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Erin Adams used to have aspirations about moving into a tiny house, and she had big dreams of what she wanted her small-scale abode to be like.

Now, three years later, Adams is getting ready to move into her new 265-square-feet of space on the Tuckaseigee River, and she’s also the recipient of an international award for its sustainable interior design.

Adams, associate professor and coordinator of Western Carolina University’s interior design program, has been a practicing interior designer for more than two decades. In the classroom, she constantly urges her students to create interiors in a socially responsible way and to educate their clients about sustainable building options. “I explain to them that bigger does not always mean better design and that not everyone needs to live in a 3,000-square-foot home,” Adams said.

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Originally published Apr. 11, 2019.