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How Much Could it Cost to Live in a Van Year-Round

Unusual Dwellings September 13, 2017

Van life is becoming a phenomena. People everywhere are giving up their mortgages to live in renovated vans. Those old vans who everyone thought had seen their day, are now being snatched up by your sons and and daughters with a sign hanging out that says,” home”.  There are also a lot of older adults getting into the act as well, selling most everything they own for the freedom of living on the road.

But is van life really everything it’s cracked up to be or are there some important things you should know about choosing this life before you toss out the furniture?

Cost

Just how much does it cost to live in this kind of freedom. Is freedom and mobility cheap or are there costs involved that you haven’t thought about?

Van life is becoming a huge social media subject as well, with Instagram full of people’s pics living the good life, sitting outside their van drinking out of a coconut. But let’s get into the numbers that add up to this type of lifestyle.

The Van

First you need a van and unless your parents are giving you one, you will need to buy one for yourself. A decent running van can cost you anywhere from $3000 to $6000 and these vans in this price range will most likely need work or at least a good cleaning. If you’re looking for a van that is a bit more upscale without all the handyman grease spots, you’re looking at spending over $6000 and up for a good looking van, inside and out.

Changes and Repairs

Depending on the condition of the van you purchase, your repairs could cost anywhere from a few dollars to thousands. If you happen upon a van that is road-ready and has had a recent driver who has taken well care of it, you could get off with something like a new battery, but if the van is an older model needing some TLC, you could spend up to $25,000 making repairs and remodeling.

Keeping it Legal

Remember, once you give up your home, your new home is now a vehicle and vehicles not only require maintenance but also a proper up-to-date registration and current insurance. In most areas these costs vary, but you are looking at an average yearly amount of at least $1500 and up. This cost is highly important because being insured and registered is what keeps you on the road and the cops off your back. You must also be legal and keep your driver’s license up-to-date, which ranges from about $30-50$ depending on the state.

The idea of van living is a fairytale to some and it can be a truly adventurous way of living if you’ve got, as they say, all your ducks in a row, meaning that you are organized and have all your paperwork and vehicle repairs in order.

Source: Price Check: How Much Does That Insta-Perfect #Vanlife Actually Cost

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Too Cool for School: 6 Very Cool Bus Homes

Unusual Dwellings September 13, 2017

If we’re not hearing about fabulous tiny homes, we are now hearing about homes made from school buses. We’ve seen the humble version and even those are amazing. It is difficult to think about turning a school bus into a home. But when we think we have seen it all, someone uses their imagination to come up with something we’ve never seen before.

Here are 6 very cool bus homes that were built from a spark of imagination and some interesting materials. These bus homes are luxurious, intriguing, and can be used as muses for those thinking about transforming a school bus into a home. You can do almost anything you can think of and make it gorgeous. Some look like buses still and that’s pretty cool, while others you may not believe were ever school buses at all. Either way, they are all fun to view and tour.

Here are 6 of the coolest school bus homes we’ve found on the internet today:

1. 

This schoobus home designer decided to make the kitchen the center of attention. It is truly a dreamy chef’s kitchen fully equipped for all your gourmet meals.

2. 

This home owner uses color to brighten up this schoolbus house. It is a bit retro in style and the mix-matched pillows really do the trick in the “living room” area.

3. 

The wood in this schoolbus house gives it that cabin flair and a very natural look for camping and traveling. The furniture and appliances are minimal which makes the wood stand out beautifully.

4. 

This schoolbus home’s owner has used the sides of the bus to line everything up in a row. This way the center of the bus is uncluttered and used as space for walking. This is a very modern minimalist look.

5. 

This schoolbus home is very traditionally decorated. It is almost like walking into your family’s living room space in the suburbs. With a beautifully luxurious and comfortable looking sofa, this schoolbus will make you feel right at home.

6. 

This home has a country flair to it. This owner transformed a schoolbus into a traditional home with wooden accents and all that comes with a home in a rural area. The kitchen is beautiful and well-equipped for those who love to entertain. It is basically a country home inside of a bus.

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Floating Homes in Canada and the U.S.

Unusual Dwellings August 1, 2017

Throughout Europe there are canals that have homes bordering the water or literally floating in the water. It’s a magical site to see and now you can find these floating home communities throughout the Western world as well. There are certain things you need to know before rushing off to buy a floating house, but once you figure out how to heat, cool, prepare for flooding and all those practical life issues, you too can live life on the water and have an instant view every time you look out the window. There is also the issue of pets. It wouldn’t be impossible to have a pet in a floating home but there would certainly need to be a set of regulations that one would need to think of and follow before doing so. But for now, let us forget all about the practical and focus on the beauty.

