As a blackbird spread its wings in the sun to dry, this black house landed in this rural area. The open side of the house beneath the wings is designed to view the closed side is on the north and there also is the house’s entrance. In the black paneling of the north facade is a work of art machined from the timber.
Under the wings, the natural tones of the interior differ strikingly from the wooden exterior, as the orange beak of the blackbird. There are white and even yellow painted rooms.
The warm natural tones are nurtured under the wings. The black exterior must defy wind and weather. The house has a barn-like appearance which suits the rural setting. The house can accommodate a work space, bed and breakfast (it was designed with BNB in mind) and kitchen on the ground floor. On the upper floor, under the large gable roof, are the living room and bedrooms.
To seem more tiny houses and some modular / prefabs by Onix (the designers of this house), find them in our directory.
We have here a contemporary reinterpretation of the traditional alpine chalet style of architecture. The structure has that interesting exterior you see in the photo, and the interior is a two story dwelling broken up into three sections — master bedrrom, living area, and other bedrooms — plus an underground elevator that goes down into a parking garage.
These four levels (including the garage) have 4 entrance levels for the house design. The house is the work of architects SeARCH for a Dutch client on this steep hillside.
The size of this villa is 400 meters square. How it fits into the line of chalet architecture is the chalet (“shepherd’s hut”) is basically a solid wood house with shutters and a gabled roof that rests on a stone base. The term originated in the Swiss Alps, where there were many of these shepherds. Over time, the chalet was made more elaborate with multi-gables and any luxury addition home buyers could think of over the past few hundred years of wealthy mountain homes.
Many of the chalets currently in the Alps are summer houses now, and aren’t used throughout the year.
The underground garage was designed the way it is out of necessity. They had to go through the mountain to create it. It’s just a part of building on a limited plot of mountain land.
The first floor (above the garage) is the “guest area” with several bedrooms. Then above that is the living / socializing area, then finally the master bedroom on the highest floor — kind of an “attic.” To see more of SeARCH’s work, find them in the Building Homes and Living directory.
Do you want to get a new place or a second home where you can stay for your getaways? Do you have a limited budget and want to have a small unit as a start? Do you want something that will fit your preferences, whatever they are? Do you want a new place that is stylish, with great quality but will not break your budget? Do you want a ready made plan so that it will be easier for you to choose and decide what kind of house you want, removing many of the worries and hassles of not getting what you want? If your answer is yes, then you can consider choosing a manufacturer that provides ready-made house blueprints.
One of the companies we found who provide ready made plans for houses, cottages, garage plans, etc. is called simply :Houseplans.” Houseplans offers a lot of options to choose from.
Houseplans’ designs are functional and customizable and are made by world-renowned architects. You can work on it by looking at their inventory of plans and saving the ones that interest you. You can customize any plan to suit your budget, site, and other criteria.
If you are looking for tiny house plans as a start, you may consider looking at micro cottage floor plans.
These plans have less than 1,000 square feet or even smaller. Some of the houses are even small enough to mount on a trailer.
They may not even require permits depending on the local codes. These tiny houses are perfect for a single person or for a couple.
These houses can be expanded, modified or altered as the need arises or as the time goes by depending on your budget and preferences. It is simply a great choice if you want to have a small house as a start. Too see more from “Houseplans,” find them in our directory (click here).
Sometimes it’s nice to find a tiny house / cabin design that looks a little different from what we usually see, and that’s what this little modern rustic cabin does for this blog. It was designed by Marianne Borge, and she calls it the “Woody15.”
The total area for this little rustic cabin is 17.5 square meters, and it’s just one room.
Of course, for those of you out there who are considering buying a prefab house or building your own cabin DIY style, it might be Borge’s design and not the actual product that brought you here. You might have plans to add a bathroom, kitchen (or kitchenette), and other amenities. Or maybe you have an idea to build a cabin or basic minimalist off grid cabin and have an outhouse-style washroom. Why not? They did it in the olden days all over the place, although I’ve heard the complaints of having to walk in the cold to the washroom in the middle of the night in winter!
So, yes, this rustic cabin plan is just for a room, and has no bathroom, no kitchen, and no electricity. The heat for the dwelling is provided by a small wood-burning stove.
The construction of this rustic cabin is based on 29 cross-laminated timber elements. That also means that the building can be assembled and disassembled easily, to set up and take down. Not a prefab house, but since its an easy modular-style construction, it can compete in the transportation category.
The photos were taken by Jonas Adolfsen. Here’s the overview of the building plan:
Sustainability and energy-conservation are two commonly cited targets when it comes to designing prefab and modular homes in the current era, and we’ve been looking at home designs that do just that quite a bit. This house — not a prefab but a design that could be created as a prefab, given the box shape without elaborate additions — made that goal “more than a PC nod” with several eco-friendly prefab energy solutions.
For example, the water for the house is heated by the sun — it goes up to 68 degrees in its tank out there. It also has an ecological irrigation system and solar panels on the roof for electricity.
Take a look at the photo above: how energy efficient do you think this house could possibly be? Here’s the answer from the owners: “With 9 staying and all the laptops, music, washing etc we’ve only run the generator 3 times ever. All the irrigation systems do clever things. So it’s more than a PC nod to sustainability, as you know from all our fussing about timbers and paints.”
