So in keeping my mind open to different concepts and ideas, I've come across another thing that seems really awesome.
So, basically, it's a really fancy tent. But there seems to be a LOT of good reviews, and a 30' tent would give me... roughly 700 sq. ft. That's an enormous square footage for the price of the basic set up of it all, and since I don't need near that amount of square footage I can afford a few more bells and whistles in its stead. Apparently people have engineered all kinds of ways to make this a completely full-time inhabitable home, and if it'll handle snow and snow storms I'm sure it can handle what Texas dishes out.
Whatever I go with will have the components of the picture Katsu drew for me. All of them need to be there for this to work.
So, my options so far:
1. Build a custom house myself.
Pros: I get exactly what I want, and I may be able to save a lot of money doing things that way.
Cons: Time. Lots and lots of time will be spent, since I'm new to all of this. It could be a couple months building something. The potential to mess up is there for sure. I may end up not being able to save any money at all with those disadvantages. It may end up being a total waste of my time and money, and cost is the most important factor. I do have the option to buy house plans from a company and use them since many companies have something similar to what I want, the cost estimates seem much higher than I think they ought to be for building the home itself.
2. Modular home
Pros: Simple, relatively cheap, and comes all assembled and ready to go. Everything is included in the price - Moving, appliances, settling it in, all of the cabinetry, etc. It is simple, and done. Also, it would last a long time. It's always an option. Its the quickest option. Probably the most cost effective of all the options as well per square foot.
Cons: I don't really get anything out of it. It's not exciting, or new, or different. It's a manufactured piece, so while there some customization of it.. it really doesn't do anything for the NF in me. I know that sounds lame, but its going to be my first home and I'd like to have something a bit more. The more I look at the potential to be closer to nature, the more I like it. This pretty much alienates me from that concept. Anything with quality wouldn't be in my price range, so I wouldn't be able to buy it out of pocket. Anything within my price range would just be junky, and pale and devoid of anything. I want some color to the house's cheeks. While this is a great option for my parents and my sister, I feel like this tiny house movement is something I really want to participate in.
Pros: It is really easy to set up. It's still cost effective. And there's different companies to choose from, so there's competition for pricing and options. I can customize the price, which is good, and it seems like a really neat transitional house. Also there's options like cistern systems where it'll collect rain water for use and things like that. It's the cheapest per square foot that I've seen, and the foundation is simple decking with skirting. They also have great reviews from all sorts of resorts and consumers. There are some awesome options and ideas for lofts and things of that nature, and I'd definitely have a skylight. It's something completely different and new, and thus exciting. I can already see myself painting the walls and the roof itself.
Cons: It's a tent like structure. so I'd have to spend some money making it more home-like and less a camping trip for 5 years. Also, all the bells and whistles to make it more home like put it over the mark in comparison to the sporting cabin.. so I'd have to be a bit cautious with how I built the interior budget wise. It could get really junky looking really quickly as well if I'm not careful with how I plan it all out. Also, I'd have to really rethink the way I build things--everything is circular in this.. so I'd have to find a way to make it all more cohesive. I'm also not sure how my wardrobe idea would work in this sort of situation, nor how I would hide any storage. I'd have to get really creative if I went with this.
4. Sporting Cabin
Pros: All of the materials, like the yurt, are there for me. The cost is effective and reasonable, and within my budget. It is the original thing that I saw that made me believe that I could really do this.
Cons: 320 sq. ft is the very bottom end of what I wanted (350-450 sq. ft based on my budget). I'd have to build a foundation of some sort, which will substantially raise the price of the small home although it would still be quite afforable, and the interior is also very empty so I'd have to build the walls and everything in here as well. The cost does not include shipping of the materials, which combined with the foundation could put it at the same price as the yurt with a lot less space to offer for my money. While I like the look of wood, I think that the log cabin also has the risk of looking junky very quickly.. Nothing really matches wood except more wood. It also lacks a very creative look.
Estimated prices based on websites:
Option 1: 261 sq. ft. -- $23,000 for building materials and plans, if I don't hire anyone to work for me and I get everything right the first time. I'd still need to add appliances and finishing touches to that price.
Option 2: The sleek, modern model is 528 sq. ft with the loft. That price is well into the $100s, so it's well made but not an option. The cheap mobile home is 600 sq. ft. -- It's probably a good solid $23,000 as well for twice the square footage of option one.
Option 3: A 27' Yurt is just under 600 sq. ft. on a rough estimate. $18,000 for the building itself and upgrades to the structure including insulation, real windows, etc. This does not include the foundation (the decking/platform which would also serve as outdoor seating/a patio) nor any interior work or appliances.
Option 4: The sporting cabin is 320 sq. ft. -- $13,000 for the bare minimum parts of the exterior of the house. No foundation, interior, delivery costs, or anything like that is included.
This is the challenge of this blog. To find out how to turn this tiny house movement into something people REALLY can afford. I sort of have my heart set on building something... especially something unique and new. I suppose I could spend months camping out, scrouching around for leftover wood and things like that, throwing something together.... but for this movement to do anything and go anywhere, it needs to be afforable and faster than that so that people like me can enjoy it. What is the use of saving $10k if I can't live in my home for a whole year doing it? I think some people could live in 89 sq. ft. .. but I don't think I want to do that. I want a happy medium--something between the ugly, cheap, manufactured thing with lots of space and almost temptingly readily available... and the sleek, modern, close to nature low-impact dwellings that seem to be just out of reach.
If I have to spend more than $30k on a dwelling, than it really isn't cost effective for me. So far, all of the options still are under that budget... but I do need to factor in that I'll be needing to purchase furniture, lighting, and the small touches that make the home a home. I also need to factor in that I may need money for many other things once I return home. I won't have a job once I get back, I need to keep that in mind too.
So far, manufactured home is the most cost effective option.
Secondly on the list, a smaller Yurt that has no upgrades... which doesn't really make it worth the unique flare it offers.