Paula Mitchell

Paula Mitchell

NEW PALTZ–Bobby Ienuso is crossing his fingers he’ll be able to receive guests by later this summer.

The father of four has been working steadily on weekends, preparing the portable house he purchased in May as a bed and breakfast. He hopes to open it on Harry Wells Road, just outside the village of Saugerties, in August.

Big Vision, Big Turnout at Tiny House Festival

The Hive tiny house is being built as a bed and breakfast in Saugerties. Photo by Paula Mitchell.

While a lot remains to be done, Ienuso showed off the project at this weekend’s Tiny House and Green Living Freedom Fest at the Ulster County Fairgrounds.

As curious festival goers crowded into the interior space, Ienuso explained how it will look and what its purpose will be once the final touches are applied.

“There’s a lot of people interested and love the idea of it being a bed and breakfast,” said the Saugerties resident.

“The main thing is we want to help people understand what they would be getting into, so having it as an air B and B, people can come and figure out if it is something they would want to do.

“It’s a project that me and my wife have been talking about doing for five or six years. We want to be able to work from home with the kids and have an alternative lifestyle, so what we did was build this as our model home. We wanted to have one that people could set foot in and walk around and look at everything instead of just finding a pictures online and watching a TV show.”

Ienuso wasn’t the only one thinking big at the festival billed as a “three-day celebration of tiny homes, sustainable living and green technology.”

Daniel Hamilton, a partner at Modern Tiny Living, was on hand to show off a high-end model built by the company based in Columbus, Ohio.

Tiny house hunters made their way through the “Koko 2” model sporting a loft bedroom, custom-built sitting area with bay window and full kitchen and bathroom.

“This is our cozy model,” said Hamilton, one of four partners. “It’s our second version of this house.”

The custom-built model carries a price tag of $84,000, Hamilton said.

“We really wanted to focus on it being a place to hang out in, but we also wanted to maximize storage and have a multi-purpose room with a lot of storage. It’s also designed to have access from the outside for an outdoors person who likes hiking, camping and fishing.”

Hamilton said the company sells primarily to empty-nesters and recent college graduates.

Modern Tiny Living just launched the Cedar Springs Tiny Village, a 30-lot lakefront community, the first full-fledged one in Ohio.

Hamilton said once a person decides to invest in a tiny house, the question then becomes where to park it.

Big Vision, Big Turnout at Tiny House Festival

The inside of a tiny house on display at the weekend festival. Photo by Paula Mitchell.

Tiny houses are generally classified as RV trailers or mobile homes, but owners often choose to live off a relative or friend’s land as an accessory dwelling unit.

Finding that property remains one of the biggest challenges, a sort of gray area, according to Hamilton.

“I do believe in the next 24 to 36 months that there are going to be a lot of changes in the industry that are helping people to classify the tiny house. It’s not a house. It’s not a mobile home, so where does this thing fit? I think a lot of things will get easier for folks as time goes on.”

About 15 tiny houses were displayed at the fairgrounds. In fact, those who own them were encouraged to bring their abodes to the festival and stay for the weekend.

Everything from cottage-style to hipster homes–generally between 100 and 400 square feet–kept the crowd moving from one to another on a humid Saturday afternoon.

The social movement that promotes sustainable living has picked up momentum over the last few years due to TV shows like “Tiny House Nation.”

Goals for many enthusiasts include saving money, downsizing and leaving a smaller environmental footprint, according to the website

The festival kicked off on Friday with free admission, food trucks and fireworks.

Festival promoter Jake DiBari called the Hudson Valley the “ideal place” to hold the event.

“It has been a mecca for renewable energy, sustainable buildings and forward-thinking people,” he told in early March when he first announced that the festival would be happening.

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