Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Countdown to Eternity

Good afternoon faithful blog followers! We want to let you know about some changes at the old istockhouseplans homestead. For a while we changed our checkout system to Paypal, but their inability to offer coupons sent us back to Google Checkout. With Google Checkout you can confidently purchase house plans from us knowing that we will never, ever see your credit card number. Now, whether or not you trust Google is a different story. We have also implemented a shopping cart feature which is one of the reasons we went with Paypal for a while. Sort of annoying to order a whole load of plans one at a time.

This calls for a celebration! In order to move some inventory by the end of the year, we are offering a coupon code for 50% off your order. Yes, half off everything in the store, right down to the fixtures and CFL lightbulbs. (Okay, no lightbulbs, apparently we aren't closing our doors). After you fill your cart up with all sorts of goodies, enter coupon code '2009' to take advantage of this offer.

Why buy from us? Three reasons: Our plans are simple to build; our plans are beautiful and functional; our plans are designed for energy efficiency.

After the end of the year, the rest of our coupons will still be available. (Hint: sort our blog posts by the 'coupon' label to see what else we might have). Of course if there are any questions or complaints, go ahead and email us and we'll try to give you the best customer service experience we possibly can.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Tiny Houses

Much like Don Ho, Jay Shafer likes to share about things tiny. Istockhouseplans recently had a chance to attend a Tumbleweed House Workshop and to meet Jay personally. Jay's desire to live in a 100sf home for the past decade led him to start drawing up and offering plans to the public. His homes range from 65 to 500+ square feet. Smaller homes from 65sf to 140sf are built on trailers and considered mobile homes. Jay did not start out as an architect or builder. His degree is in art which gives a very fresh right-brained look at the design and building process.

Our left brains have been inspired by meeting Jay and getting a feel for his process. While we have already added some tiny homes to our portfolio, expect to see more in the future. This is a big wave and we hope to steer some of it, not just ride it. For those of you who are not comfortable with tiny houses, consider them as well thought out, amenity rich accessory dwelling units, or whatever it is that you might call them. Just don't call them shacks or shanties.

What do you think, gentle reader? Could you live in a tiny house full time? Why or why not?

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Time to School You

With the start of school rapidly approaching, istockhouseplans wanted to be able to reach out to a larger audience than we previously had. We unveil to you our kids section, aimed at grade school students. The page currently has some fun activities. We plan to add educational sections shortly to teach kids about how houses are built. Yes, you can probably find these resources elsewhere, but we will go so far as to explain advanced framing techniques to kids. At some point we'd like to create short videos explaining building science.

But for now you can download and print some activity sheets for your kids in pdf. There is also a website treasure hunt that will grow with time. If your kids have questions about the design and building processes of houses, let us know and we will be happy to answer them. We may even post the answers on a Kids FAQ.

Welcome back to school!