Scott’s Cube Proposal

***Update below

Scott Stewart, who I have featured quite a few times lately because of his fine quality and affordable prices has been bouncing the idea of an American made Cube. The French Cube post was one of the most popular and I think their might be enough interest to build something similar here in the U.S. Here are Scott’s thoughts and he would enjoy feed back from you on the subject.

I am attaching a rough draft of a cube that is 11x11x11, these are inside measurements, I wanted to go with a size that stays under the 12′ outside dimension for permit purposes, once over 12′ escort cars are involved and this raises the costs and slows down delivery. This also gives much more room inside over the French version which is 10′ x 10′.

I have changed it up a little, I placed the door on a different wall, across from the kitchen, I thought I could offer a murphy type bed/entertainment center on the wall to the right of the door, between the door and kitchen, the loft access comes up quite a bit for older folks, this would be an option, I also turned the bed area 90 degrees putting it over the bathroom/kitchen area, I thought this makes good sense since you really don’t need much headroom there anyway, this allows dropping the ceiling there to give more room in the bed area.

I plan to use octogon or even regular window instead of the round windows in the French version, they do look good but are expensive, hard to trim and hard to buy or replace. Window placement can be anywhere, I only show a couple on the drawing but will be glad to install anywhere.

As for pricing, I am thinking $10,500 for the completely finished version, $4500 for the dried in model which would look totally finished on the outside but would just be a shell. I will as usual include delivery within 300 miles of Mountain View, AR and will include crossing into one state , any other state crossings and or extra mileage will be extra, $3 per loaded mile plus permits for each added state.

Scott would also like your input on size and I have put together a small poll below and would appreciate your response on this. Also please add your suggestions and ideas through the comment section.

***Update: Be the first to buy a Slabtown Customs American Cube and I will do a series of posts with photos of the build, your experience dealing with Scott, and the delivery and final setup of the Cube.

[poll id=”9″]

French Cube 10' x 10'

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Tim - October 12, 2010 Reply

Hey Scott, I think these would be insanely popular, the uses for these would be so varied. I bet college kids would go nuts over these if they could stay in something like this as opposed to a nasty frat/sorority house or dorm. Also as low cost homes for low income/homeless folks, I think you will hit a home run with these. At the prices you mentioned I think many folks will be interested in these…

    scott stewart - October 12, 2010 Reply

    Hi Tim,
    thanks for the comments, I agree completely on the wide variety of uses and the dorm room alternative was one of my first thoughts to this design several months ago as well, I envisioned a cluster of cubes possibly even with a cetral cube for washers/dryers, etc.

    Another advantage from a builders standpoint is not only the quickness of the build but also the logistics of the delivery, these could be hauled two or three at a time, in fact I have one drawing of two of these on a trailer, one on each end with a common deck between the two, just a thought.

    Scott

      Parrot whisperer - October 13, 2010 Reply

      Yes, there are many advantages to prefab, and I’m sure it would be great for students, but hello, what about the elephant in the room here, people?

      ZONING.

      I will be surprised if anyone who posted in this comments section could even find a place to site one of these, unless you are talking about outside the city.

      None of the advantages or wonderfulness of this, or any other tinyhouse, matters in the least to 99% of the population unless this problem is solved. And given how reluctant people are to organize, we need an attitude shift for that to happen.

        scott stewart - October 14, 2010 Reply

        Hi Parrot, I understand your point on zoning, and Im sure in many areas it could be a real problem but I think you would be surprised in just how many places it would be allowed, I can of course only account for my personal experiences but I have talked to many city planning and zoning offices in different areas and many times these units would be fine. There are some cases where you have to alter certain things to make it fit, and the best chance is to just simply find out the rules and regulations that are written out for a specific zone in town you want to set a unit, if you do this first most likely there is a way to make it work, if you just go in and ask if its cool to set a 121 sq ft house out back at granmas on oak st…..you may get a no, again, this isnt the case everywhere and I know that, another “loophole” so to speak can be the trailer mounted units, now they are allowed anywhere an rv is. If setting one on an existing property which already has utilities, many times with a unit this size, it really isnt much more than a storage building and truly may not fall under any code, I realize this may involve stretching the truth or leaving out the part about living in it as opposed to storing lawn equipment. Anyway, sorry for the long posting, I guess Im just trying to say dont give up so easy on zoning problems, I have no problem calling a planning and zoning office on behalf of a potential customer before a build to find out what may be needed from us to make it work.

