Design devotee blogs about cities, innovation, architecture and green building.
Watch: Austin Hay's open (tiny) house party
A year after visiting then-16-year-old Austin Hay's tiny house being built in his parents' backyard, faircompanies returns for an open house party complete with choked up grandparents and composting toilet demos.
It must be follow-up season over at faircompanies and that certainly isn’t a bad thing. A few weeks back, the globetrotting, tiny house-obsessed website published a new video filmed by Debra Jordan, right-sized living proselytizer and resident of a 400-square-foot “shotgun shack” in Arkansas. In the video update, Jordan discusses several home improvement projects that her family has taken on since the original video went viral including the expansion of her teenage son’s sleeping loft and installing a mini-dishwasher.
Now, high school senior Austin Hay, the subject of another much-discussed faircompanies video, has been revisited. And it looks like he’s had a productive year.
In the original video from August 2011, we first meet Hay, an industrious 16-year-old in the midst of building a tiny-house-on-wheels — a Fencl from the Tumbleweed Tiny House Company, to be exact, — in the backyard of his parents’ Santa Rose, Calif. home. Using skills learned in a “not very good” woodshop class at school and money saved from gigs working at a summer camp, Hay intends to eschew dormitory life and take his hand-built mobile bachelor pad — not completed at the time of filming — along with him to college (he's currently a high school senior). "I don’t think bigger is better necessarily … too many chores,” says Hay in the video. “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 the follow-up, Hay, now 17 and sporting a hip new ‘do and a deeper voice, throws an open house party for his completed trailer-bound tiny house that now features a full kitchen, composting toilet, and DIY sofa bed. Along with, umm, doorknobs, solar panels are also in the works apparently, as Hay certainly can’t run an extension cord all the way to his parents’ house when he moves away to college. Hay’s girlfriend seems supportive of his $12,000 labor of love but also a bit skeptical: “I guess it’s [tiny house living] fine until like your twenties. But after that you kind of want to settle down, you know?” She then starts giggling before mentioning the words “kids” and “cramped.” And cut.
Squeeze on in with a gaggle of Hayes’ friends and a handful of curious adults for a tour — skip to 5:50 to see the 130-square-foot home in it’s fully finished glory — in the video, below. The best part? Watching “Santa Claus” —aka Hay's mighty proud grandfather who contributed financially to the project — get all verklempt at 10:50 while talking about his grandson's project. Heartwarming stuff.
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.