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4 of the Best Places to Live on a Houseboat

Houseboats April 25, 2017

Houseboat living has become more popular than ever. People from all walks of life are choosing to sell everything, quit their careers and live a more free style type of life. The houseboat living idea is a romantic fantasy, but there are challenges you must overcome. Heating is one of those challenges depending upon where you choose to live. Food can also be a challenge. Where do you dock? Where is the nearest grocery store and home store? What if you begin to have mechanical problems? Just how much do you know about fixing a boat? And most importantly, are you in a location where these necessities are close by and available.

Here are a few of the best places to live on a houseboat where you can locate all of your needs more easily:

1.Stoney Lake – Ontario, Canada

Stoney Lake is located in Peterborough County, just a couple hours from Toronto. If you are a nature lover and you want to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city, Stoney Lake is the place for you. Their houseboat community is thriving and you will be surrounded by houseboat veterans who can help you out when needed. And yes, the most important part, is the glorious scenery you will be privy to daily.

2. Lake Austin – Austin, Texas

Besides a thriving music and arts community, Austin Texas has Lake Austin, which is a great community of houseboats; families living on the water. There is quite the variety here of those who live on the water. Some houseboats are docked while other homes are moored into the water. The main difference is, instead of a lawn to tend to, you are surrounded by the beautiful aquatic scenery of Lake Austin.

3. Scarborough Bluffs – Ontario, Canada

Scarborough Bluffs houseboat community is located in a breathtakingly beautiful area of Ontario. The floating neighborhoods are a hidden jewel of the Toronto area. This community thrives just as one that is on the land, combined with the beautiful scenery every day. This floating community has access to electricity, air-conditioning, and WiFi, all of life’s modern conveniences.

4. The Great Lakes, Michigan

Michigan is one of America’s most beautiful states, and one of our pics for places for houseboat living. They call them snowbirds, people that live in certain areas of the country during certain seasons. The snowbirds in the Michigan area run to the Lake Huron vicinity for beautiful scenery and the summertime floating homes. Most houseboats in this area are modern and come complete with all the luxuries of living on land. Some live here year-round, while others use this area as a summertime paradise.

Photo: treehugger Source: Escape Here

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Three Ways to Heat Your Tiny House

Tiny House April 25, 2017

Tiny house living has become all the rage these days and for many good reasons. It helps people to live in a more minimalist style and it forces you to get rid of things you don’t need. You also stop buying things you don’t need because you don’t really have the room for clutter. However if built correctly, you don’t have to miss out on any of the modern conveniences.

One great question a lot of people have is, what is the best way to heat a tiny home? There are several ways to make sure that your winters are cozy and warm, but here are three of the best ways to heat your tiny house when winter comes around.

1. A Wood Burning Stove

Wood is one way to heat a tiny home that is actually pretty economical. You just need to be sure to have enough wood stored up for the winter. because you don’t want to run out during an unexpected storm. There are various styles of wood burning stoves to suit your home’s style but they all work pretty much the same way. You use kindling, small pieces of wood and paper to start the fire or some have an electric starter, and then start loading in the bigger logs.

2. Electric Heaters

Electric heaters used to be quite expensive to run, but now they make heaters that will save you money in the long run. You simply set the temperature to whatever is comfortable for your family and the heater will turn off until the room drops below that pre-set temperature.

3. A Toe Kick Heater

A Toe Kick heater is designed to fit into spaces where other heaters would not, often made in a small rectangular shape. Wherever a small appliance would fit, under a cabinet, in a corner on the counter, or the Toe Kicker can be recessed into the walls and floorboards. You may need more than one to heat the complete home, but two or three should do the job well.

photo: The Tiny House Blog. Source: Three Ways to Heat a Tiny House

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What Does it Cost to Live On a Houseboat Year-Round

Houseboats April 25, 2017

The idea of living on a houseboat year-round sounds like being on a permanent vacation, but if you’ve never done it, there will be things that will come up that can be quite costly. But is it necessarily expensive to live year-round on a houseboat. Let’s explore what it takes to live this dream and approximately how much it costs.

