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Local Architect with 240sf home

Posted by columbiasc (veronative@aol.com) on
Fri, Jul 2, 10 at 9:55

A few months ago I drove past a small cluster of small houses near the University of SC. I finally worked up the nerve to try to make contact with the occupants so I mailed a letter to three of them. Two have answered and wouldn't you know it, two are architects! One of them has a webpage dedicated to his small home but it has never come up in any of the online searches I have done under various keywords.

We have chatted via email and he is definately one of us. We will be meeting in person soon to discuss our common interest in living small. Check out his link. This is my first try at link posting, hope it works!

Scott

Here is a link that might be useful: Jeff's Very Small House


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Local Architect with 240sf home

Fascinating, but I wish he had more interior pics on his site. Particularly interesting in an area like SC, since the South, having plenty of land (unlike many major urban areas, for example), doesn't often inspire this kind of thinking.


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RE: Local Architect with 240sf home

Will do


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RE: Local Architect with 240sf home

That's neat. I like his idea that a house is not where we live but where we do things where we need safety, like bathing and sleeping. Course, here, I also need a house to escape the heat.


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RE: Local Architect with 240sf home

Mileybam, I'm wondering if you are not the person who has an interest in TABLES? My antenna are giving me an alert alert alert.

Yep, THE TABLE GUY REGISTERED AGAIN WITH A DIFFERENT NAME WHICH IS APPARENTLY DISPOSABLE IDENTITY, TOUTING TABLES AGAIN.
FRIENDS, BE SURE NEVER TO CLICK ANY LINKS GIVEN BY THIS PERSON.

THE PURPOSE OF SUCH A SCAM IS BEYOND ME. HOWEVER, I DO BELIEVE THEY DO NOT SPEAK ENGLISH AND HAVE ONLY A LIMITED RANGE OF ENGLISH WORDS IN THEIR VOCABULARIES. AND WHY DO THEY HAUNT THE SMALL HOMES FORUM? WHAT DID WE DO TO DESERVE THIS?

A POX ON YOUR TABLES.


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RE: Local Architect with 240sf home

Good catch ML. See profile.


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RE: Local Architect with 240sf home

Not to mention it takes away from the focus of my post. I was trying to bring light to a like minded person and now I feel cheated by this Table Guy. Needless to say, regardless of how interesting future comments relating to VerySmallHouse are, few people will read past these first posts, they will quickly loose interest. Poor Jeff gets overshadowed.

Scott


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RE: Local Architect with 240sf home

Well, Scott, I can only say you aren't the only one this has happened to.

Folks, why not just report spammers, especially when they don't even spam? Then the thread still makes sense when their posts are removed.


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RE: Local Architect with 240sf home

How is it done on GWeb?
This thread is one I am very interested in, and sent the link to Jeff's website to my nephew who is involved with Katrina Cottages.

Do not despair, Scott. Jeff will have his day and then some.


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RE: Local Architect with 240sf home

#1. Scott loved the website. I do think it's too small to live in BUT college kids live in dorm rooms and their are plenty of Studio apartments in NYC that are small so who knows.

#2. moccasin WOW you have good gut feelings, huh? Amazing to spot table spammers. too funny.


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OH I had not come this far when I posted to the other table thread. GGGRRRR I will report this. I think they can remove a post but just in case save all of this and post it again leaving out the table guy's post. Just change the title a little. Like Jeff's house or something we know to look for.

I think his house is just darling. My only problem is I have too many hobbies and need room for them in my house. We do have a tiny house next door that two ladies lived in. It is a little larger then Jeff's but not by much. Will post a link to it. And any one suffering from the heat will enjoy the snow in the picture.

I did not have enough time this morning to deep read Jeff's website and will be going back to it. I too wish there were more interior pictures.

Chris

Here is a link that might be useful: Neighbors tiny house. Not used any longer. No plumbing to it either.


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RE: Local Architect with 240sf home

ML, down at the very bottom of the page you will see a link that says Contact Us, and when you click on it "Abuse of Our Forums" is one of the options. It works pretty well, usually.


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RE: Local Architect with 240sf home

Chris, that little house is so cute! I don't suppose you have any interior pictures?

btw, the last time I reported table guy's posts, all the posts related to it disappeared too - like someone telling him not to post, that sort of thing.


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RE: Local Architect with 240sf home

Jeff's place is probably too small for the majority of us but keep in mind that he calls it Basic Personal Shelter which I think is a dead on description. I was a fan of Small Space Big Style when HGTV had that on the air and they featured several apartments in this size range but this is definately the first time I have seen a detached dwelling this small. I still thinks it's cool and could be workable for one person. Let's face it, it's a whole lot more practical than Jay Shaffer's prototype. At least Jeff doesn't have to do his business in a trash can!

