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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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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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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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The Tiny House Revolution: Downsizing Your Lifestyle

Tiny House February 15, 2017

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 big attraction. Enter the tiny house.

Once the province of the retired, like RV living, more and more Americans are opting for the tiny life. Many of these tiny houses are built to be mobile so that its inhabitants can visit places of interest, and live on the road. For those of you who work and can do so remotely, but still wish to downsize your living space, the tiny house is an ideal option.

Lots of people take it on themselves to get their hands dirty and build their own tiny houses. An Alliance of professional builders promoted the use of ethical building practices and guidelines and this was carried on by the American Tiny House Association, which deals with issues of zoning and coding.

Tiny houses can be as small as 120 square feet and as large as 500 square feet, and still be considered a tiny house.

Benefits of Tiny House Living

You can divest yourself of unused and useless “stuff”. There are so many things humans can really do without – you’d be amazed at how much clutter we can get rid of and still be happy.

The cost of living in a tiny house is much more reasonable than living in a large house. Utilities are all less, and you spend much less time cleaning and maintaining your tiny house. And buying or building your own tiny house costs but a fraction of what living large does. You no longer need to live paycheck to paycheck with an exorbitant mortgage.

Tiny living forces you to be organized with the things you choose to keep in your tiny house, and therefore is more efficient.

For those who wish to “live green” the tiny house is just the ticket. You can use water collection tanks, wind turbines, and solar energy to power your tiny house and in the long run save thousands of dollars in electrical bills.

Self-sufficiency is another big reason that people opt for the tiny house. Especially if your tiny house is mobile, you can pick up and go whenever you please.

Many cities across the country are providing zoning regulations for tiny house communities, and you can actually live tiiny in a real neighborhood.

The above photograph is a wonderful example of how you can compact your life and still have all the comforts of home.

Living the tiny house lifestyle isn’t for everyone, but if you are ready for letting go of the “I need my stuff” syndrome, it may be just the thing for you.

Sources: 3 Tiny Houses That Let You Live Green-And Off The Grid, What is the Tiny House Movement?

Photo credits: Benjamin Chin, Google Images

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Choosing a Counter Top for Your Kitchen

Interior Design February 12, 2017

Your kitchen is the hub and main gathering place of your home. And counter tops are a major factor in deciding on the color palette of that room. So the choice of your counter tops is  a very important way to enhance your personal style. With so many options around, choosing your counter tops can be very confusing. Here is a list of 6 types of counter tops that are the most popular among homeowners.

Soapstone

Image: Premier Surfaces

Soapstone is a wonderful, choice for a busy kitchen. Durable, stain and bacteria resistant, it can withstand a lot of use while keeping your counter tops germ-free. At $80-$100 per square foot it may seem like a bit on the pricey side, but it a real investment in your home’s overall value.

Granite

Image: granitecountertops.net

Granite is a real go-to option because of its versatility, durability, wide variety of grains and colors. If it is well sealed it is more durable than most other surfaces. It can be very cost-efficient running as low as $50 per square foot, but the price can go up depending on how customized the stone is.

Quartz

Image: mikeguss.com

If your home is very customized, quarts may be just for you. It comes in almost every hue imaginable, and is engineered of quartz, resins and color pigments. Non-porous, and great if your home is “green”, quartz counter tops come at a price though. They can run anywhere from $95-$105 per square foot.

Concrete

Image: Abington Concrete

Concrete may not be as cost-effective as other surfaces but it is very easily customized to your specifications. Different, colors, textures and stains, can make this surface your own very easily, and properly sealed this might be worth the investment. It can cost from $100-$150.

Laminate

Image: Classic Cabinets and Interiors

Laminate is a very popular alternative for many who swear by it. It can simulate many more expensive surfaces, and with a price tag of $8-$20 per square foot it seems very cost-effective. But it is not a very durable surface so it would not be recommended for very busy cooks and heavily trafficked kitchens.

Marble

Image: MSI Stone

Not being the most durable counter top surface, marble is still considered the surface to choose. It develops a brilliant patina as it’s used, and comes in a wide variety of designs on its surface. The other down side is that marble can scratch and stain more than other stones. At a cost of $70-$100, it is a classic choice for many.

Source: houzz.com

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

Metal Buildings February 1, 2017

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

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 such as the typical cylindrical Q-Model style building.

“The “S” Model has a domed roof with straight sidewalls. This is a stronger design than the “P” model, and an excellent choice for use as a barn or workshop in areas with heavy wind and snow.

“Both P & S Models are ideally suited to residential homes as they have straight sides resulting in the maximum amount of livable space. Both can easily be tailored to your aesthetic requirements with custom end walls. These can be made of steel, hardy board or even finished with stucco or brick. It is also important to note that the buildings can be insulated and that a mezzanine-type second floor can be added to larger buildings over 30 feet in width. End walls can also be fitted with windows and the roof structure can easily be fitted with skylight panels for additional natural light.”