You must take into consideration whether or not you want to remain docked in one place or if you are the type that will want to move regularly and take your home with you. This decision will determine some of your costs; docking fees, being one of them. Your upfront costs are determined by your decision to pay full price for your houseboat or apply for a monthly mortgage. There are ups and downs to both choices; with the first you need a lot of cash in the beginning of building your dream,  and for the latter, you will need to make sure that you can make enough money each month to cover mortgage and other expenses.

Research shows that you can buy a pre-owned Catalina, 40 ft. houseboat for about $150,000 depending upon the condition of the houseboat. A mortgage depending upon credit ratings, would be anywhere from $800-$1000 a month. Most people who make this decision are freelancers, consultants, sales people, artists, those who cannot guarantee exactly what their monthly income could be, so you must be comfortable with the amount of your monthly income. Also, other expenses, repairs, food, heat, all must be taken into consideration.

Marina fees can cost up to $1000 and more, plus the “live on board” fees, which can cost up to $250 or more each month. Overall, you are looking at a cost of $2500-$3000 per month to live year-round on a houseboat. For some who come from big cities where it costs easily $3000-$4000 a month with rent, utilities, and other expenses to live, this may be a bargain, so boat life is worth it for those who are used to those prices. For those already living in rural or in country areas, this may be an expensive choice. But it doesn’t mean that the choice cannot be made. For many, the serene atmosphere and beautiful scenery, are worth the extra costs.

Photo: damngeeky via Pinterest. Source: What it Costs to Live on a Houseboat Year-Round. And a few more for ideas:

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Building homes out of discarded materials is what Earthship is doing all over the world

Unusual Dwellings March 20, 2017

Earthship Biotecture

Earthship Biotecture Tennessee is launching a Kickstarter, and they sent us this update on what they’re up to! so we’re sharing it with you guys …

Earthships use discarded materials like used tires and plastic bottles, solar/wind electricity, rainwater catchment and filtration, passive solar/thermal mass design, and contained natural sewage treatment to achieve a home that is entirely independent and free from monthly bills.
Earthships address every aspect of comfort and sustainability in one ingenious design that reflects over 40 years of work by architect Michael Reynolds and his crew.

After attending the Earthship Academy in Taos, NM, Marcus Sisk has been working on a Simple Survival Model Earthship in Gallatin, TN, about 40 minutes outside of Nashville. It is the first of its kind in Middle Tennessee.

Once complete, it will serve as a destination for architects, engineers, state officials, and the general public to observe and learn valuable concepts & techniques.

With rapid development happening in the Nashville area, we need to incorporate ways of providing new housing that are affordable and environmentally sustainable. In our changing climate, acting fast is crucial. We cannot wait for government or corporations to address these issues.

After years of personally investing in Earthship TN’s financing and labor, Marcus Sisk is launching a Kickstarter campaign to finish the project. The $15,000 goal will provide for materials and labor, and prizes include an overnight stay for two, education workshops, consultations and more!

For more info, visit the Kickstarter campaign, Biotecture of TN website, Facebook or Instagram @supreme.green. To learn more about Earthship Biotecture’s Headquarters in Taos, NM, visit Earthship’s website.

Earthships can be built for anywhere from $15,000 to $1,500,000 or more and can range from 100sq ft to 10,000sq ft or more! They provide all of the amenities of a modern home but with out the monthly expenses of conventional utilities.

Here’s a link to their Kickstarter campaign. We’ve also added them to our builders and designers directory.

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The Tiny House Bedroom: Don’t Skimp on Luxury

Tiny House March 12, 2017

Tiny homes are all over trending news. People are longing to simplify and downsize their lives, and the tiny house offers all the comforts of a larger house, with less maintenance, lowers costs, and even mobility in some cases. But, contrary to what you might believe, you don’t really have to give up living in luxury.

Bedrooms are a home’s sanctuary, a place for respite and relaxation. It is your private retreat, and your tiny house does not mean you must sacrifice anything for this sanctuary.  Your tiny house bedroom can be as simple and basic, or as luxurious as you want it to be.

