Homeowner Lyndsey Lewis of Little House in Little Rock is back for the second installment of her ongoing blog series with At Home in Arkansas! We’re giving you the inside scoop on her journey of building a certified green home in Little Rock, from planning to building to interior design. Check our her first post here, and read on for today’s lesson on getting a green home game plan together.
Builder Bret Franks and me on ground-breaking day: August 22, 2011
Since I decided to build, many people have expressed excitement and interest in the project. Consequently, I have become accustomed to strange looks and interesting questions about my house. Commonly heard? “Wow, that’s really small… will you be able to live in there? Why don’t you just make the [kitchen, bedroom, etc.] larger? So it’s a âGreen Houseâ… what’s that supposed to mean?”
If you’re thinking of building a tiny home of your own, be prepared for both. Having a detailed and organized game plan will make it easy to shake off negative vibes that may come your way.
Planning is the longest and most crucial stage in building. I first toyed with the idea of building a Tumbleweed House in December of 2010, but almost nine months passed before I was actually ready to break ground in August of this year. It took time to figure out:
1) How much space do I need?
2) Who will build it?
3) Where will I build my house?
4) Who will finance my project?
5) What materials will I use?
It is really important to spend ample time planning how much space youâll need– doubly true in a small house. You have to think of every inch of the house and think, âWhat will I be doing in this spot?â
I also examined my belongings. I asked myself, âDo I need this? And if so, “Where should I put it?â This helped me to pare down my things while creating an organized living space. Keep in mind: form has to coincide with function in order to make small living work.
Next, it was time to find a builder. I researched the Arkansas Home Builders Association web site, read profiles online, talked to my friends, and finally sat down to chat with prospective contractors. In the end, the most important attribute in a builder is a shared vision.
Financing a small house can be tricky since the value of a home is based on comparing it to similar properties. (Good luck with that oneâ¦) So if you go to a bank for financing, be prepared for a hefty down payment. Many people, like this high school student building a Tumbleweed himself, choose to pay-as-they-build because of this.
Throughout all of these phases, I hunted and collected supplies for my home. I was seeking unique, beautiful, responsible materials. I found new, used, and (basically) âtrashâ goods that fit the bill. It took time, but I enjoyed the process.
Now that construction is underway, I have made most of my decisionsâ¦ which means less stress, less budget surprises, and more of getting the house I need.
Do you know the average height of a pair of shoes? Okay, if you answered yes, you either (a) really need to get out more or (b) must be building a 708 sq-ft house. After my period of personal inventory, I went about shedding my extraneous belongings. The final step was to simply measure what was left and make sure that I have a place for it in my house, with the help of Bret and Jen Franks. These are Jen’s drawings of my closet plan, completely customized to hold everything that I plan to store in it.
This wall sconce from Restoration Hardware will be used instead of a bedside lamp, saving space on a small night stand.
I found this magazine stand at an antique/flea market in El Dorado, AR. It will be used as my TV console in addition to a magazine rack. (In the background you can see other materials, etc. currently stored in my garage.)
These 5âx5â granite slabs were salvaged from a building being renovated in downtown Little Rock. Now they will serve as countertops in my kitchen.
This vintage phone niche was purchased at Fabulous Finds in Little Rock. Instead of housing a traditional phone, it will serve as a docking station for my iPhone, iPod, and Garmin watch.