Austin Hay has grown just as much as his tiny house has. However, the semi-famous young man seemed unfazed by the attention his house was getting on this sunny day in October. Dozens of people visited his tiny build last Saturday, including the parents of Kirsten Dirksen, who filmed Austin when he was 16 years old.
Austin has already been living in his tiny house for the past year-and-a-half while finishing up the final details. He’s been cooking eggs on his stove and cookies in his camp oven, which he received as a Christmas gift. While some of his friends have questioned how he gets up into his sleeping loft on such a small ladder, he proves it to them by clambering monkey-like up into his bed. He did say that on hot nights the loft is pretty miserable and not much fun to sleep in, so in the summer he will most likely crash on the futon in his main room.
Austin’s Lusby design is solid and beautiful with clean lines and good organization. It’s also a nice mix of classic and elegant with touches of Austin’s love of athletics: there’s a space for his snowboard above the futon and a stack of baseball hats hang up in his closet. He changed up the original design of this Tumbleweed by moving the bathroom to the back of the house and running the kitchen against one wall and the closet against the other. The couch, bookshelf, a collapsible table and his work desk are in the front of the house, and in front of the desk is a large picture window with a great view of his family’s backyard. The lights in the main room are glass mason jars.
Austin said that his favorite part of building the house was the interior portion: deciding where he wanted things to go, creating the cabinets and counters and seating area. What he liked the least was the detail work like the trim on the cabinets and the sanding and finishing of the reclaimed wood floor.
“The fine detail work makes everything look nice, but it’s tedious,” he said.
Since undertaking the building of his tiny house in 2010, the process may just have defined what his future will be like. Austin’s plans after a busy senior year in high school are to go to Santa Rose Community College and then eventually become an architect and go into business for himself.
Photos by Christina Nellemann