Portland contractor builds 500ft2 houses

ilmbgOctober 13, 2008

Please, does anyone know of the tv show/segment about a contractor in Portland (I don't know which Portland, Oregon or Maine)- he has been building 500ft2 houses, and is so swamped that his building time is a long way out.

This was not the article on the TODAY SHOW- it might have been on at nite.

Thank you.

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Hi, don't know which show you mean, and don't quite know what you meant by "500ft 2 houses", but if you're thinking someone you know might appreciate the work (because he's so 'swamped') keep in mind that those shows are often not shown for months or even years after filming, and that given the current situation out there, he might not be so swamped any longer - which would be a shame, of course.

    Bookmark   October 14, 2008 at 6:19AM
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Pretty sure they meant square feet by ft2. I would be interested in seeing some examples of what he was building. Do you know what channel it was on?

    Bookmark   October 14, 2008 at 10:49AM
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Do you mean this?

    Bookmark   October 14, 2008 at 1:25PM
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What is square feet (which I normally get) x "ft2" (which I don't)?

    Bookmark   October 14, 2008 at 6:53PM
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No, it wasn't the Today Show- I saw that also. I guess it was a recent show- the taping of the show was supposed to be recent. Friend thought it was on the '20/20, or a show like that.
As for 'ft2', that is saying '500 square feet'.

The 'NIST' guide to the 'SI', 9.6, Spelling Unit Names Raised to Powers

When the names of units raised to powers are spelled out,modifiers, such as 'squared' or 'cubed' are used and placed after the unit name.

Example: 'meter per second squared'(m/s2)
Example: 'square centimeter' (cm2)

I do not have the capability on a reular keyboard to make the '2' a little bit higher.Like when you wrote 'pi squared- the 2 was just a little bit higher.

In other words, we are admonished not to write out '12 meters squared', which might be ambiguous, but to use symbols.

Does that make sense to you?

I am absolutely computer impaired, so I can't forward/cut/paste this paragragh of the NIST to you.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2008 at 1:21AM
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OH... yes of course it makes sense (must have had a not infrequent brain lapse). 'All' you meant was 'squared' and I thought it was some esoteric local (country) way of expressing some other thing. Thanks!

    Bookmark   October 15, 2008 at 6:59AM
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Sorry, I missed the "not" on the Today Show on your first post. I don't even know what kind of search you would do ot find it.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2008 at 1:07PM
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I have tried all the word combinations I can think of...

    Bookmark   October 15, 2008 at 9:21PM
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"In other words, we are admonished not to write out '12 meters squared', which might be ambiguous, but to use symbols.

Does that make sense to you?"

No. I don't see it as ambiguous to write it out. It is clear as a bell. No different than writting 100 percent or using 100%

If you wish to use a numeral use the proper format like 15 or 12³

    Bookmark   October 23, 2008 at 4:15PM
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78 degrees becomes 78°

39 cents becomes 39¢

It's fun!

    Bookmark   October 23, 2008 at 4:21PM
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A 500 square foot home is very small. Any one can build one. Why are you so interested?

    Bookmark   October 24, 2008 at 5:55PM
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efanning- Because someone mentioned that they saw this on tv. The contractor was supposed to be so good at making the small space count- so good, that he was 'bookrd' for the next couple years- he was not taking any more contracts until the ones he already had were built.
I figure he must be really good- I wanted to see his work.
I wouldn't mind building that small, if done properly- I have a very small condo in Texas- about the same footage. My northern house is for sale now- am trying to get all my ducks in a row for when I build another house. Want to see his ideas.

Thank you.

    Bookmark   October 25, 2008 at 11:05PM
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Where do you find so many people with square feet is what I am wonderin' now that I think about it... ô¿ô

    Bookmark   November 7, 2008 at 12:00AM
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Are you in texas? Have you seen this guy?


    Bookmark   November 7, 2008 at 11:33AM
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Not sure what you saw, but in addition to www.tinytexashomes.com, you might look at www.tumbleweedhouses.com

    Bookmark   January 21, 2009 at 6:05PM
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texascountygirl and smudgepuge- Yep I did see these two also. They are making more of a 'cabin'. Someday I'll find out who this guy is....

