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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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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

Click here for a bigger gallery of a bunch of various tiny homes.

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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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A San Francisco Based Startup Has Developed a Robot that 3D Prints Micro Homes. Cost Savings Are Estimated at 70% Compared to Traditional Methods

Tiny House January 27, 2017

San Francisco-based start-up Apis Cor have been working for a solution to homelessness and a lack of affordable homes – and they appear to have come up with an answer.

The Apis Cor team hit headlines recently as they achieved a world first by creating an entire house using a 3D printer – living up to their simple slogan “we print buildings.” More impressively still, the 400 foot square home was completed in just 24 hours.

 

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A New Type of Building Style: Flatpack Homes

Prehab Home January 23, 2017

Flatpack Homes

We’ve talked a lot about prefab homes, and they have their strengths to be sure, but now people are also talking about another building style called “flatpack homes.” They’re kit homes — actually they’re considered a type of modular home — that come flat in a box (or without a box), and then they’re set up.

This one here is one built by a company who knows cold temperature. Their flatpack modular home is Scandinavian in design and thought. It’s called the “Next House” and it’s out of Stockholm. According to the company:

“Next House is a Stockholm based company, active in architecture and construction industries, with a clear and simple vision: creating and delivering beautiful designed homes created by award winning architects.

“Next House was started on the basis that there is a need for a well constructed, elegant and functional designed home at a reasonable price. Our goal is to harmonize Swedish leading building know-how with optimal timing and low impact to the environment.

“Since Sweden is one of the premier low-impact countries in the world, Next House has followed a long tradition of environmentally friendly thinking. An important issue when putting the resources of the planet in focus is how to use energy responsibly.

“Regardless of whether you use energy to heat up or cool down your house you will use less if you house is compact. Next House models have a maximum net need of energy less than 75 kWh/m3, in Sweden this is classified as a low-energy- house.”

Their model homes start with a cabin of 15 sqm to a villa of 400 sqm. Their modular wood construction technology provides our customers with multitude of living area options.

The small XXS Next House is 150 sq. ft. with kitchen. Cost: $21,500 (you assemble).  The Large Next House is just 148 square meters (approximately 1,500 square feet).

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

Find more from Next House, and other farmhouse 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 modular homes, click here.

 

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