One thing about this building style is that it is easy to set up, and another point is that it is inexpensive. We priced out the residential models, and didn’t even pick the smallest possible size. We picked a 20X40, 10 foot high unit (they go lower and higher is size and cost), and the estimate was $8,000. So they start at less than that, even for residential ones. We also priced out a smaller one for garage purposing, and the estimate was $1,200. Of course, you do have to think about other building costs, such as transportation, laying foundation, and other expenses. Anyway, we’ve included photos of a variety of completed SteelMaster ones in the gallery you can check out (link below), from little plain garage-style ones to elaborate multi-floor houses.

One of the biggest companies for these Quonset style homes is SteelMaster. I recently saw a couple who had built a 40X40 home with their product, an S model, made from 22-gauge Galvalume steel, with an 18-foot peak at the center, and they spend less than $35,000 on the building, they said. And the SteelMaster metal home materials were guaranteed for 30 years (so long as the building was secured to the earth).

Here is our gallery of Quonset style cabins, homes and other structures. These photographs were taken by Elizabeth Anderson for SteelMaster Buildings. To see more about SteelMaster and other house builders we’ve 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 metal homes, click here.

Check out the gallery of photos below (all images on our site are expandable, even the featured images at the top of most articles).

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This Comfortable Tiny House Design (with Plans)

Houses February 1, 2017

Chill and Relax in a Comfy House

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, including a single-pitched roof and a standard two-pitch.

They use a lot of wood finishing for the interior, and it looks snappy when painted white (or probably any other color as well). Check out the one with the patio built around it in the woods.

They also seem to all incorporate a lot of glazing — look at those big window areas in the main rooms. And patios as well. Overall, a very simple, clean design for a small house, or tiny house, depending on how you look at things.

THE GUY

The guy 1
Alk. 19 769 –

Floor area 20.0 m²
Porch 34.5 m²
In total 54.5 m²

The guy 2
Alk. 21 077, –

Floor area 25.0 m²
Porch 34.5 m²
In total 59.5 m²

CRESCENT

Prices vary according to the selected timber strength.

Crescent-30 1A
Alk. 31 600, –

Floor area 30.0 m²
Porch 11.0 m²
In total 41.0 m²

Prices vary according to the selected timber strength.

BUOY

Buoy 10

Alk. 14 659 –

Floor area 19.5 m²
Porch 24.0 m²
In total 43.5 m²

Buoy 20
Alk. 16 529 –

Floor area 23.5 m²
Porch 25.5 m²
In total 49.0 m²

Check out the gallery of photos below (all images on our site are expandable, even the featured image at the top).

Find more from Honka, and other companies we’ve 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 houses, click here.

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IKEA’s Better Shelter Wins Design of the Year 2016

Prefab January 30, 2017

IKEA Better Shelter flat pack house

Just an update on IKEA’s prefab venture, which we covered in detail a while ago. The flat-pack shipped tiny house has now won a big design award: the Beazley Design of the Year 2016.

The flat-pack IKEA “Better Shelter,” as it’s called, is mainly a refugee housing solution in conception, but many people are now thinking about it as a possible tiny house option. Certainly, it’s very portable and ship-able, and very inexpensive (read about that here).

The award it won was for the project that best meets the criteria of design that “promotes or delivers change,” “captures the spirit of the year,” “enables access,” and “work that has extended design practice.”

There are other architecture categories as well involved in the awards, but the IKEA “Better Shelter” beat out Digital, Fashion, Graphics, Product and Transport, for the top honor of Design of the Year.

“Innovative, humanitarian and implemented, Better Shelter has everything that a Beazley Design of the Year should have,” stated on of the judges, Dr. Jana Scholze of Kingston University.

IKEA flat packThis IKEA flat pack house was originally developed in 2013 and has taken some big volume orders from the UN. Those who worked on it include: Johan Karlsson, Dennis Kanter, Christian Gustafsson, John van Leer, Tim de Haas, Nicolò Barlera, UNHCR.

To date, almost 65 million of these IKEA flatpack homes have been distributed around the globe.

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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 […]

  • Stunning 42×100 Steel Shop & Home from $48,565

    A Stunning 42×100 Steel Shop and Home from $48,565

    by on January 11, 2017 - 0 Comments

    If you’ve been seeking a versatile steel shop/home hybrid, you’ve come to the right location. Perka Buildings has created a design that your local contractor can construct in little time. So if you are a property buyer with time constraints, this may be the plan for you. This amazing property is 42 x 100 and can be […]

  • Magnificent Steel Frame Gambrel Type Homes Starting from $19,950

    Magnificent Steel Frame Gambrel Type Homes Starting from $19,950

    by on January 11, 2017 - 0 Comments

    From AmeriBuilt Steel Structures, we have the Gambrel steel building design. What makes the Gambrel Steel design so unique, is the shape if its rooftop. The roof is sloped and if you choose to have an overhang, that is one of your options. One of the draws to this type of steel building is that because of […]

  • 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). […]

  • Enigmatic Home Perfect for Steel Frame! (HQ Plans)

    The Perfectly Designed Steel Kit Home

    by on January 10, 2017 - 0 Comments

    Thinking outside of the traditionally built home may be difficult for some home seekers but for others having alternatives is a an appealing idea. The steel framed home is an option many families are taking a liking to, and are moving forward with plans to live in an alternatively-built home. There are many reasons to […]