        Scott

          Parrot whisperer - October 18, 2010 Reply

          Hi Scott,

          No need to apologize for a long post, this is a complex issue. But I have not “given up so easily”, I have done a lot of research on this, including on the history and rationales behind the laws (long story short: dominant group gets what they want, Constitution, long term interests of the country, or whether there is even any actual benefit to them, and despite any harm, be damned)

          1. Permitted without a license due to small size: No. Almost never, though there are some cities that allow things larger than a tinyhouse after a very expensive and time consuming permitting process, these cities are very few. Even cities that do allow it have minimum floor area reqs. that are too high, resulting in high cost and not being able to fit in on the right lot, and non-portability, in my City it is 40 m2. If if has a bathroom and/or kitchen it is considered a dwelling, and usually you are not allowed to live in it even if it does not have those things. Elizabeth Turnbull the grad student at Yale ran into this problem head-on, and the municipality petilly forces her to use the bathroom in the main building on the lot, though apparently this city didn’t prevent her from living there.

          2. Masquerade as a mobile home: If you are willing to live in a trailer park only. Segregated location and stigma rule that out for most people, I’m not saying I agree with the stereotypes at all, I don’t, but the stigma is real all the same. My city does not even have a trailer park in the city, so it is totally out.

          3. Lying: Eventually someone is bound to notice and complain, and the bylaw enforcement will have no problem seeing exactly what this is and making you move it. You can keep running around, or act like you are committing some sort of crime and try to conceal the fact you live there for as long as possible, but who is willing to put up with that sort of stress? If a tinyhouse entails a stressful lifestyle, there’s little point.

          Don’t get your hopes up that they will realize what they are doing is immoral, it is, in fact, almost always right in the job description of the zoning board that they are to enforce the rules without any room for discretion.

          As a manufacturer, maybe you could work with other mfgrs to do what the MedCottage people did, and force municipalities in the state to allow them. If there is anything I can do to help, don’t hesitate to contact me, because you can bet your ass I’ll do whatever I can. I’m sure there are plenty of others who would do likewise.

    carrie - August 15, 2012 Reply

    Well I doubt it will do any good this many years later BUT we need a stairway not a slanted ladder. Have you seen the stone shed in the Spainish vinyard? Faircompanie has the video; it is my dream home…Brillant use of space.
    Carrie Adams

Chris from Portland - October 12, 2010 Reply

The French Cubes are definitely one of my favorite tiny houses on this blog. Their simplicity, functionality, aesthetics, and affordability make for a sweet deal. My goal would be to live in one full-time, and I think it has all of the amenities necessary to do so. My recommendation would be to keep the quality of materials as high as possible, while still keeping it affordable. I would be willing to pay extra for the little touches like circle windows, etc. Solar/off-the-grid options would be nice, but that can be added somewhere down the line. I like that fact that you would make it a little bigger, because let’s face it, everything (even our tiny houses) has to be bigger in America!

    scott stewart - October 12, 2010 Reply

    Hi Chris, I agree with you about being just a bit bigger in America, even in our tiny homes.
    I do also love the round windows, and do have a source for them and will be glad to install them if needed, I wanted to have something very similar to the French cube with a few differences.
    Thanks for sharing,

    Scott

    Tim - October 13, 2010 Reply

    I fully agree, the little touches can really make a huge difference, I love the arched doorway on the french version!

Dan O. - October 12, 2010 Reply

Scott,

Congratulations on your new venture! The cube was my 2nd favorite plan on this site. I also want to build a cube some day as a fishing cabin near a trout stream.

I plan on using SIPS panels to get my 12×12 outside dimension, that extra space will make a huge difference. I also plan on contouring the loft and mattress to be thinner at the foot end, giving more open ceiling “space”. Your modifications were well thought out.

A pair of Dreamweaver hammocks will take the place of your murphy bed, as they mount on a single point.

Best of luck!

    scott stewart - October 12, 2010 Reply

    Thanks Dan,
    sounds like you have a good project planned out as well, should make a great fishing cabin, I like the hammock idea as well, thanks for your post, I wish you well with your future build and would love to see some pictures when you start.

    Scott

Christina Nellemann - October 12, 2010 Reply

Scott, thanks for taking on this challenge! I second Chris’s comment and really admire the French Cube for its chic style and storage options. I like your idea of an 11 foot version for just a bit more room, and would expand the closet with the extra space. Would you be able to draw up a sketch of the exterior and a 3D view to show ladder placement and other storage options?

    scott stewart - October 12, 2010 Reply

    Thanks Christina,
    I too had planned to make the closet wider with the added room, another option would be to add more in the kitchen area if needed, I will be glad to do either for a custom build. I will try to get some images up of the exterior, as far as ladder placement goes, I planned to put it to the right of the door running up at an angle to the bed, again this is something totally customizable for each individual build.

