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  1. #21
    Emperor/Dictator kyuuei's Avatar
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    So in keeping my mind open to different concepts and ideas, I've come across another thing that seems really awesome.

    http://www.yurts.com/gallery/photo-gallery.aspx

    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.

    3. Yurt



    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.
    Kantgirl: Just say "I'm feminine and I'll punch anyone who says otherwise!"
    Halla74: Think your way through the world. Feel your way through life.

    Cimarron: maybe Prpl will be your girl-bud
    prplchknz: i don't like it

    In Search Of... ... Kiwi Sketch Art ... Dream Journal ... Kyuuei's Cook book ... Kyu's Tiny House Blog ... Minimalist Challenge ... Kyu's Savings Challenge

  2. #22
    Emperor/Dictator kyuuei's Avatar
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    So. The whole point of this tiny house movement is to conserve, save money, be free..er.. and be closer to nature.

    I think maybe it'd be a cool thing to look into the potential of having a solar panel system to be able to generate electricity.. I think there's a way of working with an electric company to where you can even sell back the surplus of electricity if you have it, so there's a potential for the system to come into handy despite the expensive set-up. Texas tends to stay pretty sunny, so I'd only really need to use electricity in the more smoggy winters which only last a couple months. With the drought not really letting up, I see a big use for this currently. It's something for me to think about anyways.

    I'm definitely going to put in a small greenhouse. I haven't even started looking at designs for that yet, but it will be awesome nevertheless.

    Gardening is something we've become better at over the past couple of years. Composting is something we're going to look into as well. My father did really well with his garden this year, we got a lot of food out of it! I'm looking forward to helping him out a lot more this time and learning how to get it all done, and perfect some recipes.

    Water. The Yurts mentioned a cistern system that could be installed... which got me thinking that harvesting rain water would be a really awesome idea too. Again, a bit pricey to set up initially, but afterwards the place could really almost run itself.

    Toilets seem like a big deal to green people... Everything from composting to incinerating sounds just messy and awful to me.
    http://www.igreenbuild.com/siteSpeci...?vendorID=2371

    This place says it turns poo into powder and vacuums it and doesnt need lots of water. I had no idea toilets were so important to green people.. I just can't understand why a toilet would ever cost $500

    I'm getting my heads in the clouds with all this stuff, but it is really interesting.. The ability to sustain one's self. The prospect of potentially having a home run itself--electricity and water being readily available. It is really cool.

    It's a no-brainer that I'm going with an electric tankless water heater. Im going to have a nightmare of a time shopping for those, I can already tell.

    Air conditioning and heating will be available with something like this: http://www.compactappliance.com/Edge...efault,pd.html

    ... So far so good.
    Kantgirl: Just say "I'm feminine and I'll punch anyone who says otherwise!"
    Halla74: Think your way through the world. Feel your way through life.

    Cimarron: maybe Prpl will be your girl-bud
    prplchknz: i don't like it

    In Search Of... ... Kiwi Sketch Art ... Dream Journal ... Kyuuei's Cook book ... Kyu's Tiny House Blog ... Minimalist Challenge ... Kyu's Savings Challenge

  3. #23
    Emperor/Dictator kyuuei's Avatar
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    You know, I used to really dream about really big homes. "No way Kyu! Go on!" you say with gusto. But its true!

    I've always dreamed about living in a biiig big house, with lots of space.. I think mainly because I've always lived in such a small world. Most of my life has been contained in this 10x8 room, and the same room at that, for the past 15+ years. Outside of that world has been hotels, a small apartment of 550 sq. ft, and barracks where everything I own and love is stuffed in a foot locker and a couple of bags.

    Within the past year, I've had to really reconsider what I want in my life. Every year, I write out a list of what I want to do with my life. What I think is important. I don't look at the last one, or try to compare what I wrote down to how I did.. it is just something that keeps me on target. Meditating on this subject this year has been a real focus of mine all year. With the winter closing in, I was watching a random video on TED of all things and everything in my head really clicked.

    The things I desire out of a place I call home:
    - For it to be mine. Possession of space is the ultimate goal of mine.
    - For it to be American. I know that sounds a bit Southern of me, but I am a patriot at heart.. rediscovering what a patriot means to me has been an interesting journey this year. For my home to reflect that patriotism is something I desire.
    - To feel like I earned it. No problems there though..
    - For it to be carefree. I don't want to worry.. I can't enjoy my space if I'm concerned about it. constantly maintaining this, or that, and constantly having things fall to pieces is the last thing I want. I need something sturdy, and lovely, and just as independent as I am.

    The second point in particular is, I think, why this tiny house movement has turned me on so much in such a short amount of time.
    I think about the populace exploding.. taxes and finances being out of sorts constantly. The inability for too many hard working Americans to retire. How Americans used to do their part, and used to work outside of their job for the sake of it. I think about the American dream: Owning the land you live on I think is the foundation of that dream. Or how 40% of the American groceries came from Victory Gardens back when that movement came about.

