A little while back, I wrote a review of the film Herself, an incredibly powerful story about a mother who escapes an abusive house and struggles to find a new home for her and her daughters. In the movie, she comes across a website called Irish Vernacular, where architect Dominic Stevens explains how he built a 775-square-foot, two-story, three-bedroom house for just for €25,000.
While I knew there was a real movement around these kinds of pre-fab DIY tiny homes, I didn't realize while watching the film that this particular website and home plan was actually real. As Steven explains on his site:
This project belongs to the vernacular tradition. In this tradition, the knowledge of how to construct a house is held in common by a community. On this website you can download information and inspiration to help you to design and build your own house much like the one in the photo which cost a total of €25,000 to construct. It took me a total of 50 days to build, which I did over two years with the help of friends, family, neighbours and a few specialists…
Please note, while all this should be possible in Ireland, it is imperative that you have an assigned certifier who may be an architect or engineer to advise you at all stages of the project. You are responsible for meeting local codes and legislation. You must satisfy yourself regarding the application of statutory requirements, local building regulations, codes, insurance certification or other requirements or recommendations relevant to the location where and materials with which you plan to build. Where required you should always seek the advice of a relevant qualified professional.
While Stevens (understandably!) stresses the importance of finding a qualified architect to make sure you're actually doing everything right, his site is remarkably robust, with all the instructions you need — from how to erect timber frames, to a detailed breakdown of the material costs (at least, from when he built his home a decade ago).
Granted, you still need a plot of land to build on. But once you've got that covered, this could be a pretty cool — and affordable — way to live. (As the movie points out, it would also be a fiscally responsible alternative to public housing bureaucracy for people dealing with homelessness, if only the system would let that happen.)
Irish Vernacular — €25,000 DIY Housing Plans [Dominic Stevens]
Image via YouTube