Saturday, August 21, 2010

House Plans - Build it yourself

In the "old days" people used to build their own houses. Many would buy a set of house plans and the construction materials from the Sears & Roebuck Catalog; the pieces would get shipped to there home site and they would build it. Today there are Architect Designed Sears homes all over the country that were built in the early part of the 20th century. Here are a few examples.




This trend went away after world war II when the baby boom began. There was an enormous demand for housing and as a result developers began mass producing houses. One cookie cutter house after another.

Times are sure different now and I wonder if it is time to learn a bit from our past. The economy is tight and people don't have as much money to spend, but everyone still wants a nice home to live in. So why not start building our homes ourselves again?

I would never recommend that you literally go out and start framing your house. You would have to be very skilled and knowledgeable to take on that kind of effort. But depending on how handy you are and your level of confidence there are many ways that you can save money. Here are a few thoughts on things that you might consider tackling yourself:
  1. Be your own general contractor
  2. Build your own decks
  3. Install your own cabinets
  4. Install your own counter tops
  5. Perform all of your own painting (exterior and interior)
  6. Install your fireplace surround
  7. Do your own landscaping
  8. Install your own appliances
  9. Install your own patio or sidewalk pavers
  10. Install your own music system
  11. Build your own special interior staircase
  12. Install your own light fixtures
  13. Install your own bathroom accessories
On my own home I did at least some work in each of the above categories. My strategy was to let the professionals perform all of the critical work (foundations, framing, roofing, siding, etc.); but I would do the work that I was confident I could handle. I saved a bundle of money, which made my home affordable. Be warned however that this is a crazy amount of work for you to take on yourself. Many times you have to be available during normal work hours. And forget about having any kind of a life during construction. You will be at your job site every single night and weekend.

If you think you want to take on this kind of an effort you might start by finding a great architect designed house plan at Simply Elegant Home Designs.



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