Budget Breakdown: In a Pandemic Pivot, a Couple Take Up Carpentry and Build Their Own Home for $35K

Designed by Masa Arquitectos, the compact backyard dwelling hides a kitchen, a bathroom, and two closets behind rows of pocket doors.

Early in the pandemic, Natalia Pronczuk and her partner, Mario Marotta, lost their jobs at Carrasco International Airport in Montevideo, Uruguay. (She worked for Iberia; he for Aerolíneas Argentinas.) The shock led them to make a radical decision: to give up the three-bedroom rental where they lived with their young daughter and build a compact wooden dwelling at the back of Natalia’s mother’s yard.

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