Alternative Small Houses

This blog covers, Tents, Tree-houses, Houseboats,Tiny Homes, Mobile Homes, Prefab housing, Apartment plans, Cottages, Vintage small houses & Garages with living above.
Hi-Low, a great idea
April 14, 2014 
Ok, well technically it’s not a “tiny house” per say but it does have most of what a tiny house would have; kitchen, dining, sleeping area. No bathroom but a luggable loo or porta-potty works just fine.
This is my recently acquired 1961 Hi-Lo trailer. It’s 9.5 feet long and 7 feet wide. The total length is 12 feet including the tongue. It weighs 1350lbs and sleeps 3 with two people on a double bed and you can also set up a canvas bunk for a child. One of the great features of the Hi-Lo’s is how they crank up and down. This one has a hand crank. The newer models have electric cranks. It’s very easy to crank up or down. The low profile in the down position makes it great for towing. I feel virtually no wind resistance while towing this with our truck. I also get better gas mileage!
What’s fun about these little trailers is they can serve many purposes; 1. You can take them camping or travel across country with them. 2. They can serve as guest houses or 3. They can be used for traveling businesses {ie; boutiques, flea market booths, snow cone vendors, etc.,}.
This one I intend to do some renovating on and use it for camping as well as a guest house. While this wouldn’t really be useful for full-time living it sure is fun for weekend get-a-ways!
A very basic interior. It has a lot of counter space for a vintage trailer, especially when I add a stove top cover.

The table goes down and dinette turns into a double bed. Not shown is the canvas bunk.

via: http://tinylakehouse.com/2014/04/tiniest-house-on-wheels/

Hi-Low, a great idea

Ok, well technically it’s not a “tiny house” per say but it does have most of what a tiny house would have; kitchen, dining, sleeping area. No bathroom but a luggable loo or porta-potty works just fine.

This is my recently acquired 1961 Hi-Lo trailer. It’s 9.5 feet long and 7 feet wide. The total length is 12 feet including the tongue. It weighs 1350lbs and sleeps 3 with two people on a double bed and you can also set up a canvas bunk for a child. One of the great features of the Hi-Lo’s is how they crank up and down. This one has a hand crank. The newer models have electric cranks. It’s very easy to crank up or down. The low profile in the down position makes it great for towing. I feel virtually no wind resistance while towing this with our truck. I also get better gas mileage!

What’s fun about these little trailers is they can serve many purposes; 1. You can take them camping or travel across country with them. 2. They can serve as guest houses or 3. They can be used for traveling businesses {ie; boutiques, flea market booths, snow cone vendors, etc.,}.

This one I intend to do some renovating on and use it for camping as well as a guest house. While this wouldn’t really be useful for full-time living it sure is fun for weekend get-a-ways!

A very basic interior. It has a lot of counter space for a vintage trailer, especially when I add a stove top cover.

P1013612

The table goes down and dinette turns into a double bed. Not shown is the canvas bunk.

P1013611

via: http://tinylakehouse.com/2014/04/tiniest-house-on-wheels/

jeanricard:

Looking at tiny houses I cannot help but think maybe more then a few of us share common childhood memories of a secret cozy place were we can express our own personal dreams.
I was a boy, maybe eight or ten years old, when I found in the library a small book with hand drawings of tree-house designs. I can remember that book to this day. I went on to build many forts, some in snow drifts, others from rocks, logs and branches, others dug into mounds of clay, carved and molded, including a fireplace.
I finally did build a tree-house, but it was a boxy affair, influenced by the help of my father, that never had the daring and lightness of my original dream.  (I do not believe it is the same if a tree-house is built for you as building it all yourself or with another kid or two).
Later after architectural school I practiced my craft building many more boxes, but never again was able to match my best work, those forts built as a child.
The above illustration is from a book by David Stiles, who graduated from the same school in Brooklyn and studied in Florence as i did.   He and his wife have also published other books such as:

http://www.stilesdesigns.com/index.html

jeanricard:

Looking at tiny houses I cannot help but think maybe more then a few of us share common childhood memories of a secret cozy place were we can express our own personal dreams.

