Student's Tiny Digs: 170 Square-Foot House He Built

Christopher Cerk living off the grid for his last 2 years at University of Michigan
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Sep 6, 2015 8:51 AM CDT
The exterior of Christopher Cerk's house in Ann Arbor, Mich.   (Dominic Valente/The Ann Arbor News via AP)
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(Newser) – A University of Michigan computer science junior has moved into a 170-square-foot home he built himself. Christopher Cerk, 21, loaded the tiny house on a trailer and hauled it with him for the start of fall classes, the Ann Arbor News reported yesterday. "Around freshman year I didn't enjoy living in the dorms so I wanted to do something different," Cerk says. "I started researching different ways to live. I wanted to put all the money that would be going towards rent ... to something else." He spent $13,000 on materials and built the house over the past two years. He expects to save money over his last two years at Michigan, and has a place to live after graduation. It cost Cerk about $800 a month for rent last year.

Cerk is not revealing the location because the small size could violate local rules. The house is on the trailer on a private lot. Cerk has the property owner's permission to keep it there. He also will get some water from the property owner's home. The house features a compostable toilet, shower, and two 100-watt solar panels that are expected to supply enough juice to charge his cellphone and laptop, provide lighting and power for a cook-top stove. It also has a propane heater. "Living off the grid will be interesting because I'm not hooked up to anything, but I think it'll be all right," he said. "I have an adventurous personality and I'm very ambitious. ... I think it's just a good step for people to go toward—using space more efficiently and living in a more purposeful and simple way." (Read more tiny houses stories.)

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