If Jeff can effectively live this way, then maybe other people can draw from his experience and consider 800, 900 or 1,000 square feet as viable instead of 2,000 or 2,400.

Just as our cars are going to have to shrink in order to meet future CAFE standards, I think our homes are going to have to shrink to endure the coming increases in energy costs, inflation, interest rate increases and tax increases from every angle, city, county, state and federal. They are all broke and getting broker and the only way most can envision getting out of that situation is more taxes. What is the old saying? "You can own your life or rent your lifestyle." Less really is more.

Scott

Scott


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RE: Local Architect with 240sf home

We lived for three years in an amazingly comfortable 840 SQ FT.log cabin. not the one we built. I was thinking it was 800 but I forget until I actually laid out the plan on paper.

It was two bedroom one bath and each bedroom was 12 by 12 Yep that is right and each had a walk in closet of 4 by 6.

The living room was 16 by 20 and the kitchen was 10 by 10. The living room and kitchen were open to each other with an arch about 6 foot or so wide.

The house felt spacious. I had the dinning room in the corner of the living room but it was only a small table and chairs. It would have gone in the kitchen but it made it feel too tight for me.

The plumbing was added AFTER the build of the house by many years and I believe the bathroom was stuck into what had been a large pantry.I would have liked a bigger bath as this bath was the bare minimum. I really did not care for it but it worked. Most of the time and not going there. Heheheh :^(

There was a bunk house built on the back side of the garage such as it was. So I used it for storage. There was a well house with basement, about 5 by 8, I used to keep my canned goods, in jars, in.And this tiny place was stuck in the middle of 100 acres with a mile of the Salmon river running through it. Was a wonderful place. Back side surrounded by forest service then BLM for 15 miles.

Makes me smile to think of the great times fur babies and I had trekking around. Try to picture a dog and kitties a goat and calf all going for walks . All free running. Dang it was a fun time. Sometimes I rode the little mule or took the donkey too. He loved it. No one needed ropes they all came when called and followed.

I would be more than happy to draw out this plan if any one is interested it really was a great use of space. The only change would have been the bathroom. That was not good. It did have shower over tub and a linen closet but you had to fight to get into it and close the door. Or out.

Chris


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Shades, the 840 sq foot house you describe sounds just like our present house, except there were NO walkin closets. It won't grow by much--just 80 sq ft for the closet/tub bumpout, and then 100 added to the a/c area when we enclosed the sunporch. And then 84 more sq feet of the back porch, already enclosed but not incorporated into the kitchen yet. So about 1050 sq feet will be the final size of this little stucco cottage.

I mentioned that my nephew is interested in the small Katrina cottages, so I sent him the link to Jeff's site. The Katrinas are usually clustered on a couple of lots so there is a family compound feel to them. Maybe a communal garage-workshop-storage-laundry area. So a young couple can have the parent in a nearby cottage, or a couple of siblings each have a private house...which is the personal space concept.

There were a couple of design contests/competitions with the objective of improving housing for disaster areas, yet not have it be temporary in nature. I like the idea of it.
And it reminds me of the Seaside FL community developed along Hwy 98 in SantaRosa County FL. It was/is lovely, but it primarily is a community of second homes for folks from Atlanta, Memphis, and other inland cities, who want a piece of the beach action.

Again, the comments about the changing nature of the sleepy communities we enjoyed growing up, and how irrevocably they have changed, because MONEY TALKS. And the "locals" very often cannot hold on to the land when developers start flashing money around. What is the balance point?
That is why I advocate the gradual restoration of barrier islands to their natural state. Insurance companies ought to love that idea, because what the sea builds the sea also destroys, and the islands are there protecting the main coastline. I won't preach on that any more, but I think others here have much the same philosophy as preservationists of our coastal lifestyles.


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The 840 was such a simple little cabin. It was built during the war as when we had to repair flooring in it there were war newspapers over the sub floor under the vinyl. It really was amazing how big that little house lived.

Chris


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Chris, I'd like to see a floor plan of it sometime when you feel like drawing it out.


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Marti this is about as good as I can do. I am not great with paint. You will get the idea.

Scott I did not catch any cost to these small houses. I think there is some really great things with this and if not too expensive those communities of them would really be great for families. Wonder how they would be zoned? Mini Subdivision or?? Sort of like detached studio apartments. This is so neat. I think the guy is really on to something.

