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Sawhorse Revolution Salvaged Material Tiny House for Homeless

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This is Sawhorse Revolution’s Salvaged Material Tiny House built for a homeless family in Seattle.

Sawhorse Revolution seeks to empower students to use carpentry, design and education to help the homeless community, and if you want you can support their effort on Indiegogo.

This organization has already built several tiny houses to help the homeless, while helping young people learn how to design/build!

Please enjoy, learn more, and re-share below. Thanks!

Sawhorse Revolution Salvaged Material Tiny House for Homeless


  • Seattle is opening three new tiny home villages, and so we are raising funds to build more beautiful tiny houses for the next villages!
  • Bench with storage, designed by students
  • Loft bed sitting on two “towers” that act as closet space
  • Covered porch with outdoor storage – developed after the design team observed residents at other villages leaving their dairy outside on the steps during the winter cold weather for refrigeration.
  • Under 120 s.f. projected roof area
  • Transportable thanks to skids
  • Roof and one side-wall: salvaged, rusted corrugated metal
  • Cedar siding: Locally harvested cedar
  • Floor, cabinet wood, and decking: custom-milled fir used as concrete boards on a high-end residential build. Cabinetry boards have a double stain on them. Donated by Schuchart/Dow
  • Windows: Bought off of craigslist
  • Framing Lumber: Re-used from an architecture installation at the Seattle Art Fair, donated by Olson Kundig
  • Interior paneling: Donated from Earthwise Architectural Salvage and Second Use – old pine tongue and groove wall cladding, ripped down to consistent dimensions
  • Ladder: Curly hickory scraps from the builder’s garage
  • Fasteners: Left-over
  • Door: Salvaged from a local home undergoing renovations
  • Housewrap: Left over from previous builds
  • Team:
  • Lead Builder: Scott Bishop from schuchart/dow
  • Project Coordinator: Sarah Smith, Program Director at Sawhorse Revolution
  • Location: Franklin High School
  • Twelve diverse teens from Franklin High School
  • No cost to program
  • Hours on site building: 60
  • House now sits at Othello Village in Seattle, housing a homeless family.

From Indiegogo:

THE IMPOSSIBLE CITY is a Sawhorse Revolution program series that engages youth in building (and often designing) needed structures for Seattle’s homeless encampments. As with all Sawhorse Revolution projects, the builds are guided by professionals in their fields – architecture, engineering, and construction. Sawhorse is a registered 501 (c)3 not-for-profit organization.

Each project is tailored to the needs of the camp and crafted to be of the highest quality, incorporating sustainable materials and building techniques, beautiful design, and a user-centered approach to architecture. Since the LIHI / Nickelsville Homeless Communities we work with move every 3-18 months, every structure we build is easily transportable and designed to fit the needs of homeless residents in transition to permanent housing.

We’ve already built seven amazing structures thanks to a successful Indiegogo campaign last year, and we’re hoping you’ll help us create four more by donating now to the Impossible City.


Our big thanks to Sarah for sharing!

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Natalie C. McKee

Natalie C. McKee is a contributor for Tiny House Talk and the Tiny House Newsletter. She's a wife, and mama of three little kids. She and her family are homesteaders with sheep, goats, chickens, ducks and quail on their happy little acre.
{ 27 comments… add one }
  • December 8, 2016, 2:27 pm

    What a great idea for the homeless folks. They look like nice units. If every city would do something like this, wouldn’t that be so cool. Great for the kids to learn skills at the same time. Thank you for sharing and caring.

    • Andrea
      December 8, 2016, 3:29 pm

      Agreed! Brilliant

      • Natalie
        December 9, 2016, 5:38 am

        Our pleasure! I agree, it’s awesome! — Tiny House Talk Team

  • Anthonie
    December 8, 2016, 2:52 pm

    While this is certainly a wonderful idea and getting back to a tech education is smarter than you know, the same problem will exist no matter who the TH belongs to. Where to put it. The church parking lot will hold only so many. Until jurisdictions recognize the fact that this is a real solution to a horrendous problem we will just be running in place:(

    • Natalie
      December 9, 2016, 5:39 am

      Very true Anthonie! It’s a challenge. — Tiny House Talk Team

  • Janet
    December 8, 2016, 3:20 pm

    Please read the articles from the neighbors surrounding Othello Village. It amazes me how people want the homeless population dealt with, but “not in my backyard.” How sad and bigoted. Many homeless people actually work, but are priced out of the market! Others have hit on hard times. Some are mentally ill and don’t belong in jail. And the vets? We seem to have forgotten about them. If the “not in my backyard” neighbors would volunteer one day a week, they might change their tune. This is needed in all cities across the nation.

    • Andrea
      December 8, 2016, 3:33 pm

      Agreed…yup, priced right out the market! We are doing a similar thing here in NY. Please check out my story/campaign by going to indiegogo.com and search: Affordable. Housing. Now.

