skip to content


Completed 2020
Mobile Loaves and Fishes
LEAP Structures

This 186sf microhome is a prototype for Community First! Village, a mixed-use community for former chronically homeless individuals in far east Austin. The home was developed for a specific client, Dave, who desired more privacy and influence over his personal space, a commonly-held ideal amongst the community’s residents. The driving design goal was to create a sense of security while offering a connection to the adjacent natural landscape.

On the interior, smaller windows face neighbors to facilitate privacy while wider ones face the landscape as a link towards nature. Two volumes of differing heights distinguish a light, bright living area from a cosy sleeping area. The interior space is accompanied by a cedar-clad back porch opening to the landscape and contrasting the closed front exterior. This porch can be reconfigured to either side of the prototype, accounting for various locations and clients.

The project was designed and constructed as a pro-bono service and was featured in Architectural Record's April 2021 issue - "Small Houses Big Impact". 


"Thoughtbarn was selected by Mobile Loaves & Fishes as one of five teams to design a microhome pro-bono to be built for a formerly homeless Community First Neighbor.  They were paired with Dave, an eccentric flute player and gamer with neurological challenges and a long list of preferences for his new home. They engaged Dave in the design process with eagerness, care, and lots of patience. Both their thoughtful design work, and the hours the team personally invested painting and building, exemplify their commitment to come alongside us in our vision of providing shelter and community to those in need." Sarah Satterlee - Director of Architecture, Mobile Loaves and Fishes