Local tiny house builder looks to connect with buyers directly

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Local tiny house builder looks to connect with buyers directly

Lancaster County tiny homes builder Liv-Connected just recently established a web presence to sell directly to consumers, but it is already established in this trendy marketplace.

It currently has about 2,000 orders in the pipeline at its West Donegal Township manufacturing facility, and in the four years since its founding it has filled orders for the state of Texas and private developers such as Lancaster County-based Tiny Estates in Mount Joy Township, which develops tiny home communities.

The company is the brainchild of Lancaster native Jordan Rogove, owner of New York City-based DXA architectural design firm, and his partners. Rogove founded Liv-Connected in 2018 with his father, Herb, who served as the CEO of C30 Telemedicine, and Wayne Norbeck and Joe Wheeler, who Jordan met when they were all students at Virginia Tech. Jordan serves as chief operating officer, his father is CEO, Norbeck is director of business and design strategy, and Wheeler is chief innovation officer.

Rogove underscores that Liv-Connected emphasizes several hooks in order to stand out among builders. First, and perhaps most distinctive, is that everything needed to erect its tiny homes in as little as one day fits onto a single tractor-trailer, saving time and money. The tiny home kits are customizable as well as designed and ready to add on space and amenities as their owners’ need changes. The homes are also designed with aesthetic and wellness considerations at the forefront. Designed by architects for visual appeal, those buying a home can even consult with a physician about customizable features such as countertop height and accessibility to support and address a variety of health concerns.

“A lot of the tiny homes and modular homes that have proceeded have been thoughtful from an engineering perspective, but not necessarily well designed or beautiful,” Rogove said. “We actually think that a beautiful home is something that is an uplifting space to be in and actually has a dramatic and direct impact on your health and wellbeing.”

Getting started

The company has come a long way since its founding in 2018.

Their vision for aesthetic, single-delivery, ready-to-expand tiny housing drew attention that same year when they submitted their designs in response to an open call from the state of Texas General Land Office for structures that would replace Federal Emergency Management Agency homes for disaster victims.

The company’s design was one of four finalists among 34 designs submitted, and so far the company has made two prototypes.

Liv-Connected also partnered with Lancaster County-based ATOMIC and Elizabethtown-based Live Tiny.

ATOMIC is known for creating sets for live events that travel lightly. Liv-Connected is using ATOMIC’s skills and manufacturing warehouse at 33 Industrial Road in West Donegal Township to build its homes, according to Jordan.

Currently, ATOMIC has 21 team members that specifically work on home design and manufacturing and each home takes four people to build, according to Chloe Rich, vice president, branding, for ATOMIC.

Live Tiny helps connect buyers interested in tiny homes with builders like Liv-Connected.

Liv-Connected started building homes for businesses like Tiny Estates, a tiny house community developer that was established in 2018 at 867 Schwanger Road in Mount Joy Township. Tiny Estates has since expanded to Memphis and North Carolina.

Currently, Liv-Connected works with five architects and doctors who design the homes and manage the company, with additional support from six members of the partnering architecture firm, DXA Studio.

What Liv-Connected provides

There are two types of Liv-Connected tiny homes: Via and the Conexus, and each has many styles and optional add-ons.

The Via is 200 to 300 square feet, while the Conexus is 500 square feet, according to Rogove.

The homes start at $150,000 for the one-bedroom model Conexus, and the Via homes range from $90,000-$120,000.

The homes are insulated, have air conditioning and feature thoughtful design, and they can be shipped anywhere. The buyer can pick everything for the home and customize the home to their liking.

Liv-Connected’s relationship with a buyer goes beyond putting together the home, however.

“It's not just the whole concept of the design and the build and the way it's being built, but they are taking it the whole way through,” Kristen Jenkins, a representative for the company, said. “Liv-Connected is helping homeowners find the land and the permitting process.”

Rogove said that the process of getting a Liv-Connected tiny home is “like a concierge service,” and like “buying a car” where the company will help as much as people want them to help with the process, and that customers don’t have to work with an architect if they do not want to.

“You can put together a kit of parts and it's been done by great designers, great palettes of materials you can select from,” Rogove said. “So, it is bringing high design to a much larger audience.”

Looking to the future

Liv-Connected’s approach is getting noticed.

The firm was featured in a June Forbes Magazine article about tiny homes’ shipping and building costs, and how Liv-Connected’s single-delivery truck design helps to cut cost and building times.

Liv-Connected will attend the National Association of Home Builders' show in January, Rogove said, having attended various disaster relief conferences as well as talking with the American Red Cross about tiny homes. Disaster relief offices in Maryland, California and Florida have also contacted the company.

The West Donegal Township manufacturing facility is currently hiring a wide variety of assembly technicians, according to Rich, as the company works to meet demand. That demand appears to be strong as a number of streaming and cable television shows have championed tiny homes as a way to beat the rising costs of housing, and it seems tiny home builders are sprouting up nationwide. There are, for example, at least three tiny home builders in Lancaster County in addition to Liv-Connected.

Tiny homes are “ kind of changing the paradigm a little bit,” Rogove said. “One of the things we are most excited about is the affordability of them and knowing that there is a massive nationwide demand for them. That is one of the things about the tiny home, and we have to almost make a whole new class of homeownership.”