You Can Pick Up This $5,000 House And Take It With You

The FOUNDHouse, a 150-square-foot mobile plywood home fits together with no nails. It’s a response to our culture’s overwhelming consumerism–and a living option for families in need.

While most of us will be on the beach this summer (or sweating it out in the office), Lacy Graham and Patrick Beseda will be in the Navajo Nation, in Utah, building a house. A very small house.


The two architecture students from the University of Colorado explain the project here, in a Kickstarter appeal. Just 150 square feet, the portable house is designed for two people. Graham and Beseda plan to cut its plywood pieces in Denver, assemble, disassemble, and then transport the whole kit to its new home. The pair are taking part in a program called DesignBuildBLUFF that every summer brings teams to the desert to work on experimental buildings.

The FOUNDhouse, as they are calling it, is based on the WikiHouse, an “open source construction set” developed in the U.K. The WIkiHouse allows anyone to download a set of templates, adapt them using free software, and then cut out the parts using a CNC milling machine. Graham and Beseda believe it’s possible to put together the entire house–which fits together like a jigsaw (no nails)–in a day, with the total cost coming in at a maximum of $5,000.

They’ll add insulation ($416), interior sheathing ($318), as well as a composting toilet and solar panels. The structure doesn’t have formal foundations, so when Graham and Beseda deconstruct it next January, they hope to leave the ground as they found it. Once back in Denver, they plan to find a permanent spot for the house.

Reached by email, Beseda says the micro design is partly a response to being “overwhelmed with the consumerist style of living” and wanting a simpler life for a while. He says: “By letting go of having things, and therefore needing space for those things, we can make room for things that matter. As students of design we would rather have very few, well made, cherished things, than many under-used and underwhelming objects.”

About the author

Ben Schiller is a New York staff writer for Fast Company. Previously, he edited a European management magazine and was a reporter in San Francisco, Prague, and Brussels.