They’ve only had the fireplace burning twice, and both times just for ambiance — not for heat. Even hot baths haven’t demanded lighting a fire or turning on the generator. Part of the reason the prefab house stays so warm is it has low E glass and good heat-saving design.
Where is this modular house, some of you might be asking? In Tasmania (Australia). Yes, its warmer there than Canada or the northern states of America, but even still, even if it would require starting the generator more often than 3 times to keep from freezing, it is interesting to consider that a simple square house like this can accommodate 9 people and do what it does with warm water and electricity.
The wood for the building is cedar, and the deck on the outside and the floors on the inside is sustainably logged Vitex timber (from the Solomon Islands).
One of the most standout features of this modular house is the glazing: look at all those fixed windows and sliding doors. The wood there is western cedar.
And those steps that lead up to the porch aren’t just for show. The building is purposefully lifted off the ground to prevent against flooding. Find more of the designer, Crosson’s, work at our directory (click here).
One way to use pallets in the design and construction of a house — even prefab houses — is to re-purpose the materials. In other words, to use the wood that was once part of the pallet as wood that is siding, countertops, or other parts of the house build. But — it’s been done — you can actually build a house entirely of pallets.
This is more something to think about, and maybe do if you really think it’s a good idea for your circumstances, but obviously we can’t recommend building a house of pallets for everyone (at least until we see a few more pallet house designs that work).
This particular pallet house was built by two students at the University of Vienna, and it won them a GAUDI European Student Competition for sustainable architecture.
Because building like this would really save building costs, it has been recommended as a method for low-income housing. Another possible use: housing in developing countries. After all, one of the challenges in many regions of the world is a scarcity of building materials for housing. Another option is modular housing or prefab homes like we often feature here.
The student who built this pallet house afterwards went to South Africa to develop a low-cost unit for larger-scale production that would cost around $11 per foot. For more on pallets in house construction, (click here).
Want a full grown tree inside your house? How about four flights of stairs to walk around the tree all the way to the top?
The house was designed by Aibek Almassov, a Kazakh architect. I though about giving you guys a Pliny-esque account of how in the strange and foreign land of Kazakhstan they build in this style, but for that you might re-watch The Man Who Would Be King (although that’s Kafiristan rather than Kazakhstan).
Apparently, although this glass concept house was not developed originally because funding fell through, it has a new investor — a solar panel company.
The views of this concept house are 360 degrees, as you can see, and daylight would be, it seems, more or less unmodified inside the structure. The tree would probably thrive in its warm, sunny habitat. People might invest in sleep masks, though.
What do you think of the idea of this concept house?
How many of you have explored rammed earth as a building style for walls?
Although it is inexpensive and very sustainable, it is an uncommon building technology in the West. However, it is used in many other countries, especially countries where other building materials are scarce or unaffordable.
While rammed earth walls have a distinctive look many people find beautiful, rammed earth can also be used to make floors and foundations.
The drawbacks of rammed earth are that it requires powered tampers (or a significant effort in labor) and it can be damaged by water if it is not adequately protected from rain. In its favor though, is that it is impervious to fire, its strong and durable (not as strong as concrete, but still strong enough for domestic buildings), stores heat or cold well, breathes well (because of the clay) and is simple to make. It can be modified with Styrofoam or other insulation to keep in heat even better.
How is it made? A mixture of sand, gravel and clay, and moisture is poured into a mold or frame and is compacted with force. Lime, cement and asphalt emulsions are sometimes also added, as well as oxides to add various colors, or small objects to add texture.
Sustainability is another thing rammed earth has going for it. For solid masonry, rammed earth is possibly the lowest environmental impact building style.
The technology is ancient, but is currently experiencing a revival due to growing interest in sustainable building styles.
This prefab home was designed with tradition in mind. It was constructed decades ago by house designer (and furniture designer) Jens Risom, after renting for years on a small, undeveloped island off of Rhode Island.
It was designed partly as a challenge, and partly out of a desire for tradition. The architect had been reading architectural magazines say that a summer house couldn’t be built for under $25,000, and he wanted to show that he could do it. Prefabrication was part of this economizing. On the other hand, he had been renting on Block Island with his family for years, and when he found a nice plot, he wanted to build something like the A-frame’s he had been in as a kid in Denmark.
He was also influenced by his architect father and his ideas about stamped-earth building.
Some notable features of this design: well, besides the location, it has a 20-foot ceiling, cedar shingles, and a wall of glass facing north (replaced recently with safety glass).
The yard is surrounded by low stone fences, which is common to the island.
It was built using prefab in an era when modular homes were not usually held up as ideals of style. The home designer researched various modular home building kits of parts, and found one that had his requirements (Stanmar, our of Massachusetts). The parts were brought in by truck and then by tug boat, then by flatbed on the island. Photos by Floto + Warner.
Taking a break from our pursuit on Building Homes and Living of finding inexpensive alternatives that will let us all get into a house situation — mostly we look at prefabs and modular buildings in our pursuit.
This mountain home is clearly not one that could be built on a shoestring. But, it is a kind of nice home design.
It’s by Pearson Design Group. Pearson itself is out of Bozeman, Montana:
“Focused on originality, we approach every project with a well-managed, collaborative process, which explores the opportunities and assesses the constraints in order to craft an architectural experience that evolves into an integrated and original story––a whole, a home, a legacy.”
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