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Wednesday, Sep 19, 2018
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Mobile ‘tiny house’ a hit at Tampa RV show

One woman called it a cabin on wheels.

Another said it reminded him of the popular new tiny homes he has seen on television shows.

Randy Woodman, who was at the 2016 RV SuperShow at The Florida Fairgrounds on Saturday to show it off, said it’s a little of both.

“About half of the people who buy them use them as tiny homes or rentals. And about half use them to travel,” he said.

The rustic looking travel home was among hundreds of campers, trailers and RVs of all sizes on display at the annual four-day super show, billed as the largest of its kind in the country.

Built with a cedar and steel panel exterior with soaring top-to-bottom windows, and equipped with a full size bathroom and appliances, the ESCAPE homes model drew a crowd of curiosity seekers who climbed aboard for a look throughout the day.

Susan Loren, who manages an RV resort, drove two-plus hours from Moore Haven just to get a look at it.

“It’s awesome,” she said. “It’s open. It’s sunny. I’d live in it.”

She was most impressed with the full-size refrigerator, stove and washer-dryer combination.

“You usually don’t see that,” she said. “The actual floor space is very comfortable.”

Woodman said ESCAPE homes founder Dan Dobrowolski, who owns an RV resort in Wisconsin, began building the mobile houses a couple of years ago. While they have been displayed at several tiny home shows, and featured on television, this was the first time they brought one to an RV show. They plan to display another one at an RV show in Seattle next month.

“The people love it,” he said. “They’re amazed at what can fit in there.”

The model on display has 320 square feet with a main bedroom at one end and another in a loft area at the other end, separated by the kitchen, dining and living space. Another loft could be added in the ceiling space above the main bedroom. Woodman said the units are built with real wooden walls and supports.

“This is built like a house,” Woodman said.

The display model is priced in the $80,000 range, and the company also makes a smaller 240-square-foot model.

John Klotz of St. Petersburg said he isn’t a camper, but he’s open to it and came to look around. After touring the ESCAPES home, he thought it was a good livable space like the tiny homes on television.

“I think it’s a pretty good alternative if you want to get out of the city,” he said.

The RV show wraps up from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. Admission is $10 for adults and free four children 16 and younger.

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