After becoming accustomed to sleeping in the back of a Subaru Forester on camping trips, Zach and Tessa Hansen decided it was time for a house — a tiny house.
Hansen Adventure Works’ co-owners enjoy mountain biking, hiking, camping and just about anything else mobile and outdoors, so Zach Hansen decided to build his wife a tiny home they could travel with.
“I’m a welder, and I like working with my hands,” he said. “But I’d never built anything out of wood before.”
However, the duo’s first prototype turned out well enough they decided to hitch a ride on the tiny-house bandwagon and start their own company in February. The couple has built 11 models since.
“We’ll never sell that first one,” Zach Hansen said. “But when I look at it and how far the craftsmanship has come, it’s amazing.”
With four models — the Armadillo, Horsetooth, Santa Fe and an unnamed prototype — ranging from 24-square feet to just under 100-square feet, the company offers customers a variety of options for mobile living.
While mobility plays a role in the Hansens’ tiny house interest, Zach Hansen said it was also driven by a younger generation’s desire to own a home.
“When our parents were getting out of college, houses were more affordable,” he said. “You just can’t get into a house as easily these days.”
The Hansens said they hope to see their creations used to create communities for people left behind by the housing market.
“Whenever you go through Colorado, there’s always tons of homeless veterans living in the streets,” Zach Hansen said. “I always thought it would be great to create something they could call their own and return home to each night.”
Both students at the University of Wyoming, the Hansen’s decided to dive into entrepreneurship as a way to take their careers with them as they travel the states.
Tessa Hansen, a philosophy major, provides Zach Hansen with conceptual drawings for the tiny homes, designs and builds the interiors as well as creates custom signs for each unit.
“I started out studying art,” Tessa Hansen said. “But I didn’t like working under someone’s direction, so I mostly do it by myself now.”
A U.S. Navy corpsman studying pre-med at UW, Zach Hansen discovered welding in a high school shop class and fabricating structures for a marina. Using his wife’s conceptual drawings and the customers specified needs, he constructs the tiny homes.
“Before Tessa, I had no idea what I was going to do,” he said. “She grounded me.”
With eight orders to fill in the next couple of months, business is booming for the Hansens.
“Whenever I have spare time, I’ll work on a project until it’s done,” Zach Hansen said.
However, the demand has proven enough to hire another welder.
“The welder we’re bringing in is (Zach Hansen’s brother),” Tessa Hansen said. “Hopefully, we can turn this into a family-sprung business.”
With plans for attending medical school in Oregon, Zach Hansen said one of the biggest challenges of the business could be leaving it behind in the future.
“This is a fun thing for us to do, but we never intended to do it for the rest of our lives,” he said. “We’re hoping to pass the torch onto my brother. He’s always been interested in the sustainable house movement.”
Go to www.hansenadventureworks.com for more information about the Hansens’ tiny homes.