Jay's Time-Lapse Video, 'Building the Matchbox' (Jay's the one building the house barefoot.)
“I've always been something of a minimalist, but living small cemented it as a foundation of my identity. I love the freedom it offers: not just the freedom from a mortgage or a big stationary home, or just the freedom from the water grid or the power grid, but the freedom from consuming, from always looking to buy and buy and buy. The house doesn't have room to always expand. My lifestyle shaped the house, and the house now shapes my lifestyle.”
“Austin said his biggest motivator for living a more energy efficient lifestyle was to prove that it was possible for one person to meet all needs in a fairly closed system; before seven billion people can live more sustainably, one person needs to be able to accomplish it.”
Tiny-home living surprised Austin “by how not surprising it is,” he says. “There’s just less walking between different parts of the house.”
For 26-year-old Jay Austin, living in a 143-square-foot house isn’t a political or philosophical move; it’s practical. There was an “element of financial freedom I didn’t expect,” he says.
'Jay, who works in the Office of Strategic Planning and Management, says on his blog, “My primary reason for building this home is that, simply put, I want to live simply. I want to limit my distractions and pursue my passions and devote my time to what really matters: kindness, leisure, friendship, companionship. Living in a structure that has just what’s needed, and nothing more, seems an ideal physical manifestation of that pursuit.” '
“Jay Austin was on a mission to build a simple home that would allow him to live a simple life in his community. After working over a two-year span, he finally moved into the Matchbox tiny house that he meticulously designed and built with the help of friends. The simple home is eco-friendly and sustainable using features such as rainwater catchment, solar panels, and Shou Sugi Ban siding.”
“We took a look at Boneyard Studios, a micro-village of tiny homes that has taken shape on a once-vacant lot in the Washington, DC area. We took a peek at Jay Austin's then-unfinished 142-square-foot space. Austin has since completed the interior to impressive effect.
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“By example, Austin quietly presents a new way of thinking of old ways of acting. Are systems and structures in place because each continue to be valued and needed or are each in place because no one has the courage to innovate, adapt to current dynamics and invest in the future? “
Jay Austin: When we arrived at the lot on Evarts Street, it was an abandoned alley with crumbling concrete. It was nothing that anyone would ever want to spend an evening on. We wanted to create a space that would be welcoming to others, and where people would want to come see events and to be the artists.
"I got driven down the tiny house road because of affordability, simplicity, sustainability, and then mobility," says Jay Austin, who designed a custom 140-square-foot house in Washington, DC. Despite the miniscule size, his "Matchbox" house is stylish, well-built, and it includes all the necessities (if not the luxuries) of life: a bathroom, a shower, a modest kitchen, office space, and a bedroom loft.
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Mention and/or photos of Lauren, the love of Jay's life, are intentionally excluded from this site at the request of and out of respect for the privacy of the family. To learn about Jay and Lauren's amazing journey together, visit Jay's blog, 'Simply Cycling, Traveling The World By Bicycle' @ simplycycling.org.
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