Microlife Institute founder Will Johnston addresses the audience at the ribbon cutting for Cottages on Vaughan.

On Saturday, July 17, Atlanta-based nonprofit MicroLife Institute held a ribbon cutting event for the Cottages on Vaughan development.

The new pocket neighborhood, situated on a half-acre lot a block away from  downtown Clarkston, includes eight tiny homes, a common green space for gathering, and climate-conscious development features such as solar panels and edible, regenerative landscaping.

“This project is a proof of concept for us,” said Will Johnston, Founder and CEO of MicroLife Institute. “When people see these homes, they are shocked, they can’t believe the cottages are under 500 square feet, and that’s exactly the reaction we want. Every inch of this space was intentionally built to challenge our perception of space and make us reflect on how we can better utilize it.”

The development was originally approved in May of 2019, on the heels of 14 months of work with Councilmember Jamie Carroll and then Mayor, now DeKalb Commissioner Ted Terry to write and pass the city’s first tiny-home ordinance.

“I’m thrilled to see this project come to fruition,” DeKalb Super District 6 Commissioner Ted Terry said. “The goal of this project was to get innovative with our development ordinances to allow for a greater diversity of housing options.We recognize that the past 50 years of urban sprawl has segregated community, contributed to climate change, and exacerbated housing inequality, and we can only start to address these challenges if we push the boundaries of what’s possible and start to rethink how we’re using space.”

Following the project groundbreaking in late 2019, the cottages had already developed an interest list of more than 1,500 people from around the country.

Partners for the Cottages on Vaughan include Roots Down, Better Tomorrow Solar, Mitsubishi Trane HVAC, Covetool, Gama Sonic Solar, Wascon Sales and Service, Citizens Trust Bank, AARP GA.

Collin Kelley

Collin Kelley has been the editor of Atlanta Intown for two decades and has been a journalist and freelance writer for 35 years. He’s also an award-winning poet and novelist.