“I started working on this project without even knowing how to swing a hammer,” said Carley, a 15-year-old student at the Academy for Career Education (ACE) in Reno, Nevada. After working on a nearly completed Tumbleweed Tiny House Company Cypress tiny house, Carley now knows how to frame, build cabinets, work with electrical, and install a furnace.
This weekend was the first open house for the nearly 50 students who take classes at the tuition-free charter school that focuses on construction and engineering. They are in the process of completing three Cypress tiny homes and are nearly finished with their first design. Each student only has about 1 1/2 hours per day to work on the houses and before they can even swing that hammer, they have to pass their OSHA certification.
The plans were donated to the school by Tumbleweed. The students plan to sell two of the homes to fund a full house building project, but the third will be kept on display for anyone interested in tiny homes.
“We chose the Cypress because it was simple in that the mechanics are located on one side, but challenging enough for the students with the dormer and its 45 degree pitched roof,” Tony Clark, ACE’s Advanced Building Trades Instructor, said.
The three project homes have a sleeping loft with a skylight, a smaller storage loft, a large kitchen with plenty of under counter storage and a full bath with a shower, tiny sink and toilet. The house will be ready to connect to city water, electrical and sewage. The classic Tumbleweed main room has many windows and a small porch. Since the interior is still in progress, the open house attendees could also see into the framing and insulation process.
“These tiny house projects have allowed the students to go from zero to finish in a fairly short amount of time,” said Marc Jones, a construction instructor at ACE.
Dozens of people attended the open house and many of them had never seen or heard of a tiny house, but the buzz is starting in Reno—with talks for changing building codes and even looking at spaces for tiny house communities.
“We already have a small house, but I wanted to see how small we really could go,” said Robin Ruybalid, a Reno resident and artist who visited the open house with her husband. “We currently live in 770 square feet and we are always challenging ourselves to minimize.”
Photos by Christina Nellemann