Category Archives: tiny spaces

Tiny houses, outdoor spaces, guest rooms, home offices – I build custom spaces.

Game Room / Bardominium

Updated 03/22/16 – What is a Bardominium? Imagine a plain looking donut, filled with a delicious fruit filling! It’s kinda’ like that, but different…..

Take an average looking barn or metal building and build a modern space inside. This particular project is an 800 sq/ft game room with 10 ft ceilings built inside an existing 40′ x 50′ detached metal building. The design includes an 11ft kitchen area and a 7′ x 7’6″ bathroom that the customer will complete later.

So let’s get started framing! Here is a view of the blank space with the first walls going up.

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Doors and a window going in. The doors are recessed approx 10″ due to the metal building framing.

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Plenty of insulation will keep the space comfortable during our hot summers, R19 in the walls and R30 in the ceiling.

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Sheetrock – Ugh! But it’s starting to come together.

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A beautiful gray Sherwin Williams paint going on the walls. The ceiling and trim will all be pure white.

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Reclaimed barn wood door with a metal track. I built the door with wood from a barn on the property and I custom built the hangers and track in my shop.
{Read More About the Barn}

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Add some lights and furnishings and a huge TV and this space is almost ready. A few finishing touches are still going on: the surround sound system has been wired and should be installed soon.  And a multi-zone mini-split A/C system is going in.

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How can you have  game room without a pool table?

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And did you notice the floors? This is stained concrete! The original concrete was finished with a black and pewter stain with a high gloss finish. Gorgeous……..

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Kevin C -C3 Contracting
Built Small, Built Smart, Built to Last

 

 

Design With The Future In Mind.

When designing a new project there are lots of decisions to make. Interior finishes, exterior appearance, paint color, door sizes, plumbing fixtures, and the list goes on and on. You have an idea in your mind of what you want but how do you get there? Here are some things I consider in every project.

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Purpose: What do you want to be able to do in your space? If you are going to build a game room to entertain then you need plenty of floor space for seating and “hanging out”. Do you need enough space for a pool table? How big will the TV screen be? Will the space double as a guest room or possible an apartment in the future?

I visualize the space from the middle of the room out. Make a drawing or build a model and start placing your furniture and fixtures in the room first. This will help you determine how big the space needs to be.

Location: This is VERY IMPORTANT. When adding on to an existing home or building you might not have very many options about where the addition will be. But when adding a new building to your property location is very important. When considering the location of the building I always like to know where North is. If you want to take advantage of our South East summer breeze in South Texas you don’t want your patio on the North side of the building. And shade from the West can make your space much more comfortable in the late summer days. Are you a morning person? If not, you don’t want the bright Eastern sun shining directly into your bedroom window. And how will the new building change the existing views around your property. Adding a cottage or backyard office can help block less desirable views from adjacent properties but you don’t want your new office to block the sunset views you enjoy from your back porch!

Appearance: What do you want the exterior and interior to look like? When building a cabin amid a group of oak trees in the backyard using natural wood finishes and earth tone paints can help the space blend in and feel warm and cozy. But adding brilliant colors and bold plants and flowers will make the space stand out. And don’t be afraid to add color to the inside as well. Vivid paint colors for walls or trim can define the purpose of a space. If using more neutral colors for the interior walls then consider adding bright colored furnishings or window coverings. And wall finishes don’t have to be boring. Adding reclaimed wood, metal or tile can add real character.

When adding storage space consider both built in and modular. A built in closet can be a great space to hide away the clutter but in a tiny space flexibility may be more important. Consider building or buying a wardrobe closet instead. Even kitchen spaces can be more flexible by adding islands or work stations on wheels that can be moved. A kitchen island on wheels can double as a crafting table or even be rolled out onto a patio to serve as a buffet table.

Budget: The dreaded “B” word of a project. But don’t only think of what the project will cost today. Consider what the costs will be tomorrow, next month, next year or beyond. It really baffles me why someone would build a $300,000 home but not have any budget money left for landscaping or furnishings. And will you be able for afford maintenance and upkeep costs? While a large wooden deck and natural wood siding might sound appealing, are you prepared to clean and stain/seal your natural wood every few years. Products such as metal siding, or concrete siding, such as those from James Hardi®, can reduce your maintenance costs considerably.