Agree it could be too small for many of us. But after the flood we were considering living in a shed. Then we were offered houses. But the feeling of total loss when all is gone anything looks good and something like this would have been wonderful for us. There are so many people that have been displaced by the economy and natural disasters.

And again the place is so nice looking. Some of the lots here in town are 50 by 100 and even 25 by 100 and something like this would be great on one of those.

Chris

Here is a link that might be useful: Floor plan


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I wrote a lengthy reply to this thread the other day, and it got lost! I'll try again.

Small homes are fascinating to me, not only because we are on a desperately tight budget, but because I think they are actually better in many ways. I read somewhere that 500 sq ft per person works well, and that does seem to be about right. Our first house in FL was 800 sq ft, and it was fine for two of us. It had an over-size garage and a big back porch. Coupled with FL's year-round nice weather, it was very livable. The same thing in the Great White North might bring on a bit of cabin fever!

I think people living together need to have a way to get away from each other from time to time. Some kind of space that is your own. That would be very hard to do in a tiny house, although a loft would help.

One snag with tiny houses is zoning and building codes. Many of the things you see in tiny houses (and old houses) simply aren't legal in much of the country these days. Many communities have 'anti-shack' laws which flat-out eliminate the tiny houses. Many of the properties we looked at in SC had minimum square footage requirements; one lot required 2400 sq ft minimum! Stairs, my nemesis, are very tricky in small houses. That cute little winding staircase in that old house is way out of code. In my mother's old house, the rise was greater than the run! It was almost ladder-like. Even a loft ladder is taboo unless the loft is designated 'storage'. A really easy way around all this is to build your tiny on a trailer, in which case it is no longer a dwelling. Of course many places won't let you park a trailer on your lot, either. Aaaarrrggghhh! I'm SO tired of being told what is good for me!

In designing our future house, I've added two luxuries- a second bathroom, and stairs. We will have a walk-out basement, so stairs are a necessity. Yes, you could enter the basement from outside, but that doesn't make much sense. I also will not put the laundry in the basement- too many stairs to run up and down in our old age. If we take the 500 sq ft per person rule, and add the 2nd bath, the stairs, and a main floor laundry, it keeps coming up 1200 sq ft- exactly what I keep hitting in my house designs. I've shrunk plans down to 800 sq ft or so, but always wind up giving up things. In the final analysis, every house needs the expensive stuff- land, water, septic, kitchen, bath, heat and A/C, windows. Once those things are paid for, a few hundred extra sq ft is pretty cheap.

Living in a tiny house permanently would require a huge paradigm shift for most people. You would have to get rid of all of your stuff. Buying, building, or renting storage space kind of negates the whole tiny house ideal. If we are forced by finances to build a much smaller house, I'm going to build several small outbuildings for various activities, and only heat them when in use. My wife would love a tiny 'Sewing House', and I could practice trumpet til my heart's content in the 'Music Cabin'. These would be small enough to be classed 'sheds' to the zoning folk, and luckily I have plenty of room for this scenario. Regardless of what we build, the barn will be first, and 1/3 of it will be closed off and set up as a summer living room, with A/C, paneling, and windows. That will give us a great room for a crowd, and we don't have to heat it when not in use.

As you can see, I could go on and on about this stuff!


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Jay, Are you saying your house will 1200 SQ FT with also a basement of 1200 SQ FT? Or are you going to have 600 SQ FT up and 600 SQ down?

When going back through old post the other night I saw when we had first moved in here and I said this house was 1378 SQ FT. Made me have to figure it all out again and YES we do have 1378 instead of the 1300 I have been saying lately. Blame it on old age. Still it is only about 90 SQ FT bigger than our last house but lives so much larger.

I think it all has to do with the lay out. Both houses have three bed 2 bath. The kitchens and living rooms are close to the same size. We were pretty much confined to a floor plan choosing this model but we were allowed stretches and modifications to the windows.

I hope when Scott's Jeff does come in to the board he can add some more pictures for us to see how his spaces relate to each other.

I know I have read our zoning ordinance backwards and forwards and I do not believe we have anything about size of house other than a manufactured home has to be at least a certain size.8 by 30 foot comes to mind but not positive on that. I will look it up. Now a days they do make those tiny manufactured homes. I think they would be allowed but need to read the code to be sure. Will glance through that part when I go into the office tomorrow. I think it would be so totally wrong to have that kind of restriction.

