The workshop of Bloomington company Carpenter Owl, located at 611 W. 11th St. looks like any other. Tools are scattered across modest wooden tables and shelves, and music plays through a speaker. The sound is broken up only by the sounds of drills and nails pounding into wood.
The only unusual aspect of this workshop is the project being built — a tiny home.
Carpenter Owl, a company owned by IU alumnus Daniel Weddle, will have one of its tiny homes featured on HGTV's "Tiny House, Big Living" in November.
“My world is very busy right now,” Weddle said.
The featured home, called the “Honey on the Rock,” is distinctive for its hidden whiskey still, a family heirloom which gives the home its name. In addition, the home features a double-tiered deck with a spiral staircase on the back, a walnut and cedar exterior, two curved roof lines and copper sinks and showers.
Weddle designs, builds and manages the company. All homes built at Carpenter Owl are 100 percent custom and begin when a client meets with him for an hour to design his perfect tiny home. From there, a contract is made, and the house is built by Weddle, his assistant, George Kirton, and an intern.
Besides designing and building tiny homes, Carpenter Owl also builds camper-trailer style excursion vehicles and parade artwork, Weddle said.
The company has an education program, providing internships that allows interns to work with the company for one build, and he said the company has worked with School of Public and Environmental Affairs students.
Building a tiny home is a lot like building a regular-sized home, although it is a shorter process, lasting about 12 weeks, Kirton said.
“Everything moves a lot faster,” he said.
However, there are a few challenges unique to tiny homes. Besides the fact that all the furniture and features of the home must fit into a smaller area, tiny homes must also be built to withstand being mobile.
“You’re basically building for a hurricane and an earthquake at the same time whenever you’re moving the house on the highway,” Weddle said.
Despite these challenges, tiny homes offer a chance for homeowners to live a more environmentally friendly and mobile life. This leads some Carpenter Owl customers to want to live in their new tiny homes permanently, Weddle said.
To him, the minimalist lifestyle seems to be becoming fashionable, especially as a cheaper alternative to regular-sized houses.
“They offer something that exist to fill that gap for people right now,” he said. “A lot of people can’t afford big homes immediately.”
Of all the builds at Carpenter Owl, the process of building “Honey on the Rock” sets itself apart because it has been stopped and started several times to allow HGTV crews to film the process, Kirton said. In addition, it represents a chance for Carpenter Owl to reach new audiences.
“It’s really exciting to consider just how many people will now see this house,” Kirton said. “I think it’s going to do wonders for the business.”
Weddle said he hopes viewers of the “Tiny House, Big Living” episode will be struck by a sense of whimsy.
“I see that as an important form of art, just bringing lively and interesting things into the world,” he said.
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