Nara Williams, Hampshire College Student, Tests Out Tiny Home Living For Thesis (PHOTOS)

04/12/2013 12:40 pm ET | Updated May 31, 2013
Amanda Schwengel, Courtesy of Hampshire College

When visiting Hampshire College, you'll find that the students typically live in standard dorms -- with the exception of one, who has been famously inhabiting the tiny home plopped smack in the middle of campus since January. Meet Nara Williams, the senior who's spending her last semester in the 130-square-foot cabin to complete a thesis on Americans living "off the grid." And judging by the nature of her project, we'd say her social experiment is quite fitting.

Williams' investigation into alternative forms of housing started with an interest in environmentalism and sustainable living. This, paired with an attempt to liberate herself from having to "walk straight into a mortgage" come graduation, culminated in her project called "Dwelling," a collection of profiles documenting families and their non-traditional homes. And to experience the realities of living small for herself, she arranged for the Tumbleweed Tiny House Company to loan her the cabin where she's been "roughing it."

We expected to hear horror stories about her initial episodes, but to her (and our) surprise, she acclimated to the small environment a lot faster than expected. "It already felt like home in a matter of two days" she told us. Additionally, she admits that living little rewarded her with a certain kind of freedom: "Because it's so small, it dictates the way I live -- in a nice way. You can't really move anything around, and you don't have opportunities to change things. I don't have to worry about painting it or doing a major kitchen renovation."

nara williams tiny home

nara williams tiny home

The tiny house includes a lofted bed, kitchenette, bookshelves, closet space and a living room.

Photos by Amanda Schwengel, courtesy of Hampshire College

It goes without saying that we commend her for giving it a go. And though the opportunities for living in micro-cabins are often limited to remote areas, Williams tells us that the mentality can be applied to any home, no matter where you live: “Take the message of small living and do whatever you can with it." As fans of this philosophy ourselves, we couldn't agree more.

You can follow Nara Williams on "Tiny Semester," a personal blog where she chronicles her tiny living experience. More information about her thesis is also available on "Dwelling," a website dedicated to the project. In the meantime, be sure to click through our slideshow of the tiniest tiny homes we've ever come across.

Smallest Tiny Homes

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