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The Small House Book by Jay Shafer. Topics house, square, design, space, approximate, tumbleweed, loft, ceiling, vernacular, codes, great. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or Small House Designs edited by Kenneth R. Tremblay, Jr., & Lawrence Von. Credit: Small is Beautiful – A Tiny House Film by Jeremy Beasley. The Movement Typical small/tiny house is around sf Wrote “Walden”, a book on.

With that stumbling block out of the way, I still faced a zoning problem. I wanted to live in town, and, like most towns, Iowa City does not allow trailer camping just anywhere.

You cannot just download an old lot and park there indefinitely. The restrictions do, however, allow for camping out in ones own backyard. Upon discovering this, I snatched up a small fixer-upper on a large wooded parcel and proceeded to set up camp.

The rent collected from the big house covered the ensuing mortgage and taxes. I would camp out in my own backyard for the next five years before selling the property and heading West. I had heard a lot of horror stories about the price of properties in the region, so I sold Tumbleweed and built myself an even smaller house to take with me. I figured I had better have something I could parallel park, in case I had to live on the street for a while.

Tumbleweeds desk left and gas heater above 15 16 Tumbleweeds ladder above , kitchen opposite and exteior page 18 I called my next home XS-House as in, extra small. It measured about 7 x Like Tumbleweed, it was on wheels, it had a steep metal roof, classic proportions and a pine interior punctuated by a metal heater on its central axis.

A bathroom, kitchen, and sleeping loft featured essentially the same utilities as my previous residence. Unlike Tumbleweed, there was a four-foot long, stainless steel desk and a couch, and the exterior walls were clad in corrugated steel.

XS exterior page 19 , loft above All things considered, my move westward went smoothly. Gale-force winds broadsided my tiny home all the way from Omaha to central Nevada, but both the house and the U-Haul came through unscathed.

I parked in front of the Sebastopol Whole Foods for three days. The U-Haul was almost due when a woman approached to ask if I would consider parking on her land to serve as a sort of groundskeeper. I would live just yards from a creek at the edge of a clearing in the redwoods.

I would pay nothing and do nothing other than reside on the property. I was lodging amongst the redwoods by nightfall. With my fear of having to live on the streets allayed, I built a new house and sold the XS before I had even settled in.

I call my most recent domicile, Tumbleweed 2. At 8 x 12 with a steep, metal roof over cedar walls, it looks just like the first Tumbleweed on the outside. I reconfigured the inside to accommodate a couple of additional puffy chairs and a five-foot long, stainless steel desk.

I have been living in this house for nearly three years, and I have no intention of moving out any time soon see pages 24 and - for photos. The Method and the Madness My reasons for choosing to live in such small houses include some environmental concerns. The two largest of my three, hand-built homes were made with only about 4, pounds of building materials each, less than pounds of which went to the local landfill.

Each produced less than pounds of greenhouse gases during a typical Iowa winter. And, at 89 square feet, plus porch and loft, each fit snugly into a single parking space. In contrast, the average American house consumes about three quarters of an acre of forest and produces about seven tons of construction waste. It emits 18 tons of greenhouse gases annually, and, at more than 2, square feet, it would most definitely not fit into a single parking space.

Finances informed my decision, too. Quality over quantity became my mantra. I have never been interested in building anything quite like a standard travel trailer or mobile home. Travel trailers are typically designed for more mobility and less year-round comfort than I like, while most manufactured housing looks too much like manufactured housing for my taste. Common practice in the industry though not inherent or exclusive to it is to build fast 21 1 and cheap, then mask shoddiness with finishes.

This strategy has allowed mobile homes to become what advocates call the most house for your money. It has, in fact, helped to make manufactured housing one of the most affordable and, thus, most popular forms of housing in the United States today. This is pretty much the opposite of the strategy I have adopted. I put the money saved on glitz and square footage into insulation, the reinforcement of structural elements, and detailing.

That is less than half of what the average American household spends on furniture alone. The cost of materials could have been nearly halved if more standard materials were used.

