Edward Little High School teacher Seth Goodwin is teaching his students how to build a tiny house. Sun Journal photo by Daryn Slover

Seth Goodwin likes to teach people to build tiny — tiny roofs over tiny windows, tiny rooms within tiny walls.

At the end, a whole tiny house.

An Edward Little High School teacher, he shows teenagers how to build the trendy homes. The houses might be just a couple of hundred square feet, but they still need doors, floors, plumbing and lights. The kids learn it all.

Long past your high school days? Never fear! In March, Goodwin will also teach a one-night-only Auburn Adult Ed class on tiny house building for people who want to know more about the promise and pitfalls of going small.

Name: Seth Goodwin

Age: 36


Town: Lewiston

Job: Teacher at Edward Little High School (Auburn) and small business owner

You teach French and . . . tiny house building. How did that happen? I did my student teaching at EL in 2005 and have been here since then. I learned some carpentry from my grandfather in high school and have done renovations and carpentry over the years. I thought teaching a class centered around building a tiny house would be a good hands-on experience for high school students.

What first got you interested in tiny houses? Building a tiny house from start to finish allows the students to learn a range of building skills, such as carpentry, roofing, siding, electrical and plumbing. Along the way, they also get to work with contractors from the community who are helping us build the tiny house.

Are tiny houses even allowed in Maine? Yes they are, depending on the city they’re in and their use.

Exactly how big is tiny, anyway? Our house is 8-and-a half feet by 24 feet (about 204 square feet).


Are they easier or harder to build than traditional houses? We’ve gone through most of the same steps as you would in a traditional house such as building a floor structure, framing walls, roof rafters, sheathing, etc.

What’s the biggest challenge building tiny? For us it’s a tight schedule because we only have class two to three times a week. I have five students who come in before school to work on the house to keep us on pace. Another challenge for us is having no budget for the class. Community sponsors make this class possible, including Dan St. Pierre, Andy Letourneau, Mike Pelletier, Hammond Lumber, Hancock Lumber, Tri-State Steel, Camelot Homes and many others.

What’s the coolest part of your class’ tiny home design? I’d say I like the window layout, which will let in a nice amount of light.

What does your EL class do with their house once it’s built? We will be selling the house once it’s finished.

Tell me about your upcoming adult ed class. Will the focus be tiny house theory or tiny house practice? It’s a one-night class where we are going to talk about our experience building the tiny house and advice we have for people interested in building one.

Are residents really able to shed all their extra belongings or do they just rent storage lockers, stash stuff in their parents’ basement, etc? I’d imagine people living in a tiny home would have to downsize significantly and find extra means of storage.


How big is your own house? Two-story house.

Do you dream of going bigger or smaller? No, I don’t. I spent many years renovating the oldest house in Lewiston and plan on staying there.

Are tiny houses a trend or here to stay? I think tiny houses can have a lot of different practical uses. For example, they could be a good place for people to live while they are saving for a traditional house, used like a camper or for college students to live in to save money from living in a dorm.

What do you wish more people knew about going tiny? Building a tiny house is as much work as building a traditional house, just on a smaller scale.

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