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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My wife stumbled across this a few days back and thought it would be great for our hunt camp (otherwise known as our BOL)...

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3430063/Would-live-house-like-Architecture-students-try-solve-rural-housing-crisis-creating-affordable-homes-cost-just-20-000-build.html

You can potentially build a cabin/house on your BOL (or for your primary residence) for $20k...or $12k if you do it yourself. They say the total cost (not including land) is $12k for materials and $8k for labor.

I sent an email to the Director and did not get a response, so I called. They were more than willing to talk and answer any questions I had. They will release the plans late this year and evidently will have a straight forward materials list that you or your contractor can gather and they have made it as easy as possible to follow so you don't have to be a GC to figure it out.

The lady I spoke to said the students have put in 180,000 man hours into perfecting the design to make it strong, durable and very energy efficient. She said the only appliance included in the $20k price is a water heater.

I think this is an ideal project for a University as there is no way it would be economically feasible to have something like this come out of the private sector...

Other links from a quick google search:

http://www.ruralstudio.org/initiatives/20k-house

Some floorpans located toward the bottom of this page:

http://20khouse.ruralstudioblogs.org


Interested to hear any thoughts you may have.
 

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Tested in the Wilderness
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That is very interesting Mr. or Ms. Finance Genius. I liked the first link best since some nice pics are shown. Although that house does not look like it should cost $20,000 or even $12,000 if one does it yourself.
But I do know that building materials etc. are, what I think, Ridiculously expensive.

My plan is to keep building on my own almost 4 acres of remote Wyoming mtn land using logs, rocks, salvaged materials such as lumber and buying as inexpensively as possible such as buying materials on sale and even getting much at a Habitat for Humanity place in Greeley, CO where materials, especially paint, nails, windows are real cheap. Usually used except for the paint and caulking and such.

Showing a bit of an inside view, of what I have built using my own logs and some salvaged steel beams from an abandoned factory >



Two minute vid which is the only vid showing some of my new cabin >


The way I had to leave the new not even half built cabin which I hope to finish in the next year or two >



So far I have spent less than $400 and that was for the new camo tarps, nails, spikes, paint and other minor things.

But if anyone has or will build what you have shown in the first post of this thread then I would be interested in seeing how it works out.
I even might build something like it if I get some kind of inheritance in the not too distant future. I likely would add logs though for my own reasons.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Dang, Mike. You're hard core. Me not so much...I don't have the skills to build something like what you show with my own 2 hands. I can shoot lights out and grow food like crazy, but when it comes to building projects, I need a detailed manual, and even thats a stretch.

Even if I could build, there is something to be said for the efficiency and quality of a structure that has been refined over and over by a bunch of architect brainiacs. Without a professional, I would second guess whether my footers were strong enough, or whether my joists were to far apart and something would sag, whether my roof was strong enough, or even simple stuff like space planning.

I think an important part of being prepared is knowing your strengths and weaknesses and its obvious to me that your strength is one of my weaknesses.
 

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I helped a buddy with his 14x18 + partial loft a few months ago after he helped me with mine.

His total budget was under 5k, although he shopped HARD fir materisls.

I plan on a 500 ish sqft guest/hunting cabin down the hill in a few years, and see no reason it won't come in under $7k.

Under.


I'm still learning, but it's not rocket surgery...
 

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In Memory
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You should check into pole barn and/or post & bean kits.

Our BOL 32x60 bunk house was built from a pole barn kit.
It was a new kit a guy bought but never erected & stored 4 years.

In a divorce sale I bought it for about 22% of its original retail price.
Simply because I bargained hard & the guy needed the cash.

The nice thing about it was, once bare bones erected, it's weather tight.

You can then add plumbing, wiring, insulation, floor joists, floor, additional windows/doors, etc.

On your schedule, budget & at your leisure.

Shop around hard, patiently & sometimes you can find real deals.

For instance, I acquired the building below FOR FREE.
Was going to be demolished & all I had to do was move it.
Which I used the trailer I built to haul 3 cargo containers to our BOL to do so.



Also check the Gov.deals website often.
They sometimes have single, double & triple wide's for very low prices.
Biggest difficulty is finding a good one relatively NEAR your land.

