Stories & Projects

See this film about Building a Very Small House

A compelling new documentary about a young couple who built a 133 sq. ft. house from scratch in Colorado.

They're 27, Newly Married, and Building Their First House!

The story of building their house from Plan 479-4 designed by Peter Brachvogel & Stella Carosso.

Texas Retreat for Four Couples

The story of how four couples built four energy-efficient 350 sq. ft. sleeping cabins and a communal cookhouse on ten acres near Austin, Texas.

How To Add an Outdoor Shower

What you need to know in order to add an outdoor shower.

New Home After A Devastating Fire

How one Arizona homeowner rebuilt quickly after a devastating forest fire, using Plan 18-1048.

Modern Pool Detail: Project Update 508-1

The pool was inspired by seeing Donald Judd’s pool in his house in Marfa Texas. A raised pool changes from a flat object at your feet to a 3 dimensional form that also invites sitting on it. Why not go further and add fountains. So we did.

Landscaping Fully Installed: Project Update 508-1

My recent theme is not sure when a house project ends if ever…but that said we are trying hard to stop. The landscaping is complete and now its just welcoming the plants to their new home.

The Bedrooms: Project Update 508-1

The master bedroom at the end of the house has tons of natural light. All bedrooms have access to the covered outdoor living space.

The Main Room and Walkway: Project Update 508-1

I wonder if a house is ever finished. My own answer is no. But the rooms are livable and we have just passed our final building department inspection. The furnishings are a collection resulting from years of saving things, along with just a few new purchases. If you start looking way ahead you can find deals and save lots of money.

The Kitchen: Project Update 508-1

The kitchen is ample in size. Actually we are having a debate about whether we have made the kitchen too large. There is more than enough storage even for trays.

The Garden: Project Update 508-1

Our theme outside was less is more. Along with the house and pool, we have to incorporate the septic mound, a water tank, and a storage shed into the landscaping.

Cantilevered Bench & Hearth: Project Update 508-1

The gas fireplace and cantilevered bench are key design elements – the main room needed anchoring and this combination of the gas fireplace and the cantilevered Douglas fir hearth-bench more than achieves the vision we had. Planning ahead is crucial for this- you need to tie the steel support into the 2×6 wall and build strength into the structure – inexpensive if you do it up front, expensive if you add it later.