He helped build a tiny house that's so darn adorable, we've gotta give him props! Located in New Orleans, this 496-square-foot, one-bedroom home recently came to our attention when it sold for $112,000 (a decent chunk of change for a tiny house, even if it does put you in range of Mardi Gras celebrations and top-notch gumbo).
This two-story home is designed to minimize its carbon footprint and electric bill, with solar panels on the roof, energy-efficient appliances, and other eco-friendly features. And though it's small in size, the high ceilings and a wraparound deck make the place feel spacious.
So how did this mini abode come to be? Pitt has long been interested in architecture, and in 2007, he founded the Make It Right Foundation to build homes for families whose original residences had been washed away in Hurricane Katrina. Since then, the foundation has built 150 houses in New Orleans' Lower 9th Ward.
While all of the foundation's homes meet high standards of energy efficiency, not all are tiny like this newest jewel, which was built in 2016 to mark the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. The goal this time was not to help a flood-ravaged local, but to create a high-tech miniature house originally meant to sell for less than $100,000.
"To be able to own a brand-new home for under $100,000 is pretty rare," the foundation's research, design, and development manager Jordan Pollard told local news site NOLA.com as construction commenced. "That's a pretty attractive monthly mortgage note. It's in conflict with the McMansion mentality, but it makes sense."
'I loved living there'
Once the house was built, the home's first owner—Jessica Hong, a school administrator/comedian in her 20s who had moved to the area from Sacramento, CA—paid $100,000 for the place. About a year and a half later, a job opportunity in Chicago forced Hong to sell in August 2017 for $116,000.
"If I still lived in New Orleans, there's no question I'd still be living there," says Hong. "I think so often the Lower 9th Ward still carries negative connotations of the horrific things that happened there after the storm. But I loved living there. My home was within walking distance of a farmer's market, and the area has amazing food. And my electric bill was only around $30 per month!"
In the Lower 9th—ranked as one of the least expensive neighborhoods in New Orleans—a sales price of $116,000 is "above the average rate" for a home of any size, according to the home's listing agent, Robert Van Meter with Latter & Blum. And although the area is still a bargain, Van Meter anticipates that the "Brad Pitt" effect on the neighborhood will continue to drive up prices.
"People call it the 'Make It Right' Village," says Van Meter. "People are very aware of Brad Pitt's impact on the area."
Case in point: Another Make It Right house which hit the market a week ago—this one 1,171 square feet—is currently for sale for $194,000.
All of this suggests that while these homes might come with a celebrity markup, investing in the 9th Ward may be worthwhile.