An experienced entrepreneur, Cherie Hebert has a long history of running a successful business. She is one of the owners of BBR Creative, a women-owned advertising, design and marketing firm based in Lafayette, Louisiana. The firm was founded by Hebert and her business partners Cathi Pavy and Sara Ashy in 1997.

This year, Cherie has a new business endeavor that she is excited about bringing to Louisiana and Acadiana in particular. Cherie and her husband, Jimmy Hebert, have formed Tee Tiny Houses of Arnaudville and will be building tiny homes. Tee Tiny Houses will range from 180 to 300 square feet and will be built on 8’ x 20’ and 24’ trailers. Each model will be handcrafted using the same high quality building materials used in a traditional home.

Credit for the concept of the business goes to Nunu’s Art Collective in Arnaudville, led by George Marks. Nunu’s built a tiny house two years ago as part of an art grant and upon completion, visitors would stop by and inquire about purchasing the unit. George put two and two together, recognizing a need in the community and reached out to the Hebert family. With over 20 years of construction experience and having owned a facility in Arnaudville, the Heberts were already off to a great start to become tiny house manufacturers.

The Heberts’ new business combines Cherie’s marketing and design skills with her husband’s residential construction knowledge. They tap into the talent of Jimmy’s father, who is a draftsman and contractor and has already designed 30 plans for tiny houses. They are using subcontractors from the Arnaudville area for the build, supervised by their project manager, Ted Broussard. Their goal is to offer an alternative housing option to those interested in exploring tiny living.

Tiny houses can be used as primary homes or secondary homes in the backyards of friends and relatives – or as camps, studios or rentals through services such as AirBNB. Cherie believes that rural areas like St. Martin and St. Landry Parishes have the opportunity to become the first to be “tiny-house friendly” communities in the state, attracting residents and attention to our area by creating tiny house villages or communities of tiny house dwellers.

In regards to urban development, Cherie also believes that tiny houses would be great for city infill and could provide opportunities to have semi-permanent housing on blighted or adjudicated property, thus providing options for tiny house placement and ultimately addressing housing issues in our communities.

The tiny house movement is exploding around the country with building coding and zoning, lending, insurance, property taxation and utilities being challenged to accommodate this new type of housing. There are definitely challenges, but there has been movement for the acceptance of these houses and belief that these homes can provide affordable home ownership for those who desire to live a scaled down life.

“A negative that I have heard is that tiny houses are a fad. Well, I view a fad as a short-lived craze with no substantial basis. Housing is shelter and alternative housing solutions have substantial basis. I don’t view tiny houses as simply a craze, but as a housing option. Particularly those that are well designed and produced. Our business will serve a niche market. There is a small, specialized portion of the population who would live in a tiny house, and we are here to make homes available to that market.” — Cherie Hebert

Using their family’s lumberyard location in Arnaudville as the base for their “factory,” Tee Tiny Houses has their first spec house under development. They are opening their doors on July 22 for a tour of their current model.

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