    Bookmark   January 22, 2009 at 10:32PM
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ilmbg -

This guy is good with the little houses - not all are 500sqft, but he generally is considered one of the best designers for the "pocket neighborhood homes". His name is Ross Chapin. I linked to his site below. Hope this helps!

The Cottage Company (http://www.cottagecompany.com) is another good website to check out if you like small homes. They are/were in cahoots with Ross Chapin Architects in some fashion on a few of their projects. Not sure if they still are, but they are both very interesting.

I would so love to build a "Pocket Community" like they have, but getting financing for a project like this in today's market would be very difficult in our area. The old cliche' of "more is better" still outweighs practical and "less can be more" mentality. I think I could sell them out as quick as we could build them, if not quicker, but finding the right place to build them and having sewer & public water connections are must haves.

Seeing as you started this post and were intrigued by the idea, would you consider purchasing a home like this if you could find one in your area? I'd be curious to know.

Have a great weekend!

    Bookmark   January 31, 2009 at 6:44PM
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Those houses do look cute.

I, and the folks I work with, usually either spell the units out (square feet or sq ft) or else use a carrot "^" (the pointy thing above a 6) to note that something is to the power of. (we're a passel of engineers so it comes up a lot)

    Bookmark   February 1, 2009 at 9:42AM
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I wrote a long reply- then realized somehow my fingers had slipped, making me type a long reply on 'nothing'!
To answer your question if I would buy a small house like Chapin- the answer is YES! There would have to be some modifications, though. His houses are too 'gingerbready'. I prefer less 'stuff', and due to economics an overall simpler footplan. I like flatter rooflines- more 'mid-century-modern' look. As far as the amount of footage, yes, I can live in something small! Right now I have a 2,000ft2 home for sale- this is a bad time to sell though. I just took it off the market- it will go back on in May.
If a person were to build a small community of houses, I think they would sell fast, IF the seller/builder wasn't a greedy pig when selling! I have seen some houses in another state that were nice/cute- but the amount of money the builder wanted was outrageous!! They were 900-1000ft2, without yards put in. There wasn't any type of 'ammenities' as far as playgrounds, parks- that sort of thing. He wanted $150,000 for these houses and was mad that they were not selling. This is in a moderate area of the US- Missouri. I guess many people, including the city/county/ building board (whatever they were called), suggested to him that he was asking too much- especially for the amount of money he had put into the houses- they averaged $40,000-50,000 to actually build. He was pretty rude and demanding. Thought 'his houses are just as good as the xxx neighborhood- but the houses there were 1800ft average2. I bet he would have sold them all right away- so many people were interested in them until they found out the prices. These houses were much more plain than Chapin- only very average-lower quality of materials.
I think many people would downsize- it is just too much work, money time. Not everyone is wanting to see how 'big is better' is- they aren't trying to prove to other people that 'I have more than you do attitude'.
Are you thinking about building a smaller community?
PS- Also- I think it would have to be in the right location....just me thinking out loud, but people who really want to seriously downsize, also want to be more careful how they use the earth's resources- they want to bike/walk to the grocery store/bank/library. A simple commute to work. Things like that are just as important as the house.
I have a friend in Florida who just built a new home- it is 700-something ft- very simple, but with above average construction/appliances/masonrywork. She scoured some of the 'parts' locations- found an old HUGE mahogany front door for $300- it had to be refinished, which she did herself. She granit countertop that didn't work out for whoever had it made at a fraction of the cost if she had it made for her. She did buy top of the line cabinets in the kitchen. She 'shopped' for all the things that made the 'look' of the house. It cost her about $30,000 for a beautiful home, in an older/nicer part of the city. She owns 2 more lots, amd wants to do the same thing in the future, but is worried about the type of people she would sell to, as she will live right next to them. She is afraid she will get a lesser class of person- because the cost of the house is less- she doesn't want any 'trashy' kinds of people, which might be a problem. I understand what she means.Sometimes less expensive house bring undesireable type people....

    Bookmark   February 13, 2009 at 1:41AM
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