For those who who can see themselves living on the water, there are some great resources now that can help you get started. Many people have written blogs for those thinking about living this dream with all of its pros and cons, when just a decade ago, these blogs and other resource sites were a bit harder to find. Make sure that you do your research before selling your condo and buying your floating home and you shouldn’t have too many problems with this drastic life change. Most floating home communities are near independent food stores and quaint little markets where you can stop in and grab something for dinner or wine for when you are sitting out on your deck watching the moon glow in the water. It is certainly, no matter where you are, a dream lifestyle and here we bring to you in this list, the inspiration of some of the most beautiful floating homes and floating home communities.

Park Model Homes

Park Model Homes sells homes across the U.S. and are now also selling and renting floating homes that are used for vacation getaways, which is a great way to tell if this life is for you, but Park Model Homes is also selling floating homes to permanent residents. Here is an example of a Park Model Homes’ tiny homes on water. Park Model Homes are located throughout the country in just about every state in the U.S.

Seattle Historical Portage Bay Floating Home 

On Seattle’s historical Portage Bay there is a floating home that has the potential to also be a dream house. The home is a 2 bedroom, 3.75 baths home that is being sold for well under a million. You may think, hey that’s no bargain. Well, we said it was a dream home and to purchase a floating home or simply a home by the water in Seattle these days is very expensive. So when put into the right context, it is quite a bargain.

Norris Lake, Tennessee 

Norris Lake floating homes are sold quickly. It is a beautiful and scenic area of the state of Tennessee and highly sought after. You can also find great rentals at Norris Lake. As we stated above, a rental or vacation home is a wonderful way to get to know how life really works on the water.

Toronto Float Homes

Toronto, one of Canada’s most beautiful cities, also has one of its best kept secrets; floating homes. You can live a peaceful and quiet life because the sounds of the city are blocked by the bluffs. What a surreal experience to live this scenic lifestyle close enough to enjoy Toronto’s city life but far enough to live in a serene paradise.

Canoe Pass Village in Vancouver

Canoe Pass Village is one of Vancouver’s most popular floating home areas. The Veda Hanna real estate firm specializes in floating homes. They have different home plans so you can choose what type of floating home will suit your needs or be the easiest for you to maintain. There are many other realtors at vancouverfloatinghomes.com that can help you find just the right floating home situation. Canoe Pass Village is highly sought after as being one of the most convenient and organized floating home communities in that area.

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5 Bathroom Solutions for Yurts

Unusual Dwellings July 5, 2017

Now that living in yurts is becoming so popular, people considering yurt living, are beginning to think about more modern ways to to enjoy this lifestyle. If you’ve never heard of a yurt, it is a sophisticated, well constructed round tent-like structure that can be as large as you’d like it, but the whole point of yurt living is to downsize one’s life and live as much off-the-grid-as possible.

One thing on many peoples’ minds is the bathroom construction in a yurt. Many yurt dwellers use the bathroom as an outhouse and must leave the yurt every time nature calls. Not everyone can be happy living with an outhouse, though it is one reasonable solution when living in a yurt, though it’s not for everyone. For those who just cannot see themselves living as people did in the old days, we provide you with some inspiration as to how you can construct a bathroom inside your yurt.

1. The Simple Shower/Toilet

You can go simple by having a large closet sized space that holds a shower, sink, and toilet. It does not need to be elaborate. The toilet can be a compost toilet which is your most sensible option. The bathroom closet can be tucked away in a corner of the yurt, out of the way from the living space.

2. A Free Standing Bathtub

A nostalgic and beautiful look for a yurt bathroom could be a vintage bathtub hooked to a water source with a simple shower curtain or beautiful piece of fabric to match the yurt’s style, surrounding it for privacy. You can also have a free standing basin in this bathroom and pour water in it only when you need it.

3. Put Up a Wall

If you want a full bathroom in your yurt, meaning a tub with a shower and toilet, and sink. in the same area, a wall divider is a great idea to separate this area as if it were a different room from the rest of the open floor plan that yurts normally have.

