Thursday, September 11, 2014

Buy a Tiny House Plan, or Design Your Own?

When I decided that I was going to build a tiny house, there was no question in my mind that I would design my own.  I never considered buying an existing one, and personalizing it, or purchasing an existing plan.  I suppose this is because I have experience managing construction projects and I am a very creative and innovative person.  (And even a patented inventor!  Yay me!)  I knew what it would take, up front, to make it happen and how to find materials and the people to help.

With that said, my build has already had its fair share of complications because I designed it myself.  (There was simply no way for me to know that ending the loft over the wheel fender would require a monster sized header.)  And, the good news is, it doesn’t have to be complicated for you.  There are some very good reasons to purchase plans from an already established builder.
Wall #4 goes up!
Reason #1

Someone has already blazed the trail for you -  Someone else has already worked out the kinks in the design and found a trailer that would support the design.   If you’re not “into” problem solving on a minute-by-minute basis, you might not want to consider designing your own.  Believe me when I tell you that building a house, even a tiny one, is an exhausting process.   Even if you’re not doing the work, the buck stops with you!  Relying on someone else’s design gives you some peace of mind that what you’re doing has already been done, and has been proven to work.

Reason #2

The material list is already done -  More than once, suppliers / sponsors have asked me for a list of my materials I would need.  For the most part, I have “winged it” and more than once I have ended up with the wrong materials or not enough materials.  I got a door that was framed for 2x6 and my house is framed with 2x4’s.  I forgot the headers, completely, and had to run around town finding them.  (they’re not a stock item for lumber yards or big box stores)  I was short a full case of construction adhesive and my framer had to go get it.  (Oops?)  When you pay someone for their design, your tiny house plan already comes with the complete material list and your trips to the hardware store will be drastically reduced.
Bracing for the rafters.
Reason #3

Practice makes perfect -  As you well know, the more you do something, the easier it gets.  Utilizing an existing design is like leveraging someone else’s learning curve.  They already figured out where to put the king studs, how high the windows should be (a subject which caused a lot of grief for me) how many electrical outlets you need, and how to minimize weight during the build.  If you’re not doing the work yourself, every one of your contractors will thank you for making their job easier! 

In a nutshell; If your idea of personalizing a space involved paint, fabric, finishes, and fixtures; buy a tiny house plan.  If you’re not prepared to field questions, solve problems, run around town at a moment’s notice, quell tempers, and resolve conflicts; buy a tiny house plan.
Complicated window framing scenario.
I didn’t.  But maybe I should have???
Nah.  :o)~




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