Lovell High School sells tiny house, begins second project

Lovell High School found themselves in a unique position this fall when they found themselves in the tiny house market.

The result of a two-year multiclass effort, the school had a 24-foot solar powered, off-grid ready, portable tiny home on their hands.

A collaboration of more than 75 students, who planned, designed and constructed the living space, the tiny home came with an apartment sized electric refrigerator, with freezer, a four-burner propane gas stove with oven and an all-in-one washer/dryer combo unit. It also included a flat screen television, a built in couch that doubled as a storage unit and a dozen windows. Needless to say, Gary Tickner, from Ketchum, Idaho, drove away with a bargain when he purchased the home for $34,000. 

Gary Tickner, who drove from Ketchum, Idaho, is pleased with his purchase, a tiny house constructed by Lovell High School students. Inset, high school teacher Bret George stands smiling with Tickner. 
Courtesy Photos

“Gary was impressed with the rustic style of the house,” high school teacher Cindy Asay wrote to the Lovell Chronicle in an email. “He also loved the solar power feature.”

Asay said that she and fellow teacher Bret George began by trying to sell the tiny house locally, beginning with an open house held this summer, but while many in the community left impressed, not many were interested.

“It was just too new of a concept for a lot of local people,” George said.

 So Asay and George broadened their search. They had students photograph the home and help with writing descriptions and marketing materials for the house, and then they listed it nationally.

Success came in listing the house on The website not only was free but allowed Lovell High School to show photos and give detailed descriptions and list the price. 

“We listed it as a rustic cabin on wheels,” Asay said. 

It only took a few weeks for Tickner to contact them.

Tickner, Asay said, rescues Pyrenees dogs from the plains of Idaho, and told her that the tiny house’s ability to be a functional living space anywhere made it a perfect option to serve as a halfway house for his rescued dogs. 

Just that alone proves how well-constructed the tiny house was. The dogs wouldn’t do well in cramped spaces.

“They’re huge,” Asay said. “Those dogs are big.”

The construction of the original tiny house was made possible by a $64,000 Wyoming Education Trust Fund Grant, which was used to not only build the house but to also OSHA safety train the students building it. The $34,000 attained by successfully selling the house will naturally go toward doing the project all over again. 

There’s not a better way to give students a multitude of real life applicable experience than building a house, George said, and the thing about a project like this is that every student who works on it will be entirely new to the process, meaning the same lessons learned while constructing the house will be there to learn again. 

The second tiny house is already well underway, Asay said.

“We’ve got designs finished, the walls up, the subflooring down, the roof is about ready to go on and the floor plan is figured out,” Asay said. 

This second house will be different from the first, Asay said. The students are looking for the house to be a touch more modern, but not too modern, with a different roof pitch and entry way design. It will still be rustic, but won’t be as rustic as the first.  

“We learn a lot as we go,” Asay said.  “The more that Bret and I will continue to do this, it will be more efficient.”

It’s already an exciting process to watch a new house form, Asay said, and she has found herself missing the first house, which was sitting on the lot every day for the past two years for her and her students to visit. 

“It was kind of weird seeing it pull out of the driveway and know you won’t see it again,” Asay said. “It kind of had a melancholy feel to it.” 

By Ryan Fitzmaurice