Conestoga Log Cabins and Homes Provide the Perfect Tiny Houses
When it comes to capitalizing on the ease and convenience of permanent tiny houses, Conestoga Log Cabins and Homes has all the answers.
By choosing a log-cabin kit, you allow our experienced team of engineers and building experts to deliver the ultimate tiny home. Here are the advantages of choosing a builder or kit with us:
- Unbeatable Value: We deliver long-term value by crafting durable, airtight, low-maintenance, code-compliant and weather-resistant homes. Each tiny home will not only last but will save you money on long-term maintenance and replacement costs.
- Built to Code: With our prefabricated kits, you can check off building-code concerns from your list of worries. We build our cabins and homes to meet the specifications of local municipalities, meaning your home will automatically pass inspection once complete.
- Customization Capabilities: While we specialize in finely tuned prefabricated kits, we are also known for our endless ability to customize based on the customer’s vision. This means crafting a home that makes the best use of space for your needs and lifestyle.
- Attractiveness: When building a home out of logs, you can be confident your house will be easy on the eyes. There is a timeless quality and charm to log homes that brings a sense of comfort and belonging.
Our Tiny House Options
While hunters and fishers have adopted many of our tiny kits, they are also much loved by tiny-house enthusiasts. Here are some of the tiny house options we have available:
- Outdoorsman Log Cabin: This 424-square-foot log cabin includes one full bedroom and one full bathroom, with a front porch and plenty of comfortable living space.
- Bear Creek Log Cabin: This 408-square-foot cabin is another spacious home with a full bedroom and bathroom plus a full front porch and high ceilings.
- Boulder Lodge Log Cabin: At 292 square feet, this cabin packs a full bedroom and bathroom with a comfortable, airy living space and is perfect for those looking to join the tiny house movement.
- Serenity Log Cabin: With 280 square feet of comfortable living space, the Serenity Log Cabin offers living space, a bedroom and a full bathroom along with a classic front porch.
About the Tiny House Trend
Tiny houses — that is, homes under 400 square feet — have sprinted past fad status and are now writing their own chapter in architectural history. Though the movement has been around for decades, it’s finally reached mainstream consciousness in the last few years.
Truth be told, the tiny house movement is a social revolution as much as an architectural one. As the average size of an American home increases at an inverse rate to family size, and as new generations grapple with current economic realities, the tiny house has come to represent several things.
Tiny houses stage a revolution against large houses as status symbols. They are a return to simplicity, partly in response to technology and an increasingly complex world. Tiny houses are also the ultimate adoption of the “less is more” doctrine.
Perhaps most importantly, they’re adorable and inviting in a way big homes cannot compete with. Big houses have their own brand of appeal, to be sure. But only a tiny home evokes that magical, childhood feeling of wanting to shrink down and explore miniature dwellings.
As with any revolution, there has been slight resistance. This resistance has come almost exclusively in the form of restrictive building codes, some of which seem to target tiny homes specifically. But these have not stopped people intent on making their tiny house dream a reality.
If the thought of living in an efficient, charming and economic tiny house appeals to you, then this article will help make it feasible. We will focus primarily on a combination of how to meet building codes and how to explore loopholes. We will also look at the benefits of permanent tiny houses versus mobile ones, where to build tiny houses and how to make them financially feasible.
What to Focus on With Tiny Houses and Building-Code Requirements
Building codes are the bottleneck of any tiny house venture. Though you won’t be able to bypass most of them, there are ways to meet code while still maintaining the tiny house feel that you’ve come to love.
Here are several building code restrictions you will need to focus on complying with:
1. Minimum Size
There is a common misconception that homes smaller than a specific minimum size do not need a permit or code conformity. While this is often true, there is one crucial caveat: You cannot live in such permit-less structures. Authorities define it as a residential dwelling if you place personal items in it, at which point it must conform to code or you can be forced to leave.
It’s worth noting that if the minimum size for a dwelling in your area is 400 square feet, for example, it may be worth it to build a home of that size. You will avoid lots of headaches with local regulations, and still have a small house to be proud of.
2. Minimum Room Size
The International Residential Code, or IRC, is a set of building codes many states defer to for their own codes. There used to be a requirement in the IRC that a home must include one room with 120 square feet or more, though this requirement has since been removed. Be sure to check your local building codes to see if there is a minimum required room size.
3. Minimum Ceiling Height
The IRC states that ceilings should usually be a minimum of 7 feet above the finished floor. Sticking to this guideline is advisable either way, as anything less than this restricts the lighting fixtures you can place on your ceiling and creates an overall cramped spatial feel.
4. Utility Requirements
This set of requirements will deal with heating, cooling, gas, electrical and plumbing systems in your tiny house. These are important to follow because they have been put in place for your safety. Utility codes such as the distance between an outlet and the floor, the amount of ventilation required and other guidelines are essential to adhere to, regardless of home size.
5. Energy Codes
Energy codes are put in place to create cost-effective, energy-efficient homes that reduce pollution and capitalize on insulation and air sealing. These will vary significantly by location, with colder climates requiring more insulation than warmer ones. Again, it is essential to adhere to these to pass code.
Common Loopholes for Tiny Houses
While building codes may create some restrictions, some loopholes can alleviate their burden and still have a tiny house meet overall building codes. Utilizing these alternative building options can often make the difference between a tiny house coming to life or not, so make sure you explore them:
1. Find a friend willing to let you build your tiny house on their property.
Classic home ownership goes like this: You buy a property and take out a mortgage on a house, then pay that mortgage off for the next 15 to 30 years. However, in the era of tiny homes, people are getting a lot more creative with the routes they take to live in their own homes.
