Keys to Sparty’s Cabin passed to MSU alumna

posted on January 10, 2017 3:14pm

By: Brendan Baxter, The State News

Sparty’s Cabin — the student-made “tiny home” — has a found a new owner in an MSU alumna. The cabin’s new owner, Debra Levantrosser, was presented with a ceremonial key and quickly realized it was a perfect fit.

Sparty’s Cabin was constructed by 60 students during the course of six weeks, a product of collaboration between the MSU School of Planning, Design and Construction and several other institutions within MSU.

After construction was completed, the tiny house was auctioned off through the MSU Surplus store. The bidding ended on Dec. 6, however the winner was not presented with the house until Jan. 6.

Levantrosser had been in the market for a tiny home for some time, and upon hearing about Sparty’s Cabin, she said she knew it was the tiny home for her.

“I had already been looking for a tiny home, for the past two years,” Levantrosser said. “I just wanted to live my life a little differently ... I wanted to live my life a little simpler and really cleanse myself of my belongings and things like that and just look at this like an adventure.”

Levantrosser had gone to several places around the country in hopes of locating the perfect tiny home for her. It wasn’t until Sparty’s Cabin went up for auction that she found the home she desired.

“I just knew that — having graduated from Michigan State — why would I buy a home from a home builder?” Levantrosser said. “I had gone to Oregon, I had gone to Texas to try and find a tiny home. When this came up for auction, it was just a perfect fit.”

Opting out of buying a house built by a home builder, Levantrosser decided to go for the house built by MSU students.

Building the tiny home was part of a project for students in the School of Planning, Design and Construction, a project that provided the students with hands-on experience.

Graduate student Hanbing Liang said the experience was helpful, as it offered information that couldn’t be learned in class.

“Everything that we did at school is just doing drawings, and we never had a chance to make it real,” Liang said. “When we’re doing the build we find out how things are really built.”

George Berghorn, an assistant professor in the School of Planning, Design and Construction who was involved in the build, said the project is different from projects in other schools at the university.

“What I think sets this apart, it’s really two things,” Berghorn said. “One, it was the student’s hands that built this project ... the other thing that really sets it apart is because this was a School of Planning, Design and Construction-wide project and then we involved USGBC students, which brought in forestry and students from engineering. For the first time that I’m aware of we had students that got to work on a project with the other types of professions that they would actually be working with in the real world.”

This project is unlike any other at MSU and this tiny home has drawn a lot of attention. Additionally, the School of Planning, Design and Construction plans to use the money from the auction of this tiny home for future projects this year, as previously reported by The State News.

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