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Tiny Houses: Go Tiny & Go Home

St. Cloud Technical & Community College (SCTCC) is hosting a Tiny House Open House, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., on April 29, at their campus in St. Cloud.

This free event is open to all who want to meet other tiny house enthusiasts and learn how working with a community college can benefit both the students and the client. There will be two tiny houses on display. One is for sale from the school and the other was custom built this past school year for client Sara Shrode, graphic designer for Natural Awakenings Twin Cities and owner of Campfire Studio. Visitors can get a behind-the-scenes look at the tiny house while it is still under construction.

After seeing SCTCC's first tiny house at last year’s Home and Garden show, Shrode connected with the school to start the process of having them build her own home. Working with the school enabled Shrode to get to her goal faster and gave the students an opportunity to work with an actual client—not a theoretical one.

“I've been interested in tiny houses for around 10 years, and after experiencing storm damage to my apartment and having to move out for a couple of months while repairs were made, I decided that I truly wanted to live in and own a tiny house,” explains Shrode.

For her custom-designed tiny house, Shrode collaborated with Laura Schmidt, Luken Architecture, PA in creating the overall plans and worked with a variety of SCTCC’s departments including carpentry, electrical, plumbing, heating/ventilating/air conditioning (HVAC) and the body shop. She has a temporary location for placement in Alexandria while she searches for a more permanent location nearer the Twin Cities—at least until she gets the urge to pack up her tiny home and go where the spirit moves her.

Popular TV shows such as Tiny House Nation showcase creative small space living around the country. Tiny house magazines and books provide construction guides, building plans and sustainable green construction. They also offer tips on living more simply, something one must seriously think about before moving into a tiny home which, by definition, is anywhere from 65 to 400 square feet.

“Tiny homes have both a creative simplicity and efficiency that appeal today to a lot of people wanting a little more freedom, a little more time and a little more peace of mind,” explains Joyce Helens, president of SCTCC.

Cost: Free. Open to the public. Location: 1540 Northway Dr., St. Cloud. Parking available south side of the school from 15th St. North in lots C or D. Enter through door 9. For more information on the house for auction, visit

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