One excellent option is finding a friend who would be willing to have a tiny house on their property.
In this case, your tiny house would fall under the classification of an accessory dwelling unit, or ADU. An ADU is a tiny house — or even an additional set of rooms — on the same property as a primary dwelling. Different places will have different requirements for ADUs. The following are samples of potential rules:
- The property owner has to reside in one of the houses on the property.
- The ADU may or may not be rented out.
- Either a relative or a caretaker must live in the ADU.
- There is a minimum and maximum square footage for the ADU.
- Building codes apply.
- The owner of the property must also own the ADU.
- The ADU must match the primary home concerning architecture and design.
These rules vary between states and counties. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box. For all involved parties, you may be able to work something out with your friend in a way that benefits you both.
2. Live in your tiny house part-time.
Many places allow people to reside in their tiny houses for part of the year and not all of it. This is an excellent option for people who cannot find a way to move into their tiny houses year-round.
This also opens the door to using your tiny house as a vacation property or getaway. Look into rural areas within driving distance where you can buy a plot of land and build a tiny house. You can also put your tiny house on a rental site to begin earning passive income. This also serves as a way to broaden people’s appreciation for tiny houses by letting them stay in yours.
3. Look for land sharing opportunities through temporary urbanism.
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has coined the term “temporary urbanism” for situations in which a piece of land is not considered usable, and is therefore rented out to others for farming, residential or other purposes. An example of this might be a vacant lot in the middle of a city that is converted into an urban farm, or the front yard of an abandoned building too expensive to demolish but is used for other purposes.
This has provided tiny house owners with opportunities to build and live in their homes, even in urban environments. Repurposing urban landscapes for tiny houses is an especially interesting idea because it provides a considerable degree of visibility to tiny homes.
4. Look for a tiny-house village or community.
There is a growing movement of tiny-house villages, in which tiny house owners can build their own neighborhoods and communities amongst one another. Looking into one of these communities means not having to worry about fighting regulations, as well as plenty of assistance in how to avoid problems with inspectors.
5. Relocate to a city or town that has embraced tiny houses.
Some forward-thinking cities have opened their doors to tiny houses. However, one of the best ways to live in a tiny house may be moving just outside of a city, where zoning laws are less restrictive and land is not so scarce.
Permanent Versus Mobile Tiny Homes
The decision between permanent or mobile tiny house is an important consideration. While both have their benefits and limitations, permanent tiny homes offer better architectural freedom, weather resistance and adherence to building codes.
Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of each:
1. Permanent Tiny Homes
The pros of permanent tiny homes include:
- Freedom to Build Additions: Should you ever want to expand your tiny home to include a studio, office, extra bedroom or space for a growing family, a permanent home is the only option.
- Better Stability: Tiny homes on foundations are inherently more stable than tiny homes on wheels. This means the house does not move with every step, plus it also means better protection in the event of severe weather.
- Better Adherence to Code: A tiny house on a foundation will adhere to the building codes of whatever locality it is built.
- Regular Utilities: There is a lot to be said for using a standard toilet and having a fixed water source and electricity. One of the biggest perks of permanent tiny homes is its utility installations, with elements like protected water lines during cold weather. Having a foundation means not having to worry about cold air freezing your water lines during the winter.
- More Architectural Options: Without a foundation, it is not possible to build a two-story home or have a house much wider than 8 feet. A foundation allows you to build the house you want.
- Less Investment in Towability: Being able to tow a tiny house requires lots of engineering — a trailer, hitch, lights and extra structural support to hold the house up at highway speeds. A permanent foundation lets you put money into the house itself.
The cons of permanent tiny houses:
- Inability to Travel: The house itself cannot be transported, which is the main drawback of permanent tiny houses.
- Must Sell to Local Buyer: If you decide to sell the house, it must sell to a local buyer instead of someone who could merely tow the house away.
2. Mobile Tiny Homes
As with permanent tiny homes, there are pros to owning a mobile tiny home:
- Travel Flexibility: A tiny house on wheels provides the flexibility to travel the country with the home in-tow.
- Can Be Moved When Needed: If you are parked somewhere and suddenly need to move, it is as simple as starting your car. This comes in handy if you are only allowed to be in a specific place for a certain amount of time.
- Eye Candy: Mobile tiny houses are eye catchers going down the highway, unlike conventional RVs. You can expect to get some happy thumbs-up from fellow travelers.
Here are the cons of owning a mobile tiny house:
- Requires a Large Vehicle to Tow: You won’t be towing a tiny house with your Volvo station wagon — most tiny houses require either a half-ton or one-ton truck to tow. This will require purchasing a vehicle that may well double the investment need for the house itself.
- House Can Be Damaged in Transit: Towing a house down the highway means lots of wind, bumps, rattling, bug splatterings, dust and potential projectiles like gravel. This can do significant damage to a tiny house.
- Less Resistance to Severe Weather: Not being anchored into the ground means less safety in the event of storms, tornadoes, hurricanes and other high-wind events.
- Pipes Can Freeze: Pipes must run from the ground up into your house, meaning they are exposed in mobile tiny houses. This can lead to burst pipes in the wintertime.
- Decreased Stability: Stepping on the floor of a house on wheels can cause the whole structure to move.
- Reliance on Finding Septic and Water Services: You will need to find water and septic wherever you go, which often means staying in campgrounds — a bill that adds up quickly.
For more information, contact us today. We’re excited to help you explore and adopt the tiny house lifestyle.