The idea of acquiring land and applying for lengthy and often expensive mortgage to build a home can be exhausting and this is forcing many aspiring homesteaders to rethink. Americans of all walks of life are increasingly looking at alternative form of housing. The reasons being advanced for this new wave of thinking includes the need to live cheaply and establish financial independence; prohibitive median housing prices; conscious decision to lower carbon imprint or simply a preference for minimalist lifestyle. From shipping containers to tree houses, the list of realistic, alternative housing options are almost endless. If you are not contended with the typical housing options available, here are 25 non-traditional alternative housing options to consider:
1. Pallet home
It is not uncommon to come across a pallet bed or bench. Outside the traditional storage domain and fittings, the pallet can be put to good use in constructing an affordable home. With a good plan, you can piece together the pallets to make a unique home complete with solar panels, windows and balcony. The pallet home is a good starting point for those looking for a temporary home before constructing something more durable. Pallet houses are often seen as an easy housing fix for disaster relief victims.
DIY wooden pallet creations are an increasingly popular trend, with projects ranging from building pieces of furniture to even making an outdoor...
An outbuilding is a form of prefab housing that can be ordered from a mobile home manufacturer. The entire housing structure cost as low as $10,000. The cost generally depends on factors such as size, design and materials used. The building features an inviting wall décor, captivating windows and porch. Outbuilding’s other exciting features include the shingle style roofing and fine exterior décor. Because of its compact size, an outbuilding abode can easily be erected at any destination of choice.
An outbuilding is any structure (4 walls & a roof) that is on the same property, not attached to the main building. Examples are a garage or storage shed
3. Recreational Vehicles
If you are a kind of person who doesn’t want to stick in one place, the motorhome makes for an exciting lifestyle on the go. Think vacation and all the fun that comes with pitching camp at various events and campgrounds. RV’s come in various sizes, from the more comfy and expensive Class A RVs to the inexpensive van-sized RV’s that feature small kitchen, bathroom and sleeping area. The cost of buying a small RV and adding necessary fittings remains lower compared to that of an actual home.
Comprising of a veritable Tiffin Phaeton that alone retails for $300,000, the 40 ft hulking RV is bedecked with a myriad of furnishings and spaces.
4. The Silo home
Silos are ordinarily used as grain and other agricultural produce storage cubicles. However, you can transform the silo in your farm into a wonderful home with all the basic amenities. The work will involve a few tweaking, remodeling and interior decoration to create a viable living space with no sharp corners. For added appeal, you can partition the rooms, reface the exteriors and have the walls painted with colors of your choice
Traditionally, silos are used for storing grain. Nowadays, they are being used in home building. Check out some of the most incredible silo homes.
5. Shipping containers
For most people, the shipping container almost feels like a perfect example of alternative home. This portable and affordable home is ideal for small families and single households. A good construction craftsman can transform the shipping container into a resolute, one bedroom housing. With a little bit of creativity you can create a home complete with amenities like deck, lounge, kitchenette, bathroom and green garden at the rooftop. For an environmental friendly edifice, you can add green insulation, solar panels and rainwater harvesting systems. You can also mount several containers to construct a story home.
A shipping container has been built to transport large amounts of goods safely by either boat or train. What this means is that this boring little building block is essentially wind proof and weather resistant, and it accomplishes these two important tasks while also being affordable and reliable. Now imagine if we added wood floors,…
6. Goedesic dome
The Geodesic dome is an architectural marvel and signature in itself. If you want to wow your family and friends, this alternative home is a perfect option to consider. The spherical, Geodesic dome can be ordered from the kit manufacturer and rebuild into a functional home. Depending on how much money you are willing to part with, you can also order the furnishings that match the domes theme. Geodesic dome’s is also designed to conserve energy.
7. Free spirit spheres
Modeled along the idea of a tree house, the free spirit sphere is a welcome aboard for adventure seekers and hikers. The spherical compartment evokes a feeling of a futuristic rocket fallen from the skies. Because the restricted space, free spirit spheres are only suitable for one or two people. You can enhance the living experience of your overhanging tree house by adding amenities like Jacuzzi and cylindrical shaped doorway and stairs. The choice of color and finish can also do a lot to enhance the overall glamour.