But I was, and I remain, a sucker for beauty. As a result, my current residence is both one of the cheapest houses around and the most expensive per square foot. Still, my main reason for living in such a little home is nothing so grandiose as saving the world, nor so pragmatic as saving money. Truth be told, I simply do not have the time or patience for a larger house. I have found that, like 22 anything else that is superfluous, extra space merely gets in the way of my contentment.

I wanted a place that would maintain my serene lifestyle, not a place that I would spend the rest of my life maintaining.

I find nothing demanding about Tumbleweed. Everything is within arms reach and nothing is in the waynot even space itself. Tumbleweed 2 above , Williamsburg, VA next 23 Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.

A home that is designed to meet its occupants domestic needs for contented living without exceeding those needs will invariably surpass the quality of a bigger one in terms of sustainability, economics and aesthetics. Sustainability Under no circumstances does a 3,square foot house for two qualify as green.

All the solar gain and reclaimed materials in the world can never change that. At 2, square feet, the average American house now emits 2 more carbon dioxide than the average American car.

Our houses are the biggest in the worldfour times the international average. Since , the median size of a new American house has more than doubled, even though the number of people per household shrank by more 3 than 25 percent. Not so long ago, you could expect to find just one bathroom in a house; but, by , half of all new homes contained two or more bathrooms.

Ten years later, three-quarters did. More bathrooms, more bedrooms and dens, bigger rooms overall, and, perhaps most notably, more stuff, have come to mean more square footage. Americas houses have, quite literally, become bloated warehouses full of toys, furniture and decorations, and a lot of things we may never see or use. As prodigal as this may seem already, even a space capable of meeting our extravagant living and storage needs is not always enough.

We still have to worry about impressing a perceived audience. Entire rooms must be added to accommodate anticipated parties that may never be given and guests 26 who may never arrive. It is not uncommon for a living room to go unused for months between social gatherings and, even then, quickly empty out as guests gravitate toward the informality of the kitchen. Until recently, the issue of over-consumption was conspicuously absent from mainstream green discourse.

You are unlikely to find the answer to sprawl offered in a sustainable materials catalogue. Accountable consumption stands to serve no particular business interest. Building financiers and the real estate industry are certainly pleased with the current situation.

Bigger is better, from their perspective, and they are always eager to tell us so. Unless supporting the housing industry is the kind of sustainability you hope to achieve, a reasonably-scaled home is the best way there is to make a positive difference with real estate.

Economics Economical means doing only what is necessary to getting a job done. Anything more would be wasteful and contrary to the inherent simplicity of good design. An economical home affords what is essential to the comfort of its occupants without the added burden of unused space. Excess and economy are mutually exclusive. We can have exorbitance, or we can have the serenity that a sensibly-scaled home affords, but we cannot have both.

Like anything else that is not essential to our happiness, extra space just gets in the way. It requires maintenance and heating, and ultimately demands that we exchange a portion of life for the money needed to pay for these extras. For most Americans, big houses have come to symbolize the good life; but, all symbolism aside, the life these places actually foster is more typically one of drudgery. Mortgage payments can appropriate thirty to forty percent of a households income not counting taxes, insurance, or maintenance expenses.

When every spare penny is going towards house payments, there is nothing left over for investments, travel, continued education, more time with the kids, or even so much as a minute to relax and enjoy life.

At this rate, an oversized house can start to look more like a debtors prison than a home. In , a used house in the U.

That is far more than the average American can afford. Affordable housing has, in fact, become the exception.

The perception of affordable housing as something below par is not solely the result of this skewed terminology. The structures produced under the banner are usually as elephantine as the more expensive option, but with shoddier materials and even worse design. Through the eyes of the housing industry, square footage pays; quality does not.

Square footage is really the cheapest thing that can be added onto a house. The electrical system, plumbing, heating, appliances and structural components of most any dwelling are similar in at least one key way.

They are all expensive. This costly core is housed by the relatively cheap volume that surrounds it. In light of all this, it might seem that you really cant afford to download anything less than the most house you can get your hands on. At first glance, it appears that the more you download the more you save, but its the hidden costs that get people into trouble. After all, more house than you need comes with more debt in total, more utility bills, more maintenance than you need and more foreclosures and more bailouts than any of us needs ever again.