Budget Rules
• Buy the Best Materials You Can Afford
• Use Materials with Long Life Expectancy
• Don’t Built To Big
• Budget for Unexpected Costs and Changes
• Include Money for Finishing Touches
• Plan on Maintenance and Upkeep Costs

By planning your entire project from start to finish you can be assured you will end up with a new space to be proud of. Adding new spaces such as a cottage, cabin or office can also increase your property value if you plan on selling in the future. A new backyard tiny home can even become a rental property for increased income. A backyard cabin can be a private home for your college student to allow them privacy and keep them within their budget.

Kevin C – C3 Contracting
Built Small, Built Smart, Built to Last

Small Can Be Comfortable

When you hear the words “tiny house” what images come to mind? If you are a fan of the tiny house TV shows you might think of a doll house on wheels.

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But living small does not need to be uncomfortable.  Small spaces need to be designed with their surroundings and their occupant in mind. A high ceiling with a lofted bedroom is an option for some but at 6’5″ I am not comfortable climbing into very many lofts.

What image comes to mind when you hear the word “cottage” or “cabin”? Maybe a bed and breakfast in New England or a snow covered mountain side in Colorado.

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A small home needs to be comfortable. Have a comfortable place to relax and to rest.
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A small home needs to have a comfortable place to bathe.
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A small home needs a comfortable kitchen to prepare a meal.

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And the key to any small home is a comfortable space outdoors to stretch your legs and enjoy a sunset.Lounge chairs on deck at sunset

Building small can still be comfortable.

Kevin – C3
Built Small, Built Smart, Built to Last

A Roof & A House

I love the idea of a metal roof over the top of a house and the house built underneath! A roof that extends beyond the perimeter of the house. A roof that protects from the rain and hot South Texas sun.

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Recently I began drawing up several simple buildings with flat tops. I refer to them as my Flat Top Box homes. The idea is a series of simple boxes that can be arranged in multiple configurations to form a home, large or small. The top of the box is weather proof but not intended to be placed directly in the elements. Instead the boxes are assembled under a free standing metal roof to allow ventilation and protection. The design is not new. Double roofs have been around in hot climates for centuries.

The metal roof and supporting structure can be built in as little as a day and provides a dry and protected build site. And by designing using traditional stick frame construction for the living spaces assembly is quick and can be accomplished with off the shelf materials from any lumber yard.

I searched far and wide for similar structures and only found a few examples. I am still looking for the locations of the buildings below but the pictures represent the concept. And with some trim and paint the roof structure, while very industrial, could blend into the design of the house or be left raw and unfinished to stand out as in these images.

Enjoy!

Kevin – C3
Built Small, Built Smart, Built to Last

 

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12 x 24 Shed, House, Workshop?

24 ft long, 12 ft deep and over 10 ft interior ceilings.
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This particular project required a backyard building that could be used for storage as well as a workshop. The customer also wanted high ceilings so a loft could be incorporated for additional storage. And maybe someday this space could even become a guest house.

When building 10 ft high walls I always start with  2 x 6 lumber rather that 2 x 4’s, and we build on 16″ centers for superior strength.

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After framing we covered the structure with Zip Systems OSB sheathing and to get ready for siding. Click Here to read more about why I choose Zip Systems.

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And after adding the windows and doors the loft was built and added over 100 sq/ft of additional storage space and still maintained 7 ft of clearance below.

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You might notice the roof design changed before construction began. The owner wanted a traditional gable roof that matched other buildings on the property, rather than the shed roof originally planned.

The exterior and roof are covered in commercial grade galvalume steel panels with a 20 year limited warranty and the windows and door are trimmed in rough cedar. The result is a very low maintenance building that is built to last for a very long time.

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Over 250 sq/ft of interior floor space and 100+ sq/ft storage loft. This building starts at only $8499. Let’s get started on your project!

