There’s a lot to like about the tiny-home-as-RV trend, a trend that generously extends a sense of freedom, a sense of adventure, a sense of wanderlust, a sense of not being weighed down by unnecessary stuff (and a mortgage and property taxes). And if anything, trail-bound tiny homes technically classified as recreational vehicles help to bust the prevailing stereotype of RV-living: Grandma and grandpa lumbering out of a Cracker Barrel parking lot, en route to Highway A1A with their secondhand Gulfstream trailer in tow.

ESCAPE, a 400-square-fooot handcrafted cabin that qualifies as an RV due to its weight and size, is a rather beautiful example of a portable dwelling designed and built as a permanent home.

ESCAPE is authentic, hand-made American craftsmanship. Installing ESCAPE is a breeze: just plug in utilities and it's done. ESCAPE is designed so people can simply ESCAPE to a cleaner, healthier, energy efficient and mortgage free lifestyle.

Designed by Kelly Davis of Minneapolis-based firm SALA Architects, the timber-clad ESCAPE Cottage can currently be rented for $298 a night at Canoe Bay, a very romantic-looking couples-only resort on the shores of not-so-romantic-sounding Dead Goose Lake in northwest Wisconsin.

And as luck would have it, in addition to being available for test drives and cottage-bound canoodling, Canoe Bay’s owner, Dan Dobrowolski, is selling the model for $79,000. Not exactly cheap when you consider the price per square foot, but, again, this isn’t your run-of-the-mill portable abode.

The base price jumps to around $118,400 for those who opt for the more deluxe Limited Edition that comes equipped with a slew of enticing the bells and whistles: a steam shower, stainless steel Energy Star appliances, a built-in sound system, a high efficiency sealed combustion fireplace, split system AC/heat pump, custom furnishings, and more. The screened-in sleeping porch with the heated double chaise, my favorite part of the cottage, is also optional. And just like a car or RV, financing is available. The home also comes with a two-year warranty.

The fully customizable base model itself includes all the gorgeous interior woodwork and detailing on proud display at the rental unit at Canoe Bay, cathedral ceilings, recessed LED lighting, custom kitchen cabinetry, cedar siding, high levels of insulation, and plenty of storage space. The toilet is tucked away in a separate room adjacent to the bathroom for privacy.

The ESCAPE website drives home the point that this is truly something different:

ESCAPE was designed and is built like a cottage not an RV. Therefore the materials used are the same as a beautiful home while still being affordable. Examples: Instead of vinyl or metal windows, ESCAPE has professional wood windows with LOW-E glass. And not just a few windows, over a dozen including a huge window wall. The doors are all solid, not hollow. There is no drywall or cheap laminates on the walls. There are architectural details and trim everywhere. Perhaps the most dramatic difference is ESCAPE's overhangs which are almost 4 feet compared to the normal building of this type that has virtually no overhang giving the impression that the building is just a box...we’ve all seen these. There are many manufacturers of these inexpensive, cramped small homes but ESCAPE is something different and wants to be.

ESCAPE also leaves a minimal impact wherever it may settle:

Become one with nature with virtually no carbon footprint: The ESCAPE is an incredibly green and environmentally friendly living solution. It is constructed entirely of recyclable or sustainable growth materials and consumes very little power.

While solar is not included as an add-on, it is possible and a “good option in appropriate locations.”

As an RV, the ESCAPE Cottage is not subject to property taxes. That's a given.

However, if the unit is expanded or placed on a permanent foundation — in lieu of concrete blocks or pad or gravel base — it dips into modular home territory. At this point, taxes, permits, and the like come into play.

Lots more on this portable beauty including over at the Escape homepage.

Any thoughts?

Via [TreeHugger], [Freshome]

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Matt Hickman ( @mattyhick ) writes about design, architecture and the intersection between the natural world and the built environment.

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