Austin Hay, 16-Year-Old, Builds Small House In Backyard (VIDEO)

WATCH: Sonoma Teen Builds Fully-Functioning Home

Some kids build tree houses and others build forts. But 16-year-old Austin Hay from Sonoma built a 130-square-foot fully functioning portable home that's insulated and wrapped with Tyvek in his backyard.

Hay started building the home as a school project, but it soon became a full-time personal hobby. Features include vaulted ceilings, hardwood oak floors, a stainless steel sink, double-paned glass doors, a refrigerator and electrical wiring. Soon he'll be installing a shower and a composting toilet.


"I took woodshop freshman and sophomore year and I learned as much stuff as I could," said Hay. "I've done it all. I framed it, then I put the roof on. The only thing I've had help with was getting the roof set up and making everything plumb."

Hay funded the project with money he earned from his job working at a local summer camp, and gathered many of the materials from the local salvage yard, recycling anything that he could. In the year and a half that he's been working on the project, Hay has produced only enough trash to fill one and a half garbage cans. Most of the appliances were donated or rescued from the dump or local yard sales.

"And I have an outdoor camper stove oven -- I got that from 'Santa,' I guess, for Christmas," said Hay. "It was what I needed."

Hay argues that almost anyone can build a house. "You'd be surprised how basic this is really," he said. "A lot of this stuff is just basic construction. You cut, measure and cut some more. Anyone can do it -- they just have to put their mind to it. And that's what scares people. That and it's hard work."

Check out Hay and his backyard home in the video below, courtesy of

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