It seems that even a shoddy status symbol, with its expansive vinyl walls and snap-on plastic window grills, can somehow connote distinction. The finer qualities of design have become as difficult to market as they are to achieve, so they are being replaced by highly-prized square footage.

Just as something is typically appreciated as good or beautiful when it is deemed necessary, it will be condemned as ugly or evil when it is considered pointless. Under the right circumstances, murder becomes heroism and trash turns into treasure. The distinction between valuables and garbage is based primarily on our notions of utility. What two people see as beautiful will vary as much as what they consider to be useful.

Accordingly, the selfish squandering of valuable resources and the emission of toxins without any worthwhile purpose are always corrupt and unsightly. Beauty may be in the eye of the beholder, but an oversized house is an ugliness we all have to contend with. A truly good house evokes a sense of home. Our sense of home comes from within us. It emerges when we enter an environment with which we can identify.

This sense is not exclusive to ones own house. It can surface whenever we feel safe enough to be completely ourselves beyond all insecurity and pretension. A house founded on pretension and insecurity will seldom, if ever, make us feel anything more than pretentious and insecure. For a place to feel safe, it must first earn our trust. It must be honest, and an extra couple of thousand square feet tacked on in a vain attempt to conceal our insecurity is not honest. Home is our defense against what can sometimes seem like a chaotic and demanding world.

It is a fortress built from the things and principles that we value most. The inclusion of anything else is like a crack in the fortress wall.

Order and tranquility are compromised when things that are extraneous to our happiness surround us. Unnecessary elements in the home dilute the intensity of the life within. Only when everything in our immediate environment is essential to our contented survival will home and the life within take on a truly essential quality. Too many of our houses are not a refuge from chaos but merely extensions of it. The sense that our lives may not be entirely whole results in a desire for something more to fill the perceived void.

This can lead to the download of an oversized house in which substance is obscured by excess. The happiness we really seek cannot be found by downloading more space or more stuff. Those who do not recognize what is enough will never have enough.

The housing industry and the banks sustaining it spent much of the s and s pushing for larger houses to produce more profit per structure, and housing authorities all cross the country adopted this bias in the form of minimum-size standards. The stated purpose of these codes is to preserve the high quality of living enjoyed in our urban and suburban areas by defining how small a house can be.

They govern the size of every habitable room and details therein. By aiming to eliminate all but the most extravagant housing, size standards have effectively eliminated housing for everyone but the most affluent Americans.

Too Good To Be Legal No Problem Too Small Again, the intention of these limits is to keep unsightly little houses from popping up and lowering property values in Americas communities and, moreover, to ensure that the housing industry is adequately sustained. The actual results of the limits are a greater number of unsightly large houses, inordinate construction waste, higher emissions, sprawl and deforestation, and, for those who cannot afford these larger houses, homelessness.

One of the leading causes of homelessness in this country is, in fact, our shortage of low-income housing. After mental illness and substance abuse, minimum-size standards have probably kept more people on the street than any other contributing factor.

Countless attempts to design and build efficient 38 Another Sausalito Houseboat above forms of shelter by and for the homeless have been thwarted by these codes. By demanding all or nothing from our homes, current restrictions ensure that the have-nots have nothing at all. The U. Declaration of Universal Human Rights of which the United States is a signatory holds shelter to be a fundamental human right.

Yet, in the U. The stated premise of these well-intentioned codes is as profoundly flawed as their results. Little houses have not been shown to lower the values of neighboring large residences. In fact, the opposite holds true. When standardsized housing of standard materials and design goes up next to smaller, less expensive dwellings, for which some of the budget saved on square footage has been invested in quality materials and design, the value of the smaller places invariably plummets while that of the derelict mansions is raised.

Protecting the health, safety and welfare not only of those persons utilizing a house but the general public as well is the stated purpose of minimum-size standards. But, by prohibiting the construction of small homes, these codes clearly circumvent their own alleged goal.

It would seem far more effective to outlaw the kind of toxic real estate that such codes currently mandate. An even more reasonable and less draconian system would allow individuals to determine the size of their own homes- large or small. Some of us prefer to devote our time to our children, artistic endeavors, spiritual pursuits or relaxing. Others would rather spend their time generating disposable income. Some enjoy living simply, while others like taking risks.

