Saturday, December 8, 2012

our homestead: ideas we have for our little home

We love this wood-paneled, open cabin aesthetic with lots of bright windows. Photo credit: Free Cabin Porn
After purchasing land on October 2nd this year (our 2nd wedding anniversary), my husband and I made a goal of nailing down our home plans by Christmas. Since then we have been researching all sorts of different architectural styles for our home:
1) Tumbleweed Tiny Houses- truly tiny homes which are sized between 65-884 square feet. Their website features House-to-Go plans for portable homes as well as baby cottages. We are friends with a couple who built their own Tumbleweed House-to-Go. Their tiny house is powered via a solar panel and they also have a composting toilet system, so they are almost off-the-grid. They are actually about to move from Washington to Louisiana and will be able to take their house with them. I plan to feature them on this blog later on as I love their house! It's really cosy and inspiring.
An apple orchard seems like a fitting place for a tiny House-to-Go. Photo credit: Tiny House Listings
2) Cargotecture- houses made out of either used or new shipping containers. These houses are relatively affordable to build and are pretty much indestructible. Shipping containers can be cut to specifications or there are some companies catching on to the trend who have started selling containers with different sides missing (for stacking multiple containers together or side by side) or with pre-cut window and door holes. Shipping container homes can be used for minimalist tiny homes or can be stacked together to create multi-family condominiums. Many of the shipping container houses I've seen online have their industrial metal walls covered up with siding and drywall, so they are used like a prefabricated frame. I learned that many shipping containers come to the US and just sit here, stacked up in empty mountains, as we do not export goods as much as we import them (another reason to try to buy things made in this country). Thus, finding a use for these shipping containers is ecologically responsible.

A solar powered home made with shipping containers. Photo credit: Apartment Therapy
3) A Post or Timber Frame House- we also considered a post or timber framed home. Post and timber framed homes are typically made with a combination of industrial steel or plywood sheeting and wood and include a frame supported with strong poles (they are also called pole barns). Because of these materials and poles, the framed structure is very strong and does not require interior supporting walls. This makes post and timber frame homes very affordable as they take far less materials and labor to build.
A timber frame home. Photo credit: Town & Country Perma Bilt

I think my husband and I have finally figured out what we want to build using timber framing methods. Granted, we still need to have official building plans drawn up and we'll definitly tweak the specifics of our plans before we head to the county development office for approval. I will describe our plan with the following group of inspiration photos:
The floor plan we currently like, with a few adjustments. Photo credit: Home Plans
Above is the current floor plan we like. We've been studying many different floor plans and this one seems to make the most sense to us. We like the open kitchen and living room area. We always wanted an open living space, instead of a hidden away kitchen, as everyone wants to spend time in the kitchen anyway. We figure this open living space will grant us more options for furniture and entertaining layout as well. The square at the center of the living space is supposed to be a wood stove. I would prefer to move the wood stove to very left corner as it seems to be in an awkward spot in the center of the room. As far as the bathroom, one is enough for us now. We currently only use one bathroom in our house, even when company comes over. I don't need a private bathroom as I don't really mind sharing a bathroom with my guests. It's always been that way for us.
I measured the bedrooms out on the floor with measuring tape to try and visualize how big (or small) they are in reality. They are actually pretty spacious. Enough for a bed, dresser and mirror, which is the only furniture we have in our current bedroom anyway. If we purchase a low-profile bedframe with space for storage underneath and hang shelves, I'm sure we'll have ample storage space for our clothes and belongings. We are planning on adding a few extra feet to this floor plan to accomodate linen and storage closets, as well as a closet or small room for a stackable washer/dryer unit. We're also considering adding a small loft for a bedroom, depending on costs. Then we'd definitly have room. We like this plan because we figure we could easily build on to it later in life if we do need another room or two. For now, it's just the right size for us.
A 600 square foot 2-bedroom cabin with a lofted master and an open kitchen and living area. Photo credit:Houzz

Can this be my bedroom please? Inhabitat
A small children's room. Looks happy and cosy to me. Photo credit: Country Living
Having a smaller, energy-efficient home means we'll probably be warm and cosy in the winter months (we're currently freezing in the large older house we live in due to heating costs) and we'll be more connected to the outdoors in the summer. Speaking of which, we really want a large deck attached to the front of the house from the living area. I can imagine having friends and family over in the summer to lounge on our deck in the woods after a day of rowboating around the lake. Covering and screening in the deck might also make it more Pacific Northwest friendly while adding to our home space in a way, like an outdoor room.
I adore this view. This is exactly what I want to view from my living area. Photo credit: Tiny House Swoon
This looks like the life to me. Photo credit: Free Cabin Porn
A covered and screened-in deck would be more rainy PNW-friendly. Photo credit: Fresh Home
As far as indoor aesthetics, I really love the look and feel of wood paneled walls. The current house we live in has a 1970s addition with warm-brown slanted wood paneling. I adore the look and would like my new home to have this instead of drywall. Wood paneling is more natural to me and adds interest to a room. I also think it will fit our cabin aesthetic and our forested property.

Warm wood paneled walls and floor. Photo credit: Longest Acres
A wood paneled, small home. Photo credit: Tiny House Swoon
Darker stained wood paneling in a small bedroom. Photo credit: Moon to Moon
Anyway, these are probably enough details for now. We are very glad that we have agreed on a general plan for our home. I'll be sure to post more as our journey progresses.


  1. lovely ideas for your home! I am excited to watch this unfold :) -Mb