4. Shower with Free Standing Sink

Another great and simple option is to install a shower and then transform a dresser or other similar piece of furniture into a free standing sink and counter top area. The setup provides a place to shave, do your hair and makeup and has the feel of a real apartment bathroom.

5. An Outside Bathroom with Hallway to the Home

If it comes down to it being the easiest way to get a bathroom designed for your yurt, is to have an outside space, you can always connect a hallway through the outdoors that leads to the bathroom. It could be as simple as a tent or as elaborate as you want a hallway to be. The most important thing is that you are comfortable and feel good about the life you are living in your unusual dwelling

Source: Google Images

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Live in Bus, Trailer, or Camper: How Do You Find Legal Parking?

Unusual Dwellings June 29, 2017

This is the era of unusual dwellings. People are choosing to give up the traditional house with a mortgage, 2 1/2 kids and white picket fence, to live the freestyle life. They can go where they want, visit places they never had time to see, make new friends on the road, and find out just what the simple life is like. But are there cons to this type of lifestyle? Of course, there are pros and cons to every lifestyle. One of the biggest cons of living in a mobile type home is that unless you have it parked on a friend’s piece of land or you’re paying for your own lot, you must find places where you can park your home-on -wheels safely, and legally.

Here are a few suggestions as to where you can park your home without feeling exposed or getting in trouble with the law.

In Nature

Believe it or not, but there are quite a few places you can park overnight safely and legally, many public parks are open to what they call, “boondocking”, which is sleeping and living in a moving vehicle. The National Forest Service is another organization that allows mobile dwellers to park, usually for free, overnight from days to weeks depending on the park.

In a Busy City Area

Another safe place to park where the cops or neighborhood watch won’t disturb you, is an all night busy parking lot where it is not unusual to see cars parked overnight. Your 24 hour grocery stores are one place or any place that is always open 24/7, you can usually park with privacy but this is not a long-lasting idea, eventually someone may catch on and notify the store. But for a couple nights before you move on to your next adventure, a store parking lot is free and normally safe.

Some Truck Stops

Depending on where you are, there are a few truck stops that will allow you to park there overnight with the truckers. Some are very welcoming to boondockers, others will keep a watchful eye on you and demand that you leave as soon as the sun comes up. Try to find someone that works there and let them know that you are simply looking to park and sleep overnight, so that they are not surprised when they see you as they do their security checks.

Highway Rest Areas 

Often while traveling, we see the highway rest areas. Most are nothing but a parking space for long distance truck drivers. They may not even come equipped with a restroom. It’s basically a place where you can park your vehicle safely and not look like a suspicious character, but instead like a traveler looking for a place to catch a few winks of sleep.

Free and Cheap RV Camping 

There are some RV camping grounds that are either free or really cheap that you can park in overnight or for up to a few nights. It’s always good to touch base with someone affiliated with the camp ground so they know that you are not a thief or troublemaker, you just want to have somewhere safe to sleep overnight. Websites like Free Camp Grounds can help you locate these places throughout the U.S. This website is one of the best resources for mobile dwellers, there is on the Internet.

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How to Stay Safe Being a Van Dweller

Unusual Dwellings June 29, 2017

There are so many people today choosing to live in their vans as a permanent life choice or semi-permanent. There is that feeling of freedom and adventure that goes along with such a choice but sometimes newbies forget to think about the practical side of the situation , especially if you are out there alone, day and night. How do you keep yourself safe and protected on the road and while you sleep at night? Also what about your belongings as you sight-see or take a one-day or two-day job and you’re away from your van for eight hours or more?

Here are a few suggestions on how to care for yourself and your property when living on the road:

Use Common Sense

What does this mean exactly? Don’t tell every stranger your story or where you may be parked overnight. It just isn’t safe. You don’t know what their intentions are in that moment. Also, don’t leave valuable items or any items really, in your windows where passersby can see them. Be discreet, particularly when parking in a neighborhood.

Never Park in the Same Spot Two Days in a Row

If you do this, you will be putting yourself in danger of someone watching and calling the police or parking authority about an abandoned vehicle. This could get you in a lot of trouble, financially as well. You may end up spending money that you need for necessities just to get your van out of lock up.

Be Discreet at Night

Overnight is a sensitive time when you may start to feel a little restricted. It isn’t safe to make a lot of noise with the television or music late at night, once again, particularly in a neighborhood environment. You take the chance of someone calling the police because of noise disturbance or they may even tell the police that you are living out of your van, which believe it or not, in many areas, is illegal. It is actually illegal to be “homeless”.  So at night, keep it quiet and rotate nighttime parking spaces.