Every American should be free to choose a simple or an extravagant lifestyle and a house, to accommodate it. If you maximize use value, your home will steadily become more idiosyncratic and highly adapted over the years. Maximizing market value means becoming episodically more standard, stylish, and inspectable in order to meet the imagined desires of a potential downloader.

Seeking to be anybodys house it becomes nobodys.

These places are typically produced by people who are more concerned about how well a house performs as a home than how much it could sell for. The creation of a smart little house has traditionally been a labor of love because, until recently, love of home has been its only apparent reward. As a rule, Americans like to download big things. Like fast food, the standard American house offers more frills for less money. This is achieved primarily by reducing quality for quantitys sake.

Financiers have been banking on this knowledge for decades. From their perspective, a sound investment is one that corresponds with the dominant market trend. Oversized houses are more readily financed because they are what most Americans are looking for. For a lender, two bedrooms are better than one, because, whether the second room gets used or not, this is what the market calls for.

The Small House Book by Jay Shafer

Sometimes a bank will simply refuse to finance a small home because the cost per square foot is too high or the land upon which the house sits is too expensive in proportion to the structure. The design, construction or download of a small house has thus been further discouraged. Lawsuits concerning the constitutionality of minimum-size standards have recently forced some municipalities to drop the restrictions. Where this is the case, little dwellings have begun to pop up, and they are selling fast.

Americans looking for smaller, well-built houses are out there, and their needs have been refused for decades. This minority, comprised mostly of singles, may be small, but it is ready to download. It seems the composition of American households changed some time ago, and the dwellings that house them are just now being allowed to catch up.

Some developers on the West Coast have been quick to take advantage of the fresh market potential. That is about 10 percent more per square foot than the cost of 2, square-foot houses in the immediate area. Needless to say, post-occupancy reports show that, though less expensive overall, these little homes have not had a negative impact on neighboring property values. In fact, the resale value of American houses of 2, square feet or more appreciated 57 percent between and , while houses of 1, or less appreciated 78 percent Elizabeth Rhodes, Seattle Times, This is important to remember if you are about to seek their approval for a project.

Building codes are made at the national level, but they are adopted, tailored and enforced at the local level. View your housing department as the helpful resource it wants to be, not as an adversary. Once your local officials are politely informed about the actual consequences of the codes they have been touting, the codes are likely to change.

Be sure to provide plenty of evidence about the merits of smaller houses, including documentation of projects similar to the one you intend to build. Codes are generally amended annually by means of a review and hearing process anyone in the community can take part in.

Diplomacy is one way of clearing the way for a small house. Moving is another. Some remote areas of the country have no building codes at all, and a few others have a special owner-builder zoning category that exempts people who want to build their own homes from all but minimal government oversight. Provisions for alternative construction projects also exist. Section Several counties permit accessory dwellings. These small outbuildings are also known as granny flats because they can be inhabited by a guest, teenager, or elderly member of the family.

Terminology can sometimes provide wiggle-room within the laws.

Global Ideas for Local Impact

Temporary housing is, for example, a term often used by codebooks to describe any tent, trailer, motor home or other structure used for human shelter and designed to be transportable and not attached to the ground, to another struc42 ture or to any utility system on the same premises for more than 30 calendar days.

Such structures are usually exempt from building codes. So, as long as a small home is built to be portable, with its own solar panel, composting toilet, and rain water collection system or just unplugged once a month , it can sometimes be inhabited on the lot of an existing residence indefinitely.

Most municipalities are eager to endorse a socially-responsible project, but occasionally, a less savvy housing department will dig in its heels.

When relocating to an area where smaller homes are legal is not an option, there may still be recourse. Political pressure can be applied on departments to great effect.

While an official may have no trouble telling one individual that his plans for an affordable, high-quality, ecologically-sound home will not fly, the same official may have a great deal more trouble letting his objections be known publicly through the media.

Newspeople love a good David-andGoliath story as much as their audiences do. As mentioned earlier, minimum-size standards have been found to be unconstitutional in several U. If all else fails, a lawsuit against the local municipality remains a final option. This strategy, and any involving political pressure through the media, should be reserved only for circumstances where all other avenues have been explored and exhausted.