Image Pinterest

This may be just a basic loft bed, without any frills, but it is surrounded by interest with storage steps leading up to it. Walls are blank canvasses for hanging objects like posters or plants. You can make it what you want. Dress it up with interesting bed linens – sheets, comforters, toss pillows – or leave it plain and neutral.

Image Houzz

This bedroom area is a bit more ornate and colorful. It is bright and airy, and hosts a closet and other storage space. The bed in this room is a queen sized bed, so you don’t have to skimp on sleeping space either.

Image Pinterest

This is the height of bedroom luxury in a tiny house. And this tiny house happens to be a converted school bus. The loft space above the bed area is additional seating space. This beautiful bedroom is a cozy spot, with lovely bed covers and pillows – a real place to step into a relaxing slumber. Added interest are the drawers surrounding the bedroom, and the architectural ladder. This is a great example of luxury in a small space.

Source: Pinterest  https://www.pinterest.com/explore/tiny-house-bedroom/?lp=true

Featured Image courtesy of Tiny House Licing

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Steel Homes: An Economical Alternative

Uncategorized March 2, 2017

Steel homes are becoming increasingly popular, and more especially to young homeowners buying their first home. Their value-for-money is uncompromising. You can design your own home without the participation of either an architect or an engineer. Their durability is unmatched. There is no risk of problems like fire and pest infestations and so the homeowner’s insurance is much lower than with conventional construction. And with steel homes you can easily add on to the original floor plan and expand the design. You can have complete control over your home’s layout.

The maintenance on a wood built and asphalt-roofed home can be exhausting and expensive. Steel-built homes are much more easy to maintain, and so less of a drain on your wallet. They can be prefabricated or customized to your needs, desires, and requirements.

There are also kits for steel-built homes, so that you can save the cost of a building contractor. For as little as $8,000-$10,00 you can construct your own steel home in a matter of weeks or even days.

The location of your home is completely up to you. Steel homes can be put together almost anywhere you desire. That’s another reason why steel homes are so much more cost-effective. You may want your home to be in an open space, on a mountain, or in a more secluded location. Any of these sites works with a steel-built home.

Compared to a traditionally built home, designed by an architect and built by an engineer, steel-built homes can withstand hurricane force winds and other weather hazards, with little to no stress. A wood sided and framed home is more susceptible to bad weather conditions and is never as durable as a steel built home.

With a steel built home you can add rooms or reconfigure the home’s layout much more easily and less expensively than with a traditionally built home. As your family grows or you need more space for guests or animals, your steel built home can change and evolve just as you and your family evolve.

The benefits of living in a steel built home are many and deserve scrutiny and deep consideration. They are much more cost-effective and environmentally friendly than a traditionally built home. They can be prefabricated or customized to your specifications. The engineering is built into your home’s design. There is no need for an architect. Steel homes are more durable and weather resistant than traditional homes. Add-ons are easily accommodated and your steel home can be expanded as your life expands. Pest infestations need not be a problem and steel homes are non-combustible. The actual construction of your steel home on your chosen site can be quick and simple. Steel homes are a great choice for young couples. So steel built homes are an economical alternative.

Source: General Steel Buildings

 

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Houseboat Living: Flexibility and Style

Houseboats March 2, 2017

Conventional living – with a home and yard – is being eclipsed by many different kinds of alternative lifestyles. The Tiny House Movement is very popular, as are prefabs, modular homes, and steel homes. But there is nothing more mobile and flexible, nothing more versatile than the houseboat. Living on the water is both relaxing and low maintenance, and nowadays builders are constructing greener and more environmentally friendly houseboats. Sustainable living is not only good for the environment, it is also being responsible, and part of the climate change solution.

Families love the houseboat lifestyle. There are so many fun activities that come along with living on the water. Kids love the easy access to  water sports, and adults can enjoy sitting on the deck with cool sea breezes, drinks, and taking in the sunset. There is no lawn maintenance, or other outdoor jobs to be tended to. Houseboats have all the comforts and amenities of conventional living and none of the upkeep. And beautiful views are almost guaranteed. It is like you not only own your home but also the mountains surrounding it.

