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Joshua High School student

Jul 05, 2023

Whether for full-time living, weekend getaway or traveling the country, a tiny house built by Joshua High School construction technology students teems with all the cozy comforts of home.

“The students built this house over the span of two years to craft every detail by hand,” said Karen Plunk with Lonestar Auctioneers. “Not only did they create this incredible space, they’re also using the profit from the sale of it to fund their next exciting tiny house project.”

The auction of the house, online only, runs through Sept. 1. For information and to sign up to bid, visit or

“If they go to either auction website they can see plenty of pictures of the outside and inside of the house and get more information,” Plunk said. “This is exciting for us because it’s the first time we’ve done an auction for a tiny house.”

A true team effort fueled creation of the house from planning through construction, JHS construction teacher Ralph Garrett said.

“I have three classes so each class came up with a design, which we then voted on which design to go with among all the classes involved,” Garrett said. “Once they decided on the design we went with, they estimated the materials needed, got a materials list together and went from there like we would if we were a business.”

Supply chain issues in wake of the COVID-19 pandemic slowed progress initially, Garrett said, but his students remained determine to build a quality house.

Built upon a 20-foot by 8-foot trailer, the 160-square-foot house includes a full-sized residential shower with a dedicated water closet for a residential toilet. In effort to maximize space during the day, the home includes a full-sized Murphy bed.

Additional amenities include a deep, stainlees steel sink and microwave/vent hood combo along with an RV three-burner cookstove/oven and standard electric/propane refrigerator.

Adjacent bar seating includes space for up to three people and features two included barstools. A 32-inch TV closet, pantry and pull-out spice rack lend a combination of style and functionality.

Included also are butcher block countertops, solid oak cabinets, engineered wood flooring, blinds and double insulated windows and screens.

A 4-foot by 8-foot side porch with retractable awning makes possible enjoyable outdoors relaxation while a 4-foot by 8-foot back porch enhances access and appearance.

The metal seam roof and cedar siding account for the home’s rustic feel.

“I feel they take a lot of pride out of it,” Garrett said in describing what the project has meant to his students. “They’re really proud of it and gain a sense of accomplishment in discovering what they can do. We really push pride here. We do other projects for teachers, people in the community. Someone will say they want a chest of drawers, for example. Custom made things in other words. They can’t just throw something together. Build it like grandma is getting it is what I tell them.”

Teaching is a calling, Garrett answered when asked what he gets out of working with students.

“It’s just, God told me to do it,” Garrett said. “I’m teaching construction yes, but really that’s just the method I use.”

Garrett nodded toward pictures of his heroes on the wall including Jesus, John Wayne, Andy Griffith and Mr. Rogers.

“I teach them about those kind of people and their ethics,” Garrett said. “Because what I’m trying to teach is ethics, trying to make them better human beings.”

In addition to construction instruction, such includes presenting his students with a new word and quote each class and having them reveal what good deeds they performed the previous day and/or what they’re grateful for.

Garrett’s students seem to have bought into the program.

“I had built things before and took construction classes all four years of high school,” JHS senior Castulo Tonche said. “But I got a lot out of the tiny house project. I learned a lot about electrical work, gas, plumbing and insulation. and I worked on the project from start to finish so it was fun to see it all come together.”

JHS senior Charley Loeak also worked on the house from beginning to end.

“It’s been really enjoyable and fun and I learned a lot,” Loeak said. “I learned that it takes time to get things right and have the quality. The flooring wasn’t easy. It took a lot of time to get that right.

“Teamwork, too. We’d have someone working on the flooring, someone on the tiling in the bathroom, others doing other things. All around it was a team effort.”

JHS senior Carsyn Gille said he’s always enjoyed building projects especially the creative aspect.

“That’s what I hope to do one day in the future,” Gille said. “But the tiny house project was definitely exciting. I learned a lot about a lot of things I hadn’t encountered before, electrical, plumbing, working with the a/c and walls. It was a great experience.

Both Plunk and Joshua ISD CTE Coordinator Christy Clifton the quality and habitability of the finished home.

“I think it’s just an awesome thing for them to teach the students a trade and skills that they can take and use after their graduation,” Plunk said.

The home’s HVAC, R13 insulation in the walls and R16 insulation in the floors and ceiling ensure year-round comfort.

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