You could say Washington Silveria is a master at reinventing himself. Born and raised in Uruguay in the 1960s, Washington followed in his father’s footsteps and became a welder. He later put himself through trade school to become a general contractor and started building homes. But political and economic instability in Uruguay at the time meant few people were buying houses. In his 30s, and with a family to support, Washington moved his wife and three children to Argentina where he learned about computers and began a career in IT.
When Argentina’s economy collapsed in the 1980s, Washington once again found himself moving his family to a new country — this time America. His brother lived in Utah and offered to help him get back on his feet. So Washington and his family arrived in the U.S., with little more than the clothes on their backs and hopes of pursuing the American dream.
“The problem was, the American dream was written in English,” Washington chuckled.
He could fix computers, but the language barrier was tough and often he couldn’t understand or explain the computer’s problem to his clients. Determined to make his new life work, Washington taught himself English and to support his family, began building sheds.
“Even with my limited English, four walls and a roof was a pretty easy concept,” he joked. Relying on his past skills as a general contractor, Washington grew his business and became one of Utah’s premier custom shed, garage and barn builders. It became a business that allowed him to buy a house, put his kids through college and make a nice life for himself. But Washing-ton had grown accustomed to starting over and learning new skills, and eventually, he wanted to do more. While watching a show about tiny homes on HGTV, it dawned on him. “I remember thinking, that’s it! I can build tiny homes!”
And so, Washington reinvented himself once again.
He knew how to build full-sized homes in South America, so his plumbing and electric skills didn’t require too much dusting. And, most tiny homes are built on trailers to be mobile. He could certainly weld a trailer. “And a tiny home is kind of like a shed,” he acknowledged. “I knew I could use all my skills and make this work.”
So, Washington began learning everything he could about the tiny home trend. He watched the shows, downloaded instructional videos and read books. Soon, he had his first client and began building his first tiny “These might be small, but you really can get creative and make them feel spacious,” he said. “And because they are often used as a mobile cabin or small guest house, you can have fun with the design process and decorate in a funky way that might not work for your primary home.”
Washington’s latest project, pictured in this article, is proof of those statements. To help it feel more open, the tiny home features built in storage under a drop leaf table, custom windows that allow for seamless indoor/outdoor dining, elevated seating with storage underneath, skylights and two loft bedrooms, each with a queen mattress.
And the owners certainly put their personal stamp on it with the design. The refurbished lime-green vintage refrigerator is definitely a conversation piece, a matching side table and bar stools offer delightful pops of color. The paw print themed décor throughout screams, “This is a dog-friendly dwelling!” And the navy blue and lime green color scheme give off a happy vibe. “It would be difficult to be mad in this tiny house!” Washington admitted. “It just looks so fun and happy.”
Now in his 50s, one might assume this would be Washington’s last career evolution. But that’s not likely. He hopes to start working with city councils, churches and even veterans’ groups to build tiny homes for those who can’t afford traditional housing. “My goal is to help people and be part of the solution,” he said. “If I can use my talents to make life better for someone, that is what I want.”
Which, in the end, is what matters most to Washington—making sure he helps others attain the American Dream he worked so hard to achieve.
If you’re in the market for a custom shed, garage, barn or tiny home, visit ShedsBuilders.com.