      • Natalie
        December 9, 2016, 5:40 am

        It’s very hard. I’ve seen many stories of people rejecting basic aid to homeless because it’s too close to home. — Tiny House Talk Team

  • Janet
    December 8, 2016, 3:54 pm

    Hi Andrea, I’m in Sacramento and we are getting priced out of the market as well. I lost everything to Hurricane Katrina. When I came back to Sacramento, I stayed “Affordable Housing” and dealt with all the “those people” comments. There was NO CRIME at the apartment buildings I lived in. Most people were working full time and taking college classes. Others were disabled and truly were disabled (not moochers the news reports). I was happy to have a roof over my head. I met the nicest people who were just trying to get ahead in life. I get the crime reports emailed to me every day, and there still isn’t any crime at the Affordable Housing apartment complex. I lived there when I needed shelter, and moved out when I was able. Those who criticize are ignorant.

    I just sent my Christmas gifts out today. The company who makes the brownies for Ben & Jerry’s ice cream is called Greyston Bakery
    http://greyston.com/ – please read their story, it’s truly an inspiration. I love to buy from companies that make a difference!

  • Carol Perry
    December 8, 2016, 4:02 pm

    Wow! They did an awesome job building both the inside and outside! What a nice jesture these kids are learning and using their skills to build tiny homes for the homeless! They are making this world a better place to live in through their kindness and generosity. Hats off to all the kids that cared enough to help someone else out! Just knowing that when these people move into their new little tiny home they will be warm during the winter and safe! It warms your heart knowing that there are nice people in the world today!?

    • Natalie
      December 9, 2016, 5:41 am

      Absolutely 🙂 — Tiny House Talk Team

  • Gigi
    December 8, 2016, 5:41 pm

    WOW! Kudos to all involved in this program. May the spirit of the season inspire the NIMBY people to open their hearts and minds to the needs of the less fortunate among us.

    • Natalie
      December 9, 2016, 5:41 am

      I hope so! — Tiny House Talk Team

  • Bigfoot
    December 8, 2016, 6:54 pm

    Thanks for posting this! Wonderful story. It’s great that these young folks are learning how to build themselves a home & so much more + helping others in need. Now if we could team them up with some square ft/urban gardening specialists & roll these into tiny garden plot areas we’d really have something. Yes, it will take a concerted effort to get laws/codes changed, but it won’t happen unless enough of us get involved with viable plans. It’s a shame that something as basic as sheltering you/yours, which in my mind is basic right, is so highly gamed, regulated, taxed, etc.

    • Natalie
      December 9, 2016, 5:42 am

      It’s extremely sad and challenging! — Tiny House Talk Team

    • Barnie
      December 18, 2016, 4:49 pm


  • keepyourpower
    December 9, 2016, 4:40 am

    How does a whole family live is such a small space?

    • Natalie
      December 9, 2016, 5:42 am

      We’ve seen many non-homeless families of 3 or 4 live in them. It’s not uncommon 🙂 — Tiny House Talk Team

  • Lisa E.
    December 9, 2016, 11:00 am

    I am disappointed in the snobbery of local governments that continue to refuse to accept any responsibility for their homeless. We have become a country of snobs where only the rich count and everyone else is to be abused for their poverty which has been inflicted upon them by bad, bad, bad government. We need more programs such as this one. It teaches the kids to be responsible citizens while learning skills, either for employment of to take care of their own personal needs as adults. It also teaches the kids kindness and compassion, which will hopefully be translated into local governments at some point. And the homeless benefit by having the dignity of a place to live off of the streets and out of the cold. I hope the Tiny House Movement continues to highlight these efforts by individual schools and groups. Some things are worth promulgating and projects such as this one head the list.

    • Natalie
      December 12, 2016, 1:48 pm

      This is a great project! — Tiny House Talk Team

  • JC Wolfe
    December 9, 2016, 12:09 pm

    All homeless people should be able to have a tiny home and a place to put it!

    • Natalie
      December 12, 2016, 1:44 pm

      Yes! — Tiny House Talk Team

  • Alison
    December 9, 2016, 12:30 pm

    Do these houses have their own bathrooms? Or is there a communal bathroom in the complex? Kitchen facilities? It’s great for people to have the comfort and dignity of their own space, rather than just a cot in a shelter. Not sure how to afford enough of these, or find the space, but some is better than none.

  • Susanne
    December 9, 2016, 6:31 pm

    Young people making a difference! So inspirational!

    • Natalie
      December 12, 2016, 1:35 pm

      It truly is! — Tiny House Talk Team

    December 11, 2016, 6:50 pm

    I love it… God bless these young people for what they are doing…! I am a firm believer that we need to do more for our homeless, and not only build housing, but we need to have social services do health, and mental health care do service as well…! This is a great plague upon our nation today that government says does not exist…! Well if it does not exist then why are these young people building houses….?

    • Natalie
      December 12, 2016, 1:05 pm

      Very good point! They are doing great work! — Tiny House Talk Team

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