SMALL homes (Modular,kit,other) ???

Discussion in 'Shiny Things' started by boardrider247, May 28, 2016.

  1. boardrider247

    boardrider247 Weekend Anarchist

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    Tiny houses are cool and trendy but not very sustainable for long term living in my opinion.
    That being said let's keep tiny houses out of this discussion and focus instead on small houses. Let's say 400-800 sqft.

    Personally I am most interested in something with modern styling, factory built and moved to site or panel assembled on site. If all goes as planned my wife and I will be moving next spring and we are looking seriously at what our options are right now.

    What have you found and liked?

    http://www.weehouse.com/
    #1
  2. Heyload

    Heyload Bent but not broken

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    Take a look at Deltec homes. They are pretty neat and offer some pretty good advantages.

    Here's a link: Deltec
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  3. Manuel Garcia O'Kely

    Manuel Garcia O'Kely Back at last

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    Ain't that the textbook definition of a "Park Home"?

    JOOC, if you are spending money on a nice site, if it has views, consider custom anyway to take advantage of the land.
    #3
  4. CodeMonkee

    CodeMonkee Geek Adventurer

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    Sometimes people want to initially have something small and quick for a property.

    For example. I currently live on forested acreage on a mountain about 30 miles outside of Portland. I live in a manufactured home (custom triple wide on a concrete pad) and I have a shop.

    I am going to retire in about 5 years. I want to move further out, to have more "room" and have flatter acreage. I want to buy bare land (if it has a well then great). I eventually would like to build a custom ICF house there. But initially I want a shop with living quarters - because I want a shop anyway. By building the shop with a small studio apartment, I can afford to buy the land before I retire, build the shop, and move there first before building the custom house. Then when I sell my current residence, I can use the equity to pay off the other land, and to build the custom house. The studio apartment in the shop would be for visitors.

    Or I may just decide to not build a house at all - my plan is to do some traveling when I retire, especially during winters here - go somewhere nice, warm and sunny, like New Zealand and/or Tahiti, when their summer is my winter. With a small living quarters and shop, I have less maintenance and expense for a residence that I will only live in 6 months out of the year.

    I've also thought of having a park model type home there, near the shop.
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  5. boardrider247

    boardrider247 Weekend Anarchist

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    In my specific situation I have the land and the county has regulations stating a trailer home must be over 550 sqft. Or basically a double wide. Most park models I have found are smaller then 550. And to be totally honest a trailer no matter what you call it is still a trailer and does not have anywhere near the value long term of a home built on a foundation.

    Personally while I would consider modular I would not consider any type of home with a steel trailer frame. But that is just me. And custom is a option not ruling that out.
    #5
  6. CodeMonkee

    CodeMonkee Geek Adventurer

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    My triple wide is on a steel frame. Most "manufactured" homes are. The frame is actually a plus IMO (I have worked in several factories that make these, working on the assembly line), it is the rest of the home that is often of less robust construction - often using small dimensional lumber in the roof than a modular home or "stick built" home.

    The park models have to be below a certain size to qualify as a park model - they are considered to be an RV and thereby can skirt around some regulations and zoning laws.

    Some of the modulars are built to be put on a conventional foundation, others are a "hybrid" on a steel frame, but sometimes a step up from "manufactured" homes - depending on who makes them.

    My house - a triple wide - doesn't necessarily look like a manufactured home from the outside or inside:

    [​IMG]

    Although nobody is surprised that it is manufactured.

    The main place they skimped is on the roof. The walls and everything else (except the siding) are pretty good and way past the quality of what manufacturers output when I was young and working in those factories - I've seen modern stick built houses and apartments that had less quality than my house.

    That said, a good modular home will be even better. I have a friend who is an Airhead who bought a modular and it is very nice.
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  7. Heyload

    Heyload Bent but not broken

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    I would like my next home to be small...like one bedroom, bath, kitchen, living area small. I want it to be compact and efficient, yet not "tiny". I'm also looking at alternative construction materials that are robust and very low maintenance that can weather just about any....well, weather.

    Concrete monolithic domes are currently my leading contender. I have also considered the "Super_Adobe" structures of Nader Khalili's design. Earth sheltered or even underground home are of great interest to me. I'd ultimately like to be off the grid completely as far as utilities and such, or at the very least reduce my dependence on them.

    But then I plan on remaining single for the remainder of my days and I don't need a "family dwelling", so my considerations are quite a bit different than those of most.
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  8. boardrider247

    boardrider247 Weekend Anarchist

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    One reason I'm looking at modular or kit homes is the current state of the construction industry in my area. It's booming, so all of the contractors are very busy at the moment. I am afraid I will have a hard time finding a contractor willing to take on my small less profitable project without charging a premium.

    I don't know it it exists but my ideal building would be a sip constructed modular built to be set on a slab with a open modern floor plan of about 6-700 sqft.

    Another option we are considering is a large garage or pole building then finishing a portion off into living space ourselves. This is actually the most likely option. But I still like discussing the new modular homes
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  9. CodeMonkee

    CodeMonkee Geek Adventurer

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    The last option is probably going to be my first as I will want a shop anyway and that way I can live on premises until and during such time I decide to build a conventional home. It is just me, myself and I, so a small living space is all I really need, with enough room to store my toys and supplies somewhere out of the elements in an secure area that won't freeze. The shop would be more insulated than what I have now (only the walls are insulated, not the roof), and heated to a degree with radiant floor heating, and an area heater and a wood stove for backup, for when I work in the shop area.

