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North Fort Myers readies for ‘tiny homes’

January 17, 2018
By CHUCK BALLARO ( , North Fort Myers Neighbor

After spending 58 years as a schoolteacher, Richard Dunmire could easily have settled down and kicked back for the rest of his life.

However, that is not Dunmire's nature. So, at age 85, he decided to start a new chapter in his life by starting a new company that builds small homes for people.

Very small homes.

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The unfinished interior of a “Tiny Home” at America’s Tiny Home Builders on N. Tamiami Trail.


This past summer after retiring, Dunmire started America's Tiny Home Builders, on property owned by the Shell Factory on N. Tamiami Trail, as a way to help people afford the American Dream that previously was out of reach for many, particularly other retirees.

"With their limited income they can't afford the taxes and upkeep on a big home. They can downsize and live on their income," Dunmire said.

The most interest he has received, though, has been from Millennials and young couples just starting out.

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"We have many young couples coming in looking for a starter. That was what I had in mind when I started. They could have a full-sized home when they had a family," Dunmire said.

With the attention tiny homes has gotten on TV, they have become the latest rage. Dunmire said many nations jumped on the bandwagon years before the U.S..

In an area where manufactured homes have become the norm, Dunmire said his "tiny homes" are an affordable and superior alternative, in that they will stand the test of time and the elements.

"Our homes stand up to the weather and are safe. This is a house," Dunmire said.

These homes can be placed in local RV parks for about $515 per month, which includes electric, sewer, water and maintenance. Since most veterans and retirees make about $1,000 a month with Social Security, it is doable.

Most tiny homes are about 13-feet high, eight-and-a-half feet wide and up to 40 feet long. With the loft upstairs, it provides about 500 square feet of living space, Dunmire said, adding that these homes have no wasted space. Storage is under the stairway and under the roof, and furniture such as hutches can be turned into small tables.

"Every inch of space has a use, whether it's storage or living space. We also feature full-sized bathrooms, with real baths," Dunmire said. "You need to look at the areas people are using the most, and bathrooms are one of them. The first thing you do after you wake up and the last thing you do when you go to sleep is use the bathroom."

These homes can be put almost anywhere. from communities designated for tiny homes to the back of a property owned by parents, he said. The homes can also be moved from one location to the other. Also, because of their size, they can be cleaned in 30 minutes or less, Dunmire said.

Dunmire said as a military veteran, the fact that so many of them are disabled and homeless made him want to make a difference.

Dunmire has worked with Hearts & Homes for Veterans, a non-profit organization that provides housing and basic necessities such as food, clothing, bedding, recreation, training and education for low-income and homeless veterans.

America's Tiny Home Builders is at 2787 N. Tamiami Trail. For more information, call 292-9360 or



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