After spending months in lockdown with the pandemic, there’s no question that people began to look around their homes and rethink what they really wanted in their surroundings.
Cleaning out closets and redesigning interiors became a national pastime. Fresh living spaces and simple pleasures were the newest trend, and a quarantine call to action. Tiny homes, with their minimal square footage answered the call as an innovative way for people to shake themselves out of a rut, reduce belongings to just the essentials and enjoy the freedom to travel and experience new surroundings. Perch & Nest was in the right place at the right time.
Tom and Johanna Elsner founded the tiny home RV building company in 2014 after spending 10 years in custom carpentry and home restoration, and as Johanna puts it, “Reclaiming what once was.” They then became enamored with going small after sponsoring a tiny home RV build with Habitat for Humanity. “We really liked the idea of simpler living that the tiny home movement brings,” she said.
Their most recent build is the Dream Roost house. “We design a new model home each year to showcase new ideas and products in our industry,” said Johanna. For this particular design, they wanted to focus on the “modern” in the modern farmhouse concept.
A big part of that was bringing sustainability and luxury into the mix of small mobile settings. “Using sustainable materials is a common concern amongst tiny house enthusiasts,” said Johanna, who added that this has become easier to achieve over the years as more green products have become available. They were able to achieve that goal with the Dream Roost house in the siding, insulation, paint, flooring, countertops, tile and décor.
Step into the Dream Roost house, or take the virtual tour, and one design element that pops out is the recycled glass countertops. Johanna chose Vetrazzo in Floating Blue, a sparkling mix of turquoise, pearl, and silver inspired by sea glass and constructed from recycled architectural glass collected from some of the world’s tallest skyscrapers. Johanna said they chose Vetrazzo because they “wanted to use the most sustainable glass product available to pair with the recycled glass tile from Oceanside Glass already installed in the home.” Vetrazzo is the original recycled glass surfacing company that was first developed by a scientist in Berkeley, California back in 1996, when "green" was just a color.
The recycled glass countertops were the perfect fit for Johanna’s sustainability goal as Vetrazzo’s hand-crafted surfaces are made from domestically sourced glass from curbside recycling programs and waste glass from manufacturing streams, diverting hundreds of tons of glass annually from landfills. Being that one glass bottle is estimated to take up to a million years to decompose, precious landfill space is conserved through the manufacturing of Vetrazzo slabs, some of which contain up to an equivalent of 600 bottles inside them.
With exceptional durability, each recycled glass kitchen countertop is also able to accommodate heavy-duty usage while being a work of art. The bright, cheerful color palette of Floating Blue not only matches the design pallet for the Dream Roost, but it also stands out against the clean white modern farmhouse design setting.
Johanna said that people who see the Dream Roost always comment on the sea glass countertops, “Everybody loves them! They are such a large focal point in the center of the home.”
The Dream Roost house has proved so popular, the Elsners can barely get their hands on it. “We planned to host some events with it this year but it’s been booked three months in advance for tours and overnight stays.” She said that this particular tiny house model has already inspired many of their current clients’ designs.
Johanna said many of their clients choose Perch & Nest as their tiny home builder because they are given choices in the design. “There are no models or catalogs to conform to when working with us. They can include sustainable products in their design or not.” But she admits the sustainability aspect is a big draw. “A lot of our rental guests book our tiny homes because they are kept non-toxic and allergen free, and also because sustainable products were used in the construction process.”
Johanna’s flair for interiors comes from a love of crafting and thrift store shopping, but she said it really began when she was a kid, “It started with Barbie’s dream home,” she laughed. “I never really played with the dolls. I redecorated and rebuilt their homes over and over again!”
For those thinking of going small, Perch & Nest hosts guests in tiny homes on their property, “A lot of folks want to experience ‘tiny’ before committing to this housing option,” said Johanna. Their farm in Winston-Salem North Carolina, with peaceful, scenic views and roaming animals offers the perfect accommodation. “We are located near downtown and our city hosts five colleges. Our tiny houses have become a popular destination for overnight guests with a variety of needs. Many designers visit us in the spring and fall while attending the High Point home furnishings market, which is located close by,” she said.
Their tiny home RVs are available up to 8.5′ wide and up to 40′ in length in both gooseneck and bumper-pull type trailers. They take 8-12 weeks to create from design to delivery and can be purchased in a variety of concepts from pre-owned, to shells, to custom designs.
She says the pandemic has had a lot to do with how people are thinking these days in terms of their home environment. “We’re hearing from a lot of folks that being home so much solidified the idea ‘going tiny’ and prompted them to move forward with it.”
Create a meaningful space that never goes out of style. Order a sample of Vetrazzo recycled glass surfacing. Free to the trade.