    I am thinking the back side of the shop building would be a simple ICF wall and the sides would be up to about 10' feet, with earthen berms and then posts above that to the roof. The front would be an ICF wall about 10' also with a stone facade, a man door and vehicle doors. The living quarters would be in a back corner above a room below it, which would be reinforced concrete on all six sides with a vault door for secure storage while I am away on trips.

    Overall, a fairly simple design - not as simple as a pole building, but with the exception of the the one interior area, fairly simple and straight-forward. It would still be a good workshop even if/when I build a more conventional home.
    #9
  10. Paddy O'Furniture

    Paddy O'Furniture Out all night ...

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    [​IMG]

    I'm all over this topic and would go with building on-site to position your windows according to what is outside.

    I'm not big on utilities out here so take into consideration if you want to go totally off grid or some type of partial off grid set up.

    We're currently living in a 5th wheel due to a water heater malfunction. So we're in pretty small quarters right now. We went from a pretty big house to the dry cabin adobe above and now into this coach. Downsizing is fun once you get started and get past the "hard stuff".

    If I could do this over I'd build a sea container house, buried in the north side of a hill here in the desert and create a garden on the roof and fashion it a little more like a Hobbit hole.

    Mrs. O'Furniture is really quick with the off grid living and is right on the daily chores of keeping the water tower topped off, battery levels observed and she can read the Outback power controller to tell if the panels are functioning at peak.

    We have goats, chickens and a really awesome dog who runs the rabbits and coyotes off the property.

    Whatever housing choice you make ... you can change it if you want. But, you cannot get your life back. Jump ship ... start living, start smiling.
    #10
  11. mwlehman

    mwlehman Been here awhile

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    the house we live in now is barely over 1000 and we do not use 1/2 of it..busy doing things outside
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  12. villageidiot

    villageidiot Long timer

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    Not the same, but getting ready to move into our new place. I was hoping to stay under 700 sq/ft but ended up in a 704 sq/ft place

    It's a townhouse, but it's got a big 2 car garage.

    I envy you guys being able to build on acreage. There isn't any acreage near where I reside. But it's close to work for me and the wife.
    #12
  13. Tinfish

    Tinfish Long timer

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    Dwell has had a number of articles about prefab houses, and at least one issue dedicated to prefab modern designs in the last year or so. They mostly aren't cheap alternatives (it is Dwell, after all) but a few of them looked very nice and livable, a great way to get a modern house in place quickly and with some advantages over site-built.

    Our current place is around 1200 sq ft, which is smaller than the average in the US but still larger than the small places being looked at here. We have also lived in some very small apartments in the past. For me the sweet spot would be right around 800 square feet, but with separate quarters for guests -- a small place is great for two people, but not when you have family staying. I suspect in our case it would actually pencil out better to have a smaller place and simply pay for guests to stay at a nearby hotel, honestly.
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  14. boardrider247

    boardrider247 Weekend Anarchist

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    Currently it's just my wife and I living in 2400sqft. Which sounds totally ridiculous when I say it out loud. But we bought this house before the market took a shit and it was always meant to be temporary. So now that things have turned around a bit it is time to get out and go smaller.
    #14
  15. Manuel Garcia O'Kely

    Manuel Garcia O'Kely Back at last

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    We are right about 800 in the house, which is badly designed without any real privacy - there is the sleeping loft then two ajoining rooms and a bath. What makes it work for us is that I have a rehabbed Sauna building that serves as my "office" and/or Radio Shack - where my office and most of my toys live - this keeps a HUGE mess out of the house and lets us each have space, albeit hers is not very private.

    We also have a tool shed - part of our bad design is a lack of closet space so we keep alternate season wardrobes in tote bins in our tool shed, along with tools and such. Most people would use a garage - which we don't have at our smaller house.

    Of course it's just me and the wife - guests are not very comfortable in our front room, although the converta bed is supposed to be tolerably comfortable. We usually borrow guest quarters from my Mom, whose ranch is three miles away.

    If we were starting from scratch, the entire place would be different but we bought an existing shack and made the most of it.

    I like how much less it takes to clean, furnish and maintain a smaller house.

    Edited to add: I've bought a few issues of Dwell - it's just as precious as Architectural Digest and a lot more smug. But still, I like some of their stories
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  16. tennmoto

    tennmoto Been here awhile

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    You might want to look at ICF homes, stack me brace, and rebar me, will be quiet, energy efficient and can stand up,to a tornado, we used them to build foundations for large log homes near the smokies here and the guy we
    Built for built his home this way.
    #16
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  17. Fleece Johnson

    Fleece Johnson Husky Adventurer

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  18. MrBob

    MrBob Curiouser and curiouser

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    Because I don't have a lot of money and don't want a mortgage, this is the type of home I've been shopping for.

    [​IMG]
    #18
  19. RustyStuff

    RustyStuff Long timer

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    I like it, How is it for staying cool in the summer if you're off grid?
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  20. villageidiot

    villageidiot Long timer

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    Then all ya need is a spot to dig a hole and sink it into. Be killer in case of a flood.

    The wife and I looked at houseboats, "tiny houses" (didn't want one on a trailer), small bungalows, places we could build a small house on, and well, it just doesn't exist in our area. Yes, we could move, but we're kinda locked into where we're at for a while career wise. (More so her than I, I'm a mechanic, have tools, will travel. but she's an accountant for the county, and don't wanna give up that gig)

    I definitely look forward to getting outta the rat race in Southern California, but I think it'll take 15-20 years before we can, and do it comfortably.
    #20