Make Sure Your Locks are Secure

Especially at night, make sure that your van has working locks and that you use them. They may not keep a thief out always, but it is a great deterrent. Keep your windows covered so strangers can’t just see inside of your vehicle day or night. Try not to park in bad neighborhoods. If you are considering a neighborhood in which to park your van at night, casually look around and ask people you see about the neighborhood. You can say that you had plans on buying a home there and wanted to know what the area was like. Keep your questions simple.

Following the above suggestions will keep you from hearing that awful knock at your van door late at night that will most likely be some sort of neighborhood watch or even the police. They will, and can, find many citations to give you for parking and for van dwelling, so don’t take any chances, rotate your parking spaces if you’re going to be in an area for a while and use your common sense and your sixth sense to keep yourself safe. If you see the “nosey” neighbor poking around or asking you questions when you exit your van for the day, it would be best to choose another spot.


Source: The Vanual: Sleeping and Safety Photo: The Vanual

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10 Unusual Mobile Homes and Hideaways

Unusual Dwellings April 1, 2017

Whether you work for yourself or someone else, everyone needs a vacation getaway every once in a while. It’s also great if your home feels like a getaway within itself. People are getting more and more creative with mobile and tiny homes these days. Designers and homeowners are creating all kinds of shapes and themes. There are homes that look like faerie houses and ones that look like modern and industrial buildings, plus every style in between. Home owners are no longer just looking for a certain number of bedrooms and bathrooms, but they also want character in a home and a space that represents who they are, one that is personalized.

The mobile home is no longer like the ones we saw as children in rural areas. You can certainly still find those traditional mobile homes but there is so much creativity and innovation from which to choose, you can have just about any look you desire in a mobile home. Today, “mobile homes” simply mean that the home can be moved, it doesn’t always mean that it has the look of a trailer from yesteryear. A mobile home can be oval shaped, octagonal, rectangular, and any shape you can imagine. Many are made from shipping containers as well, but the options are really unlimited. If you allow your imagination to build your house, it can be just the dream mobile home you’re looking for, and within a moderate price range.

Below we have a gallery of unusual mobile homes and hideaways to inspire your perfect hideaway:

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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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Futuristic World Culture Center Springs Up in the Desert

Unusual Dwellings December 8, 2016

Futuristic World Culture Center Springs Up in the Desert

A new building is nearing completion in the desert of Saudi Arabia. It’s the Center for World Culture, a project to promote cultural development within the country. It’s a Saudi Aramco Oil initiative for King Abdulaziz.

The building is designed by Snohetta, and it’s located in Dhahran, in the eastern province. It has an auditorium, cinema, library, exhibition hall, museum and archive. It’ll seat 930 visitors who come to the World Culture Center for opera, symphony concerts, musicals, and speeches.

Gallery:

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Transforming Tiny House Built for Under $22,000

Unusual Dwellings November 11, 2016

Transforming Tiny House Built for Under $22,000Transforming Tiny House Built for Under $22,000Transforming Tiny House Built for Under $22,000Transforming Tiny House Built for Under $22,000Transforming Tiny House Built for Under $22,000

An expanding house? Yes, and it a tiny house as well. This unique garden house set on runners can slide to larger or smaller sizes, and it was built by a fellow for his mother.

It had to meet his mother’s requirements, though: It had to serve as a place to write, to throw large diner parties (for 25-30 people), and serve well for camping and guests who want to stay a night or so.

When collapsed, the tiny house is 20-by-13 feet (6-by-4 meter) structure. The maximum expansion of this house is almost 39 feet (12 meters) in length, so the max total interior space is 484-square-feet (45 square meters). However, each time you expand this house or shrink it, you’re going to have to get up and exercise.

this transforming retreat house built on a budget of 20,000 Euros (just under $22,000 USD). Schols built this house in 4 months, doing a lot of the component work himself.

According to the designer, Dutchman Caspar Sclols:

“Garden House Project. This is a dynamic garden house which I built at my parental house. The house can be easily adjusted to any weather type, mood or occasion. It is mainly built in Douglas wood, fully insulated and heated by a traditional Norwegian wood stove. The wooden floor contains rollaway beds.”

For more tiny home builders, find them in our directory.

Transforming Tiny House Built for Under $22,000

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