Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Houston, we have lift-off!

"Discovery to mission control: we have lift-off, all systems are a go and- hey I can see my house from here!"

You might discover the same sort of excitement in your new home. The Houston houseplan is online and available. Why Houston you may ask? Well sit right back and hear a tale- wait that's another story...

The city of Houston, TX held a design contest to create an innovative house that was 1500sf or under, 3 beds, 2 baths max, garage optional and could be built for under $99,000 in Houston (land not included). We downloaded all the particulars, started designing, and then forgot about the entry deadline. Ah well. But as we looked at our plan a revelation came to us. With a few tugs and tweaks we ended up with what we believe is the cheapest house with the biggest bang to be built in Houston or anywhere in the Gulf region for that matter.

Our plan is 24' x 48'. Windows and doors were placed next to studs to eliminate extra framing. The roof is a 7.5:12 pitch which nets a perfect length of 16' from ridge to eave. The porch roof at 4:12 is exactly 8' from ridge to eave. All attempts have been made to avoid interior wall lengths such as 4'-2" or 12'-5". The main trusses have a heel of 8" which means that a 4'x9' sheet of sheathing will fit from sill to rafters without needing to cut. It also allows for a full thickness of insulation all the way up to the edge of the house. If you'd rather hand-frame the roof, we provide that too. The house has been spec'ed with a slab foundation though others are available. We are pretty darn sure that because of our design, you won't need more than your pickup to haul away the construction waste. That's assuming that Bubba measured twice and cut once.

Since this house was designed for the Gulf region and since it should be a snap to build, we are offering a special deal to folks who are building for Katrina victims. If you are building within 50 miles of the coast and would like to purchase for multiple buildings, we will give you much deeper discounts than would be available for our other plans. This offer is only for a limited time (meaning we will honor it until the Gulf region is built back up to a reasonable level and nobody buys this plan anymore).

That's one great house for man, one large rebuilding effort for mankind.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Non-profit donation opportunity

Time seems to fly quickly, checklists remain unchecked and the world goes crazier. If you tried using our search engine lately, you may have noticed the big 404 on your screen. This little inconvenience has been fixed. Apparently our database host changed the name of their URL. Don't you just hate change?

We would also like to announce a special deal through June. We are partnering with a church group that will be traveling to Mexico to work with a school for two weeks. The city of Morelia Mexico has donated land to the school and this group will be working on building projects. There is a tentative 50 people signed up and they need to purchase airfare, lodging, meals, etc for their trip. So for a limited time, istockhouseplans will donate 100% of its profits to send these folks to Mexico to build a school. Typo? No, that was one hundred percent of the profits. Are we crazy? Sometimes, but that's another story. All coupon codes are still applicable and we will still make deals on multi-plan orders. How can we afford 100%? If you remember, this is our moonlighting gig and our fun money for now. As it sprouts like a beanstalk we will work into making it our full-time jobs.

Why do we like building in Mexico? It's cheap. It's warm year-round. Mexicans are quite ingenious. No OSHA. No lawsuits. Bribery is legal and encouraged. Tacos, Beer, etc, etc.

We look forward to your orders. So does Mexico. Adios Muchachos.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year from your friends at istockhouseplans.com! We've been brainstorming and revamping here around the non-office and have some interesting new ideas for the new year. Stay tuned to subsequent posts for details. For the time being, here are our current projects:
  • Add slab and basement foundations to as many plans as possible;
  • Finish and release the Creston, inspiration for our courtyard project;
  • Create 3-D renderings for our front elevations rather than flat CAD;
  • Have a garage option for the Belmont series of plans;
  • Fine tune and release half a dozen other plans in the hopper.
We'd like to tell you that we took the break to finish up some plans, but we can't. So we won't. Instead we all took a break and spent time with our friends and family. We started working with our builder friend again to develop three more versions of the Edgewood plan including a duplex. These should be done by the next update. Don't forget to try our search engine beta and give us feedback.

One last piece of info we picked up through the grapevine. Apparently home sales in the Northwest region where we are located have not been so drastic as the media would like us to believe. Talking to our builder friend and several real estate agents, we discovered that homes are still selling at a notable rate. Time on the market is only 2 weeks more than this time last year. The biggest factor contributing is that folks are uncertain as to whether they want to buy right now if it means trying to sell their home. The media has done a disservice to the populace by leading us to believe that the end of the world is near. In reality the housing decline is not affecting every corner of the country.

May your homes sell quickly and may your resolutions last into February. Istockhouseplans will see you in a couple of weeks.