Small house architects and small house builders offer a unique product and perspective on the ubiquitous American pastime of home building. These are folks who share an often similar view on trying to downsize not only the actual footprint, but also the “carbon footprint”, of building a home. Their objectives are to offer a feasible alternative to the super-sized home that seems to be sprouting everywhere, thus allowing the small home owner more freedoms to pursue other things in life besides material acquisitions being stored in over-sized houses. Their visions for designing and building smaller homes is, unfortunately, not the way of the masses. But, they provide a vital service to those of us who enthusiastically support small home building and living– definitely a niche market.
Small house architects usually offer unique plans that can run anywhere from 100sf to about 1600sf (some square footage can run higher, but it’s debatable whether much over about 1500sf can be considered “small” — I guess it’s all a matter of perspective in the end). Someone who’s used to living in 800sf might find 1300sf way too big for their tastes. And someone coming from a house of, say, 2300sf would probably find something under 1000sf too confining. I also feel that what’s the norm in your neighborhood will have a strong influence on what you feel is small, medium, or large in terms of square footage.
A timberframe shell from Timberlast. The beginnings of a sturdy little house, studio, shed, garage, workshop, or barn. They also have timberframe kits available.
Small house builders go the next step in providing the service of actually building that small house of your dreams. They may have come from a background of building the standard 3000sf home, but have decided to diversify into the small house market or strictly specialize in building small, character-rich homes. Granted, just about any building contractor you contact will agree to building a home of just about any [ordinance allowable] size home you’d like. My question is: will their personal philosophies really understand your desires for wanting to live in a small space, or will they just give lip service to “whatever the customer wants”? It will make your small home building experience much more enjoyable if you can sign on with a builder that really gets the whole small home philosophy.
Here we offer a listing of small house architects and small house builders (and “alternative” house builders) that we’ve come across. And some have contacted us to be listed here. We would like to offer this information as a resource in gathering information and assistance in your adventure of building a small house. If you have had personal dealings with any of these businesses and don’t feel they merit being listed here please contact us and we will look into them further. Hopefully, this will eventually weed out any unsavory players. Your satisfaction is important to helping us build a user-friendly and informative website! Enjoy!
If you are an architect or builder who would like to be listed here please contact us.
A Sampling of Small House
Architects & Builders
Country Plans offers some very basic small house plans that are very adaptable. Their plans are very reasonably priced. They even have a discussion forum to answer some of your questions. CountyPlans.com is run by John Raabe.
Ross Chapin Architects offers a breath of fresh air in their selection of small and stylish houses. These homes have a lot of character to compensate for their smaller footprints.
Small Home Oregon is a great little company run by Walt Quade. These houses are small and simple. They have everything you need and nothing you don’t. If you’re looking for a small home, guest house, vacation house, studio, or workshop, these houses are made for you. (They also make teardrop campers!)
has small timberframe barn kit that could easily be adapted to a dwelling. Kits are delivered and erected by you with their on site assistance. As a vacation home, on the grid or off, as an artist studio, an office, a workshop, the possibilities are endless.
Tumbleweed Tiny House Company is probably the most significant player in the tiny house market and movement. They can build a tiny house of wheels for you OR provide you with plans for one.