Image: Lucerne Valley Marina

The most wonderful part of houseboat living is your home’s mobility. You can “park” it anywhere. Have new neighbors whenever the mood strikes you. Dock somewhere where the fishing is good. And houseboats are much more like a home, but with the advantages of a boat. They can be very spacious, have many rooms, and lots of space for entertainment and having friends and family over. The versatility of houseboat is unrivaled. Your choices are endless. Whether you decide on getting an existing houseboat, buying a prefabricated one, or having one custom built, you can’t go wrong investing in a houseboat. You can trust that life will forever be transforming.

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Summer Tiny Home Idea – Super Simple Design

Cabins February 27, 2017

summer tiny home

Here’s a DIY tiny house unlike any you might have seen before. These fellows did it with just a bit of lumber and that piece of corrugated metal. Interested in trying something like this yourself?

They’re a couple of Californians, named Matt & Margo, and they built this one over a dry creek bed (usually dry, anyway).

It’s their summer cottage, and it’s located, for those interested, in the western foothills of Sierra Nevada Range, California.

They also mentioned that a tiny house like this, set up as a summer house in an out-of-the-way location in an area with a significant amount of fires, like those California mountains, is one that isn’t relatively that big an investment, and if it ever were to burn up in a wildfire, they could just rebuild it.

Nice little deck, and you probably noticed that sheet of corrugated metal is quite small, and they made do by using it like a single-pitch roof, with a bit of a slant to the rest of the building.

Find more tiny home and cabin builders indexed in our Home Designers and Builders Directory. You can search the company’s name and look builders near your area. And to see more cabins homes, click here.

And here’s a little gallery of some more little cabins — some even use corrugated metal sheets, but none do it like this cabin at the top, which is pretty interesting. Unfortunately, the picture at the top is the only one that seems to be around for Matt & Margo’s cabin so far (if anyone finds more, make sure to send them to us so we can update this), as well as if anyone has built similar structures. Of course, the top image also expands, as all the pictures on our site do.

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Prefabs: A Long-Held Alternative

Prefab February 24, 2017

Prefabrication homes, or prefabs, have been an alternative style of living to building a home made with conventional construction, for years. They are by far cheaper to create and assemble than the usual home. They come in many different styles and can be customized to suit the buyers.

Prefabs are constructed in factories off the home site and then panels are assembled like puzzle pieces on-site. Less labor is necessary to put these houses together, and some prefabs can be built in as little as three days. And you can be expected to pay between $180-$220 per square foot. Prefabs are more energy efficient and can be put up just about anywhere.

Designers of prefabs having been pushing the boundaries of prefab construction.

You can live with all the convenience and comfort of conventional construction in large or small prefabs.

Some of the materials used in prefabricated houses are:
Structural steel and metal fabrications
Blockboard,plywood, laminates
Electrical and pipe fittings
MGO and gypsum board
Scaffoldings
Roofing sheets
Clear and tinted glass

The versatility of prefab houses makes them very desirable. Most of them can be moved to a location of your choice after first settling in to one place.

Prefabs are sustainable, energy friendly, produce less waste, cost less, and can be assembled anywhere you wish in days. They are a wonderful way to have the home of your dreams more easily and efficiently. Just do your research and know the right questions to ask. Images: Inhabitat, Methodhomes, and Modular Homeowners. You can find them in our directory of prefab home builders.

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The Truth About Modular Homes

Modular February 20, 2017

modular homes

Modular homes and prefabricated homes are essentially the same thing, but most people use the term “modular” to refer the the larger homes and prefabs to the smaller ones. Modular homes are constructed off-site in weather-protected factories and then transported to the home site. As a rule, modular homes are stronger than their on-site counterparts and are constructed in sections called “modules”.

