Going small: Noblesville resident launches tiny house construction business


Dave Randall credits the skills he learned in the shop classes he took in school for laying the foundation for his tiny house business, Cool Cottages by DMR. He started the business in 2020 alongside his remodeling business, DMR Construction, which he started in 1995.

Randall, 57, recently completed his first tiny house, a 280-square-foot deluxe tiny house that he calls the Deluxe Dragonfly Cottage. He wants to eventually construct tiny houses full time.

CiN 0220 COVER Tiny Houses 3
Dave Randall, inside the Deluxe Dragonfly Cottage he built.

“I think I just had that natural ability for construction,” said Randall, who grew up in Carmel and attended Carmel High School. “I just gravitated towards all the shop classes and doing things with my hands and just because that’s what I was blessed to do.”

The Deluxe Dragonfly Cottage is his first completed tiny house. He is halfway through constructing a second tiny house.

Randall said the Deluxe Dragonfly Cottage is a high-end tiny house and is for sale with a list price of $115,000. He did most of the work on the house on his own and said “there’s nothing more satisfying to me personally” than building projects like tiny houses.

Randall said he has received some custom order requests for additional tiny houses.

“(My favorite part is) really the whole process,” Randall said. “I really enjoy the design, and I put a big artistic flair on this, and the creativity, I enjoy that. I’d just sit there at my shop sometimes in the middle of building it and just sit back and kind of look at it and think, ‘Man, that’s cool.’”

Randall said tiny houses can alleviate the housing crisis, although affordability is based on the area, and pricing can be based on the designer. He said tiny houses can be beneficial for younger couples, people looking to invest in Airbnbs and elderly people who want to maintain independence while also living near family.

“It just appealed to me because, like I say, I’ve always lived simple. It’s just really fascinating to me,” Randall said. “And I don’t really like government and regulations, I like freedom. I like freedom to choose everything — where I can live, what I can live in, and it’s almost kind of that simplicity and the freedom of it.”

Randall said he didn’t attend college and left home at age 18. Relying on his construction skills, he eventually launched his remodeling business, DMR Construction.

Randall became interested in tiny houses after seeing park models.

“They’re more simple. They’re smaller, you don’t have all the maintenance and the cost of a regular home,” Randall said. “Because they’re on trailer frames, they’re kind of like a vagabond (lifestyle).”

Nancy Porter, 74, of Indianapolis, met Randall through mutual friends. She allowed him to park the Deluxe Dragonfly Cottage on her family’s farm in Noblesville for an event. It is now at his home property in Noblesville.

“I think (building a tiny house was) a great idea and he is very creative, very meticulous, has a great eye for everything and he does quality work on everything that he does,” Porter said. “It’s pretty amazing.”

CiN 0220 COVER Tiny Houses 2
Interior of the inside area of the Deluxe Dragonfly Cottage. (Photos by Adam Seif)


According to Tiny Home Builders, an online resource hub, a tiny house is a small house typically less than 600 square feet. Most tiny houses are built on trailers. The tiny house movement is “an architectural and social movement that encourages living a simpler life in a smaller space,” according to Tiny House Builders.

According to Tiny Home Builders, a large percentage of people involved in the movement are interested in building their own homes. Some people buy or build a tiny house because of the financial benefits, including lower building costs; lower utility and maintenance costs; potential savings with reduced property taxes or rent; and reduced consumption costs. Others may choose a tiny house to simplify their life or have a smaller impact on the environment.