Small Home Plans

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by BCR, Aug 8, 2004.

  1. BCR

    BCR Well-Known Member

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    Due to some fast occurring changes, my partner's mother is considering building a small house on our property to live in and then leave to us. She is very independent and healthy now. We may have to move her quickly, but if it all happens, may need a home ready in as little as 9-12 months (or she could live-in as it was finished). We are considering roughly 1000 sq. feet. Though we often thought of building a smaller home than our current three-story deal for our future here, this is all a bit fast.

    Where would it disturb the eye the least and have access to city water....or should we drill a well (there is lots of water here) and what about electric poles....should we go solar for the new house like we always wanted to.....do we deed property to her or just let her build with lifetime living rights like she wants? Should we consider alternative or conventional? I think she'd prefer to have a garage. We might pay part of the costs if there is something we want that she doesn't, but otherwise, except that she is careful with money, money ought not to be an issue. We can't build it ourselves as we don't have the skills/tools/time.

    So as you see I have lots of questions. She may yet change her mind and decide to rent an apartment somewhere, though she generally does not like to throw away money as she puts it. I am to do some preliminary info gathering. I have requested lots of info from companies.

    I am asking for some general or specific advice. We will consult an attorney for agreements. We are unzoned here and building isn't an issue.

    Any terrific small house plan books that you like? Where would you put YOUR generally likable mil, close by or further back on the 20 acres at a deadend? Who do you recommend I call first on Monday...a contractor for house siting limitations, the attorney, the tax office?

    Just feeling a bit overwhelmed- emotionally as well as considering what this means to our land and our life. Please help me focus!
     
  2. Gercarson

    Gercarson Well-Known Member Supporter

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    http://www.countryplans.com/victoria.html

    My fave!!

    The rest would be up to how your MIL lives her life and what her own interests are. Does she like homestead life? Would she like to have chickens? Would she need a garage? Go really long range here and make this into a real home with all the accoutrements that you would want. Talk to your lawyer first get the nitty gritty and THEN call a contractor. Sure hope MIL is paying for this.
     

  3. Blu3duk

    Blu3duk Well-Known Member

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    Consider several aspects of the future house....
    1. if it is something you are gonna live in in the far future, then it needs to be in a place of YOUR chosing that will be appealing to you.

      ask the MIL what she is going to require the house to have, wheelchair access, # bedrooms, # of rooms period, garage. then figure the site out that will suit.

      ask MIL if off grid is alright, while it may be your dream to not pay a power bill, it may be frightening to someone who does not understand the concept of solar or alternative power.

      Well water is almost always preferred by anyone drinking such, it is nice to be on city water if it is available in a power failure situation, but agian it is an expense some prefer not to have

      think of your ideas for the current house in relationship to your in the future of occupying the new house, sale, gift to kids, rental....

      design of the new house should fit your future lifestyle, and all possible scenarios, such as if you are in a wheelchair, is off grid still going to work for you, how is an elderly citizen going to handle the daily tasks around the house and yard if mobility is limited in any way..... very few people consider these when building a house for the future. Is the garage you propose now able to be easily converted into another room without looking like a garage having been converted?

      Interview contractors just like any other person asking for a job, require several references, same with a well driller, or an excavator..... it takes a little more time, but in the end run it pays off.

      http://www.townandcountryplans.com/ has simple designs that could be expanded as you see fit from 240 sq feet to 700 sqft [all you ned to do is be able to envision a larger building line for more footage], a person needs to know what type/style they themselves prefer to live in no one can really tell them what to build, my wife told me yesterday that i wont be really happy until i build a house like i want it with what i want in it cause i have contracted house building and know what is wrong with certain design types and so called "custom" features. another design palce to search for exactly the type you want is http://www.coolhouseplans.com/index.htm

      In the end it is all gonna boil down to you and yours making the final okie dokie on what and where to build the new house.... as for having my mom-in-law close by, if I had to build her a house on the same 20 acres, it would be in a proximity that allowed the kids to run overto see her while mom is watching from the window, until they got out of site over the hill and granny could see them... but i still love my MIL she had the perfect daughter!
     
  4. shakeytails in KY

    shakeytails in KY Well-Known Member

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    This is my favorite site for small house plans-

    http://www.weinmaster.com/usa/index.htm

    We built a 24x24 apt on the back of our barn using ideas gleaned from this site. We did about 99% of the work ourselves and it cost under $15K to build.

    We used this system to heat it- inexpensive (about $800) and I can place furniture anywhere I want without baseboards getting in the way.

    http://www.radiantsystemsinc.com/controloptions.htm

    As far as where to site the house- that's up to you. I wouldn't want my MIL within several miles(nor would DH), but neither of us would mind my mother on our property- not in the same house, though!

    Call your attorney first, to see what options are best. A contractor can't do much without a set of plans.
     
  5. RAC

    RAC Guest

    Why not look into building a house with attached/detached MIL quarters, that later on, if she chooses to move to say, an active retirement outfit (like a Leisure World-type place later), you can rent it out, or it will be a nice thing to sell in future. Is it really important to have her "own" house, or would something connected by a breezeway but with a separate entrance fit the requirements. If you are planning to use it as a rental in future you will have to decide now as to separate meters for water, electric, etc., as well as seeing about a separate address for it (I don't know whether it is the county or the post office that approves of new addresses, especially, if a building was in place before--it is not simply a matter of 123 "A" or "B" such and such street).

    Make it handicap-friendly now, don't wait--very expensive and a pain to do later (just remember that handicap-friendly also means easy for children to get into things....).
     
  6. BCR

    BCR Well-Known Member

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    These are all helpful comments. We have had several long talks during her visit this weekend. Yes, she would pay for it. She would obviously benefit by having the land at no cost and free gas as well. We have a few lists and assignments before our next meeting. Mine is to check out 'real' house options, she is looking into mobile homes. I am also going to check on the cost of running city water up (over 100 yards) and cost of septic system and such. And of course, she is going to think and think to be certain this is something she wants to do-as opposed to renting or buying near the metro area she is currently in.

    We are all in agreement about accessibility. Even our large house was remodelled with accessibility in mind. We could live on one floor if needed, so we think about this. I sent for information from places like Deltec homes as well as Sunelco and such. I am going to meet with a friend of my sister's whose husband builds log homes as well.

    Shakeytails--I am impressed at your handiness! Bravo.

    There aren't any grandkids to think about visits that way. She keeps saying it would be what WE want and she could be comfortable anywhere. I insisted she might change her mind as soon as her money starts changing hands, but luckily we seem to be able to talk about all the details and our fears freely. Thanks for helping me think it through.
     
  7. Maura

    Maura Well-Known Member Supporter

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    We found the book, Building for a Lifetime, to be more useful than any other. Little things, like making the hallway six inches wider can make the difference between being able to use a walker and not being able to use a walker. How high should the counters be; what kind of windows are easiest to open, easiest to climb out of if you had to; the best height to put the electrical outlets; how adding two feet to the width of the bathroom can make it not only nicer but wheelchair accessible. I got some of my kitchen ideas from that book.

    If she/you will want to enter the house through the garage, it would make sense to have a foyer that enters into the garage as well as a front porch. 1000 square feet is really small. If it is built as a one bedroom, however, it will be pretty roomy. I would design it so that it would be easy to put an addition on (more bedrooms or office).

    We were very lucky with our builder, who did the framing and siding. He did not run several crews, but just him and two other guys. Everyone I know who worked with a builder working on more than one house, even with premades, promised the house would be finished in six months from the foundation pouring and took a year or more.