Former EHS teacher Bob Kilmer snaps a photo of the tiny house his students created. The home will now used by those advocating for small-home living. Some of the students involved in the project gathered Friday with Todd McKellips (left), director of the Washington Tiny House Association.

Tiny house built by EHS students turned over to advocacy group

The Washington Tiny House Association will use the 16-foot-long house as a “model home” at home shows.

Enumclaw High’s tiny house has found a home.

The rolling home, built by EHS students over the course of two school years, has been turned over to the Washington Tiny House Association. The project came to fruition Friday morning when WTHA founder and director Todd McKellips arrived at the high school, hitched the home to his pickup and drove away.

Heading the project was now-retired EHS teacher Bob Kilmer, who noted that 29 students were involved in the creation of the home. It started with 18 weeks of design work and eventually involved fabrication, construction, inspection – everything that goes into the building of a full-size house, just on a much smaller scale.

A crucial element, Kilmer said, was the original goal of donating the 16-foot-long house to a charitable organization. That desire will be met, McKellips said, as the EHS project will be displayed as a “model home” at home shows and used as part of WTHA’s ongoing advocacy for little-house living.

In a written statement, McKellips described the work of the WTHA this way: “We are a collective of people who are passionate about change. Our mission is to legalize tiny houses in an effort to create more truly affordable housing, as well as supporting local builders of tiny homes in Washington state. Our tribe is passionate about taking care of one another. A lot of us have decided we truly want to be free of debt, worry and live tiny. Some of us were homeless, injured or just not OK with the status quo. Some of us are minimalists, others have no options. We desire to inspire HOPE in the great state of Washington for people that thought home ownership would never be for them. There’s nothing better than offering hope to the hopeless and opportunity to those who need it.”

The home created by Enumclaw High students was an ambitious project from the start, Kilmer said, noting that the structure is far from a simple box. There’s an alcove built over the hitch on the front and the roof has three levels.

The kitchen is complete with a stainless steel sink, gas stovetop, refrigerator and microwave oven. The bathroom has a shower and composting toilet and there’s a loft bedroom with mattress and dresser.

A highlight of the project was the use of repurposed wood from the high school. The tiny house endeavor coincided with extensive renovation at EHS so Kilmer’s class fashioned kitchen countertops and stairs to the sleeping area from benches in the old school locker room; the floor previously graced the school gymnasium.

Before home construction could begin, the steel frame was built by students in the EHS welding class. The rest of the work was accomplished by students in Kilmer’s architecture and construction class. Also in the mix were students from Bellevue’s Interlake High who installed a solar panel that keeps the home’s 12-volt battery charged; they also donated and installed solar lights found in the bathroom and ceiling.

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