Return to News

Student builds ‘tiny mansion’ for summer living

by Matt Collette

People tend to be skep­tical of envi­ron­mental sci­ence and polit­ical sci­ence com­bined major Anderson Page’s house, a 144-​​square-​​foot unit built this spring as part of his senior thesis project.

“There’s a look in people’s eyes and a kind of smirk, because the whole thing almost sounds like a joke—a tiny house on a trailer,” Page said. “But while it’s small and looks almost like a gin­ger­bread house from the out­side, it’s really nice and even roomy on the inside.”


photo courtesy Anderson Page

Page, who is 6 feet 3 inches tall, designed the house to be as spa­cious and effi­cient as pos­sible, putting careful thought into every detail of the design. The 11-​​foot ceil­ings keep the building from feeling cramped; at a house­warming party, eight friends fit com­fort­ably inside.

“You can live in small spaces,” Page said, “but if they’re not designed well, it’s going to feel cramped, uncom­fort­able, and inefficient.”

Though he had ini­tially intended on going to car­pentry school after fin­ishing high school, Page said his par­ents encour­aged him to enroll in col­lege, leading him to North­eastern. At North­eastern, he focused his studies on how to make build­ings smaller and more effi­cient, with a par­tic­ular emphasis on leaving a small carbon foot­print and reducing utility costs. After spending the summer living in the house—which cost him about $16,500 to build—he plans to sell the unit and pursue other envi­ron­men­tally con­scious con­struc­tion projects.

Page chron­i­cled his building project on a blog, Tall Man, Tiny Man­sion,” which he plans to con­tinue updating over the course of the summer. He hopes his project—part of a small but growing trend—will chal­lenge Amer­i­cans’ long-​​standing assump­tions about how much space they need.

“My project is a reac­tion, albeit an extreme one, to the McMan­sion­iza­tion of the sub­urbs,” Page explained. “I think it could help a lot of people realize maybe you don’t need a home that’s 3,000 square feet.

“Most people aren’t going to move into a tiny house on a trailer,” he added, “but maybe they’ll realize they can do just fine in a 2,000-square-foot home or that it makes sense to put more emphasis on things like energy efficiency.”

Originally published in news@Northeastern on May 2, 2013

« »