Who is Switchgrass Tiny Homes, and Why?

Dear Tiny Home Seekers,

Welcome to Switchgrass Tiny Homes first blog post. I'm Jessica, Co-Founder and Creative Director of the company, which is also run by Co-Founder/Chief Designer/Builder, my husband Byron. We have a 17 month old son, Jackson, who we refer to as the CEO of fun, and a 4 year old dog, a cirneco de'll etna named Rosina, who is the COO of squirrel chasing who feels that begging for food is never beneath her. Together we are the Denhart family and Switchgrass Tiny Homes.

A bit about us:

I come from a background in education, and have my masters in creative writing. I’m an artist who works in several different mediums. I work for the University of Illinois Library full-time and help design tiny homes with Byron, the Chief Designer, in my off hours when I'm not consulting with the CEO of fun or the COO of squirrel chasing. Byron comes from a background in Industrial Design and Construction Project management. He has an eye for detail and a modern design aesthetic. He truly enjoys building things, anything really, and has big hobbies like sailing and hot air ballooning. The latter hobby has given him the opportunity to travel to many parts of the world.  Together we have friends and family scattered across the globe.  We lead a busy life!

A Brief History of the Company:

2016 was a crazy year for me and my family. The year began with our gorgeous six month old boy having surgery. Definitely not a fun time, but we made it through. Then my husband was let go from his job. We were so grateful for friends and family during this tough time as we struggled to make ends meet. Over the months I worked hard at my full time job and my husband made job searching his full time job. Wow, was the job market thin. It's honestly the same old story, he was often over-qualified for the jobs that were out there and didn't get them or he would just miss being the first pick for a position. Over and over again, we hoped and were disappointed. We watched both our savings and severance dwindle, and prayed and hoped.

One day my dear husband, holding a napping baby, said, "Honey, I have an idea, but just hear me out before you freak out."

"Okay," I said, giving him the side-eye.

"What if we built tiny homes?"

My side-eye became a full on stare before it slid into a full on "NO." "No, no, no..."

You see, my husband is an entrepreneur at heart. I am not. I don't like risky ventures or scary tests of fortitude. You won’t see me on any show that looks like or resembles Survivor, and to me that’s about as scary as starting a new business. I like the security of knowing how much we have coming in every month and that we have all we need to pay our bills. In that moment, when he asked me about starting a new business, all I saw was flying by the seat of my pants and hoping there was some sort of net below that was going to catch us and I absolutely would have none of it.

Many job searches later, my husband and I were taking a walk with our son. It was a bit chilly that morning if I recall, with early fall breezes and some anemic sun. After a lot of "no, no I don't think so..." he asked me about tiny houses again and this time, I asked him to tell me his plan. I know my husband and he always has a plan, and so he did. We talked about it, and his enthusiasm caught me up and took me along. Somewhere in the middle of our walk with the sun shining just a bit brighter I said, "Okay, run the numbers. If they work, then okay." And the seed of our business was born. Some days later we had a name, a budget, and my husband was drawing up building plans. We set a goal to be ready to show our tiny house at a Tiny House Roadshow, in a little over a month, and got to work. One month later we were on our way to Indianapolis for our first show. 

About Switchgrass Tiny Homes:

Neither my husband nor I lack enthusiasm for the tiny house movement. There is beauty and a refreshing simplicity to the home and the lifestyle which allows for only what you need and is essential to you, and leaves behind the burden of mindless accumulation. Our hope with Switchgrass, is to further embrace the simplicity of less is more and reduce the clutter in our lives and become more family oriented. We are motivated by love of friends and family to create the very best tiny home for each client.

Our Philosophy:

At Switchgrass we design custom tiny homes, with the client’s needs at the forefront. Tell us what you need and we will design it for you, from the inside out, working with you closely to get it exactly right. We believe in clean, simple design, maximizing headroom and natural light whenever possible.  Good design leads to functionality and allows the materials we use to speak for themselves in the overall aesthetic. We love working with reclaimed, recycled and natural materials when possible and we’re always looking for ways to be more eco-minded with each build. We care about the environment and our footprint on it and try to bring a balanced approach to our builds, because not everyone wants a composting toilet.  At Switchgrass Tiny Homes we want to make your tiny home build a unique and fun experience, with a smooth transition to your new life in the tiny home community, and we will always remain a resource for you well after the build. Going tiny isn't just another move, it's a movement that will change your life and we are here to walk you through it.