Design devotee blogs about cities, innovation, architecture and green building.
Kids build the darndest things: Austin Hay's tiny house
Meet Austin Hay, a high school junior who's in the process of constructing his very own tiny-house-on-wheels that he plans to take to college ... provided he can find somewhere to park it (and put his greywater).
The fascinating — and often provocative — hits keep on a comin’ from faircompanies, Nicolás Boullosa and Kirsten Dirksen’s fantastically small-minded, Barcelona-based eco-living website that in recent months has featured, via short video documentaries, Luke Tyler Clark’s 78-square-foot “Midtown Mansion” in Manhattan and the dramatically downsized digs of the Jordan clan.
Sixteen-year-old Austin Hay, the latest — and certainly the youngest — tiny house devotee profiled by faircompanies, isn’t quite old enough to live independently. However, that hasn’t stopped the ambitious Sonoma County, Calif., high school student from constructing his very own petite-sized (130-square-feet plus a sleeping loft that fits a full-size mattress) bachelor-pad-on-wheels in his parents' backyard for when the time does eventually come. This kid really can't wait.
Says Hay, who is building his future full-time home using “basic” skills learned in woodshop class with minimal adult assistance:
The house reminded me of a tree house that I've always wanted to build since I was a little kid, but something that was on wheels was just way cooler — something that I could move and stuff.
Hay, who anticipates his total construction costs to be around $12,000 (he keeps costs low — on a high schooler’s budget — by incorporating numerous salvaged/reclaimed/ donated materials and gifts from “Santa”) made his first big investment in the form of a $2,000 trailer, purchased with money he earned from his job at a summer camp. I’m not exactly sure where the money I made during my high school summer jobs went (concert tickets? Jack in the Box? Urban Outfitters?) but I do know that I certainly wasn’t eying trailers in used car lots in which to place my handmade tiny house. And I certainly wasn’t saving up for a composting toilet to call my own.
This forward-thinking Jay-Shafer-in-training claims that he’s well aware of the tiny house movement and that he’s glad to be considered a part of it. “I don’t think bigger is better necessarily … too many chores,” says Hay. “Plus, there’s no mortgage on it. Living small means less bills, living big means more bills. That’s how I think of it.”
In addition to living in his home while still in high school (I'd assume in his parents' backyard), Hay plans to take his “big accomplishment” along with him when he goes to college provided he can park his home in a place with a water hookup, an electrical outlet, and a place to put his greywater. No dorm living for you, eh Austin?
The opinions expressed by MNN Bloggers and those providing comments are theirs alone, and do not reflect the opinions of MNN.com. While we have reviewed their content to make sure it complies with our Terms and Conditions, MNN is not responsible for the accuracy of any of their information.