Matt Towke, of the building construction program at the Huot Technical Center, is nearly as proud the Tiny House as he is of his students who built under his direction and oversight. (Michael Kitch/Laconia Daily Sun)
Huot Tech students to display their construction project at NH Home Show
By MICHAEL KITCH, LACONIA DAILY SUN
LACONIA — On Friday morning, the tiny house built by students of the Huot Technical Center during the last several months will be hauled to the Radisson hotel in Manchester where, together with four others like it, it will be featured at the 50th annual New Hampshire State Home Show.
Tiny House New Hampshire is a workforce development initiative sponsored but he New Hampshire Lottery, which introduced the "Tiny House, Big Money" scratch ticket, with a top prize of $10,000 along with a chance to win the best of the five tiny houses in the eyes of the judges.
Matt Towle, the teacher who directed and oversaw the project, the dozen students who did the work and the members of the Lakes Region Home Builders Association, who contributed expertise and materials, have all earned their rewards with the completion of the house. Now, they all have eyes on the prize.
The house, built on a trailer,provided by the New Hampshire Lottery, is just 192 square feet, with an 80-square-foot loft. Towle began with an off-the-shelf design, but refined and re-engineered it. Jeremy Doucet of the Lighthouse Construction Group of Gilford said the project posed more challenges than building a conventional home. All the essential elements — living room, bedroom, kitchen and bathroom with shower, as well as plumbing, heating and wiring — be fitted into a confined space and the 7-ton home must be built to withstand the rigors of highway travel at 60 mph.
The house is crowned by an elegant dormer. The gable ends are highlighted with natural bark while the remainder features novelty and board-and-batten siding. The windows, aluminum on the outside and wooden on the inside, are both durable decorative. Remarking on the choice of materials, Bob Glassett of Pella Windows and Doors said that "we could have gone cheap, but no, we decided to do it right."
There are 13 windows in the house, one for Towle and each his dozen students — Alexis Albert, Kris Belanger, Robert Brough, Austin Carbone, Joshua Catalano, Mary Davis, Corey Getman, Samuel Guyer, Ian Hearn, Nathan Kierstead, Bryson LaChapelle and Cole Manion. Albert and Davis are the first two women to complete the building construction program. Towle also credited the plumbing and heating class, taught by Mike Schofield, for their contributions to the project.
Likewise, Towle expressed his appreciation to the Lakes Region Home Builders Association, the largest regional chapter in the state, whose members devoted their time, knowledge, skill and resources to ensure the success of the project. He said that many builders in the region construct custom homes and shared their unique skills and craftsmanship with his students. The association even provided an exacting customer to cast a sharp eye over their workmanship.
For the students, whose forerunners built garden sheds and bob houses, the tiny house presented a unique opportunity to build a complete home, albeit a small one. "I love building and this is the whole thing," said La Chapelle. Colin Horton, who completed the program two years ago and now works for Wood 7 Clay of Gilford, said he was envious.
Belanger said that his participation in the program has lent direction and meaning to his education while working on the tiny house has contributed to earning him a job with a local contractor. Kierstead, who works with his father, a roofing contractor, and intends to continue in the building trades, said that the tiny house project has been a "a good learning process" with emphasis on communication and teamwork.
"This is their project," Towle said of his students. "They are really invested in it "
With tiny houses becoming increasing popular, the work of the students has become an example. When the Lakes Region Home Builders hosted an open house during construction a builder from Tuftonboro with a client interested in building three tiny houses to rent in the summer, said, "It's very well built," and "I've learned a lot about how to go about it."
A couple from Concord, in the midst of building a tiny house of their own, wished they had seen the students' project before they began.
Treating the home show as something of an away game, Towle hoped for a strong show of support for students in Manchester this weekend . The show opens on Friday, March 17, at 1 p.m., and runs on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and on Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The Tiny House Village will be on Pleasant Street, next door to the Radisson hotel.
The interior begins to come together. (Courtesy photo)
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