Real Estate

A tiny house with an extra-large impact

In addressing the statewide housing crunch, a Nantucket resident shows the wisdom of starting small.

Isaiah Stover outside his "tiny house" off Cato Lane on Nantucket. Note: These photos are not to be published until after they appear in print in Address (Rob Benchley for The Boston Globe)
Rob Benchley for The Boston Globe
Isaiah Stover outside his "tiny house" on Nantucket.

For Isaiah Stover, the so-called tiny house movement was more than just a hipster trend rejecting a life of excess — it was a solution to Nantucket’s affordable housing crisis. After being forced to move out of a tiny house he was building because it violated the health code, Stover last year successfully petitioned the town to allow construction of dwellings of less than 500 square feet.

With that, Nantucket became the first community in Massachusetts to adopt a zoning code bylaw specifically addressing tiny houses, paving the way for others to explore it as a solution to the statewide housing crunch. “I was so focused on trying to solve our housing issue, but of course that issue is statewide, so it’s a nice ripple effect,” says Stover, 41.

Tiny houses are also inspiring other changes, as some Nantucket residents have applied to build conventional but smaller structures, says Andrew V. Vorce, the town’s planning director.


Stover, now a newlywed with a newborn and a stepson, has put his own tiny house construction on hold in favor of a traditional home. He still wants to finish building his tiny house, though, and perhaps donate it to an affordable-housing organization.

Katheleen Conti is a Globe staff writer. Send comments to Follow us on Twitter @BostonGlobeMag.