Two college students in Iowa built an entire house for $489.
Amy Andrews and Ethan van Kooten, both students at Iowa’s Central College, requested a $3,350 budget from their school last year to build a small, sustainable house for their senior project. When they were denied the money, the pair decided to take things into their own hands.
In 10 weeks, Andrews and van Kooten took an old, vacant storage shed and converted it into a 260-square-foot house. Using scrap metal from van Kooten’s family farm, the students spent 500 hours putting the fully functional home together.
The Des Moines Register broke down the cost of each aspect of the project:
- Plywood for ceiling, $110
- Exterior paint, $25
- Foam ceiling vents, $25
- Bolts, $10
- Door frame, $40
- Exterior door, $13
- Interior paint, $30
- Drip cap for windows, $60
- Wood stove piping materials, $120
- Total: $489
“They were very much constrained by what they had available,” professor Anya Butt said. “They blew me away with how much work they did.”
The house, which is heated by a wooden stove, will serve as a hangout for the pair and their friends for the time being. Andrews said that being resourceful was the key to completing the project on such a small budget.
“If you scrounge around, you can save a lot,” she said.
“Scrounge,” van Kooten added, “is our favorite word now.”