    Scott

alice - October 12, 2010 Reply

Instead of those two large chairs what about using something like the slide away bed http://www.slideawaybed.com/ ? It gives you comfy daytime seating and you could put a dropleaf table on the opposite wall and use a couple of folding chairs that can hang on the wall when not needed.

    scott stewart - October 12, 2010 Reply

    Hi Alice, thanks for the post, I love this slide a way bed, Id love to find out some costs and get some feedback on comfort level from users, this really is a perfect fit for the cube, I have looked at many build your own murphy type bed sites but the slide a way has never popped up, thanks again,

    Scott

Debra - October 12, 2010 Reply

What a great idea! I love the French Cube idea – American Made. The slideaway bed is a good option, we made our own (guest bed in the living room) using plywood and piano hinges. When not in use as a bed, it folds into two pieces, one on top of another, and our foam is cut into two slices which stack on top of each other also. All this serves as a cushy sofa bench in the living room. I’ll have photos in a couple of weeks. We love our little home made by Scott!

Deek - October 12, 2010 Reply

Very nice scott- I especially admire its good-looking simplicity, when other might be tempted to add too many “bells n’ whistles”. I really think the bold green paint-trim especially adds to this structure as well-a nice choice!

-Deek
Relaxshacks.com
and “Tiny Yellow House” TV

    scott stewart - October 13, 2010 Reply

    Hi Deek,
    thanks for the post, I wish I could take credit for the colors and trim choices that the French designer put into the cube, I agree with the simple yet elegant feel that comes across on this unit.
    By the way, I love your builds and videos, keep em coming.

    Scott

scott stewart - October 12, 2010 Reply

Hello Debra !! Its so good to see you are a loyal reader of the blog, and it really puts a huge smile on my face to see your remarks about your home, thats the kind of thing I hope for with every nail we drive, continued happiness with something I produced. Look forward to seeing more of what you have done with your home.

Take care,

Scott

Aaron - October 12, 2010 Reply

Could this be or is this self-contained/off-grid or what are the ideas regarding utilities/water/plumbing in these?

    scott stewart - October 12, 2010 Reply

    Hi Aaron, the unit(s) I am planning to start will have standard utilities, I would love to start incorporating some off the grid ideas but as of now its not really cost effective on a unit this size, however I would be more than happy to prep the building for any modifications needed, I will be happy to install any customers products if sent to me as well, as far as utilities, my plan would have the power set up much like an rv, with a 50 amp 110v service, water and sewer as well would be like standard rv hook ups, allowing set up practically anywhere,

    Scott

Eric - October 12, 2010 Reply

This is an incredible idea. I would love to see these given the green light. I have been keeping up with Scott’s projects on here and I am very amazed at the quality and prices of his products.

    scott stewart - October 12, 2010 Reply

    Hi Eric,
    thanks for your kind remarks, I also believe the cube is a great idea, only wish I could take credit for its origin, I would love to build a custom cube for someone knowing it has a home as soon as its done, but either way Im sure I will be posting some pics of an Ozarks built cube.

    Scott

Jennifer Y - October 12, 2010 Reply

Love it!
Would a flat roof be OK in heavy snow country?

amthcaictm - October 12, 2010 Reply

i think i’ve seen beds that can track up and down on posts. i would be nice to have a bed that you could bring down to floor level in the evening –or whenever you wanted—and then crank up to loft height during the day…

carcar - October 12, 2010 Reply

I do love those round windows. It keeps it from looking like a box and makes you want to see what’s inside.

Amy - October 13, 2010 Reply

Scott,

That is exactly what I need for my leather shop!

The one worry I have is it looks like a flat roof and as you know our Arkansas winters have been crazy in recent years. I can just see having trouble with it the next time we get a record breaking 18 plus inch snow fall.

The only other hang up I have is the price. But that’s just cause I’m from Arkansas and a Crafter too which always equal less $$$ in the pocket.

By the way I like the cute light sage green one you have been working on. I do drive by as often as I can but I never seem to have the time to stop.

Good work!

Amy

    scott stewart - October 13, 2010 Reply

    Hi Amy, since you are just down the road if you want to give me a good time and can get me on the grounds Ill be glad to swing by and talk to you about a leather shop cube, I have a couple of ideas on the roof, to stay with the flat roof I have access to a one piece very durable rubber roof, as far as structurally, it will withstand all the snow you could ever pile up on it, I also have another idea, a metal lean to type roof, with the sides and front going up just high enough to hide the metal, this would also keep all the runoff in one area and make it easy to contain if needed. Due to your close delivery I will be willing to negotiate, let me know if you would like to discuss in person, thanks Amy,

    Scott

Jade - October 13, 2010 Reply

Great idea Scott,

I am still looking forward to getting a tiny house and the more affordable it is mean I might be able to do it sooner!