    I'm not sure how it's all coming together yet in my head.. but I do know that gardening and harvesting that garden this year brought something out of me I never knew I had. Searching for a way to make a small space a large home has been an excitement I can't seem to ignore any day of the week. The prospect of owning land and doing what I want with it... well... It has given me the thought that I would never have to struggle again.

    I could be free to build an empire.
    Kantgirl: Just say "I'm feminine and I'll punch anyone who says otherwise!"
    Halla74: Think your way through the world. Feel your way through life.

    Cimarron: maybe Prpl will be your girl-bud
    prplchknz: i don't like it

    In Search Of... ... Kiwi Sketch Art ... Dream Journal ... Kyuuei's Cook book ... Kyu's Tiny House Blog ... Minimalist Challenge ... Kyu's Savings Challenge

  4. #24
    Emperor/Dictator kyuuei's Avatar
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    An interesting article.

    http://feelgoodstyle.com/2010/01/27/...ial/#more-3463

    Also, apparently these yurts come in wooden constructions as well. And the prices don't seem outrageously different either way.. Hm..

    http://www.smilingwoodsyurts.com/gallery/

    Issues with a fabric yurt I'd need to investigate:
    - Mold and mildew
    - Sun degradation of the fabric
    - rainy and humid weather
    Kantgirl: Just say "I'm feminine and I'll punch anyone who says otherwise!"
    Halla74: Think your way through the world. Feel your way through life.

    Cimarron: maybe Prpl will be your girl-bud
    prplchknz: i don't like it

    In Search Of... ... Kiwi Sketch Art ... Dream Journal ... Kyuuei's Cook book ... Kyu's Tiny House Blog ... Minimalist Challenge ... Kyu's Savings Challenge

  5. #25
    Emperor/Dictator kyuuei's Avatar
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    Keeping my mind open to alternative ways of construction.

    For around $10,000 according to this site, I can have a straw bale home of just under 200 sq. ft. Very small.. But cost effective no doubt. If I did something like that..



    http://learnstrawbale.com/products/sunset-cottage-plans

    Pros: Cost, for sure. And it is a lot more customizable for the cost. Also, the construction seems much simpler and easier to understand than that of conventional building. Plans for the homes are only $150-200 and come with various instructional DVDs. The homes are well insulated, and can last for a VERY long time if maintained properly. Flammability is not a problem apparently either. $10,000 for something that seems much easier to build for someone that isn't skilled with carpentry is awesome.

    Cons: Still not as fast or easy to construct as a yurt or a pre-assembled kit like the sporting cabin. Much smaller square footage, although I suspect we can change that easily, on the plans. Also, straw bales are not good with humidity... since Houston has a lot of that, it may not be a safe option.
    Kantgirl: Just say "I'm feminine and I'll punch anyone who says otherwise!"
    Halla74: Think your way through the world. Feel your way through life.

    Cimarron: maybe Prpl will be your girl-bud
    prplchknz: i don't like it

    In Search Of... ... Kiwi Sketch Art ... Dream Journal ... Kyuuei's Cook book ... Kyu's Tiny House Blog ... Minimalist Challenge ... Kyu's Savings Challenge

  6. #26
    Senior Member Bamboo's Avatar
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    this is pretty cool.

    mother earth news has a bunch of these projects. they have an environmental stint but also a very independent minded one.

    many old articles, use the search function.

    example:

    http://www.motherearthnews.com/Natur...-100-Each.aspx

    you'll note the lack of a slick website but info is info.


    also


    This lady is a badass. If nothing else, this is good inspiration.


    http://www.backwoodshome.com/articles2/ainsworth86.html

    http://www.backwoodshome.com/author_...tml#dainsworth

    again not a slick website but good info to be found.
    Don't know how much it'll bend til it breaks.

  7. #27
    Senior Member Bamboo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kyuuei View Post
    Just a thought.. One of the house plans I linked in the OP is nearly identical to what I want, minus the fact it contains no loft and has too many walls. The idea is to keep the whole house open minus the bathroom area, so that I can streamline air circulation.. an idea might be to just purchase those plans and have them professionally tweeked to fit my desires.
    be wary, those might be structural walls.



    also, regarding foundations:
    pouring a concrete pad isn't that bad especially with easy access via cement truck. look into pricing.

    you might need heavy equipment out there to dig out a septic tank.


    if you go with a post/pier construction you'll have to set the posts to a certain depth to avoid frost heaves. all sorts of local regulations on this.



    also, you should join the tractorbynet forums. if for no other reason, tractorbynet is great to read and should be the place i spend my time instead of here. but you'll also find a lot of knowledgeable people who have built barns, garages, houses, dams, and more

    http://www.tractorbynet.com/forums/p...arn-cabin.html

    http://www.tractorbynet.com/forums/r...struction.html

    http://www.tractorbynet.com/forums/p...ed-advice.html
    Don't know how much it'll bend til it breaks.

  8. #28
    Emperor/Dictator kyuuei's Avatar
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    The question was raised yesterday, "If you know what kind of house you want to build, why don't you just take a loan out for that, build it, and live in that?"

    It's a great question, and one that I am happy to answer. There are two motivations behind this.
    1. Mortgages are debt traps.
    2. Mortgages are life traps.