I was a boy, maybe eight or ten years old, when I found in the library a small book with hand drawings of tree-house designs. I can remember that book to this day. I went on to build many forts, some in snow drifts, others from rocks, logs and branches, others dug into mounds of clay, carved and molded, including a fireplace.

I finally did build a tree-house, but it was a boxy affair, influenced by the help of my father, that never had the daring and lightness of my original dream.  (I do not believe it is the same if a tree-house is built for you as building it all yourself or with another kid or two).

Later after architectural school I practiced my craft building many more boxes, but never again was able to match my best work, those forts built as a child.

The above illustration is from a book by David Stiles, who graduated from the same school in Brooklyn and studied in Florence as i did.   He and his wife have also published other books such as:

http://www.stilesdesigns.com/index.html

Garden Offices & Garden Rooms by roomworks
The combination of natural materials such as red cedar and sedum living roof systems along with bi-fold glazing means that indoor and outdoor spaces merge seamlessly, creating an exciting all year round environment to relax in.

The system we use to build our stand alone rooms is so highly specified that we are able to use exactly the same materials to build home extensions where we are able to surpass current building regulation guidelines in respect of thermal performance


This converts to $41,915.00 +VAT which I believe in the UK is 20% making the cost approx $50,000 for 301 sf or approx $166/sf. Note this is without electrical, plumbing, cabinets, etc.
http://www.roomworks.co.uk/

Garden Offices & Garden Rooms by roomworks

The combination of natural materials such as red cedar and sedum living roof systems along with bi-fold glazing means that indoor and outdoor spaces merge seamlessly, creating an exciting all year round environment to relax in.

The system we use to build our stand alone rooms is so highly specified that we are able to use exactly the same materials to build home extensions where we are able to surpass current building regulation guidelines in respect of thermal performance

This converts to $41,915.00 +VAT which I believe in the UK is 20% making the cost approx $50,000 for 301 sf or approx $166/sf. Note this is without electrical, plumbing, cabinets, etc.

http://www.roomworks.co.uk/

Bamboo Housing - The Corporation H&P Architects (HPA) was established in Vietnam on 11/6/2009

Bamboo Housing - The Corporation H&P Architects (HPA) was established in Vietnam on 11/6/2009

LA 1948 - 1,060 square feet. 
In 1948 Levittown was in construction on the East Coast, Alfred Levitt, designed a small house based on the Cape Cod, one floor and an unfinished “expansion attic” that could be rapidly constructed and as rapidly rented out to returning GIs and their young families.
The average cost of a new house in the US in 1948 was $13,500. in 1950 the average FHA financed new home was 937 sf.  The average Annual Salary was $3,600 and the Minimum Wage was 40 cents per hour.
Calculating that a home to be affordable it should be 3x but not exceed 4x family income, a new 1000 sf home for a single wage earner and family of 4 was affordable.
Since then the average size of the American household has diminished by about one person over the past 65 years or so, according to new data from the US Census Bureau. The average population per household now stands at 2.55, down from 3.67 in 1948.
On the West Coast there was a more modernist single story style.
Gregory Ain Mar Vista Tract, also known as Mar Vista Housing, is located in the western portion of the City of Los Angeles and consists of 52 parcels designed by architect Gregory Ain in the Modern style. Built in 1948, this  residential development was shaped by the Fair Housing Administration’s desire to promote home ownership among modest-income families. Ain’s design of the Mar Vista tract achieved individuality through his ingenious placement of standard architectural elements, variations in setback and entrance location, as well as the imaginative integration of building and landscape design.
The Mar Vista Tract was designed by Gregory Ain in collaboration with Joseph Johnson and Alfred Day.  Ain was a significant “second generation” modernist architect who had worked with and was influenced by the first generation of  California Modern masters - European immigrants Richard Neutra and Rudolph Schindler.
Landscape architect Garrett Eckbo used a large number of planting materials from varying climates to create a park-like atmosphere along the streets, opening up space between houses to allow for more spatial social interaction, as opposed to creating boundaries and fences. These unique design elements allowed the Advance Development Agency to market Mar Vista Housing as “Modernique” to exemplify the development’s modern and unique design features.
Ain believed in bringing good design to the masses. During his youth, he lived for a time on a cooperative farming colony, founded by Job Harriman, a socialist his father had supported in the 1911 Los Angeles mayoral race. Ain belonged to the school of thought that espoused architecture’s potential to shape a more egalitarian world. He is credited as being the first architect to design a house that did not contemplate servants. A lot of Ain’s ideals were achieved in the “Modernique Homes” development, the name under which the Mar Vista Tract was marketed in 1948. The intent of the Mar Vista Tract was to create a housing development that provided cost efficient housing while advancing the cause of Modern architectural design.
The average size of the houses was 1,060 square feet, exclusive of the double garage. The sales price of the homes was about $12,000, considerably higher than the contractor-inspired houses around nearby Venice Blvd. that were then selling for about $5,000. The main selling points were the convertible features, the ultra-modern design, and colors.
These LA houses as of 2011 listed for approximately $700,000 to $1,000,000.  Today in 2013 The average household income with two wage earners is approx $52,000. Real median family income has fallen 6.4% to $52,163 since peaking in 2007. Obviously these houses are not affordable by the average LA family.  For a new home to be affordable it would need to be priced in the range of $150,000 but not more then $200,000. Considering $150/sf a 1000 sf house for the average family of less then 3 this is doable, but look around. Who is building 1000 sf affordable houses today? and do realize  that 50% of American families can’t afford even this.

