Tiny Houses

Students convert a storehouse into a tiny house for under $500

Students convert a storehouse ...
In all, the students worked on the project for 10 weeks (Photo: Central College)
In all, the students worked on the project for 10 weeks (Photo: Central College)
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Amy Andrews and Ethan Van Kooten built their tiny home for just $489 (Photo: Central College)
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Amy Andrews and Ethan Van Kooten built their tiny home for just $489 (Photo: Central College)
To transform the run-down old shed into a tiny home, the pair sourced unwanted lumber, insulation, and furniture from local buildings in the process of being demolished (Photo: Central College)
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To transform the run-down old shed into a tiny home, the pair sourced unwanted lumber, insulation, and furniture from local buildings in the process of being demolished (Photo: Central College)
The tiny house doesn't sport any off-the-grid technology like solar power, or composting toilet – that would have raised the cost (Photo: Central College)
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The tiny house doesn't sport any off-the-grid technology like solar power, or composting toilet – that would have raised the cost (Photo: Central College)
In all, the students worked on the project for 10 weeks (Photo: Central College)
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In all, the students worked on the project for 10 weeks (Photo: Central College)
The biggest costs were OSB plywood for the ceiling, which set the students back $110, and piping for the wood stove, which cost $120 (Photo: Central College)
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The biggest costs were OSB plywood for the ceiling, which set the students back $110, and piping for the wood stove, which cost $120 (Photo: Central College)
Now that it's finished, the tiny house will serve as a weekend retreat on some land owned by Van Kooten's family, where it's currently installed on skids (Photo: Central College)
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Now that it's finished, the tiny house will serve as a weekend retreat on some land owned by Van Kooten's family, where it's currently installed on skids (Photo: Central College)
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Iowa-based Central College environmental studies majors Amy Andrews and Ethan Van Kooten decided to build a tiny house for their senior project. Thanks to a hand-me-down storehouse, combined with the pair's knack for salvaging furniture from scrap, they were able to do so at a cost of just US$489.

The original plan was for Andrews and Van Kooten to build a new tiny house from scratch with a budget of $3,350. However, when it became apparent that no grant money was available, they improvised and made use of a 52-year-old granary, originally built by Van Kooten's family, which was being used as a storehouse at the time.

To transform the run-down old shed into a tiny home, the pair sourced unwanted lumber, insulation, and furniture from local buildings in the process of being demolished. A total of four windows were donated, and kitchen cabinets were acquired free-of-charge. The students also used an old hog feeder to make a loft, which is accessed by a ladder that was once part of an unwanted deer stand (a hunting post).

The biggest costs were OSB plywood for the ceiling, which set the students back $110, and piping for the wood stove, which cost $120 (Photo: Central College)
The biggest costs were OSB plywood for the ceiling, which set the students back $110, and piping for the wood stove, which cost $120 (Photo: Central College)

Unlike most of the other tiny homes we've reported on, this dwelling doesn't boast the usual off-the-grid technology you'd expect, like solar power, or composting toilet, for example. Such gear would have raised the cost too high. However, there is a (donated) wood stove installed, and Andrews and Van Kooten eventually plan to add a porch and a rainwater catchment system too.

While perhaps not well-suited to full-time habitation in its current state, the project is a testament to the kind of ingenuity often displayed in the tiny house movement. Now it's finished, it will serve as a weekend retreat on some land owned by Van Kooten's family, where it currently rests on skids.

Source: Central College

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7 comments
Tom Lee Mullins
I think that is really neat and a job well done. I would not mind living there.
Jay Finke
Needs tin or bricks on the all behind the stove, bet it gets toasty in the loft. nice build. only thing it's mis'n is a 55'' flat screen, that will help keep the mother-in-law away from the main house.and a lock hasp on the outside of the door to ensure it.
Martin Hone
Maybe someone can donate a rainwater tank and a few old solar panels too........
Chris Curl
It looks like a nice fix up of an old beat up shed.
How is this an innovation in any way. Putting cabinets and a loft bed in a shed does not make it a "tiny home". Is there a restroom? Is there a distributed power system?
sorry to be sour grapes, but it seems like this is a hipster movement of impracticality. Just because something was cheap and feels hip does not make it newsworthy.
Slow news day?
Nik
If you want to call a habitation small, then it needs to be smaller than a VW camper. In comparison, this is huge!
Noel K Frothingham
Chris, I suspect the target market for this mini home are people with simple tastes - almost minimalist. I would buy one in a heartbeat.
CarolineClausen
this is great. but even as a weekend retreat, they need to go to the bathroom. do they have an outhouse?or are there plans to build a bathroom?