So you are thinking of starting to build your own house or small structure. Congrats!
“But how do I get started?” People always email me this question, and for good reason. So who wants to blindly dive into a crocodile-infected danger hole when building or designing a structure for the first time (or 50th time)? There are many things that go wrong, not to mention how long and how much it costs.
So this is a kind of cheat sheet that helps you feel ready to leap. After all, plunging into a project without deep reflection, daydreaming and planning can be one of the most costly mistakes to date. Please take it easy. Do it well. This is not a race.
Ready? This is a basic rundown. In no particular order.
Know Your Site
In addition to knowing if the construction of the property you are dealing with is permitted, make sure you understand the natural and/or legal restrictions of your site. Are there any wetlands that can’t be built nearby? Are there seasonal floods or floods in the area? Where does the sun’s arc pass, relative to where the building is placed and where the windows are placed (or not placed) to use it? and so on.
Downsize, Starting Now
If you plan to live in a small house full time, you’ll want to start reducing your property (that is, unless you want to save and spend a fortune on everything). Scale down is not something you do overnight. It’s personal, meticulous, difficult, and will take three times longer than you think.
Spread The Word
Tell each soul whom you care for and who can support your efforts. You will be amazed at the number of people who are eager to help, lend tools, and donate materials for your future home.
Go online, read books, look at blueprints and enjoy as many ideas and inspiration as you can before nailing your first board. Please take it easy. With the right planning, you can get what you need and reduce waste and mistakes.
Visit small rental homes (or as many homes as possible) or spend the night as part of your research. There is no better way to know what works and what doesn’t work than in a small house (especially for less visual people). Rent a place for a night or two (via Airbnb, for example) and you’ll have time to look around every aspect of your home. How does space flow? What will you change? Do you have enough storage space to meet your needs? Also, take a picture.
Identify Your Essentials
Find what you really need through your device and everything else. For example, knowing what you need to connect (and where you need to connect) gives you the time, money, effort, and anxiety of making an electrical plan and deciding where to add plugs. It also avoids the old nightmare of running an 8-foot extension cord throughout the room to connect the toaster. Not only is this unsightly, but it is also potentially dangerous.
Learn About Trailers
If you are planning to build a house on a wheel, get a basic knowledge of what to look for in a trailer. It is the foundation of your home and the foundation on which your time and money rest. Make sure it is correct. If you want to buy a second-hand trailer, check with someone who has experience. Make sure it’s safe and doesn’t cost 10 times more in the long run. There are plenty of blog posts, online discussion threads, and even a small homemade progress site-read as much as you can. This is the most important purchase for a cottage with wheels.
Take a picture of whatever you see that can inspire or enhance your construction. Photos can also help convey ideas to builders, hardware store clerks, or zoning personnel in some cases. In addition, you will get a visual note about what you like. To delve into the color scheme, certain do-it-yourself railings, how to make stairs, or the attic-less design of a small house you happen to see? take a picture. If you don’t, you’ll probably forget the details.
Consider A Tiny House Workshop
There are 7 trillion, but I recommend the one that you can actually make something with tools. There is no faster way to learn, network, and inspire than doing it directly with many small home designers and builders. Workshops are also a place to solve problems, rather than making costly mistakes in your own home. And they are so much fun! Make sure you are looking for a host with long experience not only in construction but also in small construction. It’s a very different ball game in some respects.
You need at least some background and basic experience with construction. If you don’t have the tools, get some essentials and complete one or two small projects before jumping into your home building. Construction is not rocket science, but it requires solid hands, a little skill, and patience, not to mention the right tools. Offer to jump into a friend’s house renovation project, help someone else’s cottage, or build at least some birdhouses and Adirondack chairs. Doing so will give you confidence and increase your chances of success in a much larger company.
Ask For Help
Tell yourself, “It’s good to ask for help.” This is not a boast that some people seem to be pretending to be. You don’t have to do everything yourself. Asking for help is perfectly fine and often safer.