From tiny houses to living spaces created from converted school buses or shipping containers, a collective movement to downsize homes and embrace smaller, more traditional alternatives has been gaining incredible moment. One issue, however, remains the price.
Most examples we see are of sustainable homes which are wonderful in theory but unrealistic in terms of the price, or low-cost off the grid homes which are built thanks to the individual initiative of the owner to undertake the task of doing research on the most cost-effective materials and building methods. For the majority of people in the middle, however, it becomes difficult to strike a balance between making an eco-friendly choice of housing and not spending a fortune. Cost of certain elements made of wood or metal (not to mention those that are custom-made) can be quite high.
Perhaps for this reason, Arched Cabins, a company based in Texas has developed do-it-yourself (DIY) sustainable homes, and they are quite affordable.
The homes are made from prefabricated galvanized steel. Truly embracing the awesome DIY spirit, everything you need comes in one arched cabin kit: ribs, floor plates for the foundation, a ridge beam, R13 insulation (with the option to pay a bit more for a cold climate-friendly R25 insulation), and a Super Span roof paneling with the necessary fasteners and trim.
In terms of the dimensions, there are two options available: 4.2m wide and 3.7m tall homes, to a roomier 7.3m wide and 9.8m tall alternative. While the first size doesn't provide enough space for a family, it is still cozy enough for an individual. On the other hand, the bigger cabin can be a perfect place to live in.
Looking at the price point, the prices range from $1,000 (pre-shipping) for the smallest cabin (a modest 2.4mx2.4m)with only the barest essentials included, up to just under $5,000 for the basic 4.2mx3.7m home, a pretty remarkable economic option. Also, the company is quick to stress that the structures have a variety of purposes, beyond traditional living spaces: “In our time building Arched Cabins we have seen them used for everything you can think of, including workshops, animal shelters, vacation homes, RV shelters, retirement homes, and hunting lodges. No matter what your need is, an Arched Cabin can be adapted to suit you.”
“Arched Cabin can be fully insulated and built out with a loft and a complete interior to be the home or cabin of your dreams, or they can be minimally insulated and finished with basic end caps to be used for an animal shelter or garage.” While the outer structure will always be the same, each room can be fit according to your wishes. You can add a beautiful kitchen inside or a unique bathroom; whatever you need to spend days in a full comfort.
The important question is how well the homes withstand the elements. Well, the company boasts a rating for 240kph and 147kg/m2 (kilogram force per square meter) of snow, proving it’s tougher and more durable than it may appear. They even ship to the lower 48 states, and to Canada and Alaska for more substantial orders. Please have in mind that you don't get a free installation when you buy kits; still, you will receive a manual as well as the necessary tools that will help you during the process. Assembly is pretty easy with a manual and you can even check a video on company's site that will provide further information.
If we look at most examples involving the advent of new technology, where prices are at their highest in the beginning, and then steadily decrease as awareness of the product and demand increase, the trends we are currently seeing in sustainable housing follow the same logic. However, in this case, can we afford to wait? Should we finally build our own tiny house that the whole family will love?