Meet the Youngest Member of the Tiny House Movement

This 16-year-old is building himself a future free from mortgage payments, not to mention college accommodations that are a bit homier your average dorm room.

On just a few thousand dollars he made working at a summer camp, 16-year-old Austin Hayes built himself an entire house, complete with electricity, a composting toilet, and even wheels! By the time he graduates high school Austin will be a mortgage-free homeowner.

At 130 square feet, the house is small, “But it’s big enough for me,” Hayes says, adding that the vaulted ceilings make the place feel spacious.

Building a house of this type is easy enough that anyone can do it, according to Hayes. “They just have to put their mind to it,” he says. “That’s what scares people. That, and it’s hard work.

Through numerous trips to the salvage yard, Hayes was able to get rock-bottom prices on everything from hardwood floors to the kitchen sink. His total expenses came in at around $12,000, about half the typical price of building a tiny home. With its re-used materials, double-paned window, and minimal waste, Austin’s tiny house is debt-free, portable, and environmentally friendly.

  • Why go back to the way things were when we can create housing that embraces the best of tradition and the best of new thinking?
  • Photo Essay: Don’t think you know how to build your own house? Neither did 23-year-old Ella Jenkins before she picked up the tools and started.
  • With 5 million houses in foreclosure, we are rediscovering that living sustainably includes living affordably.


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