Sustainable Living        

Design Student Designs His Own House

July 3, 2015

With college tuition getting more expensive each year, student debt is reaching its all time high. Students are dreaming of ways to get their degree, while paying back the least amount in loans. One student from the University of Texas at Austin will be able to reach that dream, all thanks to a tiny house that he built.

25 year old, Joel Weber, decided to forego the dorm scene and chose to live in a 145-square-foot space. Using the skills and design concepts he learned in school, the design major created a floor plan and built his property for $20,000. Due to the fact that he will have a small mortgage and utility costs, he will graduate debt-free.


“I had spent some time in an apartment, but I wanted to feel ownership and invest in something that was mine,” said Weber. “I’ve always had a fascination with living small — I loved treehouses when I was younger, and I don’t think that dream has ever died.”

For such a small space, Weber has managed to make it a home. He has a main loft for his bed, and one for guests for when he has people staying over. Along with that, there’s a reading area, a bench that turns into a cot, an ottoman, coffee table, stairs that accommodate as storage, a desk and even a mini pantry with a small kitchen sink. A stove and oven, water heater/mini fridge are also accessible.

Because he is economically friendly, solar panels are next on his list, along with a rain water collector. His bathroom doesn’t have a toilet yet, but will be installed in the near future.


“I want to design things that are more sustainable,” Weber says of his future career plans. “I’m interested in doing anything where I can spread living a simpler life.” Building tiny homes similar to what he’s done for himself is something he said he’d love to do.

As designers, this is the stuff that intrigues us the most. Students can come up with ideas and accomplish them if they set their mind to it. Not only did this design student make it a goal of his, he is living the dream and wants to continue to make the most of his life. To read more, please click here.

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