Most teens would be more interested in building a solid instagram following than picking up a hammer and nails. With every generation however, there are exceptions. Austin Hay was just 15 years old when he begun building his very own tiny home. At 16, he was well on his way to making his very own dream home a reality.
When Kirsten Dirksen interviewed Austin about his tiny home, he was only a year in.
What separates Austin’s home from others however is that it’s on wheels! Built on the base of a trailer, this home is not only built to spec, but road-ready. Austin’s motivation for building his own tiny house is not altogether surprising, given that he’s a teen living at home.
“Like any other teenager I want to move out. You can move this and park it and live in it whenever I want.”
Austin picked up the trailer from Oregon for only $2,000.
Aside from the freedom, his vision to build a tiny house was quite far-sighted.
“Living small means less bills, living big means more bills” says Austin regarding his decision to go the tiny-home route. With his setup, all he needs to survive in his home is a water hookup, electrical, and a way to get rid of his “gray water” (Thats a nice way of saying, drainage that isn’t from the toilet…). Austin’s house uses a compost toilet for the nastier business.
Austin has set his sights much higher than most DIY projects that someone his age would pick up.
“The house reminded me of a treehouse that I’ve always wanted to build when I was a little kid, but something that was just on wheels it was just something way cooler, that I could move and stuff.”
Austin’s plan is to to live in his tiny mobile home during high school and then eventually in college.
Austin is funding his project himself.
The lad earns the capitol to fund his project by working two summer jobs, one in at a summer camp, and another at a park snack bar. Still, he isn’t precious about spending his hard-earned cash on his passion. He said about spending his whole $2,000 pay check on the trailer:
“I was like, I’m gonna spend it all at once!”
Apart from the roof, Austin has done nearly everything himself.
The only element that Austin had help with was getting the roof set up, the rest he has used his own elbow grease for. For Austin however, that doesn’t seem all that hard!
“You’d be surprised how basic this is really. Like a lot of this stuff is just basic construction…cut, measure and cut some more.”
Austin has kept the cost down by being incredibly thrifty.
The total estimated cost of this home is $12,000. This is half of the initial estimate of $23,000! Austin has managed to keep his expenditure so low by becoming a regular at the salvage yard. Austin’s hardwood oak floor cost him only $25 by finding second hand timber to use.
Austin’s wall cost him a tiny fraction of the usual cost.
Austin was lucky enough to be gifted paneling for his walls, which normally go for $60 a panel. When you add up the overall cost, that’s a significant saving! He also managed to pick up a sink usually valued at $100, for a quarter of the price by going second-hand.
While Austin’s 130-square-foot home is simple, it makes great use of space.
He’s particularly proud of his vaulted ceiling, which allows his loft to feel extra spacey. The loft is where Austin’s bed will go. Or at least, where it has been, as he had been living in his unfinished home for about a month prior to this tour video being filmed.
And Austin has come a long way since his project kicked off!
No more than a year later, Kirsten Dirksen checked back in on Austin’s tiny home.
Watch the full videos below to experience this tiny home inside and out!
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