What do Ewoks and Julie "Butterfly" Hill have in common? They have discovered the ethereal magic of living up in a tree
8. The cob house
This home is built from eco-friendly and easy to find cob materials. The unconventional material made from lumps of earth, straw and sand is perfect for constructing exotic homes and engravings for interior and exterior walls. Cob materials are easy to shape and can withstand both desert conditions and cold climates. The cob house is perfect if you want to make a statement to close friends and the outside world.
What is a cob house? Made of clay-like clumps of earth, cob homes are sculpted smooth with sloping walls. Learn about this ancient building method.
9. Box car
If you are an adventurer and a fan of old locomotive, you can re-live the nostalgia with a home made out of a train cottage. The cottage can be bought from a junk yard or railway station. Once you’ve purchased the cottage, have its interior and exteriors restored to create an inexpensive living space. To enhance the living experience, find a suitable location to station the cottage. Majority of Box Car dwellers prefer rural settings surrounded with nature.
This converted rail car home in Portland, Oregon, is a great example of how beautiful a home a converted railroad car can make. The outside may look plain, but on the inside it’s surprisingly luxurious. The home encompasses an impressive 807 square feet and features 10-foot-high ceilings, DSL, thoroughly new everything, a full electric kitchen,…
10. Tiny house
The tiny home eerily resembles a traditional home, but one that is structured on a much smaller scale. The home can be built with various materials, including wood, bricks or stone. Because of its miniature size and portability, the home is easy to build, decorate and doesn’t cost a lot of money. Tiny houses are generally energy friendly because they are built using recycled and affordable green building materials. The compact nature of the houses also means less pressure on installing sophisticated heating and cooling systems.
Read how 5 examples of amazing tiny houses were built and financed, both as a private housing solution and products for mass-production.
11. Tree house
Your childhood dream of living in your very own tree house can now be realized with a more practical, livable home. As the name suggests, the tree home is built around the tree with portions of the tree branches supporting the structure. With a good plan and materials, you can actually build your own tree house with little help. The home is cheap, fun and an amazing alternative to the traditional housing.
Mystical, enchanting, fun, and magical are just a few words to describe a tree house home. We all at some point in our lives envisioned living in a tree house at least once, or twice, okay maybe four times or more. There is just something very innocent yet captivating about living in a tree closer…
12. Modular homes
If you are a DIY fan or an individual who appreciates the minimalist lifestyle, building a pieced modular home is worth considering. From its predecessor the prefab home, modern modular homes have come a long way in terms of size, design and function. You can use the modular home kit to construct everything from a family home to an outdoors office and guest house. Modular homes are generally eco-friendly, but smaller compared to the traditional homes. Less energy also goes into regulating temperature inside the home.
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13. Beer bottles house
If you are an out of the box thinker, here is a real test in imaginative home construction. You can construct a humble abode using recycled, empty or discarded beer or soda bottles. The recycled bottles can be structured to create side walls and perimeter fencing of a simple home. Since a lot of bottles will be required to complete the project, you can rope in family members and friends to help you gather sufficient amount of bottles and other materials. Building a beer bottle is a sure way to keep the environment clean.
A fascinating pictorial and video tour of the next wave in sustainable living -- amazing beer bottle houses.
14. Green wall and roof housing
If you are into the building green revolution, you can incorporate several aspects of nature into your home. Whether you decide to have a green roof or sidewalls, having a living plant as part of your home is a sure way to create an affordable, functional and beautiful home. There are variety of plants, including annuals and perennials that can be used to fill up space with amazing greens and patterns. The idea of green roof will also offer you and opportunity to co-opt modular designs and reduce the cooling cost.
The green-roofed house is the work of the great architect Singapore, FARM and was completed in 2013 in Singapore. Land large enough that is about 1000 square meters used for magnificent and luxurious masterpiece. Green roof idea: meera sky garden house the willow house in singapore with garden roof kerchum residence
15. Straw bale construction
The readily available and inexpensive straw bale can be used to construct a strong, eco-friendly home supported by steel rods or bamboo sticks. Besides affording the homeowner an opportunity to reuse grain farm byproducts, the home also provides excellent insulation. The design and reinforcements can withstand wind and other elements. Wooden frames can be added on the window and doorway to give the humble abode some nice finishing touches.
