Sara Shrode has always felt more at home in smaller spaces. Her dorm room. An apartment that was a little more than 300 square feet. A cabin that barely fit six people.
So it’s no wonder she’s ready to move into a tiny house the SCTCC Carpentry program built for her this past academic year.
Shrode first got interested in tiny homes about ten years ago at a home and garden show, where she saw a small cabin that felt just right. While her friend declared the space too small, Shrode said, “I could’ve easily made that work.”
Fast forward to the 2016 CMBA HomeShow in St. Cloud, where Shrode went to learn specifically about tiny houses. SCTCC’s first tiny house was on display at the show.
After taking a tour through the tiny house, she was impressed by its quality and professionalism. She contacted the Carpentry department and asked if they would consider taking on a client.
Faculty felt that a client experience would be a great opportunity for students, and Shrode proceeded through the steps to have the Carpentry class build her a tiny house.
“I would be able to come in and check on it once in a while. The students were very respectful. I felt like they were excited for me,” Shrode said.
The process to get started may have taken a little more work than if she’d gone through a contractor, but overall, Shrode said working with SCTCC got her to her goal faster because of the cost savings.
At the Tiny House Open House on Saturday, April 29, about 100 people came to check out her new home, which has custom-built kitchen cabinets, an office space, and a tall, sloped ceiling that allows for many windows to let in natural light.
After the Carpentry students finish up Shrode’s tiny house, she plans on putting it on her brother’s land until she can get it closer to the Twin Cities. She’s waiting for city codes and ordinances to catch up to the changing housing industry.
“Tiny house people still want to be part of a community. We don’t want to be hermits – at least I’m not planning on being a hermit,” Shrode explained.
Although the tiny house is currently settled in the middle of a large Carpentry classroom, Shrode already looks at home standing on her new front stoop.
“This has been an amazing process for me,” she said. “I really did feel like I was part of a team with the instructors, the students. It was such a user-friendly process for me, just to see that my dream actually came to fruition.”