EDIT TO ADD:
If you don't have the skills to erect a kit pole barn.
It's no big deal to find/hire a crew that will erect it for you.
They go up QUICK.
 

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My in laws purchased 12 acres for 12k and surprisingly there was good timber on it and after logging it, it pretty much paid for itself. I think they purchased a building from the Amish for 4K (200sq ft) and made it a nice getaway.

The Auburn students didn't solve anything IMO, cheap structural plans have been around forever.

I think the private sector already has more economically feasible plans. The http://www.ruralstudio.org website offers very little information or else I'd post some competitive rates to dog them.
 

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Dang, Mike. You're hard core. Me not so much...I don't have the skills to build something like what you show with my own 2 hands. I can shoot lights out and grow food like crazy, but when it comes to building projects, I need a detailed manual, and even thats a stretch.

Even if I could build, there is something to be said for the efficiency and quality of a structure that has been refined over and over by a bunch of architect brainiacs. Without a professional, I would second guess whether my footers were strong enough, or whether my joists were to far apart and something would sag, whether my roof was strong enough, or even simple stuff like space planning.

I think an important part of being prepared is knowing your strengths and weaknesses and its obvious to me that your strength is one of my weaknesses.
Thanks and I have been called hardcore, crude and worse. I like being called a hardcore survivalist since that might be what it takes someday especially If / when the S finally HTF. If possibly anyone doesn't know SHTF stands for Stuff Hits The Fan or whatever one thinks the S stands for.

But for the past year and possibly until late this summer I am Trapped here in this city of Greeley, CO. Mainly I have to take care of my old mom and dad who I am trying to get into a nursing home. Hopefully within the next few days.

My building "techniques" are definitely not for everyone and probably are Illegal in cities and most towns. Which is why I bought remote land in one of the last of the mostly still free states - Wyoming.
I just try to build without going into debt and spending a lot of money I do not have. I also try to build real strong buildings that won't collapse even under 20 feet of snowpack. Usually it is around ten feet of snowpack most winters up there.

Your plans as told about in your links in this thread are good for most, unless they must live on little money such as a few of us and a few billion people around the world.

The main reason I still post on the net is to show and hopefully prove that it Is possible to be able to do things, such as get preps, be a survivalist / prepper, without much money! Many don't seem to understand that, maybe because they are caught in the money trap or whatever one wishes to call it. The few who do truly understand people like me and what we "cheap" people do, then those few might try it and save quite a few dollars.

I Hate being in debt and have been for only 3 years since I graduated from high school in 1976. And that was to pay off my mtn land in Wyoming. I would hate to have to buy the over priced land in today's money obsessed world but if people at least Try to save money, such as buy much at garage and other sales and do not use credit cards etc. then I think anyway, that they are on the path to self-sufficiency and not being a slave to a bank, corporation, job etc.... and can live more free than most people can even imagine!
 

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Ok, I have seen the builds that other folks have made. My biggest question is, we don't have enough of one species of tree to build a complete home(log cabin), is it ok to use oak, pine, cedar and others I combination? I realize that some trees have a higher water content than others, is this a huge problem?
I am on a fairly limited budget, but know the basic build types, I watched my grandpa build his home, years ago, he used the rectangular sawmill cut wood, hand notched, chinked and pinned. Granted, our whole family had a hand in the process at some time, but his was not on a budget, as the State of NC purchased his entire estate for a new 4 lane. He made out well, already had a good bit of land in a much more remote locale. The build was completed quickly, with about 15 men each day.
He also had a forest of the same trees to choose from, unlike me.
Ideas, thoughts and concerns?
 

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Ok, I have seen the builds that other folks have made. My biggest question is, we don't have enough of one species of tree to build a complete home(log cabin), is it ok to use oak, pine, cedar and others I combination? I realize that some trees have a higher water content than others, is this a huge problem?
I am on a fairly limited budget, but know the basic build types, I watched my grandpa build his home, years ago, he used the rectangular sawmill cut wood, hand notched, chinked and pinned. Granted, our whole family had a hand in the process at some time, but his was not on a budget, as the State of NC purchased his entire estate for a new 4 lane. He made out well, already had a good bit of land in a much more remote locale. The build was completed quickly, with about 15 men each day.
He also had a forest of the same trees to choose from, unlike me.
Ideas, thoughts and concerns?
Just a quick comment then I really have to get offline.

