Kelly and I currently live in a very small house and we have discovered that there are many advantages. Of course, it cost less to buy, and it uses less in the way of utilities. To our surprise, after decades of having separate offices, we are enjoying working in different parts of the same room, separated by a huge bookcase so we aren’t breathing down each other’s necks but we can quickly discuss something. (I’m the software geek, he’s the natural building expert).
Our friend Owen Geiger has been designing small houses, Kelly has recently been putting some of the plans up on his ecological house plans website, and Owen’s plans have already begun to sell. Links are at the end of this article.
I still find myself slightly astonished that so many people are now “getting it” about the need to live more in harmony with the earth. Yes, I know it’s also about the economic crisis, but for whatever complex mix of reasons, it’s heartening to see people beginning to change. The increased interest in small and ecological house plans is part of this.
Owen has been working on his house plans for years and now has put over 80 of them online. We used to live with Owen, in our earthbag house, and I grinned when I saw various details of that house filtered through Owen’s mind on the spiral house design (link in the list below). He’s designed for earthbags and for strawbale, and the designs can be modified.
Here’s a bit from Owen’s earthbag house plans site where he talks about the value of small houses:
As far as house size, I’ve tried to return to the sizes prevalent 50-100 years ago, when an 800 sq. ft. bungalow was perfectly satisfactory. People didn’t feel deprived or poor in these houses. In fact, 800 sq. ft. is spacious in comparison to many houses around the world. Our current attitude of larger is better needs to change to meet the reality of dwindling resources, lack of affordable housing and global climate change. Not only are small houses less expensive to build, they’re also easier to clean, and have lower utility and maintenance costs.
Many of the plans are up on my husband’s site dreamgreenhomes.com. To find all of Owen’s small house plans there, go to http://www.dreamgreenhomes.com/aboutus/profiles.htm
and scroll down to Owen’s profile.
While I was there, I snitched the code and here are Owen’s small house plans on that site now. (There likely will be more in the future.)
Earthbag Arc House
Earthbag Beach House
Earth-bermed Natural House
English Earthbag Cottage
Enviro Earthbag Dome
Shop with Office
Solar Ranch House
Solar Santa Fe
Spiral Earthbag House
Subterranean Survival Shelter
10 meter Earthbag Roundhouse
2-Story Earthbag Roundhouse
U-Shaped Earthbag House
Almost makes me want to build another little house! Almost.