We want to show that you can build a small straw bale house that is comfortable, beautiful and off-grid all within a reasonable budget. Here's our attempt...
16. The Earthship
This out of the world and hi-tech idea of constructing a home is both fun and eco-friendly. One way to build an Earthship home is using reclaimed tires to erect the house frames. Besides the tires, tin cans and old bottles can also be added to the list of construction materials. Earthships are a suitable dwelling for off-grid communities that prefer renewable sources of energy. With the right creativity, Earthship can be built to accommodate a single-family. To enhance your green credentials, you can take advantage of the indoor garden to grow your own food.
Earthship Brighton is an eco community centre that is entirely off grid. Low Carbon Trust need to raise funds to help upgrade and preserve the building.
17. Manufactured home
The cost of purchasing a used or new manufactured home is a few notches lower compared to the traditional home. The home is also much larger compared to the tiny home. The manufactured home is great option for a large family looking to squeeze some savings in the long term. People who prefer a simple lifestyle and do not want to buy too many items will find the space comfortable for the price. A pre-constructed, manufactured home will also free you the time and money needed to erect a home.
What is a manufactured home? A manufactured home is a home of quality, craftsmanship, and pride. Constructed with skill and built to meet the highest standards, today’s modern manufactured home is one that will last a lifetime. Refine your building experience by choosing a manufactured home, which is ideal for young singles, professional couples, families,…
18. The Yurt
19. Bus house
Just like the RVs, an old school bus can be turned into an accommodating, stationed home. However, some remodeling and refurbishment is required to create comfortable living abode. If you prefer a cabin on wheels, you can shop for a spacious bus with running engine, and then have its interior reformatted to create a living space. With these changes, you can travel around the countryside and enjoy the outdoors.
Meet Zephyr – our land based home on wheels! Zephyr had been our full time nomadic home from 2011-2017, and is now our winter home as we now divide our time with cruising the Great Loop in o…
20. Modular Igloo
Modular Igloos - No, these are not hobbit homes but modular kit homes made from 7 inch thick styrofoam. The Japan Dome House Co. Ltd makes these homes with a cluste...
21. Boat house
If you live by the lake and love boats, you can build a home using an old or unused boat. The boat home is built on land for stable support. Boat houses are very popular romantics, musicians, creative writers and artists. If you do not want to be tied in one place, you set your boat by the waterways and docks for an exciting house boat experience.
Victoria Fine and Jon Vidar, a NYC couple who ditched their apartment to live on a boat. Courtesy of Mel Magazine In Amsterdam, hundreds of houseboats line the city’s canals and living on a houseboat is simply considered an affordable way to live in the center of the city. While Amsterdam may be synonymous with…
22. Hemp concrete
This unique is ideal if you want to build cheap housing non-traditional materials. The home is built out of the hemp material. The hemp concrete was developed as a good more stable alternative to the traditional concrete that is highly energy intensive and expensive. Hemp concrete is made with an aggregated mixture of help, limestone and water. However, due to the restrictions surrounding the use of hemp, the entire project might turn out to be very expensive.
Written by Alexander Light What is Hempcrete? “Hempcrete is a bio-composite made of the inner woody core of the hemp plant mixed with a lime-based binder. The hemp core or “Shiv” has a high silica content which allows it to bind well with lime. This property is unique to hemp among all natural fibers.…
23. Earth berm
We have all heard the one about how if you dig a hole straight down into the earth, eventually you come out the other side of the planet in China. While theoretically this might be true, in the real world it would not be possible. If the tremendous pressures you would encounter didn’t do you…
24. African prefab housing
The Abōd™ is a prototype prefab created by BSB Design for use as affordable housing in South Africa. The simple design uses a strong, natural shape as the core. It’s durable, lightweight and can be easily shipped in a compact box for quick on-site assembly.
25. Earth bag building
With this novel technique you can make an earthbag building to serve as a studio, garden shed, chicken coop, or root/storm cellar — no permit required!
What is your favorite alternative home idea?