I just use whatever I have available when building which most probably buy from a lumberyard. I buy some from a lumberyard but I use pine and spruce the most. I also have some balsam fir which is not the best or at least not as good to build with as pine or spruce but I simply use what I need. I do not have to worry about the water content since I use mainly dead trees that were beetle killed five and more years ago.

But hope it all works out for you and anyone who at least tries to build what they want and need.

I would not use trees with high water content such as green ones unless they have dried out, hopefully for about a year. Green trees can split / crack although I have never seen it on my mtn place since I use 99% or so dried out usually long dead trees. I am sure some others can answer you better especially about high water content.
 

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Ok, I have seen the builds that other folks have made. My biggest question is, we don't have enough of one species of tree to build a complete home(log cabin), is it ok to use oak, pine, cedar and others I combination? I realize that some trees have a higher water content than others, is this a huge problem?
I am on a fairly limited budget, but know the basic build types, I watched my grandpa build his home, years ago, he used the rectangular sawmill cut wood, hand notched, chinked and pinned. Granted, our whole family had a hand in the process at some time, but his was not on a budget, as the State of NC purchased his entire estate for a new 4 lane. He made out well, already had a good bit of land in a much more remote locale. The build was completed quickly, with about 15 men each day.
He also had a forest of the same trees to choose from, unlike me.
Ideas, thoughts and concerns?



Sounds like you should look into cord wood construction
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I Hate being in debt and have been for only 3 years since I graduated from high school in 1976. And that was to pay off my mtn land in Wyoming. I would hate to have to buy the over priced land in today's money obsessed world but if people at least Try to save money, such as buy much at garage and other sales and do not use credit cards etc. then I think anyway, that they are on the path to self-sufficiency and not being a slave to a bank, corporation, job etc.... and can live more free than most people can even imagine!
Couldn't agree more about debt. The wife and I are debt free except for the house and at 3% interest plus the write off, its (relatively) cheap livin.

While the "live as frugal as you can" philosophy works for me, she prefers something a bit more moderate and the thought of a smallish house at $12k is a nice compromise to know that she will enjoy being there with me and indulge my SHTF "fantasies." :)

Marriage = Compromise, and I am happy to compromise for her.
 

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The photos in the news article appear to be a modest house with steel siding, roofing, and built similar to post-frame construction.

I believe it is a very nice looking pole barn with a decking supported by block.

If you make the decking out of non combustable material, and it should be resistant to wildfires.
 

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Just a quick comment then I really have to get offline.

I just use whatever I have available when building which most probably buy from a lumberyard. I buy some from a lumberyard but I use pine and spruce the most. I also have some balsam fir which is not the best or at least not as good to build with as pine or spruce but I simply use what I need. I do not have to worry about the water content since I use mainly dead trees that were beetle killed five and more years ago.

But hope it all works out for you and anyone who at least tries to build what they want and need.

I would not use trees with high water content such as green ones unless they have dried out, hopefully for about a year. Green trees can split / crack although I have never seen it on my mtn place since I use 99% or so dried out usually long dead trees. I am sure some others can answer you better especially about high water content.

How about Cedar in SC? I am unsure which family it is. It has a Red heart, much lighter color around the heart and kinda stringy bark, unlike pine or spruce. I have 10 - 15 dead fall stuff that are pretty tall. I have to pull them out with a tractor and strip the bark, I know.
It smells great and looks great, it lasts above ground, but not in ground. My biggest concern is using "a mix of whatever".
 

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To make it clearer, the 20k Rural Studio House isn't just another way to build a house for a low cost. It's a completely different animal than a wood house.

Auburn University has been researching how to build a truly energy efficient house for cheap, utilizing scruplously researched techniques that they've been working on for years. It's super insulated and heats/cools with a mini-split system.

They say they'll be releasing instructions (it won't be blueprints) soon.
 

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Weed 'em and reap
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My wife stumbled across this a few days back and thought it would be great for our hunt camp (otherwise known as our BOL)...

