18 year old builds debt-free tiny house as school project (Video)

Living Big In A Tiny House
© Living Big In A Tiny House

Whether it's for a place to stay rent-free during college, or as a school project, we're inspired by forward-thinking and creative youngsters who decide right off the bat to build their own mortgage-free homes.

New Zealander Gabriella Grace is one of these experimental souls: she constructed this 172-square-foot abode as a school project when she was 18 years old. Made with a lot of recycled materials, clever details and a bit of technical help from her dad, Grace's home is now temporarily parked in a scenic spot about 15 minutes by car from downtown Wellington. We get to see this young woman's self-built home as Bryce Langston of Living Big In A Tiny House takes a tour:

Living Big In A Tiny House© Living Big In A Tiny House

Once inside, we see that Grace has really pared things down to keep the living room as uncluttered as possible. The sofa is made from pallet wood and a mattress, doubling as a guest bed and as storage. There's plenty of light streaming in, thanks to the double French doors.

Living Big In A Tiny House© Living Big In A Tiny House

Here's a nice personal touch that Grace came up with herself: the tiny home has its a custom speaker system wired right into the walls, and is conveniently controlled by a car audio faceplate right in the kitchen counter.

Living Big In A Tiny House© Living Big In A Tiny House
Living Big In A Tiny HouseLiving Big In A Tiny House/Video screen capture

The view into the kitchen is lit by a string of blacklights hovering over the floor. As Grace and Langston joke, with both the lighting and the speakers, this tiny home would be "perfect for dance parties." The kitchen counter and cabinets are actually an old unit from the 1960s that Grace bought for cheap and refinished to look new and modern. There's no refrigerator, but Grace says that she could add one in the future, and she compensates by buying fresh produce everyday. Power can be supplied both by solar panel and by main grid hookup.

Living Big In A Tiny House© Living Big In A Tiny House
Living Big In A Tiny HouseLiving Big In A Tiny House/Video screen capture

Much of the materials used for the home were bought secondhand off Trade Me, the New Zealand version of Craigslist. Grace explains that since this was a final year school project, there wasn't much of a budget, but she made up for that by putting a lot of time into making her own decorations or refinishing recycled materials to make them look new.

Living Big In A Tiny House© Living Big In A Tiny House
Living Big In A Tiny House© Living Big In A Tiny House

In total, Grace's simple home cost around USD $17,000 to build. For the price of a cheap car, this creative 20-year-old now has a place to call her own. Tiny homes like this may not be the ultimate solution to a growing housing affordability problem, but if there's a critical mass of tiny housers someday, it may be one piece of the puzzle that may get some broader, much-needed changes happening on both the regulatory and social level. More over at Living Big In A Tiny House.

Tags: Less Is More | Living With Less | Small Spaces

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