09/13 Two College Students Built This Recycled Tiny House for Only $489

TIny house that Amy Andrews and Ethan Van Kooten built for a class at Central College.

TIny house that Amy Andrews and Ethan Van Kooten built for a class at Central College.

he tiny house craze claims to save prospective house owners a lot of money. But most tiny house owners have to put up over $10,000 in initial building costs. While that amount is only a fraction of a standard home cost, it’s still not within the budget of the average college student. Two college students decided to challenge that dilemma.

Amy Andrews and Ethan Van Kooten attend Central College in Pella, Iowa. They opted to build a truly sustainable home for their biology class on a tight budget. They stripped back their budget when they couldn’t get the $3,350 funding. In the end, they only spent $489.

Andrews and Van Kooten based their entire project on reusing materials that others already planned to throw away. Luckily, these two Iowa students were able to reclaim a 52-year-old granary, placed on skids, as the base of the home. Van Kooten told Central College, “My great-great grandpa, great-grandpa and grandpa built it for shelled corn.”

What started out as a rickety outbuilding took on a charming new identity in the following 10 weeks. Anya Butt, the two students’ professor, was even skeptical they could build anything with that time frame and budget. “They blew me away with how much work they did,” she admitted.

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Elaine Walker