Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Go Green, Go Small

The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (ODEQ) released a report today on an evaluation of waste prevention practices using life cycle analysis.  The report focused on 30 different measures and the impact they could have on our environment over a 70 year span.  We thought some of these measures might fare favorably.  Such include advanced framing, using salvaged materials, drywall clips, and other such resource efficient methods.  Of all the measures focused on though, the winners were smaller homes and multi-family living.  This would make sense since the measures we favored would tend to have more of a point of use impact whereas the clear winners would have more of a lifetime impact.  You can read the full report on ODEQ's website.

In this case, smaller home means 1149sf, half the size of the national average.  Istockhouseplans finds this rather exciting since our average designed house size is tending that direction.  We noted last December that average house size has peaked and is on the slide.  While not all the chips are falling immediately into the tiny house movement, it's encouraging to see the push this direction.  We hope that large home builders will be able to reduce their house sizes by using some of the techniques that the tiny house design community has put forth.  We will continue to work on our plans adding more 700sf and smaller plans as time allows.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


Istockhouseplans seems to be creating a middle ground of homes in our arsenal.  We have composed quite a little group of tiny homes, by our definition 600sf and less.  With such homes as the Albina and Albina A encroaching above that mark we are having to redefine what a tiny home really is.  Both of these examples are under 600sf but have non-legal loft space of 300sf.  One could define a tiny home on square footage alone.  Part of the problem here is when a tiny home gets a modification that increases it's size past the cutoff point.  Does it then suddenly become a standard sized single family home?  We would like our classifications to make sense but also be flexible without being unruly.  So perhaps we increase our benchmark but it becomes a game of chasing one's tail.  At some point a tiny home may be around 1000sf.  Do we then bring all the related models up to the standard set on account of the largest revision?

In the meantime we have increased our tiny home definition to 700sf if only to accommodate our latest design.  The Durham A is based off of the standard Durham, but with an attached 10x12 addition.  This brings this little 1 bed 1 bath accessory dwelling up to 696sf.  Why do you think we upped our maximum size?  We liked the original of this little beast but were inspired to increase it after playing with some LEGO bricks.  In fact, the picture on set 5477 looks similar to what we ended up building.  Our drawn plans have a little more precision than the plastic brick model.

Speaking of which, if you would like to commission a LEGO model of any of our homes that you are building, contact us and we'll talk about details.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

I Build House Plans

Well, not us specifically, but one of our house plans was recently purchased and is undergoing a bid process.  Samanns Construction is building the Lombard 1558-2 in Ambler, PA.  His website, http://www.203locustst.com is currently soliciting bids for every part of the construction process.  If you are able to conduct business in Ambler (north a bit of Philly), contact them to submit your bid.

Only two things disappoint us about this build.  The first is that they removed the bay windows, especially the inset bay in the dining room.  While we can understand the desire for an easy square build, it feels like the character is being removed.  Second, that they offer carpet in the basement as an upgrade.  This is almost always a sure-fire way to get mold unless you are meticulous about your specifications.  We bid you a sincere good luck.

Thanks for purchasing from Istockhouseplans and we look forward to seeing the final product!