One of the most intimidating aspects of taking the plunge and moving into a tiny house is how to actually build the tiny house itself. Many people wanting to embrace the tiny house lifestyle are young or maybe have corporate backgrounds, with no building experience to speak of. Buying a house from a builder can be far more expensive than buying plans and building it yourself, but for a first time builder that can be an impossible task, or can lead to costly mistakes and time delays.
A Jamaica Cottage Shop kit is customized into a tiny house.
Vermont company Jamaica Cottage Shop has a unique solution for new builders: they offer pre-designed, pre-cut kits. Building from a kit cuts down not only on costs and time, but also on stress for the tiny house buyer. These kits streamline the process, by having all of the design choices, material procurement, and delivery prepared for you before the kit arrives at your door, ready for assembly. Jamaica Cottage Shop founder Domenic Mangano explains,
A kit simplifies the entire process because it actually teaches someone to build. We tell folks if they know which end of a hammer to hold, they can assemble a project.
The kits range from small sheds, to full blown tiny houses and cottages. They are all created in Vermont from locally sourced rough-hewn lumbers, including hemlock and white pine. Each piece in the kit is color-coded and labeled, and includes the assembly hardware needed to build the structure. Very detailed assembly instructions make it easy for even novice builders to see exactly how to build a tiny house.
Lumber for the tiny house kit is pre-cut and put on a pallet for shipping.
The tiny house kits are shrink wrapped and trucked to build locations around the country.
The designer says if you can hold a hammer, you can build a tiny house kit.
Two experienced builders can build one of these tiny house kits in as little as forty hours, although the exact time will depend on their level of experience and other factors. For anyone not interested in building the kit themselves, they can always hire an experienced local contractor to assemble it on site for them.
The fully assembled tiny house kit is ready to be customized inside and out.
Once the basic structure is built from the kit, tiny home owners can finish them out with electricity, plumbing, drywall, flooring, heating and air conditioning, anything they want to make their new home comfortable. When it comes to these upgrades, new builders should consult with professionals who have the needed experience for this custom work.
The interior of the tiny house kit can be customized to include anything the owner needs.
Owners can choose to add built-in storage, additional kitchen space, bathrooms, and more.
This owner added a bunk room.
Before choosing a kit, Domenic offers some advice for future tiny home owners,
You should understand where the building will be parked or planted, ideally on a piece of land you own. Understanding where the fresh water will come from and where waste water will go is very important. Catching rainfall is a popular choice but not very reliable. As for budget, be sure you have a comfortable plan on how the project will be financed.
Also important is having a plan to heat and cool the building, so you can live in it year round. Electricity is an obvious choice, but can be difficult to tap into in remote areas. Solar power is an option, but can often be as expensive as the cost of the house for adequate power. All of these factors should be budgeted in addition to the cost of the tiny house kit.
Plumbing, electricity, heating and air conditioning can be added by a professional.
Jamaica Cottage Shop offers 15 main do-it-yourself kits, but have over 100 different designs available as blueprints. The most popular designs they make into kits and ship around the country. So far they’ve shipped kits to folks in 36 different states and Canada!