LA 1948 - 1,060 square feet. 

In 1948 Levittown was in construction on the East Coast, Alfred Levitt, designed a small house based on the Cape Cod, one floor and an unfinished “expansion attic” that could be rapidly constructed and as rapidly rented out to returning GIs and their young families.

The average cost of a new house in the US in 1948 was $13,500. in 1950 the average FHA financed new home was 937 sf.  The average Annual Salary was $3,600 and the Minimum Wage was 40 cents per hour.

Calculating that a home to be affordable it should be 3x but not exceed 4x family income, a new 1000 sf home for a single wage earner and family of 4 was affordable.

Since then the average size of the American household has diminished by about one person over the past 65 years or so, according to new data from the US Census Bureau. The average population per household now stands at 2.55, down from 3.67 in 1948.

On the West Coast there was a more modernist single story style.

Gregory Ain Mar Vista Tract, also known as Mar Vista Housing, is located in the western portion of the City of Los Angeles and consists of 52 parcels designed by architect Gregory Ain in the Modern style. Built in 1948, this  residential development was shaped by the Fair Housing Administration’s desire to promote home ownership among modest-income families. Ain’s design of the Mar Vista tract achieved individuality through his ingenious placement of standard architectural elements, variations in setback and entrance location, as well as the imaginative integration of building and landscape design.

The Mar Vista Tract was designed by Gregory Ain in collaboration with Joseph Johnson and Alfred Day.  Ain was a significant “second generation” modernist architect who had worked with and was influenced by the first generation of  California Modern masters - European immigrants Richard Neutra and Rudolph Schindler.

Landscape architect Garrett Eckbo used a large number of planting materials from varying climates to create a park-like atmosphere along the streets, opening up space between houses to allow for more spatial social interaction, as opposed to creating boundaries and fences. These unique design elements allowed the Advance Development Agency to market Mar Vista Housing as “Modernique” to exemplify the development’s modern and unique design features.

Ain believed in bringing good design to the masses. During his youth, he lived for a time on a cooperative farming colony, founded by Job Harriman, a socialist his father had supported in the 1911 Los Angeles mayoral race. Ain belonged to the school of thought that espoused architecture’s potential to shape a more egalitarian world. He is credited as being the first architect to design a house that did not contemplate servants. A lot of Ain’s ideals were achieved in the “Modernique Homes” development, the name under which the Mar Vista Tract was marketed in 1948. The intent of the Mar Vista Tract was to create a housing development that provided cost efficient housing while advancing the cause of Modern architectural design.

