Most visitors come to Lyons to peruse the quaint shops along Main Street, go hiking and wildlife-spotting, or sample beers at Oskar Blues. More recently, however, the mountain town 17 miles north of Boulder is attracting a whole new clientele: tiny-house enthusiasts looking to test out the undersize digs at Lyons’ WeeCasa.
One of the largest tiny-house hotels in the world—”largest” meaning overall capacity—WeeCasa opened last year with 10 stand-alone units, many of which elegantly pack kitchenettes, bathrooms with showers and toilets, and queen-size beds into less than 300 square feet. After taking a break to add seven brand-new tiny homes with fresh layouts and designs, WeeCasa plans to have a grand reopening on April 20 (and will subsequently start taking reservations again). The pint-sized hotel sits near the St. Vrain River–adjacent River Bend event venue, making it a logical choice for guests who are already traveling to town for a wedding. However, owner and “WeeEO” Kenyon Waugh says, more and more people are coming to Lyons primarily for the tiny-home experience.
“We had a couple visiting from Minnesota, and they were looking to try out a tiny house,” Waugh says. “They booked with us and then came asking if there was anything to do around Lyons. We were all like, ‘Yeah, there’s Rocky Mountain National Park close by, and the town, and lots of things to do, like festivals and great restaurants.’ This couple had no idea.”
Waugh’s visitors aren’t alone in their single-minded fascination with miniscule abodes (the definition varies, but tiny houses are generally less than 500 square feet). In recent years, the architecture and culture that surround this simpler style of living have become popular enough around the world to spark an official tiny house movement, TV shows (Tiny House Hunters, Tiny House Builders), and even a yearly convention: the Tiny House Jamboree, held in Colorado Springs. One of the attractions? Equally tiny price tags. The most luxurious tiny home costs only $80,000, and 68 percent of tiny-house owners have no mortgage or debt.
While these houses may be undeniably adorable, they are no picnic for newbies trying to transition from McMansions (or, you know, even modest homes that are still three or four times larger than your typical tiny house). Picture trying to fit your entire wardrobe, TVs and computers, book collection, fully stocked kitchen, and decorative trinkets—and your spouse, kids, and dog—into a space the size of a two-car garage. These challenges are perhaps why the try-before-you-buy format is such a large part of WeeCasa’s appeal.
“My wife and I are really into backpacking, and we spend a lot of our time doing that,” Waugh says. “This is sort of the like the backpack adventure for housing. You really have to assess how you fit everything you need in this small space and get really creative with how you use things. I really liked the challenge of figuring out how little stuff you can survive with.”
If that still sounds too daunting, you can simply make a daytrip to WeeCasa for a tour. “Most people come here and they’ve never even been inside a tiny home,” Waugh says. “There is something really cool about seeing a tiny home in person.”
On the other hand, if you book a stay and end up becoming a tiny-home convert, WeeCasa can point you in the direction of custom builders who will work with you, your vision, and your personality. In any case, a stay at this one-of-a-kind property is guaranteed to leave you with a new perspective on wherever you call home—and an affordable (rates start at $139 a night) Rocky Mountain getaway.
“Experiencing tiny homes through rentals is the best way to go,” Waugh says. “You get a feel for the lifestyle, and you’re a two-minute walk from downtown Lyons.”
501 W. Main St., Lyons; 720-460-0239; weecasa.com