Kevin C – C3
Built Small, Built Smart, Built to Last

A Playhouse for Christmas?

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Is it  time to upgrade your child’s Playhouse? With Christmas just around the corner there are still a few weeks left to plan the perfect gift!

Let us design and build a Christmas surprise for you son or daughter. Maybe Grandmas’ house needs a new play space.playhouse_green

Or maybe a little space in the trees might make some new memories of cousins spending the night in the backyard.

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Send me your ideas and let’s get creative and surprise someone for Christmas.

Kevin C – C3 Construction
Serving Central Texas and Beyond
210-394-3325
kevin@c3co.info

 

Why I build with Zip systems!

Have you ever seen a building with GREEN Walls and wondered what it is? It’s a wall system that is made of OSB (oriented strand board) that includes a moisture barrier. No more house wrap blowing around in the wind or getting torn.

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I first used Zip Systems sheathing on my own house approx 8 years ago. After leaving a few pieces in the scrap pile exposed to the weather for several months I noticed that they still looked good. The material was weathered but it wasn’t coming apart like normal OSB. The product was holding together very well for being left completely exposed to the elements.

So when I started C3 Contracting in April my local lumber yard didn’t stock Zip Systems. So I built with regular OSB sheathing and applied Tyvek wrap to the project. What a pain! And the sheathing just wasn’t very good quality. Even with a sharp saw blade the cuts weren’t clean and any material exposed to rain quickly started to peel and swell. So I ordered some Zip for the 12×24 workshop you see above and the product quality is better than I remember. The sheets are very dense and cut cleanly. And edges that were exposed to our recent rains held up extremely well. The photo above is before the tape sealing the seams has been applied but given my personal experience I’m not worried of a little rain before the project gets tape and siding applied.

I want my customers to have the advantage of the best quality materials available, even on small projects. Click Here to learn more about the product or send me an email with any questions.
Kevin C.

500 sq/ft Hacienda

With a flare of Spanish influence this 500 sq/ft guest house is shaping up nicely. With steel exterior accents, stucco finished walls and a wrap around porch defining the outside.  And the interior finish is all custom; concrete counter tops, a bunk-bed wall and ship-lap siding will complete the project.

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The  concept drawing above was the first time to put the customers ideas into print.  The client was looking for an exterior reminiscent of the southwest and Spanish hacienda’s. A wrap around porch with heavy wood accent’s and a stucco finish are preferred features.

 

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And here we are under construction. Notice the galvanized steel panels above the porch. These panels will also be used on the roof of the porches and the rear walls. Stucco finish Hardie Board Siding panels will finish the walls below the porches.

 

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And heavy cedar posts, beams, and trim finish off the exterior style. Lots of details still to add including antiqued metal brackets on the posts and beams, stained decking on the porches, custom wall sconces and more….

Stay tuned for future updates.

How much does a “Tiny House” cost?

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Let’s expand our question: How much does a Tiny House, a cabin, a mother-in-law cottage, efficiency apartment, etc…. cost? More than $5000, despite what you’ve read on the internet. You may be a able to build a weather tight shed but if you want insulation, double pane windows, running water, electricity, and climate control (air conditioning) it’s going to cost a little more…. How much more? Read on……..

Keep these two number in mind – $30,000 and/or $100 per sq. ft.

Certain costs vary with the size of the structure. Framing, siding and roofing costs will rise as the overall square footage grows, but the cost per square foot will decrease. An online quote from a national small shed company shows a cost for a 8′ x 14’unit, 112 sq/ft, of $4469 or $39.90 per sq/ft.  A larger 16′ x 20′ unit, 320 sq/ft, has a base price of $8479 or $26.50 per sq/ft. So in our basic example, the more you build the less it costs per sq/ft.

Now we need to add some features that make our shell into a house. Things like insulation, interior walls, paint, etc…. For the purpose or our exercise we will double our cost per square foot. Our little house now costs between $53 and $79 per sq/ft.

