Simplicity of Micro Homes
Micro homes are very small houses. They are extreme for some, but many find their simplicity refreshing and economical. They could serve as a primary home for one or two people, or they could serve as a vacation home or guest house. Many plans are available for building your own micro home, or pick your plan and hire a builder.
Micro homes, also known as tiny homes or mini homes, are very small houses, say 50 square feet to 500 square feet. They are designed to be highly efficient, taking concepts from boat living quarters where area is at a premium. Micro homes may be extreme, but they get at a point that is becoming more important to more people all the time. Our houses are too big. They are more status symbol than places of comfort, places to live.
Advantages & Disadvantages
Advantages of micro homes are that they are affordable, transportable, and green. Disadvantages are that they don’t offer a lot of storage space, or living space for that matter. It would be quite challenging to live in one with kids, even a slightly larger variety, and it is tough to have people over. Parties are outside only.
Micro Homes Are Green
Imagine how little you could make your environmental footprint by living in a micro home. It is less area to heat and cool and less area to keep stuff so you would buy less and throw away less. It uses less electricity because there is less area to light and fewer appliances to power. You may still need a storage unit or major purging to get to a point where you are not overwhelmed with stuff in your little home.
Uses for Micro Homes
Living in a micro home is a great exercise in simplification. Even if you wouldn’t live in one every day, a micro home could make a good vacation home. Do you have some land and want to build a cabin on it? Maybe a micro home would fit the bill. Living in a micro home may be rough, but it is less “roughing it” than camping. Do you have a small home with a small lot and want a guesthouse out back? Maybe a micro home would give your guests a good place to stay overnight. Of course, check with local codes and regulations before you put one up in your back yard.
How to Get One
If you want a micro home, you have several options. You can design and build it yourself or build it yourself from plans that you buy. There are also companies who will send a contractor out to build a micro home you choose from their plan inventory.
If you want to build a micro home yourself and have construction experience, there are many plans available to walk you through it. If you have a little construction experience but not a lot, you still may be able to pull it off with the right guides and a lot of perseverance. Some plans are available as physical books and drawings. Others are available as eBooks.
Image: RowdyKittens / Flickr.com
Prefab Micro Homes
If you aren’t up for a lot of construction you may want to go the prefab route or get a mini home kit with clear, simple instructions. Prefab homes are not necessarily micro homes, but many micro homes are prefabricated. Prefabricated homes are gaining popularity. They require less labor and are generally less expensive than standard homes. Prefab homes are premanufactured (or prefabricated) off-site and shipped in pieces. In the US, premanufactured homes are typically mobile homes, which have a stigma about them, but prefab homes are not limited to “trailer parks” or low income neighborhoods. Many are designed by architects and have a simple, sleek look. However, not all neighborhoods allow prefab homes, so double-check before you start planning.
Micro Home Builders
Another option is to hire a builder to construct a mini house for you. Several companies have several designs to choose from and local contractors to build it. If you do choose to go with a builder, make sure they are licensed and insured and look at their previous work if possible before hiring them. It wouldn’t hurt to get several different quotes from different companies before committing to one.