Rowan Kunz Builds a Tiny Home That’s Entirely Self-Sustainable

Rowan's tiny house

Rowan Kunz’s mother, Penny, remembers how, when Rowan was a toddler and tackling something for the first time, she’d resist any help. “No!” she’d declare. “I do it I-self!” Rowan’s grammar has improved greatly over the past 30 years, but her independent streak remains as strong. When she decided to build a tiny home, she meant she’d build it herself.

In 2010, Kunz, then 30, moved back to her parents’ house in High Falls after a 12-year absence to take a position as an art teacher at Ellenville Elementary School. She’d long dreamed of building a small house on a large property; but with a new job, “serious student debt,” and an iffy economy, realizing the dream looked a long way off. “So I decided to work backwards: Build a tiny house and save up for land,” she says. Kunz, who’s spent time in Kenya and other spots where people live simply, was intrigued by the small-house movement. Building a tiny house on wheels (actually a heavy-equipment trailer) would make it movable, and required no permits. It would be a pay-as-she-went project, so no mortgage, either.

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