LULING, Texas – "Bigger isn't better. Having more doesn't make us happier. It indebts us, it enslaves us, it anchors us," Brad Kittell said.
Kittell owns Tiny Texas Houses, which sits along Interstate 10 in Luling. For years he has built tiny homes from reclaimed materials.
"Here's the part that blows everybody away," Kittell said. "They don't understand. We have the largest standing virgin forest in the world in the United States, disguised as old barns, old trees and old buildings."
Tiny homes are a fast-growing trend. They have become so popular, there is even a reality show based on the idea.
"I take houses that are dead and bring them back to life," Kittell said.
The tiny homes are less than 200 square feet, transportable, often nontaxable and made from hearty reclaimed wood. That wood is pieced together from countless other decades-old homes. Kittell has thousands of square footage of reclaimed material -- enough, he says, to build an additional 100 tiny houses. But he said he will only build a few more and call it quits. His next move is to show society that big homes and debt are not the way to go.
"You think there's big value in the future for big houses with high maintenance and high energy costs? No," Kittell said.
His overall goal is to create a community of tiny homes behind his storefront. He plans to live by example by leading a healthier, more sustainable community.
"You can put a village of tiny houses together and you got the cook, you got the gardener and you got the musician," Kittell said.
It is an idea he called a renaissance; a return to simpler way of life. Kittell offers daily tours of his community and hopes to continue to spread the word of his beliefs.