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3430063/Would-live-house-like-Architecture-students-try-solve-rural-housing-crisis-creating-affordable-homes-cost-just-20-000-build.html

You can potentially build a cabin/house on your BOL (or for your primary residence) for $20k...or $12k if you do it yourself. They say the total cost (not including land) is $12k for materials and $8k for labor.

I sent an email to the Director and did not get a response, so I called. They were more than willing to talk and answer any questions I had. They will release the plans late this year and evidently will have a straight forward materials list that you or your contractor can gather and they have made it as easy as possible to follow so you don't have to be a GC to figure it out.

The lady I spoke to said the students have put in 180,000 man hours into perfecting the design to make it strong, durable and very energy efficient. She said the only appliance included in the $20k price is a water heater.

I think this is an ideal project for a University as there is no way it would be economically feasible to have something like this come out of the private sector...

Other links from a quick google search:

http://www.ruralstudio.org/initiatives/20k-house

Some floorpans located toward the bottom of this page:

http://20khouse.ruralstudioblogs.org


Interested to hear any thoughts you may have.
Excellent designs, but the private sector has been the driving force behind alternative housing for years. In fact, the most formidable perverse incentive has been from building code officials and zoning boards refusing to allow inexpensive designs, because they threaten to reduce tax assessments. But the "tiny house" movement, including the commercial tiny house builders, have been pushing these innovations for years.

Another facet of the housing market that has been pushing in this direction is a sizable portion of the low-mid range construction industry in California. The same industry that gave us western stud framing in the early 20th century as an alternative to balloon framing and post-and-beam construction also pioneered the Efficient Framing System back in the 1970s. Couple that with combination siding/sheathing/bracing/insulation panels and other efficiencies, and the market has brought these solutions to bear everywhere allowed.

As far as energy efficiency, I toured a solar powered house when I was a child back in the mid-80s. Passive solar, solar navigated design, photovoltaic panels, and then-state-of-the-art high density foam insulation. It was an experimental house by a major manufacturing company.
 

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Ok, I have seen the builds that other folks have made. My biggest question is, we don't have enough of one species of tree to build a complete home(log cabin), is it ok to use oak, pine, cedar and others I combination? I realize that some trees have a higher water content than others, is this a huge problem?
I am on a fairly limited budget, but know the basic build types, I watched my grandpa build his home, years ago, he used the rectangular sawmill cut wood, hand notched, chinked and pinned. Granted, our whole family had a hand in the process at some time, but his was not on a budget, as the State of NC purchased his entire estate for a new 4 lane. He made out well, already had a good bit of land in a much more remote locale. The build was completed quickly, with about 15 men each day.
He also had a forest of the same trees to choose from, unlike me.
Ideas, thoughts and concerns?
Do not mix and match species for solid wall construction. They dry and shrink at different rates, and to different extents. Also, some are not as naturally weather resistant as others.

If you must mix and match, make sure to use the same species throughout each course. As the bulk of shrinkage is perpendicular to the grain, this will minimize the issues that arise in shrinkage.
 

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I'm guessing, Side a Pine, side B Cedar, etc.
I'm hoping for a solid dry Lodge Pole for the roof. Then I will try to figure a way to put the roof on and make it look like the ground around it, from the air. It will be in a wooded area, some natural Camo, but the rest will have to be added. I've seen some roofs that use grass and the like to assist, that may be a. Option.
 

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How about Cedar in SC? I am unsure which family it is. It has a Red heart, much lighter color around the heart and kinda stringy bark, unlike pine or spruce. I have 10 - 15 dead fall stuff that are pretty tall. I have to pull them out with a tractor and strip the bark, I know.
It smells great and looks great, it lasts above ground, but not in ground. My biggest concern is using "a mix of whatever".
I'm guessing, Side a Pine, side B Cedar, etc.
I'm hoping for a solid dry Lodge Pole for the roof. Then I will try to figure a way to put the roof on and make it look like the ground around it, from the air. It will be in a wooded area, some natural Camo, but the rest will have to be added. I've seen some roofs that use grass and the like to assist, that may be a. Option.
That all sounds good and wish I had some cedar to build with. But the spruce I have are real nice and pine the second best since I have a few dozen dead pine beetle killed trees.

Not sure about using grass because of possible fire danger though. Otherwise hope it all works out for you.
 
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