Tiny Homes on Wheels has rapidly become an attractive, sustainable and affordable housing alternative across the country for the past three to four years. Colorado has become the epicenter of the Tiny House movement. Lyons has the distinction of having the most Tiny Homes in the USA per capita. Just Wee Casa Hotel and SimBLISSity together have over twenty-five Tinys in the Lyons
area. Tiny Homes on Wheels is showing significant growth and will likely become much more prevalent in the housing market providing more hope for the lower income families and retiring Baby Boomers.
SimBLISSity is owned by a dynamic-duo, Dot and Byron Fears, who have been building Tiny Homes On Wheels, “Movable Wheel Estate,” on their property in South Saint Vrain Canyon for the past three and a half years. This winter’s weather convinced them it was time to move into a more hospitable environment, a warehouse located at 4559 Ute Highway, the former site of The New Anchorage.
Dot and Byron are old time residents of Colorado. Dot moved to the Nederland area in 1975 to pursue her dream in Colorado’s vast nature. Byron moved to Estes Park for a short time in 1975 to learn silversmithing. When he discovered his true love, Dot, in 1979 he relocated from Florida to create a magical life with Dot in the Colorado Rockies. (Byron’s grandfather came to Colorado in a covered wagon at eleven years of age.)
In 1982 the adventurous duo moved to a beautiful jungle property on the Garden Island of Kauai where they raised two children and three businesses. Dot and Byron were both Naturalists on Kauai and eventually started a NaPali Coast adventure boating company, Paradise Adventure Cruises, where they became known as “the Dolphin People” hosting open ocean dolphin swims and whale watching tours while navigating the spectacular NaPali Coast.
After twenty years on Kauai it was time for the adventure seekers to transition to new horizons. They left the islands to experience the amazing features of Planet Earth. For five years they traveled nonstop and hiked the most spectacular trails of the world. The Himalayas captured them the most, with three extremely long treks in Nepal and another in Bhutan. Additionally captivated by the splendor of the Andes they spent months exploring Peru, Argentina and Chile, especially the breathtaking region of Patagonia. The list of travels goes on. In between international travels they explored North America in their first Tiny Home, a 5th wheel trailer and fell in love with the tiny life.
Colorado always held a sacred spot in their souls and eventually Dot’s overwhelming desire and determination to get back into the high country of Colorado led them to their beautiful property between Lyons and Allenspark where they live totally off grid.
Shortly after purchasing their dream property in 2008 in Bliss Canyon, as they have named it, their hard-earned retirement funds were completely wiped out when Bernie Madoff confessed to the largest Ponzi scheme ever. In order to survive in uber-expensive Boulder County Byron, being a self-confessed “serial entrepreneur,” had to get creative and develop a new business plan quickly. For several years during the great recession they bought distressed homes and turned them into “functional art projects” performing classy, high-end remodels. They came to the realization that this was not a sustainable, Earth-friendly enterprise and decided they wanted to be part of the “answer” rather than part of the “problem.”
Tiny Homes On Wheels - being past Gypsy travelers selling their wares at Renaissance festivals and craft fairs and accustomed to living in their van and small fair booths, Byron and Dot were attracted to the Tiny Home movement. Byron proposed the idea of building custom, high-end Tinys to his business/life partner, Dot. She quickly said “YES!” and so the new enterprise began to unfold.
For several years they were building Tinys in Bliss Canyon. The construction site was powered entirely by their off grid solar PV system. SimBLISSity became the only Tiny builder who could make the claim that they were sustainably building, sustainable Tiny Homes, to promote sustainable lifestyles in hopes of providing a sustainable future for the planet.
SimBLISSity Tiny Homes believes in community and wishes to support local small businesses. They attempt to source as many of the building materials as possible from Budget Home Center in Longmont, rather than big box stores. A lot of the wood used is from local Colorado mills. Lonnie at Clark’s Hardware in Lyons often sees Byron picking up odds and ends two to three times a day. They attempt to keep as much money as possible in our local economy.
So, who works with SimBLISSity?
Dot Fears, co-creative and owner, provides a lot of the design ideas and is the general manager that keeps everyone in line. She is also a volunteer Naturalist with Boulder County Parks and Open Spaces and also sits on the Board of Directors of the Boulder County Nature Association. Dot’s main passion is wildflowers and she is well respected by her peers and an expert. She is an avid hiker, skier and all around outdoor person.
Byron Fears is the head creative and co-owner. His past includes being a builder, jeweler, boat captain as well as numerous other business enterprises. His passion is primarily focused on changing the world one Tiny Home at a time by building exceptional Tinys to help people change their lives. He also loves hiking, skiing and the outdoors but now spends most of his waking hours doing all things related to Tinys including many talks and presentations on tiny living.
Mathew Kasper: A Lyons resident and lead carpenter has a BA in Studio Art and an MA in Teaching from the College of Notre Dame. After working for The Shakespeare Theatre in DC he taught elementary and middle school students with special needs for six years in Baltimore, and spent his summers working with contractors in the Estes Park. Mat has taught set design courses at the Eagle Rock School, and worked full time at Lyons High School. Mat is passionate about Tiny Houses and enjoys unique projects. He has been working with SimBLISSity for the past two years, and expects to complete his own tiny house by August of this year.
Greg Leistikow is a cabinet maker, woodworker and carpenter. Former owner of GL Custom Design where he built custom cabinets, furniture and guitars, he now brings his skills and attention to detail to SimBLISSity. Greg is also a keyboardist and guitarist with local bands and performs regularly in the area.
Aaron Smith is the owner of Treecraft, a custom treehouse design/build company. With a background in architecture and years of experience under master builders, his creations reflect an eye for clean design with an emphasis on craftsmanship. When he’s not building tree houses he contributes his fine workmanship to SimBLISSity as well as professionally drawn Tiny Home plans.
Jesse Fischer is a former Lyons resident, partner with a long time Lyons family girl, and is a new dad. His skills are painting and carpentry.
Peyton Medina, Hygiene resident, a senior and football player at Lyons High School. He is a part-time carpenter in training that who high ambitions. His talents consistently amaze everyone.
Michael “Mickey” Byrnes is an all around do-all person and is very helpful with whatever is needed. He grew up in Allenspark and also has his own business, Affordable Tree Service North.
What is the future of Tiny Homes? With the high cost of housing on the Front Range of Colorado, The Great American Dream of home ownership is not only quickly escaping many people’s grasp, but was also proven to be unsustainable during the recent Recession. Tiny Homes provide the opportunity for home ownership and a more affordable way of life. They free their owners of large mortgage payments, expensive and time-consuming home maintenance, and afford more free time for pursuing dreams. Many communities around the country are making it legal to live in Tiny Homes on Wheels. It appears that the Town of Lyons is very close to approving Tinys as ADUs.
SimBLISSity is thrilled to now be a business presence in the charming Town of Lyons. They take great pride in building high quality Tiny Homes to help change peoples lives.
Please call (303) 885-5991 to schedule an appointment to view ongoing custom home projects. SimBLISSity Tiny Homes will be hosting an Open House on Saturday, February 25, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., and would love to have the community stop by to see what is going on in their own backyard.