The 2016 Republican National Convention kicks off today in Cleveland, Ohio and a lot is expected to go down—a "Duck Dynasty" celebrity appearance, protests, and, unbelievably, the official nomination of Donald Trump as the Republican contender for the presidency. But perhaps the most innocuously wild affair in Cleveland this week is an "RNC tiny house" overtaken by Snapchat stars for the duration of the convention.
Who, what? Yep, that’s a lot of buzzwords in one sentence, so let’s break it down right now.
What is Snapchat and what are "Snapchat stars"?
Snapchat is the Millennial-approved app du jour (before Pokémon Go came along, anyway!) that lets you share photos and videos for a set amount of seconds before they disappear. Initially known for enabling teenage sexting, the app now has legitimate media partners, not to mention an unprecedented deal with NBC to stream the 2016 Olympics.
Anyway, on Snapchat—as on any platform that gives you an audience—some people got really good at using it, racked up a lot of followers, and are now Snapchat famous.
What does this have to do with the RNC?
Well, in anticipation of the RNC, regional news site Cleveland.com thought it would be cool to bring in four Snapchat stars to do some special convention coverage for them...while staying together in a tiny house. It’s not totally clear what they’ll do, but each person does come in with their own specialties.
Mark Kaye (MarkKaye) is known for a Snapchat talk show interviewing other social media stars; Ali Spangola (alispagnola) for snapping drinking games and fan-requested art; Stanley Odestin (wysamx) for hosting interviews and covering presidential debates; and Audrey Spencer (cakes1todough1) for snaps of cat art.
So, the possibilities seem endless—Trump doodles? (Tiny) house parties? Cat interviews? For the intrigued, you’ll have to follow those usernames in parentheses.
Okay, that’s weird, but tell me more about the tiny house!
Billed as Cleveland’s "first permanent tiny house," the recently completed home that the Snapchatters will be staying in measures 583 square feet and includes two bedrooms—one with a traditional bed, the other with a pull-out couch and washer/dryer. The fully-furnished space also comes with an open kitchen, living area, and lofted storage.
That’s not even a real tiny house.
Okay, so it’s not what would come to mind when we think of the typical tiny house these days, which are usually under 400 square feet and built on wheels. But as we’ve come to learn, the history of tiny houses goes way back beyond the current Pinterest-friendly phenomenon and this micro abode in Cleveland definitely fits in that spectrum somewhere.
Are there more pictures?
Yes, yes there are.
And here’s a video tour for good measure.
Was the house built just for this RNC stunt?
No! In fact, the tiny house is one of two new tiny homes recently completed in Cleveland’s EcoVillage, a neighborhood located two miles west of downtown, focusing on transit-oriented development and sustainable construction and lifestyles. Spearheaded by the Detroit Shoreway Community Development Organization (DCSDO), the EcoVillage initiative has previously built the city’s first LEED Platinum house as well as energy-efficient townhouses.
Last year, with a $155,000 donation from Citizens Bank, the DCSDO launched the Citizens Tiny House Experiment, which hopes to bring the tiny house phenomenon to Cleveland. According to Adam Davenport, Project and Operations Manager at the DSCDO, more tiny houses are planned for the EcoVillage.
So what happens to the house after RNC?
Once the convention leaves town, the furnished "Snapchat tiny house" will be available for rent for $85 a night until September, when it will go on sale for about $150,000. The second house is already for sale. As for where that revenue will go, Davenport explained it this way:
They will go towards additional homes in the sense the builder will hopefully make a profit and do more. So they are just contributing to additional financing in that respect. More importantly they will establish market comparables so future contractors will have a better case to apply for financing. That’s huge because lenders and banks are very unsure of this concept and typically do not loan on anything there is no comparables for.