Remember that ridiculous codes do not usually reflect the mind-set of those who have been asked to enforce them. Take it easy on your local officials and they will more than likely make things easy for you.

The Bureau of the Census has determined that more than forty percent of this countrys families cannot afford to download a house in the U. Over 1, square miles of rural land are lost to compulsory new housing each year. An immense portion of this will be used for nothing more than misguided exhibitionism. We clearly need to change our codes and financing structure and, most importantly, our current attitudes about house size. Minimum-size standards are slowly eroding as common sense gradually makes its way back onto the housing scene.

Website in Spanish The aim of this website is to empower others to build their own homes. We want to show people that if we can do it - anybody can. FvF is an international interview magazine that portrays people of diverse creative and cultural backgrounds in their homes and within their daily working environments. Our content aspires to present multifaceted personal perspectives that offer impressions of cities, various artistic industries and international urban living.

By introducing real people from around the world with an honest and authentic approach, FvF attracts a global readership and remains borderless. Gruene Homestead Inn.. Gruene Homestead Inn is a collection of historic houses in the community of New Braunfels, featuring rooms and suites dating from the s to the early s. These home can be rented out. GW Planet Forward Think about all the things that you own. Clothes, electronics, kitchenware--everything. Now imagine you had to take all of that stuff and cram it into square feet.

Not only that, but you have to fit a bathroom, bedroom, and kitchen into that space. Welcome to the tiny house movement. These small houses can be found across the country, but one group is looking to take the movement out of obscurity and into the limelight--from backwoods and backyards to an urban setting.

Herrle Custom Carpentry Our aim is to add custom touches throughout the process so that your house becomes a reflection of your vision of home. We pride ourselves on exceptional customer service and look forward to collaborating with you on your next dream build! HIVEHAUS is an innovative new concept in modular living space inspired by natureinfluenced by modernism and constructed using unconventional building techniques.

Designed to be compact but comfortable HIVEHAUS was originally conceived by Barry Jackson as a highly versatile garden room that could be easily expanded to suit the needs of the individual without the need in most cases for planning permission. HIVEHAUS has been designed to be affordable sustainable flexible easily expanded and portable as well as most importantly extremely economical to run. Imagine living free from rent, mortgage and utility bills.

Imagine living in a home that generated its own electricity and captured its own water. Imagine you could build this home yourself all for a very affordable price. Now imagine how your life would be different if you were free from debt?

The Small House Book by Jay Shafer

Nelson Tiny Houses Nelson Tiny Houses is a locally-owned, sustainably-produced company that builds superior tiny houses. As builders and designers, we are inspired by the mountains, forests, lakes and culture of this special part of southern British Columbia.

As such, we view building tiny houses as a place where science meets art, where trade meets craft, where a shelter becomes a home. Novadeko Modular.. Nova Deko is an established international manufacturer of high quality modular homes and a wide variety of home fixtures and furnishings, exporting to all parts of the globe. Nova Deko Modular is the division of the company tasked with the production of contemporary luxurious affordable modular homes.

Pod Idladla Because of its design and size owners of the POD will enjoy a reduced energy bill in comparison to a conventional home. Each is made off-site, to specific client specification, allowing one to start simply with a shell or to go for a full-on kitted out interior or somewhere inbetween.

Several square-meter unit can be positioned in various configurations to form larger, multi-use living areas. Richs Portable Cabins Richs Portable Cabins has been crafting custom park model homes since In addition to park model portable cabins, RPC also offers a full line of 8 wide tiny homes and other prefabricated structures. We build a variety of floor plans and at affordable prices. Call or email for prices and availability. Does it really have to cost a small fortune to live in a safe, warm, and comfortable home?

Is it truly necessary to stress the environment to build the house of your dreams? At Seattle Tiny Homes, we believe the answer is no. Discover why people are turning to tiny homes to simplify their lifestyle, get out of debt, and enjoy independent living wherever they want. Small House Bliss Small House Bliss is dedicated to showcasing well-designed and interesting small houses of all kinds.