What else will make this a home? How about a toilet, vanity and shower? As an estimate lets use $700 for the shower, $150 for the vanity and $150 for the toilet. And we need a place to cook so a sink, faucet, compact refrigerator, 2 burner electric cook top and two base cabinets with a basic counter top will cost approx. $1500 if we shop for the items on sale. And last but not least we need a hot water heater, approx $250, and an air conditioner with heat will be approx $1700 (I prefer min-split a/c system).

So we have added another $4450 to our grand total. This price does not change as our house grows in size. Our cost per square foot on our little 112 sq/ft unit (probably to small to fit all this stuff) is now just over $118 per sq/ft and our larger 320 sq/ft unit is still just under $70 per sq/ft.

So here’s our totals so far:
8′ X 14′ – 112 sq/ft = $13,437 or $119 per sq/ft
16′ x 20′ – 320 sq/ft = $21,460 or $67 per sq/ft
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But we’re not through yet, we need a somewhere to sleep, a place to sit, and probably some shelves or a closet for storage. If we buy these items new or if we build them in place (such as a bench with built in storage) they still cost $$$. And we need to hook up our house to electricity, water and sewage. (Yes, you can build this to live off grid but that is an entirely separate set of expenses) Again, we are going with a rough estimate – Electrical installation and connection to power already on the property, approx $3200.  Plumbing installation and connection to existing water and sewer, approx $2800. Beware, electrical and plumbing prices are highly varied across the country, the prices mentioned are only estimates for our exercise.

Adding another $6000 brings us to $19,437 ($173.55 sq/ft) for our 8′ x 14′ and $27,460 ($85.80 sq/ft) for our 16′ x 20′.

We still have lots of finishing touches to add and we might want to upgrade those low cost shingles to a metal roof. A porch would be a nice place to sit on those summer evenings. More expenses……..

Remember our two numbers we started with? $30,000 or $100 per sq/ft? How did we compare? Our ultra tiny 8′ x 14′ unit is packed and every space has been used. It’s not uncommon for ultra tiny units to exceed $300 per square foot, but we have stayed on a tight budget and probably finished in the mid $20’s including our finishing touches. Our larger, and more practical efficiency unit with 320 sq/ft went over the $30,000 mark with finish out and comes in at slightly below $100 per sq/ft.

So how much is your little house going to cost? Remember, we are building a small home, not a shed in the woods: Plan on spending over $25,000 (probably over $35,000) and even though we might build ultra-tiny, don’t expect a huge savings. A sink and toilet in a 3000 sq/ft home costs the same as it does in a 112 sq/ft tiny home.

Kevin Catlett
C3 – Owner, Dreamer, Builder

A Shed is not a Tiny House

Yes, you can live in a shed. You can add some finishing touches that might even make it feel like a home. But don’t confuse the construction of a shed with a home.

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While a simple shed from your local lumber yard may keep your garden tools dry or make a good play house for your grandkids, it is not built with the same details that make a house last for 50 years or more. When you look at the picture above, you can immediately tell that you are looking at a shed. But the photo below looks like a tiny house.

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Let’s compare a few details. Look at the roof overhand, referred to as the roof eave. The eaves on the shed barely extend past the edge of the wall. The tiny home has eaves that extend further to help keep water off of the exterior walls and windows. You can also see that even though the doors are very similar, the doors on the tiny house are protected by the extended eaves. The doors on the shed are exposed to rain and more susceptible to water damage.

But the biggest differences in quality construction can’t be seen from the outside. Terms like jack studs, double header, flashing tape and vapor barrier aren’t things you will hear when building a shed. But any house, tiny cottage or the White House, needs to be built with good construction methods that hold up over time.

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These small details make a big difference. And if you ever have plans of finishing the interior or adding heating or cooling, you will need to make sure your house is built correctly to prevent mold growth and provide a comfortable space.

So don’t buy a shed from your big box lumber yard for your small house project. Make sure you are buying a house, however small it might be, and your perfect space will be around for many years and might be passed down for many generations.

Kevin Catlett
Owner – C3
Outdoors & So Much More!