Teenager Builds His Own Tiny House

Over the past several years, tiny houses have been gaining massive amounts of attention. This is due to the many advantages that they provide. Some of them include:

  • Lower utility bills
  • No mortgage
  • Cost-effective construction

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Austin Hay of Sonoma County, California, gained so much inspiration from the movement, that he vowed to build his own tiny home. This may not sound like such a big deal, until you consider that he was just a freshman, when he decided to undertake this school project.

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This was no easy, short-term hobby either, it was one that would take years to complete. In fact, he didn’t finish the tiny house until his senior year in high school. As you can see, Austin had the determination to see his plan through to the end.

It All Started With A Simple School Project

Some teens build forts, some build tree forts, but few build their own homes. However, that’s just what Austin Hay did. The idea popped into his head when his teacher assigned him a project to do about something that he was passionate about.

In the beginning, Austin decided to build a tree house. But, the more he learned about the tiny house movement, the more inspired he became to make one of his own– on a trailer.

Austin began building his own home because he was thinking about his future. When he was young, he saw his family home burn down– a traumatic experience for anyone.  In the aftermath, his dad was there to pick up the pieces, and he rebuilt their home from the ground up. The dedication that Austin saw, coupled with the lessons he learned in his high school shop class, inspired him to get started.

 First Things First

austin working

The estimated DIY cost of Austin’s house was over $20,000, much more than the typical high-schooler can afford. So, Austin embarked on a plan to cut down his costs.

He got two summer jobs to make enough money to buy a $2,000 trailer, from a used car dealership in nearby Oregon. To save money on construction, he began scavenging for doors, wiring, wood, and everything else that he could find. He also took shop in school, and learned enough to do all the work (including the wiring) himself.

These cost-cutting measures, and a few donations from friends and family, helped Austin save over $10,000.  In fact, his scavenging was so efficient, when construction was over, his waste could fit into one trash bin. A fact made more impressive because the national average of garbage generated, for the construction of a new home, is 4 tons.

 Turning a Trailer into a Home

austin interior

Most of us may think that a home that is just 130 square feet doesn’t seem like it could be comfortable or livable. While it’s true that this may be a little claustrophobic for some, a tiny home can be quite cozy. This is because they are usually built to the individual needs and wants of the owner.

To personalize the space and to make it all his own, Austin added a variety of design elements and comforts of home. These include:

  • Lofted ceilings to make the room feel more spacious
  • Sleeping loft that sits above the bathroom and kitchen areas
  • A space for his homework, complete with a desk
  • Foam-pad couch that turns into a bed
  • Built-in storage space above desk
  • Space-efficiency closet
  • Functioning shower with running water
  • Kitchen, with a working camper stove
  • Stainless steel sink
  • Hardwood oak floors
  • Double-paned glass doors
  • Refrigerator
  • Composting toilet

Hopefully, Austin’s efforts will inspire other teens to consider building their own tiny homes. Most of the stuff that he did was just basic construction, i.e. cut, measure, and cut again. In other words, with a little ingenuity and elbow grease, anyone can build their own tiny home.

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