    Obviously, everything is so deeply rooted in this that it is nearly impossible to live freely and own everything within such a short span of time as I've had. My plan is to buy land... Land we do not currently own. That's a substantial bill and of itself--between property taxes (which are considerably higher in Texas than most states), and the debt payments on that, even an absurdly low interest rate would yield us a high payment. This would not be affordable on my own, but coupled with my father (and my sister and her husband are going to pay us as well, shaving off some of the payments on each of our parts) this will be the price of a mortgage in and of itself.. Completely worth it for owning the plot we live on, especially if we get an ideal location for us. Every financial website I've ever looked at has had step-by-step programs that include paying off mortgages as quickly as possible. While I'd easily be able to afford that payment and more, trying to put a house payment on top of all of that would just be suicide.

    Also, I'd lack freedom. I'd own the place, and live in it, sure... but I'd not be free to travel. I'd be in so much debt that I'd need a job that REALLY counted. Currently, I'd be able to afford all of my bills on my GI bill alone doing things this way. I'd only need a part time job to cover the months I'm not in school and for some recreational things. If I wanted to, say, take a job in another city for a while... I'd be free to do that because not only am I not grounded to the house I'm so in debt over.. but I'd only have the land to pay on while I'm gone in that city. I'd feel like I couldn't leave.. Whereas, saving money for portions of the house and waiting until I have the money to buy it out-right means that I'm always free... Even when I do own the house.

    It's important to remember WHY I'm doing this. I'm not doing this just for a place to stay. My family is going to be safe.. and their families would potentially have a place to call home. I have security for my parents. I have security for myself. Owning an abnormal, dream house is something I've dreamt about since I was a kid. I don't want to do anything to end up resenting my dreams just because I'm in a rush to make them happen.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bamboo View Post
    this is pretty cool.

    mother earth news has a bunch of these projects. they have an environmental stint but also a very independent minded one.

    many old articles, use the search function.

    example:

    http://www.motherearthnews.com/Natur...-100-Each.aspx

    you'll note the lack of a slick website but info is info.


    also


    This lady is a badass. If nothing else, this is good inspiration.


    http://www.backwoodshome.com/articles2/ainsworth86.html

    http://www.backwoodshome.com/author_...tml#dainsworth

    again not a slick website but good info to be found.
    This website rocks! I've already spent most of the morning on it, and I read both of those articles.. that woman is a beast. I wanted to cry with her when I saw the picture of the house on fire. I'm checking out TBN tonight for sure.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bamboo View Post
    be wary, those might be structural walls.
    I figured as much. :c I'm really.. really enjoying the idea of an open space the more I think about it. Everything melding into one large, accessible room, with the only blocked off areas being the bathroom and the storage area.

    also, regarding foundations:
    pouring a concrete pad isn't that bad especially with easy access via cement truck. look into pricing.
    Looking at pricing.. it won't cost me any more or less than any other foundation, I think, with as small of a space as I intend on building. I think what keeps tripping me up about it is that concrete just isn't very appealing.. With something like this:



    I can have a deck, an outdoor lounge area for more square footage, a bridge between nature and my home, and a foundation all in the same thing, whereas just having this:



    I get... a foundation. To me it seemed like if I were going to spend the money either way, I'd rather have something multi-purpose..

    you might need heavy equipment out there to dig out a septic tank.
    This one is almost guaranteed. I don't see ourselves finding land that is already set up, though it would be nice if we did. We're going to do a lot of previewing.. It'd be really awesome if we could find a plot that had some small town hook-ups, but I don't think that's going to happen.
    Kantgirl: Just say "I'm feminine and I'll punch anyone who says otherwise!"
    Halla74: Think your way through the world. Feel your way through life.

    Cimarron: maybe Prpl will be your girl-bud
    prplchknz: i don't like it

    In Search Of... ... Kiwi Sketch Art ... Dream Journal ... Kyuuei's Cook book ... Kyu's Tiny House Blog ... Minimalist Challenge ... Kyu's Savings Challenge

  9. #29
    Emperor/Dictator kyuuei's Avatar
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    Accidentally stumbled upon these while looking at decks. Are these not badass?!

    http://www.pacificdomes.com/eco_livi...zes_specs.html
    Kantgirl: Just say "I'm feminine and I'll punch anyone who says otherwise!"
    Halla74: Think your way through the world. Feel your way through life.

    Cimarron: maybe Prpl will be your girl-bud
    prplchknz: i don't like it

    In Search Of... ... Kiwi Sketch Art ... Dream Journal ... Kyuuei's Cook book ... Kyu's Tiny House Blog ... Minimalist Challenge ... Kyu's Savings Challenge

  10. #30
    Senior Member Bamboo's Avatar
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    also, re: digging out holes for foundations and posts:

    you can

    - rent equipment and dig yourself
    - get pros with equipment
    - use manual labor.

    Depending on the application a backhoe is the easiest way to dig a hole - but hiring a team of day-laborers to dig it out with shovels might be cheaper.
    Don't know how much it'll bend til it breaks.

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