Category Archives: Alternative house building

Tiny house for sale

Granite Mountain Coachworks has been building our latest tiny house for a while now. We have most of the exterior complete accept for the metal roof. The inside is bare and ready to be customized to someones liking, this includes some type of power system. We aren’t sure if on or off grid is the best so marketing this home now makes sense. We feel using propane for the refrigerator, tankless water heater and cooktop is a good choice. We will be completing the bathroom with a compost toilet, lavatory and shower. The home is currently being built in north Scottsdale so if interested in seeing it call David at 602-561-7069.



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Getting ready to build

There are many things to think about when building a new home. Money is by far the thing you need to stay in check. Establishing a budget has to be your first step, otherwise you may never be opening the door to your new house. I gave myself a preliminary budget of 50k to get the foundation poured and the shell of the house done. Yes this new house is fairly small (under 1000 ft. living), I still have to price 49 windows and 3 outside doors. The windows need to be of excellent quailty, three pane. I dont want the windows to be the weak link in my energy efficiency factor. Im still shopping but I can tell you just windows are going to take a big chunk of my budget. Plumbing is the first item installed in the ground, fortunately my brother has been doing the art of the plumb for a very long time. I figured that portion will cost a few thousand dollars. I should be under budget although I now have to figure the extra costs involved constructing the walls. The company I used to represent is not with me now, I think I have found a better way that is stronger. Using only foam with a shallow concrete coating for wall construction isn’t enough structure for many engineers. I have devised a plan to use a few metal studs at all corners and at door and window openings. On both sides of the wall are these studs bolted together thru the foam wall. A three foot piece is then sticking out of the foundation for the wall metal studs to screw onto. This way my walls are structurally strong plus I now have a way to connect my roof and cabinets. Below shows a perspective image of a wall section showing the metal studs.


Electrical which includes lights, outlets, wiring, audio, solar, smart technologies. I will eventually be on solar/wind power, I still need to be connected to electric utilities so installing a 100 amp panel should be part of the shell build above. Its damn hard to construct without power!

Final design ready for a building permit

After ten months of changing designs we have settled on a 1126 square foot home complete with a garage and one bed/bath. This home will be perfect for our off grid plans. The beauty features of this home is the kitchen/greenhouse connection, metal roofing and grey water collection/filtering, compost toilet, solar power system, in floor water heating and 12 volt lights throughout. I want to mention that this home is smart, it thinks on its own and can also be controlled by a smart phone controlling lights, shades, climate control and security. The red area below shows the kitchen, greenhouse and a the entryway that will be built for the upcoming Shemer Art Center’s Microdwell 2015 show.




I changed the design again

I figured I needed to limit the amount of doors and windows and walls etc. I also thought its much better to get into something than nothing at all. This decision will give me a jump start on a new campaign, smart off grid small dwellings. Home automation is becoming a smart thing because you can control things in your house with your cell phone which in turn makes your home safer and more comfortable.

We want to create an off grid community for people to live a simpler life. This is a very small house, perfect for a couple or someone single. Yes you can add onto this home base for a family.

Its a money thing

Money, time, permits, inspections, engineers, more money, accessories, extras, square footage means more materials which equals money. We simply want a small get away to go to when its blazing hot in Phoenix and a little bungalow for when we go skiing. How much room does a couple really need to get that done? Ive been playing with building in Show Low since the beginning of the year and frankly Ive gotten no where! Let me say that again…….NO WHERE. Three months have went by still with my mouse in hand wondering if it will ever happen.

Anyway below is yet another design that seems to be half the space I had before but will definitely work very well. Going small is a good thing because that means less lights, door knobs, heating, windows, flooring, etc. Hey this is a great thing, should have done it in the beginning.


I have the approval from the wife so its a go, no looking back now.


Its time to get on with other things like off grid items such as getting into solar. I recently purchased a small system from Amazon. 100 watts is all you need to experiment with. I live in Paradise Valley now and want to setup a system to charge a battery and run some led lights to show off my new waterfall I created. This small system will give me the know how to run a system for the houses lights. My original intent was to power the lights and a 12v water pump for the waterfall but then again pumps require a lot of power.

This small system will give me exposure to batteries, charge controllers, etc… After playing with the system Im sure I will want to expand it. I want to get into building my own panels so that will require soldering skills. I there anyone out there that can give me some tips?


Im not saying anything anymore…

I got some outside help with an architect friend, he showed me some obvious things I have missed well sort of. Yes I was on track using the power of the sun for my solar plan and my solar compost toilets. I dont know why I didnt think about using this free heat for the house. I added a lot of windows for the great room on the second floor as well as a massive deck and a roll up door that connects the great room to the deck. Well anyway I am praying I dont have to think about home design anymore!


It happened again, just changing rooms so it flows better, check it out, dont you agree?


My thinking was that some devices such as the water heater should be moved more central. The water heater will have two tasks, water heating and in floor water heating. The upper deck is wider to accommodate an indoor/outdoor fireplace which means bed1 got bigger. This also gave me a new room to incorporate my future solar devices and the in floor heating manafold and valving. Im now finishing a Sketchup model of this house so stay tuned!




Design finished, time to go on with all the house systems

So this original design gets drawn for permit. There is a lot of things to think about. My wife wants an approximate cost for building the shell of the house. First I calculated what the walls, floors and roofs would cost- 30 wall panels = $4500, 60 floor and roof panels = $10550 for a total of $15500. These foam panels need a protective skin over them which they call a structural coating, that is another cost. Now I need to think about how much concrete the foundations and the garage floor would cost. I almost forgot the water, drain and sewer plumbing, electrical requirements for the house and finally doors and windows.

With all this we would have a closed house with nothing on the inside. That is ok because the toilet is a composting unit which means a hole in the ground, I have a extra bbq for cooking on my big deck. Most everything I want to use will not be new so it will take time to accumulate all the stuff. As long as we have a good roof over our head, things are good.

This would be a great time to ask everyone we will take donations of any kind- furniture, cabinets, plumbing fixtures, desks, mirrors, door knobs, doors, windows etc.