Saturday, April 7, 2007

Little Houses

A couple of years ago, I ran across the Tumbleweed Tiny House Company on the Internet. Jay Shafer is a young architect who is designing small (tiny) houses that are completely charming. A lot of their appeal comes from the proportions of his designs, which I think he nails. The houses caught my attention because they're like little follies. They also reminiscent of cottages on old Methodist summer campgrounds in the early 20th Century—little mini-me's of farmhouses and cottages.

At that point, a few years ago, I had just purchased my property in the Catskills and had become fascinated with the idea of a little house that wouldn't cost a lot to build. So, I purchased one of his plans for the largest house he had designed at the time—a 16'x16' cross gable design.

Jay has gotten a lot of attention since I first read about him. Last year I caught an episode of CBS Sunday Morning which had a segment on his ideas for living in small houses. His work has also gotten much more interesting and diverse. I think he's still living in his gypsy wagon-size house, but he's offering more variety and sizes in the architectural portfolios that he sells. Definitely worth checking out.

Renting a house in the Catskills for the past year, I've looked (and asked) around for builder recommendations. At a friend's dinner party last summer, I met a couple who had just built a house nearby. While it wasn't the same style of house I intend to build, I'd never heard anyone speak so highly of their builder. They put me in touch with Mark Barstow of Oak Tree Homes, and I couldn't be happier with how things are going. Granted, I had dreamed that I'd be building by now...but the inevitable wait (and planning time) over this past winter has been invaluable. I'm so ready to get this project going!

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