LACONIA — The parking lot of the Huot Technical Center was a happening place on Tuesday as building trades students, their teachers and professional mentors held an open house for their newly completed tiny house.
Students from six area high schools working alongside professional tradesmen with the Lakes Region Homebuilders & Remodelers Association spent about nine months designing and crafting the trailer-mounted modern house.
Tiny homes have proven popular with millennials, known for job-hopping and their traveling tendencies who may find themselves in a place where buying a traditional home isn’t viable for their location or current economic state.
The idea behind the trend of tiny houses is that without getting stuck in the trap of debt, those willing to live in a pint-sized space can own a home outright and do more of what they love and less of the work needed to pay off a 30-year mortgage.
The tiny house showcased on Tuesday was built atop a 24 foot-long-by-8-foot-wide trailer rated for 14,000 pounds. It has 192 square feet of living space on the ground floor, and a 70-square-foot loft accessed by a flight of stairs. The windows have tempered glass, making them more resistant to breakage when the house is being towed down the road.
“The kids get so excited to get hands-on, whether it’s building a bobhouse, a garden shed or a tiny house. They learn things organically through these projects working with our builders. It is a win-win all around,” said Brenda Richards, an executive officer with the nonprofit association that pays for the materials.
The tiny house, which features high-end materials and incorporates the latest technology, can be yours for $47,000. The sale will finance materials for next year’s project.
“The magic is the work force development,” said Matt Towle, who is the building construction teacher at the Huot Technical Center. “Students get to work on projects, meet professionals and get exposed to the trades,” he said.
“We have a phenomenal group of professionals who are willing to donate dozens of hours of their time and share their knowledge with students,” said Towle. Students get the chance to learn techniques from working tradesmen in the classroom and then apply them hands-on as part of the tiny house build.
Bob Glassett, a sales representative for Pella windows and an association member said some of the students involved in the building trades program at Huot end up working for area contractors.
“Some of these kids get hired right here on the spot. I know of at least three companies that have former Huot students working for them,” he said.
The association donated $6,000 in scholarships this year to either help students further their formal education in the trades or in the form of gift cards allowing them to buy the tools they need to get on the job.
Barbara Gillett said she found the house much more spacious inside than she thought it would be. Her husband, a retired solar engineer was drawn to the event because the tiny house is equipped with a heat pump and it gave him the chance to talk shop with those who installed it.
Julia Dyke of Tilton, who was among Towle’s students, said she enjoyed the opportunity to work together with all her classmates.
“I’m going to be able to carry the skills I learned into the rest of my life,” she said.