Seminole State students appearing on HGTV's "Tiny House Hunters"

Monday, July 13, 2015
Written by: Seminole State Staff

Move over, McMansions. Tiny houses are today’s trend.

It’s not for everyone, but more and more people are choosing to live in super-small homes – often constructed on a wheel base rather than a typical foundation for ease of relocation – that can occupy as little as 150 square feet.

By design, these homes promote efficiency in several areas – from space and multifunctional furnishings to energy and environmental impact – and their low cost dramatically reduces mortgage debt.

Such concepts appeal to Joel Falcon and Emma McCorkle, baccalaureate students at Seminole State College of Florida. Engaged to be married next year, the 22-year-olds were in the market for a tiny house when they caught the eye of HGTV’s “Tiny House Hunters.”

In February, a film crew followed the couple on Seminole State’s Heathrow campus and throughout the greater Orlando area as they considered three very different homes. Their episode, “Moving from Parents’ Place to Tiny House,” originally ran July 6.

Spoiler alert: Falcon (a senior engineering technology major) and McCorkle (junior, interior design) did not choose any of the show’s three tiny houses. Instead, they purchased a tiny home shell to design and build out the interior themselves, applying skills learned in their respective programs at Seminole State.

Double spoiler alert: Because of local zoning restrictions, the couple only lived in their 200-square-foot tiny house for two nights. They just bought a conventional, 1,000-square-foot home in Longwood, and their miniature dream home – complete with a loft, kitchen, bathroom, queen bed, furniture and appliances – is now listed on for $21,500.

“We put our heart and soul into this project,” says Falcon, who’s not ready to give up on the idea of living in a tiny house. “One day, we want to move out West and try it again.”

Seminole State now offering ‘Tiny Home’ course

In August, Seminole State will begin offering a two-semester, project-based course in which students design a code-compliant, net-zero “smart” tiny house in the fall and build it in the spring.

The challenge of a net zero dwelling is to have the home produce as much energy as it consumes by incorporating alternative energy sources, such as solar, while minimizing consumption with the use of energy-efficient appliances and fixtures.

“This innovative class provides an opportunity for students from across various programs to collaborate on a single design challenge relevant in today’s industry,” says Cheryl Knodel, associate dean for the Centers for Construction, Architecture and Interior Design. “The hands-on approach will make the connection between the conceptual and the real world while applying learned skill sets.

“The course is already generating a buzz among the students,” Knodel adds. “It appears it will become an instant favorite.”

The course listings are:

While there are no prerequisites, students are encouraged to have some background in the areas of design, engineering, sustainability and construction.

The course is made possible, in part, by a $900,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to expand Seminole State’s Construction, Engineering Technology and Sustainable Engineering programs.

For more information, contact the program at 407.708.4500.

About the School of Engineering, Design and Construction

Seminole State College of Florida's School of Engineering, Design and Construction offers more than 50 degrees and certificates, including bachelor's degrees in construction, engineering technology, information systems technology and interior design. The programs prepare students for a wide variety of careers in the built environment and information technology.