Partner interview: Q&A with Jeremy Killian of Tiny Heirloom

As real estate developers in one of the fastest growing regions of the U.S., we love to keep an eye on trends and news from the industry. One of the things we’ve been tracking for quite some time is the recent interest in “tiny homes.” While this can mean a lot of different things to different people, we were lucky enough to chat with Jeremy of Portland’s Tiny Heirloom and get his thoughts on the current state and the future of the tiny home market.

While Discovery West itself won’t offer tiny homes specifically, we did need someone with this type of expertise to work on a project for us. We sought someone who could execute our vision on a fairly specific timeline and, after an extensive local search, we ended up expanding to look across Oregon for the right partner. We are excited to be working on a project with Jeremy and the Tiny Heirloom team surrounding our sales presence on site (look for more on this soon!).


DW: Tell me a little bit about your perspective on the tiny house trend. Who makes up the marketplace? Is interest still growing? 

Jeremy: The tiny home industry as a whole is booming. In spite of the devastation we are all seeing and going through with the COVID-19 situation, we still are seeing a steady stream of buyers and investors. Popularity is putting it lightly. Everything is tiny! From social media to new stories and beyond, anywhere and everywhere. From a marketplace standpoint, I would honestly say there is a good mix of both private and professional buyers. At Tiny Heirloom, we cater to clients like Discovery West and have a growing presence in the commercial world. This complements our history and experience in the privately owned sector. The bottom line is that clients of all types want to go tiny.


DW: Why do you think tiny homes are so appealing?

Jeremy: I would say that tiny homes are so appealing because they give people a chance at individual freedom, relief of significantly reducing their debt load, and a place they can call their own. A tiny home allows them to have ownership in something they helped to design and build for themselves. We call it affordable luxury for everyone.

On the commercial and investor side, we are able to provide a vehicle for the company to create a revenue stream. They can take a very hot trend and turn it into something lucrative such as a tiny home village, resort, individual rentals, AirBnB or simply a corporate marketing vehicle. This is the attraction I believe that tiny homes bring and what I feel is truly appealing to our clients.


DW: Tell us a little about your approach and the creativity that goes into the process.

Jeremy: My approach is the same no matter if it is a production model, custom, commercial or any type of tiny home. We start out by looking at two very important things. The first is to uncover a deep understanding of the market, the competitors and individuals. We want to know what people are looking for, what they like and what they don’t like – and this takes up-front research. The second thing is closely related, but oriented toward gaining an understanding of each specific client’s needs and wants. Doing these steps well can give you the foundation needed to create that perfect tiny home and design utilizing the best use of space and layout. If you truly love what you do and love to make people happy in general then the rest is simple.


DW: Have you seen many commercial applications like what you’re working on for Discovery West? 

Jeremy: In the last few years we have seen a huge explosion in business and designing commercial spaces. We have done builds such as office pods, on-the-road marketing units, restaurants, clothing, retail and much more. Anything you can think of in the commercial realm –  we have either done or discussed doing with our clients. This truly is the most fun part of my job.


DW: What do you love most about creating tiny homes? What did you love most about creating the project for us? 

What I love most about creating a tiny home is allowing myself freedom of expression. I enjoy the challenging process of designing the best use of space and finalizing the design. Because of my lifelong challenge with ADHD, this business allowed me an outlet to take my energy and put it into building and designing and creating the most amazing designs possible.


As for my project for your team, what I loved the most is the partnership. Your team knew what was wanted and gave us clear directions which did make the process run very smoothly and organically. I can appreciate when someone knows what they want and can articulate it. This means that, in the end, the reveal of the finished product fills the client with joy. They are elated that they trusted you to create something for them. That feeling is the best feeling that I get when I build for anyone. I also love the concept and, with what we built together,  it has now become much more. This project will allow us the ability to market a real-life build as a new commercial unit for Tiny Heirloom.


We’d like to thank Jeremy for his thoughtful answers to our questions. We’ll have a big announcement coming soon to unveil the very special project that Tiny Heirloom built for Discovery West, so stay tuned.