Cars have carports, why can’t a house have a house port? Designer Hally Thacher was looking to build an eco-friendly home and was inspired by the structures that sheltered hay, alfalfa and farm equipment in the area of northern California where she had grown up. Her House Port and PopUP House designs make for a very interesting concept in home building.
The PopUP House is available in several configurations which are prefabricated and shipped flat-packed to the building site. The PopUP House consists of interior/exterior insulated panels. Over the top of the PopUP is the prefabbed House Port (the large freestanding roof) that protects the home against weather, keeps a consistent temperature throughout the hot summer and offers a covered outdoor area. Several smaller versions of the PopUP, called Cubes, can even be purchased and placed like a small village under the House Port. Continue Reading »
Take a look at that window. That glorious window was the catalyst for the design of Laurie Halse Anderson’s cottage in the forest. Laurie is the author of several young adult books and historical thrillers and she writes in a small cottage in the forest. She expressed her need for a “room of her own in which to write fiction”, and her video from 2009 recounts the conception and building of her writing cottage. It was built over the course of a year by her carpenter husband and several of his friends. Laurie and her family wanted it to be off-grid, made with reclaimed materials and easy on the environment.
That amazing window (which Laurie called “a magic window”) was found lying up against a barn and turned out to be a church window from the 1800s. Custom glass was made for each round section of the window. She and her husband also perused the salvage yard and found old growth pine boards to use for the floor and chimney pots for the roof. Soybean based foam insulation was sprayed into the walls and the roof is Vermont slate. The house is powered by wind and solar. Continue Reading »
After suffering from several bouts of pneumonia and losing some of her distance vision, Jessica Bolt knew that she would not be able to afford rent or an average home on her teacher’s salary. So, she had a tiny house from Tiny Green Cabins made according to her specifications. Jessica knew that she wanted a tiny home built by a company from the northern part of the U.S. where winter temperatures can drop to 40 degrees below zero, and she wanted it on wheels so she could move it wherever she wanted.
Jessica’s plan for her tiny house came to her about five years ago when she decided she wanted a small, energy-saving home that would also be kind to her allergic reactions to environmental toxins. She also wanted it to be able to fit a washer and dryer since the nearest laundry was 100 miles away. Her house is 196 square feet with a staircase to the loft, a full-size kitchen and shower, an incinerating toilet and skylights. The interior is covered in 3-inch-wide white ash boards. Continue Reading »
Drawing on ideas from his sculpture practice, Craig Pleasants designed an octagonal, eco-friendly kit house as a low-budget housing alternative. For example if a person took out a 10 year loan to pay for a $25,000 mortgage the monthly payment would be less than $300 – most rentals are much higher! And wouldn’t it be satisfying to own a home.]
Based on a house he built from conventional materials in 1979, the new “Octagonal Living Unit” is constructed from pre-cut, recyclable panels of steel and expanded polystyrene. It takes only a matter of days to assemble. With a price tag of less than $25,000 and a footprint under 400 square feet, it could easily function as an artist’s studio, a guest house, a living space for a small family, or (as the need arises) disaster housing. The material, extremely resistant to seismic activity and high winds, is strong and safe, yet the design aesthetic is sculptural and appealing.
Craig is currently collaborating with kickstarter.com to raise funds to construct a full-scale prototype for the Octagonal Living Unit project. If the $21,000 goal is met by June 30, funds will be awarded and the project may continue. With the success of his kickstarter campaign, Pleasants hopes to market these low-profile octagonal houses to a wider audience.
Thinking big and building small is the philosophy behind the company BuildZing, located in Dripping Springs Texas. BuildZing builds small homes that are eco-friendly, affordable and can have customized exteriors and interiors based on the owner’s budget.
The company builds what they call “flex rooms” that can be used for offices, studios, workshop, retreats, rental properties, and cottages and tiny homes for a simplified lifestyle. Their designs can also be adapted to be ADA compliant to house disabled persons. The designs are energy efficient and specific to Texas climates.
Their 12 foot by 16 foot model costs $13,750 including sales tax. BuildZing can build directly on-site and will consult with you on foundations and utility and sewer attachments, or the building can be delivered ready to move in.
Photos courtesy of BuildZing
Tammy from Rowdy Kittens alerted me to a local article about some prefab units being built for parking lots in Berkley and San Francisco. Following is a couple of paragraphs from the article and you can read the complete article at SFGate.
A young San Francisco company that makes prefabricated housing is set to provide multifamily buildings for two urban Bay Area projects that its development partner hopes will become a model for eco-friendly construction.
Zeta Communities will construct the housing for the 22-unit developments, planned for parking lots in Berkeley and San Francisco. The projects will feature tiny living spaces – 310- to 340 square-foot studios – and no parking. Instead, they will include a car-sharing space.
The proposed four-story projects are the first foray into prefabricated housing for East Bay developer Patrick Kennedy of Panoramic Interests. Continue Reading »