Alternative Housing Thread
A lot of homeowners today still think that bigger is better, but there's a growing trend out there of tiny home-ownership. These houses have minimal square footage, but what they lack in space, they make up for in character and brilliant design. In fact, when you step inside these homes, you tend to forget how small they really are.
Chris Heininge is a brilliant craftsman and designer who is at the forefront of the tiny home revolution. Back in 1999, he was living in Aurora, Oregon, and noticed how people were abandoning their McMansions in favor of smaller homes with a lot more personality. Since then, he's built dozens of tiny homes that not only cost less to build, but are actually cheaper for homeowners to maintain.
The pieces of the house (its walls) come already cut to size and this makes the construction time a lot shorter. The TimberCab 550 is very spacious for a tiny house and has a 2 floor plan. The large windows complete the design in an elegant way and give the timber structure a contemporary look.
If you can afford them ($240 to $300 per sq. ft., no doubt plus shipping and tax – definitely plus contractor to assemble) ) it's worth clicking through to the company website, since they are looking at changing demographics and have sustainable options for older folks.
Our family is looking into the possibility of building a small, low-cost, efficient and green home with the idea of having a home that is more in line with our needs and values and can reduce our mortgage payments enough to redirect funds to other things that are important to us. Our family of four is looking at a relatively small 700 sq ft, possibly straw bale structure with some passive solar features.
I've begun a conversation with an architect friend with some experience in this area. It looks like we might just be able to fit within a budget that would result in a substantial reduction of the mortgage balance on the new home relative to the old one, but it will require things like me taking responsibility for some of the design process as well as serving as general contractor.
Does any have any suggestions about how I might go about building such a house inexpensively while minimizing stress and mistakes? I have essentially no construction experience, but I am a scientist with a strong spatial and mechanical sense of things.
First, you really should take an applicable shop class at your community college. It will show you standard construction methods that work.
Second, when we build segmental bridges, the first segment takes3 months; the second takes a week or two. Before long we’re doing a segment a day. That’s how you should expect your performance: and that’s how you should plan your project. In line with that, you ought to consider building a shed first, using your methods or designs.
Third: I suggest that the cheapest methods are the standard methods, and the best. There are reasons that people don’t build hay-bale homes: whether it is the structural strength, or the mold, or the longevity. If you are going to try it, you should consider how you will deal with various problems.
Fourth: Scientists and engineers without real world experience often fail to take the dumbest things into consideration, like the pinto-plane whose wings were superglued onto the plane. It crashed and killed its inventor. In line with that, you might pick materials that are strong enough for the purpose in terms of linear force, bue come nowhere close to handling the bending moments, the buckling, the torsional-flexural buckling, and so on.
All of that can be discovered if you start by building a shed.
Much of what would be best practices depends on what part of the country or world you want to live in.
I came out of 20 years in the construction industry, half in residential and half in commercial construction; I'm not a structural engineer, but I have lots of contacts so I can ask around. There does seem to be a trend toward modular buildings. If you want to be your own GC that's tricky but not impossible. I know this since my ex was a GC and I ran his office and worked on bids and such and I have helped others with startups. Do not forget permits and locl laws: that also depends on where you live.
Finally, bear in mind that you will ALWAYS run into problems and delays – if you can just barely afford something you will run over-budget. If you are tight on time, you will have delays and that can be stressful and impact your housing. Some of those delays will be due to subcontractors unless you know how to screen them and ride herd on them – and handle and budget for change-orders.
I would be happy to walk you through some of the scenarios. Private Message me, please.
Some couples who were best friends wanted to build a large house together, but realized they would need their privacy. They were all fans of the tiny house movement, so the came up with this. Their community, dubbed “Llano Exit Strategy,” was designed to handle the harsh, arid Texas climate.
Note the water catchment system tanks. The houses have corrugated metal exteriors to repel heat and thick spray insulation to keep the inside insulated The interiors are lightly treated plywood. There is a community kitchen and dining hall, with guest quarters.
Cheap land is inaccessible land.
Let me get busy with my electronic drafting package now that I am happily ensconced in my boat.
It is my contention that a private airship would allow access to inaccessible land, as well as being the energy source and accommodation for the exercise.
Energy source? It is solar powered and when not traveling it will have oodles of power spare.
Airships are the next step up from a yacht. Past calculations show that anything shorter than 100m is unviable. ( the static lift varies as a third power of the length.) They are also made up of a whole lot of nothing. Modern materials make the exercise viable. Polyethelene Terapthalate is cheap and has impressive properties. Have you ever seen a coke bottle deteriorate in the sun?
Of cause the biggest problem is bureaucratic. Some desk-bound child will put the kybosh on the whole endevour to protect his career.
As we know that, each and every property deal is filled with qualms and shady characters. In Kerala, buyers and owners are depressed with the way properties are bought and sold during a group of unethical and unorganized property dealers and agents. It is not sufficient if you have the money. You need to be very cautious about the property that you are planning to buy or sell in Kerala.
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I was over at
and I saw a lot of people interested in putting a Tiny House in Chesapeake, Virginia beach, even at my old hometown Harrisonburg (Hinton, really).
I’m aware of one family that built a tinyhome in their backyard, and got slammed by Chesapeake for violating city code. So that’s not so good.
On the other hand, I think I see a way to get a tinyhome cheaper than otherwise possible, in Portsmouth, and it well might be possible to do the same in other areas (including Chesapeake) depending on the nature of city code.
So I’d like to have the discussion going both over at that other website, and here. Here, because I hang out here more. There, because they’re all over there.
More than that. I have a new construction method that I think will blow people away, and be more suitable to preppers. So my only question is, does anyone think that that will hijack this thread to have that conversation ongoing within this thread? Or do you all think it appropriate to the thread?
….I’m face-to-face with an opportunity to do the tiny home thing. My local municipality finally got off the schneid and approved them as a possible way to live, and a major development (20 acres, 150 tiny houses) is happening. They are grading the land and preparing the water line etc.
So, I am suddenly a big student of tiny homes. They are selling tiny homes and leasing the lots. It’s sort of going to be a fancy type mobile home park, although it’s going to be owner-occupied as opposed to renters (as so many trailer parks are).
The homes range from 50k-ish up to 150k-ish depending on size and trim level (incl solar power and solar hot water, appliances, etc.). Black water will be pumped out (so no septic or sewer needed) and grey water used to irrigate one’s landscaping.
So, I’m chatting with the people responsible and mulling. It’s definitely an option I’d like to embrace (pay cash for house, no mortgage, small footprint) but I need to be sure the vision I have is mostly congruent with the reality of what will eventuate.
Anyhow, more as it comes in.
VIVA — Sager