Our largest problem here is the flood plain and there are government restrictions on building in a flood plain. The city had to adopt a NFIP ordinance and they tell you to do as you choose for your city but then go over and over it with fine tooth comb making heavy suggestions on what NEEDS to be in it.Or else kind of thing.

I did have a couple of neighbors comment to us about us putting in a manufactured home. Well now a days these things are not cheep and this place looks a whole lot better than many of the houses in town.

Chris


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If I go with a full basement, it would be 1200 Sq ft on the main floor, and 1200 sq ft in the basement, totaling 2400 sq ft, assuming I finished the basement. If I build the cross gable design, I may just put crawl space under the two wings that form the living room and master bedroom. There's no plumbing in either of those, so a crawl space would work fine. That would put the actual basement around 750 sq ft or so. I don't plan on finishing the basement; it will be more for storage and maybe a workshop. I wouldn't even bother with a basement if the lot were level, but with the slope we have, a walk-out basement is ideal, and very cheap added square footage. It doesn't count for tax purposes unless it's finished and heated.

For some reason, when I design a plain rectangular house, I can get a lot more into it, and it would be cheaper and easier to build. That may ultimately be the avenue I take, adding details to dress up the appearance, and being happy to have a plain house instead of no house at all. I've been studying building codes all day, and they've added some things that go into effect Jan 1, 2011. I need to call to find out about the new codes. I'm wondering if i get my permit before the change, do I have to meet the old standard, or the new one?


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Jeff's small home is cute, and looks very doable for one person.

I agree with Jay about it not being allowed to be built in some areas, our area is one of them. It sure would be easy to clean, cool or heat.

FlowerLady


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I do not think there is much of a restriction here. I remember reading something about minimum width was 8 foot and maybe 30 long. Now I am not even sure where I saw that. Might be in the city code book. I will have to look. This would be just the size of Jeff's house. Actually that would be too small for me but do able.

you all wanna swoon. Hope it is all right to post this link. It is from Craigs list. This is an adorable small cabin. Actually not all that small. So cute but no running water. Not sure I could do that one.

Disclaimer. This is not my cabin I have nothing to do with this add. I just thought you all would enjoy seeing how cute it is. What I always picture a get away cabin being.

Here is a link that might be useful: Cabin


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Chris, I like your house plan, thanks for drawing it. It really is efficient. I just hate wasted space and I can see where that would live well. If the bathroom could be tweaked a bit to have access from one bedroom too, it would be just perfect.


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Marti I thought lots about that bath and decided it would have worked to line it up with the end of the two closets. THEN the space the batroom took up would be in the kitchen. The corner in the living room where the bath would take out was where I put our kitchen table anyway. So switch space for space. Then both bedrooms would be easily using the bath. Still would have been tiny. I think it would end up about the size of our small guest bath here. Hey if it works it works for me. But it was impossible to get under that house so I know why they put the bath room where they did.It was a log house built on rock foundation.During the war. WWII there was an old two hole out house with a buggy seat for the seat. Dang it was cute. And still operable if you were willing to share it with the rattlers and NO I was NOT!!! That house had more rattle snakes than you could shake a stick at. I loved winter as it was the only time you were totally safe from them.

Chris


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I love the inspiration all have living small. There are times I want to live a bit larger, but then get over it. It is usually when I just need to clean house and put stuff away.

Most with larger homes aren't using the space wisely as it is. Or there are rooms never used. Both of which none of us can let happen in small.

Chris, your pic of the little cabin reminded me of a conversation my kids and I often have. We have thought so many times that the future is going to be tough for all financially. We want to buy some land, build one room cabins with amenities) and have a main house with a large kitchen and livingroom. Gardens and room for all the family animals. Guess this is called a compound and the hippies would love me.

I can not-not look at old motels and think how they could be remodeled to do something like this. Mostly in old small towns. We would have to live in the mountains to get away with a compound plan or an unincorporated area. There is still a lot of land around here that fits. The family would be together, each have their own place and another way to save income or at least not have to spend it on separate homes.

The chance of building a small home is as you mentioned. I would never be allowed to build my 1100 sq ft anywhere in town. They do have homes this small in some builders areas, but I hate HOAs and just won't do it anymore.

Habitat for Humanity has their own neighborhood and HOAs with teeny houses. Some are only 2 bedrooms. They are all designed well and the area is darling. Here it sits between some very large homes, but you have to look quick to know the Habitat homes are even there.

Chris could answer this better than I can. With getting permits I would think they would opt in on new codes when they happen. Unless you get approval for design on "everything" before the dates change. And I would get it in writing that they will not change anything approved on paper.


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