The average size of the houses was 1,060 square feet, exclusive of the double garage. The sales price of the homes was about $12,000, considerably higher than the contractor-inspired houses around nearby Venice Blvd. that were then selling for about $5,000. The main selling points were the convertible features, the ultra-modern design, and colors.

These LA houses as of 2011 listed for approximately $700,000 to $1,000,000.  Today in 2013 The average household income with two wage earners is approx $52,000. Real median family income has fallen 6.4% to $52,163 since peaking in 2007. Obviously these houses are not affordable by the average LA family.  For a new home to be affordable it would need to be priced in the range of $150,000 but not more then $200,000. Considering $150/sf a 1000 sf house for the average family of less then 3 this is doable, but look around. Who is building 1000 sf affordable houses today? and do realize  that 50% of American families can’t afford even this.

Cover “Cottages by the Sea- The Handmade Homes of Carmel, America’s First Artist Community” by Linda Leigh Paul.

Frank Devendorf, Carmel’s developer, determined the character of this village early on by encouraging professors and artists to come enjoy nature and build their summer retreats.
What makes a town “livable”? 
An article published by The American Institute of Architects called “Livability 101”. Livability 101 – American Institute of Architects. states: 
Livability is “directly correlated with happiness or with a sense that life is meaningful …..and that there is much to celebrate in the human and physical world around us.” The AIA found that a Sense of Place,Mixed use development, Pedestrian Scale and Public Gathering places all had an important role. Carmel like most tourist destinations has all the above tightly woven together in an idyllic setting with a temperate climate on the Pacific Coast.
Marjory Lloyd ( now deceased), a Carmelite since 1932 and one-time editor of the local newspaper, The Carmel Pine Cone, noted “The ironical thing is that the citizens have fought for years to preserve the beauty and character of this community, and it’s reaped the results of people wanting to see it.” Carmel is always struggling with balancing residential  and commercial needs. 
The village of Carmel-by-the-Sea, California. 
Below are other photos of the fairy tale cottages and boutiques in one of the most desirable, livable and yes expensive places in America. 




So charming. It is listed for $1,695,000.
source: http://talesfromcarmel.com/

Cover “Cottages by the Sea- The Handmade Homes of Carmel, America’s First Artist Community” by Linda Leigh Paul.

Frank Devendorf, Carmel’s developer, determined the character of this village early on by encouraging professors and artists to come enjoy nature and build their summer retreats.

What makes a town “livable”?

An article published by The American Institute of Architects called “Livability 101”. Livability 101 – American Institute of Architects. states:

Livability is “directly correlated with happiness or with a sense that life is meaningful …..and that there is much to celebrate in the human and physical world around us.” The AIA found that a Sense of Place,Mixed use development, Pedestrian Scale and Public Gathering places all had an important role. Carmel like most tourist destinations has all the above tightly woven together in an idyllic setting with a temperate climate on the Pacific Coast.

Marjory Lloyd ( now deceased), a Carmelite since 1932 and one-time editor of the local newspaper, The Carmel Pine Cone, noted “The ironical thing is that the citizens have fought for years to preserve the beauty and character of this community, and it’s reaped the results of people wanting to see it.” Carmel is always struggling with balancing residential  and commercial needs.

The village of Carmel-by-the-Sea, California.

Below are other photos of the fairy tale cottages and boutiques in one of the most desirable, livable and yes expensive places in America.

So charming. It is listed for $1,695,000.

source: http://talesfromcarmel.com/

We are like tenant farmers chopping down the fence around our house for fuel when we should be using Nature’s inexhaustible sources of energy — sun, wind and tide. … I’d put my money on the sun and solar energy. What a source of power! I hope we don’t have to wait until oil and coal run out before we tackle that.

—Thomas Edison in conversation with Henry Ford and Harvey Firestone (1931); as quoted in Uncommon Friends : Life with Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, Harvey Firestone, Alexis Carrel & Charles Lindbergh (1987) by James Newton, p. 31