Local musician Matt Flynn, 24, is a recent graduate from Eckerd College. Though his degree was in Marine Biology, his recent efforts have focused on constructing his own mobile dwelling in his backyard using chiefly recycled materials. Though he estimates completing this house in a year, he sees tiny houses as a continuing aspect of his future. Here’s what Matt has to say about his project.
Well, my name is Matt, and I grew up in Holliston, Massachusetts. I moved to St. Pete to attend Eckerd College in 2010 and graduated in 2014 with a degree in Marine Biology. Right now, I’m a musician, but I’m looking to get into a career in sustainable construction or conservation.
How did you land on this project?
I got the idea from my mom. She has been really fascinated by the Tiny House Movement for a few years now and has shown me some of my favorite YouTube videos and TedTalks on it. I became interested very quickly because it seemed like a lifestyle that I could live and also a great way to lessen my footprint on the earth.
Why is this project important to you, and what do you hope to accomplish with it?
It’s important to me because, honestly, I do not know where I will end up in life, so I want to have a place that I can take with me if I move. I also have student loans and rent to pay off, which is as lot for a musician! Above all, I just want to have my own space where the things that are important to me can live. Living small requires downsizing on material possessions, which I expect to be pretty liberating.
What inspires you?
I never grew out of my childhood obsessions with forts. I built a hammock in the rafters of my childhood house and, later, in trees. I used to think I would live on a boat…maybe I still will some day. My mom and dad contributed to this obsession: my mom built a trapdoor under our stairs where we used to hang out, and my dad built us a great tree fort. I suppose to some degree I was brought up to love forts and unconventional dwelling spaces, and a tiny house is really the ultimate adult fort. There is something so relaxing about having your own space, wherever it is.
“A tiny house is really the ultimate adult fort.”
Where do you see yourself in 20 years?
In twenty years I expect to be heavily involved in sustainability with a focus on environmental conservation. I have used more than 50% salvaged wood in building the house so far, and eventually I plan to fit it with solar panels and rainwater catchment systems, as well as a composting toilet. I hope to still be living tiny in twenty years, but probably in a different tiny house, as I will likely get the itch to build another, even better one, after living in this one for awhile and getting the hang of things.
Advice you’d give someone your age now when you’re 80.
I would give someone this advice: if there is something you think you want to do, first decide for sure whether you actually want to do it. Try not to idealize it in your mind—think realistically of pros and cons. If you still want to do it, then don’t waste time! Decide to do it, and do it, or decide not to, and don’t. It’s that simple. Otherwise, you’ll waste time imagining all these cool potentials in life without ever seeing anything through. -WB
Want to learn more about the Tiny House Movement, sustainable construction, and people like Matt? Check out this TEDx Talk with professional builder Andrew Morrison (below), or the new HGTV Show, Tiny House Hunters!