There are a lot of things that I liked about the work of Dan Dobrowolski’s ESCAPE Homes. Dan works with talented architects to do really well-built, well-thought out designs of tiny homes big and small. One thing that I REALLY liked about ESCAPE Homes is that they didn’t do cute. They were clean, modern designs that were free of the cutesy gabled roofs seen on so many tiny homes.
But it turns out that for many, the true charm of the tiny home is in the allusions to traditional house typology. That’s why Jay Shafer’s original Tumbleweed was such a success and was the start of a movement, because “it looks like a home.” Or as one commenter told me, “This is an "architect vs. normal person" argument."
So now Dan Dobrowolski has introduced what he calls the ESCAPE Vintage, described in one review as "The Most Beautiful Tiny House in the World." I do think that is a bit of an exaggeration, but it is cute, and there are a lot of things to like about it inside. Dan describes it:
Vintage is pure Americana, the #1 classic design Tiny Home available with all of the craftsmanship and design quality you expect from ESCAPE. Vintage is full of light with a dozen, large opening windows. The bathroom is large, the shower is big, the first floor bedroom is spacious, LED warm white lighting is standard, the flip down kitchen table is large & real wood, the kitchen has a real refrigerator, the living room has room for a couch, the upstairs bedroom has 42" of height, there's great insulation, power usage is minimal...there's even a screen door standard and flower boxes are available. Nothing on the market comes close.
OK, it's nice inside. I titled my last post on ESCAPE How a talented architect keeps refining the tiny house until he gets it right. That architect does not appear to be working on this unit; I don't think he does cute. But Dan is still refining and perfecting what goes into their homes and how they are built.
ESCAPE units are not cheap, and I suspect their largest market is the boomer retirement scene. So they have full sized bathrooms, as big as you would find in any apartment, with a full five foot tub and shower and a combo washer/dryer.
It has a full queen sized bed in a separate bedroom and with a closet, with a split system air conditioning unit. This is comfortable for anyone of any age.
There is also the traditional tiny home headbanger loft up the ladder for guests.
One area where I think Dan may have been listening is in the kitchens; previous designs had full size fridges and ranges and kitchens that ran the full length of the living and dining area. When you only have 8’-6” to work with, that is a lot of space lost. In fact, a lot of people live in apartments with 24” fridges, convection ovens and two burner ranges. That’s pretty much what’s on offer in the Vintage.
The specifications are pretty much what one expects from ESCAPE: lots of insulation, quality materials, optional solar panels. . But the real secret sauce here is that it is legally an RVIA Certified Travel Trailer, with “Standard RV hook-ups including 30 amp electric plug, 3/4" water connection and 3" quick couple septic connection.”
The The Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) is a trade association that “is a unifying force for safety and professionalism within the RV industry” that just happens to control 98 percent of the industry. Most RV and trailer parks demand RVIA certification, and the specifications for the ESCAPE Vintage look RV park ready. It is carefully positioned so that it is under 320 square feet which would make it a Manufactured Home. It weighs in at 10,000 pounds so you can legally tow it without a truckers’ licence, although it will be a schlep. It smells like what’s called a Park Model RV, which gives it a lot of options for putting it somewhere legally.
As noted earlier, Forbes called it "The Most Beautiful Tiny House in the World”. I don’t think it is the most beautiful, and many would question whether it is really a tiny house at 313 square feet, which is bigger than some New York apartments we have shown; it is a Park Model RV pretending to be a Tiny Home. It certainly isn’t build-it-yourself cheap at $59,800. But who cares; It is aimed at a different market than the traditional tiny home on wheels as we know it and show it, and it would be an easy and comfortable place to live in.