Teenager Builds 130-Square-Foot House for College

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teenager builds house for college

As small homes go, we've covered everything from shotgun shacks to disappearing lofts, big city closets to itty-bitty bungalows. But in the annals of tiny home lore, 16-year-old Austin Hay holds his own special place. The industrious teenager spent his summer vacation building a 130-square-foot home on wheels, which he intends to live in during college.

Hay, a high school student in Sonoma County, Calif., got the idea to build the house from noted small home designer, Jay Shafer, according to FairCompanies.com. (Shafer was recently featured in a New Yorker piece on the giant growth of the small homes movement.) A shout-out to our friends at Curbed for the scoop.

Watch the full video below.


First hatched as an extension of a high school research assignment, the project has kept Hay busy for the past year. By construction's end, the home will cost approximately $12,000. So far, Hay has funded the project with two summer jobs and some help from his mom and dad.

But don't dismiss the effort as trivial. Whole families have made do -- in fact, have said they prefer -- to live in homes no larger than the "cabin" Hay built.

"It's cozy," Hay says in a video for FairCompanies.com. "Plus there's no mortgage on it."

Wise beyond his years, it seems. The median price for a home in some of the pricier metros in the San Francisco Bay area came in at around $515,000, according to the National Association of Realtors -- almost three times greater than the national median of $172,000.

Eventually, Hay plans to install a shower, eco-friendly composting toilet, kitchenette, and even a guest bed. Best of all, the home is small enough to travel with the young builder wherever he goes -- including college, and beyond, he says.

Also see:
College Town Real Estate Investments Score High Marks

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