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Amy Andrews and Ethan Van Kooten, students at Central College in Iowa, converted an old storehouse into a cozy tiny home. The conversion was actually their senior project, and it cost only $489. This low cost was also made possible by the fact that they used recycled furniture and other repurposed materials wherever they could.

Originally, they had planned to build a brand new tiny home on a small budget of $3,350. They relied on a grant to do so, but ultimately they were not awarded one, so they needed to improvise and alter their plan. The tiny home they built is a converted 52-year-old granary that belonged to Van Kooten’s family. The building was quite run down when the project started.

The team began the transformation by first sourcing unwanted lumber, insulation, and furniture from structures being demolished locally. They also received a donation of four windows and kitchen cabinetry. An old hog feeder was used to form a loft, which is accessible via a ladder that was once part of a hunting post. The biggest part of the cost were the OSB plywood they used for the ceiling, which cost $110.

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While the students used mostly recycled and repurposed materials to construct the home, they did not install any off-the-grid technology, which would have made this home all the more unique. But according to them solar panels, a composting toilet and other green technologies would have driven the price too high. They did however install a wood stove, which was also donated to them. The next step is adding a porch to the home and a rainwater catchment system too.

The home is currently being used as a weekend retreat, though with a little more work it could easily become a full time home. And if nothing else, the project shows just how little it takes for any building to become a sustainable and cozy home.