Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Small House Building

by Blueberry Beeton

The trend toward smaller houses continues to increase in scale and scope. It does not seem to matter whether it is a single family home, a second home or a camp. Homeowners, owner builders, designers and architects, are seeking smaller and more efficiently designed spaces.

One of our favorite techniques for helping students prepare for a project is to have them build a small structure on their property. This exercise provides two benefits: the experience and the end product! It offers you the opportunity to test your project planning and construction skills on a small and manageable scale; giving you the opportunity to identify which parts of the project you enjoy and are good at doing. You may fall in love with the simplicity of plumbing or enjoy running your own electricity or perhaps you will find that you hate trim detail or love it. In the end you are left with a great small structure that you can use to store tools and supplies as you are building or having the full-size structure built!

Many of the inquiries we have from clients and students are from people interested in downsizing in order to simplify their lives, reduce their carbon footprint and overall expenses. Whatever the reason, small often makes sense. We will be posting a series of articles and photos of small house building projects that we have designed, built or perhaps simply inspired. If you have a project that you would like us to share with the Shelter Institute Community, please email a description and any photos to

Featured here are photos from our last
Small Housebuilding Class in which students came from all over the country. They learned about design, construction planning, construction skills and techniques. And they had the opportunity to put there hands to use and to test and hone their skills. Visit http://www.shelterinstitute.com/ to learn more about the various classes, books and tools available to build your next project, large or small!