mia waters

Architecture Major Mia Waters Rethinks The Concept of a Practical Home

Growing up on a mushroom farm in Lawrence, Kansas, the home of Mia Waters ’22 was constantly evolving. From half-painted walls, to trimless doors, to stairs that lead to nowhere, her crafty father would start renovations but never finish them before moving on to the next ones.

Waters set out to create fully-realized homes that allows the structure to serve many types of functions without having to buy extra furniture. At Lehigh, Waters majors in architecture and minors in design, with a focus on furniture. She also studies systems that allow the existing furniture to be easily manipulated to accommodate evolving needs and avoid cluttering the home. 

For her honors thesis, Mia examines the concept of tiny living by exploring the relationship between furniture and architecture from two different perspectives—one with architecture as furniture and the other with furniture as architecture. To accompany her research, Waters created models of tiny homes. One design includes a rollaway bed that when closed, the headboard serves as a step to get in and out of the bathroom. Another design features the possibility of having a step be both built-in furniture and architecture. The step can be used simultaneously as a table for dining and a seating for the living room just by you turning around. Even a simple ladder being built into shelves allows for the space between the top cabinet and the ceiling to be activated. 

For those interested in seeing Waters’ work, visit the Art, Architecture and Design Senior Thesis Exhibition at the Siegel Gallery at Iacocca Hall, Mountaintop Campus.