After a home is put up in its location, more modules can be added to it, more levels, and more rooms. Modular homes are built to accommodate local building codes and are a cost-effective, environmentally friendly, less waste alternative to homes built on site.

The cost of a modular home will vary from site to site and contractor to contractor. If the style you choose is one offered by the company and not custom built, you can expect to pay considerably less than if you customize your home. But in general the cost per square foot can be anything from $50 to $150. But always know that the final cost will most likely be higher than what is quoted to you.

Cost will also depend on what location you choose for your modular home. A clear open space will obviously be cheaper than a wooded area or building on the beach. But know that modular homes are extremely versatile and can be built in almost any location.

Modular homes are built from the same materials as site-built homes. Wood frames can be used, you can have brick or stone exteriors, and granite can be used for countertops. But the beauty of a modular home is that from construction of the modules off site, to the putting together of them, modular homes can be completed in a matter of weeks, or even days, depending on the size and onsite location.

What people often forget, because they are as finely built as site built homes, is that modular homes can be taken apart, moved to a new or more desirable location, and put back together with almost no waste. The parts are completely reusable.

To sum up, you can design your dream home with modulars much more cheaply than with conventional construction. You can move the modules around, add levels, and increase the square footage for a much more cost-effective price. Modular homes are built with less waste material than site built homes, and are more environmentally friendly. They can be put almost anywhere you desire, increasing the value of your property. And the waiting time for the finished product can be only weeks or days. So move -in time comes so much more quickly. You can be living in your modular home in less than a month. The popularity and versatility of modulars increases every year, so the value of your home may even go up.

Images: Select Homes Inc., homeesthetics.net, and About Pure Country Homes.

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  • How many of you have looked into these Quonset building kit homes First thing you might notice is that there are a couple of standard types, based mostly on the roof. These are P and S styles. According to SteelMaster, Quonset homes are becoming more and more popular with the DIY crowd; they can be erected quickly and provide a solid, secure, long lasting solution for most housing needs. Quonset buildings were originally developed as a sturdy answer to extreme weather conditions, and are manufactured in two styles best suited for residential applications The P Model is the style most commonly seen in use as a garage, workshop or for Quonset Hut homes. It's straight walls and pitched roof present a more traditional look than other Quonset huts

    These Quonset Inexpensive Kit Homes Start at Less than $8,000

    by on February 1, 2017 - 0 Comments

    How many of you have looked into these Quonset building kit homes? First thing you might notice is that there are a couple of standard types, based mostly on the roof. These are P and S styles. According to SteelMaster, “Quonset homes are becoming more and more popular with the DIY crowd; they can be […]

  • summer tiny home

    Summer Tiny Home Idea - Super Simple Design

    by on February 27, 2017 - 0 Comments

    Here’s a DIY tiny house unlike any you might have seen before. These fellows did it with just a bit of lumber and that piece of corrugated metal. Interested in trying something like this yourself? They’re a couple of Californians, named Matt & Margo, and they built this one over a dry creek bed (usually dry, anyway). […]

  • Chill and Relax in a Comfy House

    This Comfortable Tiny House Design (with Plans)

    by on February 1, 2017 - 0 Comments

    All of us, I think it would be fair to say, want to own a house of some sort, and some of us want a small or even a tiny home. Well, here is a nice smaller-sized house (with plans) we recently came across, and thought we’d share. It’s one that comes in several models, […]

  • What Does it Cost to Live On a Houseboat Year-Round

    by on April 25, 2017 - 0 Comments

    The idea of living on a houseboat year-round sounds like being on a permanent vacation, but if you’ve never done it, there will be things that will come up that can be quite costly. But is it necessarily expensive to live year-round on a houseboat. Let’s explore what it takes to live this dream and […]

  • The Tiny House Revolution: Downsizing Your Lifestyle

    by on February 15, 2017 - 0 Comments

    Many people are finally letting go of what we sometimes call “The American Dream”: A marriage, two and a half kids, a dog, a good paying job, and a nice big house. And the accumulation of “stuff” has been at the forefront of this myth. For these folks a more minimal, manageable life holds a […]