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Home, Petite Home
It could be called extreme, but Jay Shafer built a business by scaling down his life.
By Julie Sloane

(FORTUNE Small Business) – It wasn't very difficult for Jay Shafer to move from Iowa to California. He simply hitched his 70-square-foot house to the back of a truck and drove west. What started as a passion for simple living--why heat, cool, and clean more space than you need?--became a project to build his own home and, in 2000, a business, called Tumbleweed Tiny House Co. Despite their munchkin measurements, Shafer's houses boast a kitchen, bathroom, desk, sofa, loft bed, and "a lot of storage over and under things." Footrests become chairs. The table folds out from under the desk.

Shafer, 41, a former art professor, and his wee house reside on seven acres in Sebastopol, Calif., where he and a staff of part-timers build the 50- to 500-square-foot structures, which cost from $10,000 to $90,000. So far he has sold ten of them, mostly on the West Coast. (Another 40 customers bought blueprints for $750.) In 2005, Shafer granted European building rights to a treehouse builder in Scotland. But Shafer says he isn't gunning for massive growth: "I'd rather just keep it simple."

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