A YouTuber spent 24 hours in the world's smallest tiny house and said he felt 'extreme fear' at times

Frank Olito
·6 min read
tiny house
Ryan Trahan spent 24 hours in this tiny house. Courtesy of Ryan Trahan
  • YouTuber Ryan Trahan spent 24 hours in the world's smallest tiny house, which is just 25 square feet.

  • Artist Jeff Smith designed the house in 2015 — it has a sink, an oven, and a hole for a toilet.

  • Trahan told Insider he felt "extreme fear" whenever someone knocked on the walls of the tiny house.

  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

YouTuber Ryan Trahan has done a ton of stunts, like living off a penny for three days or leaving clay on his skin for 24 hours, but there's only one stunt that truly terrified him: staying in the world's smallest tiny house.

When he came across the tiny house that measures just 25 square feet, Trahan said he instantly knew he wanted to stay in it for 24 straight hours straight for his YouTube channel, but he had some reservations.

"When I was little, I got stuck in this condensed space in my closet, and it was super scary for me, and I held a fear of claustrophobia for a long time afterward," Trahan told Insider. "I saw [that the tiny house] was 25 square feet, and I was like, 'oh no.'"

His fear didn't stop him. Trahan and his friends traveled from Austin to Boston to find the squat, neon-green house that sat on wheels. They pushed it to a courtyard at Harvard University, and Trahan started the clock.

For the next 24 hours, he endured a fun - and sometimes frightening - experience in the world's smallest tiny house.

At first, Trahan realized there was more room than he expected in the 25-square-foot space

Once inside, Trahan could not stand up because the space is so small. He could only lay down or sit up, but he said his first moments inside the tiny house felt like he was "a kid again."

"There's something oddly comfortable about being inside that thing," Trahan said. "I felt like I was in another world, and it's crazy to experience that when you're in a space that small."

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You can only really sit up in the tiny house. Courtesy of Ryan Trahan

He said he owes that comfort to the genius of its builder: Jeff Smith, an artist and sculptor. When Smith designed the house in 2015, he was originally inspired by the "humor" of the tiny-house movement and wanted to see how far he could push it.

"It was there as a challenge," Smith said. "Everyone was trying to make the coolest tiny house or the most efficient tiny house, but no one was trying to build the tiniest tiny house, which seemed like a question that needed to be answered."

He set out to build the structure completely out of recycled materials. He made a toilet, which is a hole in the floor that's covered with a Frisbee. If you need to do your business, the hole leads to a drawer of kitty litter. Smith said he tells people not to use it and it's more of a "proof of concept."

The tiny house also has a sink that is attached to a tank of water, a table made from an old ironing board, and a working stove. Plus, a foam pad acts as a bed on top of the home's wall-to-wall red carpeting.

"It was actually more spacious than I expected," Trahan said. "A lot of tiny homes end up being more spacious than people think."

Read more: A family of 4 has been self-isolating on their sailboat in France for 2 months - here's what a week in their lives looks like

There were moments that Trahan found terrifying in the tiny house

Trahan is from Texas, so he isn't used to the cold weather of New England. One of the biggest obstacles he faced was the temperature: It was around 20 degrees that day. He had to bundle up and use hand warmers inside the house, but that wasn't the only issue he faced. Since he parked it on Harvard University's campus, people were curious to see what it was.

"There was this extreme fear whenever someone would come up to the house and start knocking or try to open the door," Trahan said. "I was in a totally new environment, so I froze up."

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Trahan parked the tiny house at Harvard University. Courtesy of Ryan Trahan

Later that night, he received an even scarier knock at the door: It was the police.

The police told him he wasn't allowed to park on the campus, so he had to figure out quickly how to move the house without leaving it or he would ruin his experiment. Smith came to the rescue and pushed him half a mile to another location.

In his new location in front of a library, Trahan was ready to spend the rest of his night in the tiny house, but more people started knocking on the walls.

"It was such an irrational fear that I had, however, I started getting so scared," Trahan said. "Imagine being in this 25-square-foot house with no access to the outside in terms of visuals because I had blinds up. At one point, someone was banging on the house and that was physically paralyzing for me."

The person eventually left Trahan alone, and finally, he fell asleep. He said slept really well after "letting the fear escape my body."

The following morning, he was able to make coffee in the house and finish the final hours of his experiment.

Read more: A woman who parked her tiny house on her parents' property in New Hampshire was forced to move out after the local government said it was illegal

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Trahan's experiment was a success. Courtesy of Ryan Trahan

Trahan said he can now see how tiny houses can be used in the future

After successfully spending 24 hours in the tiny house, Trahan and Smith are in an on-going conversation about how they can create replicas of this quaint home for underserved communities like the homeless.

"Jeff's got something really special with this model, in my opinion," Trahan said, and Smith agreed.

"As our world gets stronger, tiny houses open up a world of designing more efficient designs," Smith said. "You can create something in a small space that is attractive even though people naturally want more space."

For now, though, Trahan has turned his terrifying adventure into a life-changing moment.

"It was an eye-opening experience, especially being from Texas where houses are huge," Trahan said. "Everyone strives to have the biggest house in the world or the nicest house, but staying in there made me realize, we don't need as much as we think."

Watch Trahan's video about the experience here:

Read more: After a year of booming tiny-house sales, experts say the movement is at a turning point

Read the original article on Insider