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How Amazon Could Transform the Tiny House Movement

Could the e-commerce giant help turn small-home living from a niche fad into a national housing solution?
Kayla Byers and Jan Nordlund leave after a tour from Cameron Scott of his tiny house in front of the Capitol building in Salem, Ore., May 24, 2018. Scott, who owns a company that builds the units, parked his tiny house in front of the Capitol as part of a push by manufacturers of the micro-dwellings to get lawmakers to reverse a recent rule change.
Kayla Byers and Jan Nordlund leave after a tour from Cameron Scott of his tiny house in front of the Capitol building in Salem, Ore., May 24, 2018. Scott, who owns a company that builds the units, parked his tiny house in front of the Capitol as part of a push by manufacturers of the micro-dwellings to get lawmakers to reverse a recent rule change.Tom James/AP

If you need to buy a house, why not try Amazon? Since 2015, consumers have been using the e-commerce platform to buy garden sheds and workshops. And in May, the Allwood Solvalla came online. It’s a 172-square foot sunroom with floor-to-ceiling windows, subtly marketed as a tiny house. Soon after its internet debut, the kit promptly sold out.

The structure, which marketing materials suggested two adults could build in eight hours, ran $7,250. But online reviewers panned it: One critic characterized the structure as a “[g]orified dog kennel”; another review simply read “This is dumb.”