Success Stories


Teachers lil’ House

By Daniel Woods
Williston Herald

GRASSY BUTTE — Jessica Bolt bought a tiny, green cabin. It sounds like the first line in a children’s book, but it’s actually a lesser- known, higher-tech housing option.

Bolt is a student performance strategist in Killdeer. She’s a kind of “special forces” teacher who tries to do what other teachers haven’t been able to do, teach kids who have had trouble learning for various reasons. It’s a loaded job title, but

Wildflower II in Grassy Butte

Wildflower II in Grassy Butte

it doesn’t come with a pay increase over other teachers. And, like many in western North Dakota, teachers are dealing with exorbitant costs in housing.

Bolt said she started thinking about a house like this about five years ago, then, more recently, she began researching small, energy-saving houses and finally bought one from Tiny Green Cabins, a company owned by Jim Wilkins in White Bear Lake, Minn.

“If it’s built in the north,” Bolt said, “that’s better than something built in California or Texas where they don’t know what 40 below is like.”

Essentially, this is a very small house built on wheels.

It’s road-worthy. It’s a trailer.

But it looks like a house, feels like a house and has all the amenities of a house, from a full-size sink and shower to a washer and dryer.

It has an incinerating toilet which burns waste into dry, sterile ash.

Bolt said payments for her tiny cabin are less than what she had been paying to rent an apartment, and, in a few years it will be paid off.

“I’ll never have to pack a U-haul again,” she said.

The cabin was delivered Thursday night from Minnesota to the lot she purchased in Grassy Butte, a small town south of Watford City.

There has been some chatter in Grassy Butte about the new house. Don Trotter, owner of the Beicegel Station, the town’s only gas station and convenience store said he had heard a couple rumors about it, but nothing very specific. Trotter said the town used to have three gas stations and a cafe when the highway went through, but, when the highway was moved a short distance east, the town started to shrink. Until recently, he said, people have been moving out rather than moving in.

The model Bolt bought is 196 square foot, 8 feet by 20 feet, including a loft. The original design had a ladder built into a closet, but she had hers made with a stair case, and each stair contains a drawer. The whole interior is covered in approximately 3-inch-wide white ash boards, floor to peaked ceiling, interspersed with lighting fixtures and windows, including skylights to let in daylight.

“I grew up with hardwood floors,” Bolt said. “I’m kind of attached to them. You can run your hand over them and they are so smooth.”

For now, the interior is fairly bare, but she said she has picked out a spot on the wall to hang her ukulele.

The only problem now, she said, is finding someone to hook up her electrical and water lines.

 

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