Alex Weber-Brader’s dream of a tiny house is taking shape.
Construction on the 200-square-foot structure began in late September. The walls are up, the windows are sealed and the nearly 14-foot tall building has been dried-in, or weather-proofed, as much as possible.
“It’s pretty spacious,” said Weber-Brader, 23, of Olympia.
Last spring, the 2011 Olympia High School graduate and former high school basketball star reached out to the public for support. A story about how he raised about $8,500 through a gofundme.com campaign for construction materials was featured in The Olympian on June 1. The publicity helped inspire more donations. So far, about $10,800 has been given to the effort.
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Two years ago, Weber-Brader had to give up his favorite sport — and leave college early — due to a battle with Lyme disease, multiple infections and complications from severe mold allergies and chemical sensitivities.
Weber-Brader said he participates in several types of therapy through Hirsch Center for Integrative Medicine in Olympia. He believes a tiny house will give him a safe place to live free of toxic chemicals and mold.
In dealing with his health problems, Weber-Brader said he thinks he’s made progress in recent months “with some ups and downs.”
“It’s good to get excited about the future, but also realize that I’ve come a long way already,” he said.
One of the biggest challenges of the construction project has been keeping the structure dry, said his stepdad Kirk Trowbridge.
“Whenever it rained, it was almost impossible to do any work because we were worried about mold getting started,” he said.
“I think we’ve found a good balance with the tarps, and the fans and dehumidifiers to keep it dry,” Weber-Brader said.
For now, construction has temporarily stalled due to the wet weather and a slowdown in funding. Weber-Brader continues to take donations through his gofundme.org campaign.
Besides private donations, Trowbridge said Weber-Brader’s project has been supported through volunteer labor, free expert advice and discounts on materials and supplies.
“Lots of hands have been involved,” he said.
Michelle Weber said she’s proud of her son for tackling such a complicated project.
“He’s learned a lot about building,” she said.
The tiny house has given him a big sense of purpose, and that seems to be helping in what’s expected to be a long, slow recovery.
“I think it’s been great to have a goal, a vision — you know, hope — for his future,” Weber said. “That he can have a home that he can live in.”
Lisa Pemberton: 360-754-5433