Questions about the Cube design,

Would it be able to be on a trailer? or does it have to be on the ground?

With the RV hookups, could the black/gray water go into portable water tanks? If so how long might a 30 gallon holding tank last for 2 people?

Thanks,
Jade

    scott stewart - October 13, 2010 Reply

    Hi Jade,
    I can easily build a cube on a trailer.
    You could run the water into portable tanks, in fact holding tanks could be added to a unit built on a trailer if needed. As for how long a standard 30 gallon will last…all I can account for is a recent camping trip, in which we spent a week and did not fill the tank, however we did not use the shower, we used the bath house in the campground as it was very close, thanks,

    Scott

      Jade - October 13, 2010 Reply

      Thanks for the quick reply Scott,

      Would it need to be an 8’x 8′ to fit on a trailer or can a 12′ x 12′ also fit on one?

      I was reading the old comments on the cube house. Do you think the insulation would be enough to live in it during winter (-8 to -15)?

      -Jade

        scott stewart - October 13, 2010 Reply

        Jade,
        a 12′ can be mounted on a trailer quite easily, it does require a permit to move one that width but its a pretty simple process upto that width, if you plan to move it often this is really too wide, if its only going to be moved now and then it should be fine. As for insulation for that kind of environment, we would need to change it up some and get it zone compatible for that climate, but no problem in doing so.

        Scott

Cheryl - October 14, 2010 Reply

Interesting, simple and cute. Roof was wondering about also as well as insulation.Like the price too. I wish you the best with these. Now if we can get America on board with these great ideas presented on this blog and come join us.

Peter Medvin - October 14, 2010 Reply

Maybe a Zoom-Room (www.Zoom-Room.com) electronic, remote controlled Murphy Bed would work for the project. The wall bed cabinet is 64″ wide and 24″ deep, and you can use the front for a flat screen TV (it doesn’t drop down like a traditional Murphy Bed, instead it snakes up the back of the cabinet). It’s much cooler than your run of the mill wall bed and it saves more space.

patrick denny - October 22, 2010 Reply

Hey Scott, I really like your cube. the use of space and the simplicity are fantastic. a couple of questions.

Will your interior look similar to the furnishings that are in the french cube?

I live in minneapolis, mn. do you know what cities or townships in the area (anywhere)that would allow me to put a 144 sq ft house on a lot w/o a larger house on the same lot?

did i read that you would put a pitched roof on a cube if someone needed? would that cost extra? how do you feel about the amount of snow we get in mn. and how that would work with a flat roof?

thanks, patrick

    scott - October 23, 2010 Reply

    Hi Patrick,
    Thanks for the post, I can imitate the interior walls and bath and kitchen area very close, as for furnishings, I do not usually include anything as this really is a personal taste thing, I agree the furniture in the pics looks great and fits good with the cube but my structures will not come with furniture,

    Im not sure about the zoning in your area but I would be glad to do some leg work and find out, if you want to give me some town names Ill do some checking for you,

    I will be glad to put any type of roof on the cube, no extra cost, in your area I would probably go with a lean-to style roof that sloped from the front to the back, we could do this and basically hide it allowing it to still have the overall flat roof look, if we went with a flat roof for your zone we would need to beef up on the size of rafters and this would cut down on the head room in the loft.

    Feel free to email me if you want with the location info and Ill be glad to find out what the zoning situation is in your area, thanks,

    Scott

Kelly.r - October 27, 2010 Reply

I fell in love with the french cube the first time I saw saw it (no telling how long ago that was…) I especially love the trim being a bright color. I think it would look amazing with ribbon windows! just a thought… good luck!

Dale - May 24, 2011 Reply

Hi Scott,

Please add me to your blog or newsletter. Love this concept!! With regard to the roof… why not a hip pleated metal one with a minium of a 2′ roof overhang to shed all loads of excessives snow loads and water away from the entire base of the home? Note: that hip roof pitch could also be SIP only and shipped alongside the unit(s) on a flatbed tractor trailer for delivery purposes. When it arrives at customers site, it could simply be attached with a cherry picker machine.

Kristine - November 18, 2012 Reply

Building a “cube” is a nice idea but if you were to build a rectangle that was say 16 feet long, 10 feet wide and 10 to 12 feet high I think would be much more user friendly in the end.

Putting a shed type roof on it would cut down on the volume but still give you the headroom in the loft. The down side is it’s more work to make.

Maybe I should put the two years of drafting I had in high school and a life time of designing stuff to work and see what I can come up with.

There are ways to cut down heat loss and heat gain with how you build your walls.

Kristine

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