tiny house project

The Westtown School Tiny House was created as a sustainable, off the grid, single-dwelling guest residence for campus visitors. As a high school student, I worked as the head designer for the structure and helped lead the build process over the course of multiple semesters.

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Design iterations

Using SketchUp I was able to create multiple blueprints and diagrams in the initial stages of the project. The CAD program allowed me to easily alter the architecture of the home as ideas within the group evolved and shifted.

On the far left is the first plan I proposed to the Tiny House group. The middle and far right image show my gradual modifications to the plan as aspects such as trailer size and budget were revised. The far right image is the plan that was referenced during our two main build weeks.

Due to the fact we relied mainly on recycled and/or donated parts, it was necessary that the plan stay flexible. The largest, top image displays the house's finalized proportions and window/door placements.

Doors, windows, and side paneling were all received through donation. Through my senior year I continued work on the house with a small group (two peers as well as an additional team of three focussing on the biogas digester heating system). Our projects included solar panel research/damage repair, creation and installation of tongue-in-grove flooring, deconstructing used pallets and prepping them for interior wall coverings, and various interior construction projects.

Progress through main build weeks

progress through Main Build weeks

progress upon graduation

The above photos show the progress made on the Westtown Tiny House at the time of my graduation in 2016. After multiple builds, the exterior was nearly complete. The interior held a functioning loft and a framed out bathroom containing a solar-powered composting toilet. Systems that were being completed and prepared for installation included solar power (for the main electrical needs), a biogas digester (to power a small stove and contribute to heating), and a compost pile heating system (for recycling waste and to contribute to heating needs). Other sustainable elements scheduled to be installed includes a rainwater collection tank and a small grey water system. Denim insulation (made from recycled blue jeans with minimal use of energy during manufacturing) was used as a sustainable, eco-friendly alternative to fiberglass insulation.

After the major design tasks and main builds were completed,  I continued my work on the Westtown Tiny House through the installation of interior aspects (flooring, wall paneling, etc.) as well as research/installation of multiple sustainable functions (solar power, composting toilet and biogas digester). My hope for the project was that future Westtown students would continue to build on the project we began and take the Tiny House to new levels. The Westtown Tiny House is even now being improved upon with every incoming class.