Most people head off to college with filled suitcases, a favorite stuffed animal, big dreams, and maybe a mini fridge. But that wasn’t enough for one 19-year-old from Ashland, Oregon. Brayden Preskenis built a tiny house and brought it with him when he started college at Whitman College in Walla Walla, Washington.
When Brayden was just 13, his older sister was in the midst of applying for colleges. Observing her go through the process made the young teen realize that he needed something unique on his own college application in order to set him apart from the thousands upon thousands of other applicants.
Preskenis’s step-mom, Cassie Preskenis, told KTVL News that she gave the teenager an idea that would really help him stand out.
“I happened to watch a documentary about tiny houses, and there was a 16-year-old boy that was building a tiny house,” she said. “And I immediately was like, ‘Brayden! That’s what you should do, you should build a tiny house!’”
Brayden spent five years and $14,000 building the tiny 128-square-foot home. As a high schooler, Brayden worked odd jobs and took a loan from his parents in order to fund the project. Brayden says that store owners often gave him discounts on building materials because they were inspired by his vision. His family also pitched in with labor to help make the tiny home a reality.
“It kept him very financially responsible,” Cassie told KTVL News. “So I think it inspired him to grow up in a really responsible way.”
The little property has thirteen windows to help the place feel a little bigger, as well as two solar panels to provide energy. The home even has its own compostable toilet. The dwelling currently sits outside Brayden’s fraternity house at Whitman College. Not only does the tiny home serve as a living space for Brayden now (and save the college student $6,000 a year on housing), but it may have also helped him get into college. The process of constructing the home from scratch was the focus of the teen’s college admissions essay.
While Brayden has learned a lot about carpentry through this process, this isn’t necessarily what he wants to do for a living. The college student hasn’t declared a major yet, but he is learning toward pediatric nursing as an option.