Our aim is to convince more people that living in a smaller house is not only possible, but preferable. For those who need no convincing, we hope to inspire you with ideas for planning and organizing your own small home. Small House Society Small House Society is brief directory listing architects of simpler smaller living who specialize in tiny, small, miniature, and micro homes.

Some of the homes are designed to offer basic economical shelter, others provide additional amenities and an aesthetic appeal that makes them more valuable. Stone Canyon Cabins This makes our Park Models more affordable to you.

If you have ever wanted to try glamping or stay in a shepherds hut then this is the place to come. Our high standards mean you really experience nature in luxury. Take the first step to achieving your dream of building and living in your very own tiny house!

This guide will help you to understand each step that needs to be taken and more importantly give you the confidence to start building your own tiny house.

Tiny House Company Most affordable way to make your Tiny House Dream a reality. Tiny House Community If youre looking for tiny house parking, searching for a community, or want to try out a tiny house for a few nights, then youve come to the right place. Below are links to short-term and permanent tiny house sites Tiny House Heinege The creator of this Tiny House, Chris Heininge, comes from a family of gifted craftsmen, artists, and designers.

His father recently passed , and mother along with their 3 sons have built over homes in Oregon, Washington, and Arizona. Chris mother Elizabeth Heininge designed nearly all of these homes, and she is currently helping with the Tiny House designs. Tiny House Talk The purpose of Tiny House Talk is to spread the message of freedom, peace and happiness through simple living. Tiny Idahomes Family owned and operated, we perform all levels of Custom RV and tiny home building.

We offer start-to-finish solutions for your Custom RV or tiny home on wheels project.

We also offer full design services. Through our extensive collection of breathtaking photos, you will develop a recipe for your perfect home, ingredient by ingredient.

See how others have built tiny shelters that accommodate all the comforts of a traditional home, dive into the oceanic world of tiny architecture, and learn how you can expand your living space.

Photo Book (PDF)

Tiny Living Homes Our homes are built to the same specification as that of a traditional home. We use 2x4 structure which allows us to use the same appliances as that of a standard home. This certainly helps to give you that cozy, homey feel, and is a step above the flimsy products used in other tiny homes and RVs. Each tiny home comes complete and equipped with a rather spacious full kitchen complete with fridge, stove top of choice to poach your free range eggs while enjoying the sunny morning view of the rippling water on lake Kalamalka Just kidding That part is up to you.

Youll be finally able to convince your family to come camping with you, as each Tiny Home is equipped with a full shower and a non-smelly-environmentally-friendly, decomposing toilet!

No more runs to the back of a bush in the middle of the night. Valley View Tiny House Company The vision of Valley View Tiny House Company is to help you achieve the tiny house life catered to your specific needs.

We do this by understanding your goals, providing space-maximizing solutions integrated into your surroundings, encouraging innovative craftsmanship, developing efficient do-it-yourself resources, and doing our part to help the less fortunate along the way.

Whether your tiny house dreams are a forever home, vacation home, in-law quarters, guesthouse, or otherwise, we can help.

Its technologically advanced design allows for easy mass production, and therefore lower costs. Its roof and walls popup from its wooden base, which comes with adjustable legs that can adapt to any terrain. Website in Spanish Wing Houses The wing house is a mobile residence or office space that folds into a standard container with all ISO fittings in place for easy transport.

This unit can be placed anywhere with a swinglift and opened into an 80sqm living or working environment within 4 to 5 hours. X Dome Introducing the most revolutionary building structure that is taking the world by storm.Countless attempts to design and build efficient 38 Another Sausalito Houseboat above forms of shelter by and for the homeless have been thwarted by these codes.

Unnecessary gables compromise simplicity for what is bound to be a very expensive spectacle. Sanitary facilities for relieving oneself. If you dont need to build your tiny house on wheels, you can build with more permanence in the design. Bright and cheery, with large folding patio doors leading onto an outside deck integrate inside with outside. This next section explains the actual process of subtractive design and relevant considerations. They, fortunately, begin to cross forested areas which give them a place to rest at night.

Stone Canyon Cabins They are a company out of Australia.

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