Drafting and Dropping Cash

I was starting to get that comfy/dead/interminable feeling about my casita bella project when I suddenly realized, oh yeah, I’m going to start building a house next month. Well, in five or six weeks. That means it’s time to start spending money! (Which means that I am getting progressively more committed to this project, which means I am closer and closer to realizing the goal of a beautiful little house of my own!)

I tend to get colorfully off-track and investigate a little home decorating along with a little interior layouts along with a little building materials suppliers (frankly, the most boring part so far). Fortunately I have all the while been researching trailers diligently (from a driven part of my mind I know not where) and  found a manufacturer that I think I’m going to purchase from!

Appalachian Trailers meets all of my requirements except price:

1. They will custom-build me a flatbed 7×18′ with 10,000 lb. GVW and no extra junk, i.e. rails or ramps.

2. They have superb customer service and this woman I have been dealing with, Ashley, has been sweet as pie. And they give a warranty.

3. They will deliver directly to my house at a reasonable ($130) cost. This is key as I currently have no truck and U-hauls are more expensive than the price they offered.

As for price, trailers sure are expensive! The Tumbleweed article I first read about trailers must be quite outdated, based on geographically exceptional pricing, or horribly optimistic, as I have not found even used trailers in the 7,000-10,000 lb GVW range in decent condition below $1600 in my area.

If I go with the 10,000 lb. the total cost will be around $3400 including taxes, tags, and delivery. That’s a lot more than I was planning on, but still within the realm of reason. I actually found a comparable trailer on Craigslist used, but it was still $3000 and was a few years old at least. I can’t afford an aluminum trailer (I was quoted $5400 for a new 7×18′ 7,ooo GVW!!!) and with steel being vulnerable to rust, I feel like it makes sense to build a long-lasting house on top of a new trailer. If I go with a 7,000 lb. the price would go down about $700 and Tumbleweed says that weight rating is adequate for their design (a 5,700 lb house + 1,000+ lb. trailer). But I am not following their plans completely and will likely add weight in materials, i.e. 2×6 floors instead of 2×4, 14″ knee walls, etc.

Does anyone have any input they want to share? I love hearing opinions. 🙂

I’ve also done a few rudimentary drawings of possible modifications for the house. For a while this winter I was really visualizing what I wanted the house to look like, inside and out…. but I seem to have lost my vision, and time is running short to order my lumber, etc. I know the interior layout can wait until I have the shell up, so right now I’m trying to focus on the outside since that is the most crucial for any changes in my materials list.

My basic idea is to eliminate the little porch of the Fencl while expanding the footprint of the interior. I envision building on a small elevated deck in front of my little house wherever I settle/park it, and I felt that the little porch would look weird/silly in addition to the larger deck in front of it. Also, it serves little function as far as I’m concerned, except for a little protection upon entry/exit and mere aesthetics. I feel I could just build a small awning over the door instead.

While I do like that large bay window in the front, I’m also considering making the front look more like a Walden, but without the porch of course. This will be easier construction-wise, as I wouldn’t have to do the scary roof on the Fencl, and I also like the aesthetics of the symmetry with the door in the middle. Obviously this changes the interior layout quite a bit, and you can see the two designs I sketched up – one with the door in the middle, one with it to the side of a large front window. (No longer a bump-out, though.)

I’m leaning more and more towards wood heat, perhaps with a combination of partial radiant floor heating or just a safe space heater for nighttime/vacations when I’m plugged in.  I’d like to minimize my use of propane.

Still aiming for the end of April to start. The trailer will take a month to be built, anyway. Until then, my time has been consumed by work and the garden, pushing aside my half-finished quilt project in favor of sunny afternoons. My spring and early summer are filling up already with agricultural activities and conferences, volunteering for Habitat, VMC, and the Mid-Atlantic Vipassana group, and hopefully a backpacking trip or two  – it’s an exciting time to be a human! And it’s about to get even busier with the addition of the casita. 🙂

~ I hope you are all happy, healthy, and well ~

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