuming. It can be done and you know, for the right property, we might pursue that. But for the most part, there's so much opportunity out there right now where, you know, if it's if it doesn't, if there's not something that we can just say, Yes, this is allowed, yeah, with some minor sign offs. But if we have to go through like a whole rezoning of a property and basically have it completely reclassified as something different to do anything. You know, that's one words like, I just that's not I don't want to do that. I don't want that fight. Somebody else could have that fight. I don't want that fight.
Ethan Waldman 41:17
Yeah, I mean, what I'm, I think that's really useful, even for people who are not ever going to do a development, but are maybe just looking for one piece of land for their one tiny house, which is that, you know, rather than being attached to a specific town or place to kind of go out and search for a place that where it's almost allowed or it is allowed, and start looking for land there, rather than starting with the specific land and saying, I want to make it allowed here.
Justin Draplin 41:49
Yep. Yeah. And there's a ton of land. Everywhere, where you can put one. Yeah, right. That's really it's you know, whether or not you can live in it. I mean, there's some some little, little things, but sure, no, there's a lot of land where you're allowed to do it.
Ethan Waldman 42:13
Justin Draplin 42:14
In in every state. Now, granted, you're not going to be close to downtown. Okay. But, um, you know, most unincorporated, which most of the country is unincorporated. But most the time when you're outside of city limits, you're gonna probably have some sort of option there to live in a tiny home. Yeah. Yeah, that makes sense. One, once you put more than one on a piece of property, now you kick in a whole different set of regulations. Yep. And now you're gonna start getting into some trouble if you put more than one without permission.
Ethan Waldman 42:46
Got it. Got it.
Justin Draplin 42:47
But it's all it's all nuanced.
Ethan Waldman 42:51
Very nuanced, and usually kind of buried in in lengthy documents.
Justin Draplin 42:56
Ethan Waldman 42:59
So are the cottages designed to be connected to kind of city water and sewer? Or is there any kind of off grid water?
Justin Draplin 43:09
Yeah, yeah. So we are. Currently we're just connecting all the ones that we're building because they're going in our communities. We have a rainwater catchment and reuse system, we have a composting toilet and a incinerator toilet. We also have a great grey water reuse system. That is really cool. Because it actually collects the water in the home, filters it to the point where it can be fed right back into the home.
Ethan Waldman 43:37
Justin Draplin 43:38
as opposed to just capturing it and use it in the garden or something like that. So all of that technology exists, and we're working on it. Um, but like I said, right now, my focus is ramping up the production. So we kind of we pulled a, a Tesla said, Yeah, we're gonna have all this great stuff. But you know, you might be able to get it in two or three years.
Ethan Waldman 44:02
Justin Draplin 44:03
And it's just because of demand, you know, we just have too many to build that we don't need that technology for so we're kind of we we kind of announced it when we launched but then had to table it just because we can't, you know, we can't keep up with what we got. And that just adds a whole nother wrinkle to production and engineering and all that kind of stuff.
Ethan Waldman 44:21
Yep. Makes sense. Awesome. Well, Justin Draplin. Thank you so much for being a guest on the show. It's a very impressive project with with a great vision, and I appreciate you taking the time.
Justin Draplin 44:33
Thanks for having me.
Ethan Waldman 44:35
Thank you so much to Justin Draplin for being a guest on the show today. You can find the show notes, including a complete transcript and lots of photos of the beautiful Eclipse Cottage at thetinyhouse.net/199. Again, that's thetinyhouse.net/199. Well, that's all for this week. I'm your host, Ethan Waldman, and I'll be back next week with another episode of the Tiny House Lifestyle Podcast.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai
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